Irish: Dún Garbhán
Ní Maraidhe Go Stiúrthóir
Can't Have a Mariner Without a Steersman
|• Total||4.63 km2 (1.79 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1 m (3 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC±0 (WET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+1 (IST)|
|Eircode routing key|
|Telephone area code||+353(0)58|
|Irish Grid Reference|
Dungarvan (Irish: Dún Garbhán, meaning 'Garbhann's Fort') is a coastal town and harbour in County Waterford, on the south-east coast of Ireland. Prior to the merger of Waterford County Council with Waterford City Council in 2014, Dungarvan was the county town and administrative centre of County Waterford. Waterford City and County Council retains administrative offices in the town. The town's Irish name means "Garbhann's fort", referring to Saint Garbhann who founded a church there in the seventh century. The town lies on the N25 road (European route E30), which connects Cork, Waterford and Rosslare Europort.
Location and access
Dungarvan is situated at the mouth of the Colligan River, which divides the town into two parishes - that of Dungarvan to the west, and that of Abbeyside to the east -, these being connected in three places by a causeway and single-span bridge built by the Dukes of Devonshire starting in 1801; by an old railway bridge; and by a ring-road causeway and bridge.
Dungarvan Castle, commissioned in the late 12th or early 13th century by King John of England, stands by the harbour. The original structure of the castle, including a shell keep of a type atypical in Ireland, dates to c.1209.
The town of Dungarvan was incorporated in the 15th century, was represented by two members in the Irish Parliament until the Act of Union in 1801, and returned one member to the Westminster Parliament until 1885. Unlike nearby Waterford and Duncannon, Dungarvan surrendered without a siege in the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland (1649–53).
The remains of a woolly mammoth were discovered in the town in 1859 by postmaster and amateur antiquarian Edward Brenan.
As of the 2011 census, approximately 3% of the town's population, or 242 persons were then daily Irish speakers, outside of the education system. Education through the medium of Irish is available at pre-school and primary level in the town in the local Gaelscoil, Scoil Garbhán. The Irish Language Officer of Waterford City and County Council is based in Dungarvan.
There are a range of activities and projects undertaken to strengthen the Irish language in the town. An Irish in Business award was established in 2009 to recognise businesses in Dungarvan and West Waterford who work to promote the Irish language.
The town is home to an office of Glór na nGael, a national body that promotes the Irish language in three areas, the language in the family, in Business and enterprise, and community development. The Dungarvan office is responsible for Glór na nGael’s work across South Leinster and most of Munster.
There is also contact between the town and the nearby Gaeltacht area of Ring, County Waterford and Old Parish which make up Gaeltacht na nDéise. Dungarvan was identified as a potential 'Gaeltacht Service Town' under the Gaeltacht Act 2012.
Dungarvan is situated at the mouth of the Colligan River. Dungarvan Harbour as such is formed by The Quay (on the town side) and The Causeway. A single-span bridge was built in the late 18th century by Lord Devonshire to link Dungarvan with Abbeyside and indeed Waterford via said causeway. Outside the harbour, a 3-kilometre (1.9 mi) sandbar, "The Cunnigar" (Irish An Coinigéar) defines the western limit of the 4-kilometre (2.5 mi) wide Dungarvan Bay. The Cunnigar encloses the estuary of the River Brickey which flows out to sea at Abbeyside without actually joining the Colligan. The two estuaries are separated by "The Point".
A friary in Abbeyside, founded by Augustinians in the 13th century, is partially incorporated with the structure of a 20th-century Roman Catholic church. One of the most significant colleges in the town was also founded by these Augustinians whose order survives and maintains an Augustinian church nearer to Main Street.
In everyday local usage, "Dungarvan" is taken to refer to the western, more commercial half of the town, where the administrative buildings and shopping areas are situated.
The town is separated from the open ocean by a shallow, eastward-facing bay. At its mouth, the bay is about two miles wide, with Dungarvan lying about four miles from the mouth. A meandering navigation channel marked by red/green buoys leads into Dungarvan from the ocean. For most vessels (except small dinghies) this channel is not navigable at low tide. Even at high tide, cruising yachts and larger vessels must be careful to remain in the buoyed channel. There is a well-maintained concrete slipway in Dungarvan town, suitable for launching vessels up to eight metres in length. However, larger vessels should only use it up to three hours either side of high tide. Moorings are usually made available to visiting yachts by Dungarvan Harbour Sailing Club, often free of charge.
Dungarvan is served by several bus routes. The Cork to London Eurolines coach, which provides a daily overnight cross channel service, stops at Dungarvan. Bus Éireann Expressway route number 40 runs hourly in each direction providing a link to Cork, Waterford and Rosslare Europort. Bus Éireann's route number 362 also provides a commuter link to Waterford. Several Local Link bus services terminate in the town, including the service to Tallow via Lismore. Dublin Coach serve the town on its M9 Cork to Dublin route via Waterford, passing through every two hours.
Until 1967 Dungarvan had a railway station on the now dismantled Mallow to Waterford line and was served by the Rosslare to Cork boat train. A greenway has been developed along the former line to Waterford.
One of the few major manufacturing facilities for GlaxoSmithKline consumer products is located in Dungarvan, employing more than 700 people. The town is also the home of Radley Engineering, the company responsible for manufacturing the Spire of Dublin. In days now gone, Dungarvan had a tannery, a distillery, a gasworks, and a fishing fleet. In the later 20th century, a source of trade and employment was Dungarvan Cooperative (Creamery), which connected the town of Dungarvan with its agricultural hinterland.
Twin towns – Sister cities
The British Poet Laureate, Sir John Betjeman (who lived in Ireland from 1941 to 1943) mentions Dungarvan in his poem, "The Irish Unionist's Farewell to Greta Hellstrom". Each stanza closes with the line, "Dungarvan in the rain".
Dungarvan is referred to in the collection of short stories Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges: "He was Irish, from Dungarvan. Having said this, he stopped short, as if he had revealed a secret."
- Niamh Briggs, rugby player
- Tom Cunningham, hurler
- John Deasy, politician
- Austin Deasy, politician
- Maura Derrane, television presenter and journalist
- Moe Dunford, actor
- Tom Queally, jockey
- Christy Moylan, hurler
- Stephen Spratt, cyclist
- Ernest Walton, physicist and Nobel laureate
- Dungarvan Town Council, local authority of which the oldest surviving record dates to 1463, when it was described in a Wexford parliament meeting of Edward IVs as an asset the King of Ireland, until destroyed in war
- List of towns and villages in Ireland
- Market Houses in Ireland
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