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Cultural Quarter

1. T&H Doolans Bar

“How am I supposed to go on after that” – singer Dominic Mulvaney

This quote from Mulvaney who was the main act about to perform after he just heard the support act – a 15 year old SineadO'Connor l making her debut singing and playing her guitar in Waterford’s oldest and most famous music pub T & H Doolans.

3.The Jacobs Family (2021)

“Biscuits, Banking or Building?” was often the question to find out which branch of the same family you were speaking of when it came to the Jacobs of Waterford and their enterprising family.

More Information on the Jacobs Family – Click to Access PDF

​Short history piece on growth of the Jacob’s Biscuit Company from there small beginnings in Waterford to becoming an international brand –  View Article

5.Murphy Engineering

“Herself and the Infant of Prague did run the business and made a great success of it”

– Bill Murphy talking about his mother’s ingenuity and the workers help in saving the Company after his dad suddenly died.

Murphy Engineering is still a Waterford success story – see link here

7.Bells Shop & Chemist


“You would not say that under Bells Lamp” was a common saying in Waterford by parents if they thought their children were telling lies, the superstition was that if you told a lie under the large Bell outside the chemist it would fall down and entrap you.

The Bell was an advertising feature of Waterford Quays until it was bought and exported to New York in the late 1960’s Bells Chemist was owned by two Quaker brothers Arthur and Ernest Westcott Pitt. Arthur was a prominent member of the Dunmore east lifeboat. Ernest owned Rockshire House in Ferrybank They also had a pharma manufacturing facility in Exchange Street.


Learn about Arthur’s involvement in the set up of Waterford’s first airport – View PDF

​View a picture of the 1965 Dunmore East Life Boat Crew and Committee – View PDF

​The Closure of Henry Bell’s Pharmacy –View Article

9.Mary Street, the Strangmans and the Old Motor Car Trade in Waterford

“Talking about the Brewery in the 1700’sIts all to do with the water, It was better to drink beer at that stage than the water”

     – Joan Johnston author on Waterford Quaker History

Strangmans Brewery and Joshua Strangman and his work during the Famine in Waterford:

Motor Trade in Waterford :

Learn more about Joshua William Strangman and the Strangman Familly – View PDF


Strangmans Brewery and Joshua Strangman and his work during the Famine in Waterford:

Motor Trade in Waterford :

11.Royal Oak Tavern and John Moore (also Charles Bianconi)

John Moore First President of the Republic of Connaught died here in the Royal Oak (Tavern 6th Dec. 1899) it was situated at the entrance to Georges Court where it meets John Roberts Square and over the doorway a plaque high on the wall reads: –

In Memory of John Moore 1763 – 1799 First President of Ireland. He was held prisoner here. Erected by Cumannseanocliagh / Finnart Éireann

An article on Edmund Rice –  View here

Learn more about Charles Bianconi – View Website

​Read more about John Moore and the 1798 Rebellion – View Website

2. St Patrick's Catholic Church and its links to Newfoundland 

The first Waterford people of Newfoundland would take their children back from Newfoundland and have them baptised here in St. Patricks. The Registries’ are still in existence ” – Dermot Power (Local Historian)

Article on the connections between Newfoundland and South East Ireland – View Article

​Newfoundland woman still has a south east Ireland accent even though she was never here – View Article

4.Friends Meeting House and the Quakers in Waterford.

“Their yay was a yay and their nay was a nay. This would have been obvious in the Courts because people would be asked to swear on the bible and when a Quaker went in he wouldn’t swear on the bible. He said his yay was a yay – he was honest all the time and not just because he put his hand on the bible”

– Joan Johnston (Author of Waterford Quaker history

Quaker history of Ireland and their beliefs:

Beginnings of the arts for all movement:

Watch a short documentary on Waterford Quakers and their beliefs made in 1977 by RTE (national broadcaster)  – Watch Documentary

​An article about the Waterford Quakers written by Joe Falvey – View Article

​View a map of significant Waterford Quaker Locations in and around the Waterford Cultural Quarter – View PDF

About the Friends Meeting House – Click to Access PDF

​Quakers and the Claddagh Fishery – Click to Access PDF

​Quakers involvement in the Cork Soup Kitchen – Click to Access PDF

6. O’Connell Street (formally King’s Street)

“ Waterford City was the first City in Ireland to rename a street after Daniel O’Connell”. 

– Joe Falvey (Local Historian)

Daniel O 'Connell

Read a biography on Frederick Douglass – View PDF

View a photo of Frederick Douglas – View PDF

​View a photo of Frederick Douglass Blue Plaque – View PDF 

8.Waterford Newspapers

Aged 22 years old Edmund Downey moved to London from Waterford where he worked as a journalist and as a publisher. For the next 28 years he wrote 20 books himself and also published almost 300 titles many of them important Irish novels. At fifty years of age he returned home to Waterford and took over The Waterford News and was its editor until his demise in 1937. Of his own books some were novels, and two books were on Waterford – a history book and a tourist guide and several of his books are classified as Gothic and Science Fiction.​​

​– A short biog. on one of Waterford’s colourful newspaper editors Edmund Downey (1856 – 1937)

Edmund Downey and Waterford News Star :

The Munter Express:

Learn about Joseph Fisher former editor of the Munster Express – View PDF

The Psychology of Waterford an excerpt from Edmund Downey’s Book ‘Waterford: An Illustrated Guide to the City by the Suir (1915) – View PDF

​All old Waterford Newspapers are available to view on (for subscription) and some old Waterford Newspapers are available free at the Waterford Room at City Library, Lady Lane.

10.Peter O’Connor/ Olympic Champion Irish Nationalist 

At the 1906 Olympics Peter O’Connor climbed the flagpole at the medals ceremony and hoisted a large green flag bearing a golden harp and the words “Erin Go Bragh – Ireland Forever”.

Further Information  – 

​RTE short piece on Peter O’Connor on his Olympic Success –

12.The Toll Bridge, Trains & Shipping – Memories of the 1st World War and it’s impact on Waterford

“My Mothers father was Matthew Young and as far as I know he made his money in the goldfields and I don’t know if it was California or Alaska? But he made his money and came home and built his house in Ballytruckle….called it ‘Waterloo House’ …. My poor grandmother used to say Your poor Grandfather he only has two vices drinking and gambling sure he didn’t need any more.”  

– Bill Murphy talking about some of the colourful characters and business people from his ancestors

At the end of Bill’s memories of his family he speaks about the 1st World War and its impact on his mum as a young telegram girl and the families here. Over 1100 Waterford people died during the 1st World War and you can find out more information here : Overview of 1st World War and Waterford  –

​The impact of the War on the women in Waterford:

​Piece on the WW1 Memorial wall in Dungarvan:

13.Tenements and Poverty in Waterford 

All of the 18th and 19th century visitors marvelled at the Quay of Waterford. Its beauty, its elegance and expanse, comparing it to the finest quays in Europe. Its river full of masted ships, Its beautiful exchange, where the merchants conducted their business, and the adjacent Mall with its bowling green, where the gentry took their evening stroll and their wives paraded in their finery. However this was the veneer of Waterford and beneath that veneer, was a warren of filthy lanes, of disease ridden hovels, bereft of furniture, toilet facilities, and the means to sustain life”

excerpt from
Dermot Power’s article ‘Housing for the labouring class of Waterford City from 1800 to 1940’


Poverty in Waterford and in particular Ushers Arch and Murphy's Lane


Read Dermot Power’s article on the Slums and Poverty – View PDF

Decies is the name of Waterford’s history magazine and you can find lots of detailed research on local history – here is a link to some of their eJournal archive from 1976 to 2009:   View Archive


15. Neighbours on Bridge Street

“During the War – Tom, Alfie and I all had ‘Slug’ guns which we used to shoot pigeons. Flanagan’s used to buy the pigeons for One Shilling and Sixpence a pair. That’s ninepence a pigeon and they were all exported to England you see to feed them”

– Bill Murphy talking about how enterprising young boys were during the War years here in Waterford. 

14.Whites – Shipping, Chemist and Chandlers

White’s trading was diverse, they often traded with exotic and far flung destinations such as Patagonia, Quebec or Calcutta. Passengers were carried from Waterford to Quebec and Montreal returning with a cargo of timber. Many ships carried passengers across the Atlantic during and after the famine.

White’s imported cargo such as coal, timber, sugar, linseed and guano were lucrative, earning the company big profits. The captains of the vessels earned hefty commission on all the cargoes safely delivered, and many build large houses on the Quays, Lombard Street and William Street. William White, the founder of White’s Shipyard died in 1834 at age 83. The business passed over to his two sons Albert and George.Prof Bill O' Gorman (SETU) 

Learn more about George White’s Chemist – View PDF

​View a brochure for George White’s Chemist – View Brochure

Some historical notes on Whites Shipyard – View Website

16.Willy Watt – Waterford Sack & Bag Company

William F Watt, as well as being a highly successful Waterford businessman, also possessed a lovely tenor voice and was one of Irelands best known singers. He was an enthusiastic musical philanthropist whose drive and energy was largely instrumental in the foundation and continued success of Waterford Music Club. He also recorded numerous records mostly 78rpms for Columbia, HMV and Decca records in the 1920’s and ’30’s.

Willie Watt singing The Mountains of Mourne – View Video

​Willie Watt’s Biog – View Document

Read An article in Decies Magazine (Waterford’s history magazine) on the foundation of Waterford Music Club and Willie Watt’s connection to it –  View Document

A presentation to Willie Watt – View Document 

17.Expanding the city into Georges street  

“By knocking through the City Wall(s) in the 18th century this district (O’Connell Street & surrounding areas) was created for commercial development.”

In this video local Historian Des Griffin explains how the area which is now called ‘The Cultural Quarter’ was created in the early 18th Century. Before that it was a walled Medieval City and the City ‘Fathers’ at this time in 1705 took the decision to break open the Walls at whats now called Georges Street and expand the business, the marine trading and cultural community in this new direction.

The Story Of Waterford: From The Foundation Of The City To The Middle Of The Eighteenth Century (published in 1915) by Edmund Downey (1856-1937) is a history of Waterford City, established by the Vikings in the 9th century until a period of huge prosperity in the late 18th century.. 
Downey was an author and also a local newspaper editor and his book is worth reading but first have a look at his first chapter which gives a good insight into the multi-cultural origins of the City – called ‘The Psychology of Waterford’

Find out more about Waterford’s colourful and vibrant history by clicking here to read this excerpt from  “The Psychology of Waterford by Edmund Downey”

And here is a link to the full book

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