– Our Heritage
Dunmore East developed around the western limit of Waterford Harbour. Sheltered from the Prevailing Westerlies on this small bay the village has grown into a small town of approximately 1,000 residents who rely on income from fishing, which is seasonally augmented by summer tourism.
– Local Beauty
Prominent on the harbour is the Alexander Nimmo designed lighthouse built in the 1820’s. The distinctive fluted Doric column and cast-iron lattice balcony make it unique amongst Irish lighthouses. Wrapped around the base of the tower, the keeper’s quarters form a half circle of locally sourced red sandstone masonry topped by a pedestrian walkway suitable for family access.
From this walkway one can see up the mouth of the estuary of the Three Sisters (the River Barrow, the River Nore and the River Suir). The most easterly point of County Waterford, Creadan Head, can be seen, with its forty hand-hewn steps leading to the sea. The steps originally led to an embarkation and disembarkation point for maritime pilots and lies at the end of a pre-Christian road, the local stretch of which was called Bóthar na Mná Gorm (The Road of the Blue Women). The same path passes a Bronze Age tomb, known as the Giant’s Grave, whose portals were aligned to the equinoxes four millennia ago.
To the south, one’s eye follows the shore of the Hook peninsula to the haunted windows of Loftus Hall. Said to have been haunted by the devil and by the ghost of a young woman Loftus Hall, originally Redmond Hall, was the scene of battle on 20 of July 1642 in which 60 men died. Some of those men would have also fought a few weeks earlier in another battle of the 1641 Rising at the castle of Dunmore. Only a small circular tower remains of this castle that sits peacefully above Ladies Cove, one of a necklace of coves around what was then known as the haven of Dunmore.
If you drop your eye from the Hook and follow the line cut by the concrete sea wall that now encases Nimmo’s stonework to where it emerges from the headland of Shanoon, which shelters the harbour from the southwest, you find what was the site of the Iron Age promontory fort that gave Dunmore its name (dún mór, big fort).
– The Harbour
The village itself stood more to the top of the bay, near the castle, before Nimmo’s foreman, Alexander McGill, constructed the pier over a ridge of rocks called Carraige na Leith (Rocks of the Fairies). The west pier, visible over the trawlers and halfdeckers of the fishing fleet, presents a more contemporary commercial face, despite the presence of the breeding colony of Kittiwakes on the red sandstone cliff. The pier was built in response to the discovery of abundant herring shoals in Baginbun Bay in the 1960s, and though the years of plenty this brought in the 60s and 70s have receded into memory, the coming of the herring in the weeks before Christmas still brings a bustle to the winter town.
The present town formed in the years following the construction of the harbour, a mixture of fine early Victorian architecture and the softer forms of the older thatch cottages, some dating from the 1600s, joined now by the more urgent architecture of our own time. Of particular merit is the Haven Hotel, built by David Malcomson as ‘Villa Marina’ to the design of John Skipton Mulvaney in the early 1860s. Influenced by the sack of the Old Summer Palace in Peking during the Second Opium Wars, its pagoda style roofs with their curving eaves bring a touch of the Orient to the woods and lawns that roll down to the park.