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Dunmore East Nimmo 200
Seafaring & Maritime Festival of Music & Song
Dunmore East, Co Waterford

18/19 May

 

The Dunmore East Harbour Festival is a fun-filled jamboree of events based around the iconic Lighthouse down in the Harbour at Dunmore East. There will be various activities over the two days with marquees, stages including pop up stages, food stalls, well-being activities, exhibitions, walks etc, to name but a few of the exciting events that are promised.

Further details of this exciting Festival will soon be added here as soon as they are available.

Hooks and Crookes are organising a shanty festival (the Dunmore East Nimmo 200
Seafaring & Maritime Festival of Music & Song)
in conjunction with the Dunmore East Harbour Festival with singing on the stages by day and in the local hostelries at night.


 

Alexander Nimmo, 1783-1832

Alexander Nimmo was born in Fife in Scotland in 1883. He went to University at St Andrews and at the University of Edinburgh. Following graduation, he was Second Master at Fortrose Academy from 1802 to 1805 and then Rector of the Inverness Academy between 1805 and 1811. He was active in research too having examined the hydrography of Loch Ness in 1804 and he conducted surveys of boundaries and roads in 1806 and 1809. He was elected to the Geological Society of London in 1809 and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1811, the year in which he joined the Commission for the Bogs of Ireland. He was with the Bogs Commission in Kerry and Connemara from 1811 to 1813 and Bogs Commission Reports prepared by him were published in 1814, the year in which he also surveyed Waterford Harbour and prepared and presented his first design for the harbour at Dunmore East.

The Post Office were keen to construct a packet station in Waterford Harbour, as, up to then these boats delivering mail had to sail upriver and dock at the quay in Waterford City, which was tricky for sail boats that depended on favourable tides and winds (zig-zagging up the Suir under sail is a tricky business at the best of times). Nimmo deferred a proposed holiday to prepare his  plans, along with Sir Charles Coote (he later dropped out), for a new harbour, pier and lighthouse at what was then known as Portcullin Cove, at Dunmore East. Overall, 98,000 cubic feet of masonry and more than 630,000 cubic feet of rubble stone would be required at a cost of over £19,000, which included provision for a railway to be used during construction and subsequently when the work was complete. Work began on the harbour in September 1815 to a new plan following some revisions by Nimmo, which isn’t surprising as Dunmore Harbour was his first harbour design. He had to manufacture his own diving bell for use in constructing the Harbour which incorporated a new air supply system. The works were substantially completed by 1822 and the packet service from Milford Haven in Wales began, though not long after the service ceased when powerful steam packet boats replaced sail boats and these steam packets could make it to Waterford City in all weather and tidal conditions.

Lighthouse Dunmore East

The lighthouse, the focal point of the Pier and Harbour is a magnificent and elegant sentinel that dominates the harbour area. It was constructed between 1820–1825 to a design prepared by Nimmo. It is technically described in the Irish Architectural Inventory, as follows:

Description: Freestanding single-bay three-stage granite ashlar lighthouse, built 1824, on a polygonal plan comprising tapered fluted shaft with moulded cornice having single-bay single-stage lantern over with ogee-domed capping. Ogee-domed sheet metal-lined capping to lantern with iron weathervane to apex. Granite ashlar walls with fluted motif, moulded cornice, and wrought iron lattice panel railings over. Square-headed window openings with no sills, and fixed-pane iron windows. Square-headed openings to lantern with fixed-pane lights. Set at end of harbour pier. (ii) Attached four-bay single-storey flat-roofed store, c.1875, to north forming flanking bays. Flat tarmacadam roof with concrete coping having iron railings over. Coursed cut-stone walls. Square-headed window opening with stone sill. Now boarded-up. Square-headed door openings with timber boarded doors.
Appraisal: An elegant lighthouse built to designs prepared by Alexander Nimmo (1783–1832), forming a prominent landmark in the harbour area of Dunmore East. Taking the distinctive form of a Doric column, the fluted detailing considerably enhances the architectural value of the composition, while attesting to very high quality stone masonry. Well maintained, the lighthouse presents an early aspect with important salient features and materials intact. The survival of a range of original mechanisms to the interior is also of significance, and identifies the technical engineering importance of the site.

In 1816, Nimmo designed a village at Ballynagaul in west Waterford but it was never built. He also conducted coastal surveys and he designed and supervised many roads and piers in the west of Ireland, many of which are still standing and a testament to the man and his brilliance. He died at a young age of 49 in 1832

For more details on the Lighthouse have a look at the website of the Commissioners of Irish Lights

Lighthouse

All aboard

Mooring Page