the administrative headquarters for County Waterford, is a strategically
located town on the south-east coast of ireland.
In the late 1800's excavations at a local cave uncovered Ireland's
only cache of Mammoth elephant bones. Some 40,000 years ago, Dungarvan
Town provided ideal living conditions for wooly mammoths, horses,
and giant ground sloths.
Stone age settlements have been found in the area around the
town, but Dungarvan's history really began in the third century,
when a tribe called the Deise settled there. The original Irish
name of the town, Dun Garbhan (Garbhan's Fort) takes its name
from Saint Garbhan, who founded a church there in the seventh
The town grew into an urban centre in the shelter of a large
Anglo-Norman fortification founded in 1185. In 1215 the town was
granted a charter by King John. Recent excavations have revealed
much about Dungarvan's early history. As a town, it really only
came into existence in the Norman period. A church at the top
of the town was linked to the castle by a single street - still
called Church Street. A wall on the land side of the town ran
from the church to the castle.
For centuries after, Dungarvan was noted for its thriving hake
fishery. The town walls were extended to cover the seaward side,
and a large commercial pottery operated just outside these new
walls. The spectacular turreted castle of King John's time was
radically redesigned in the 1400's to accommodate cannons. They
weren't protection enough, for in the late 1400's the castle was
captured - and blown up.
Oliver Cromwell marched his
army into Dungarvan in 1649 and spared the town after a local
woman offered him a goblet of wine during his victorious entry
into the city gates.
In the aftermath of the 1798 rebellion, rebel leaders were
publicly hanged from the Market House and heads were displayed
on poles from the remaining castle tower.
In the early nineteenth century Dungarvan was re-planned by
the fifth and sixth Dukes of Devonshire, when a new square, streets
and a bridge were constructed. Today it is a thriving business
and residential centre, providing an appealing blend of traditional
and modern lifestyles.
Dungarvan in 1756