Well, we paid a visit to 1948 last week and from the reaction I got, many of you enjoyed the journey back in time and what a remarkable year it was in many respects. But I made two glaring omissions and both of equal importance in their own way. 1948 was the year of the Olympics in London (currently topical as they are going back there in 2012) and the other bloomer is that I totally overlooked Waterford’s Hurling All-Ireland victory of that year – sorry about that! So here’s a little reminder and who knows but the 60th anniversary could be the lucky omen to add the final touch!
Jim Ware captained that history making team of ’48 and the rest of the team included: A. Fleming, J. Cusack, J. Good, M. Hickey, V. Baston, M. Hayes, Johnny O’Connor, E. Carew, K. O’Connor, C. Moylan, E. Daly, T. Curran. Of these I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Andy Fleming a few times with his son Dick. Jim Ware was the captain and their goalkeeper of long standing- serving about 20 years in that capacity. I did a little research on him – to educate myself as much as anything. I hadn’t realised that he was actually a Corkman!
Jim Ware – Centenary
of his Birth
Jim Ware was born in Cork in1908. He was born into a family that would later go on to have great success at the game of hurling. Jim, Charlie, Jack and Murty Ware all had great success with their club, however, Jim and Charlie were the only two that had success at inter-county level. Ware’s family moved to Waterford when he was still a young boy. He was educated there at the De La Salle College, a virtual academy for young hurlers. Ware later worked as a bookbinder in Harvey’s shop in Waterford. He was married to Alice O’Donnell, a poet and playwright.
Playing Career – Club
Ware played his club hurling with the Erin’s Own club in Waterford and enjoyed much success. He won his first senior county title in 1927. It was the first of nine consecutive county victories for Ware and his club. He won further county honours in 1942, 1946 and 1947.
Ware first served as goalkeeper on the Waterford senior hurling team in the 1920s. He played in many Munster finals, however, victory always seemed to go the hurling kingpins of the province – namely Cork, Limerick and Tipperary. When Waterford finally claimed the provincial title in 1938 Ware wasn’t on the team. He also missed the Decies All-Ireland final show-down with Dublin which Waterford lost. Ten years later in 1948 Ware was captain of the Waterford team, however, he was now in the autumn of his playing days. That year, after nearly two decades of minding the Waterford goal, Ware captured his first Munster title following a victory over Cork. He later lead the men from the Deise in Croke Park for an All-Ireland final appearance against Dublin.
Waterford made no mistake this time as they had an eleven point victory over the Metropolitans and Ware captured a coveted All-Ireland medal. It was Waterford’s first-ever senior national title and Ware still holds the record of being the oldest All-Ireland winning captain. He retired from inter-county hurling in 1949.
Ware also won Railway Cup honours with Munster in 1944, 1945 and 1949.
Capri Versus The West
A summer’s memory of a few years ago on Capri. The Amalfi Coast of southern Italy is truly stunningly beautiful and has drawn the rich and powerful since the days of Tiberius, the Roman Emperor. An equally famous and enchanted isle off that coast is Capri. Nestled among its many glorious gems are its public gardens – a thing of beauty in itself, but they are perched on high cliff top overlooking awesome scenery. Okay I think I have set the scene, we are in a pretty place. As the temperature was 30 degrees Celsius plus we sought relief in the shade. Nearby was a group of other ‘shadies’, an American couple from the Midwest engaged in a lively discussion with a pair of English Home Counties matronly types. They all readily agreed that the scenery was beautiful and difficult to rival for its magnificence. Though not party to their discussion I nodded readily in agreement. But then I heard mention of Baltimore, Schull, Beara, Killarney, Dingle, Connemara and if only they had the weather! Both parties made credible claims to be well travelled and declared their undying love for the beauties of the West of Ireland. They added, of course, that the great ‘craic’ in the pubs compensated for the travails of wind and rain. In any event it was a delicious irony, with a script Bord Failte would have died for that these experienced world travellers standing in the warmth and beauty of Capri – the enchanted isle, should speak in such affectionate terms not of it, but of the beauty of a rainy isle a thousand miles and more to the North-West, wind swept by the Atlantic rather than lulled gently by the simmering sunny waters of the Mediterranean.
Of Mason’s Meadow and the Manor
Moving back home we turn our attention to local history and place names, like that of Mason’s Meadow.
Interestingly this name has been revived in the title of a large new pub in this very area (Manor/Railway Square), and, it was indeed the name given to this new part of town in the mid 17th century. It was in Mason’s Meadow that railway Square was laid out in 1853. This therefore is the 150th anniversary of the original development of the site here.
Daniel Dowling in his Waterford Streets-Past and Present tells us that the new development incorporated most of the old Mendicity Lane. The Mason, he of the meadow was one Christopher Mason in 1640, was the lessee of the property hereabouts from a Francis Wyse, an early addict of the weed it seems as the rent included a pound of tobacco, or five shillings in lieu! However all this area was part of the Wyse estate of the Manor of St. John – hence the name manor of this area. Prior to 1536 the land here was in the hands of the Benedictine Priory of St John the Evangelist at nearby Closegate. So there is a tight inter – connection between all the place names of this truly historic area.
The square here was developed and laid out in conjunction with the building of the railway line to Tramore. The railway got the go ahead’ in 1851 and construction finally got going on 10th February 1853 and completed within seven months with the line being officially opened on the 5th September with an experimental trip to Tramore. It was certainly the dawn of a new era, both for Waterfordians and undoubtedly Tramore’s development as a popular resort. Commercial activity was alive and well around Railway Square, for instance, in the final decade of the nineteenth century, one John Douglas was advertising his cycle factory here in which it stated that new bicycles were built to order and could be purchased on a three year system of payment! Of course, the Car Stand became established nearby to serve those using the station or needed to transfer to the other railway stations by the Bridge.
So we got around a bit this week between the men of ’48, the Isle of Capri and the train to Tramore!
Go seachtain eile, slan.