independent

Monday 18 December 2017

Memorial seats connect with Wexford's past

By David Tucker

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At the unveiling in Rosslare Harbour (from left) back - Tony McCormack, Stuart Vanderblaike, Bernie Mullins, Jean Rawsom (WWETB), Liz Duffy (WWETB), Patrick Wallace and Pat Doyle; seated - Elaine De Silveira, Trish Murphy (Tutor), Aileen Ironside and Anne Borg. Missing from photo is Nuala Wickham.

A set of beautifully crafted memorial seats, with mosaics made from pottery recovered from a sunken ship, have been officially unveiled at at the Rosslare Park Memorial Garden.

The artwork is part of an overall project called 'Enhancing Our Community through Education' WWETB (Waterford and Wexford Education and Training Board)'s BTEI (Back to Education Initiative) Programme and is the work 10 people who completed a part-time mosaic course.

The unveiling took place against the backdrop of the Rosslare Harbour Community weekend at the memorial park, which is part of the much bigger village park.

Those involved in the project created individual pieces that were exhibited over the weekend and for their group piece, they designed and covered two seats in mosaic in a nautical and local theme.

The seats were built by the Local Community Employment Tus Scheme on behalf of and in association with volunteers of the Rosslare Harbour/Kilrane Environment Group and make up a 'Circle of Friends' memorial which has been created in remembrance of volunteers of the environment group who have passed away.

The material for the mosaic is called 'Chainie' or 'Chaney' and is a term that refers to broken pieces or 'shards' of pottery and glass that are found on beaches. 

Over the years these have been smoothed, rounded and mainly unglazed by the grinding movement of waves and sand. The local ones are found mainly on 'Moran's Bay' - at Rosslare Harbour.

To this day, they still come in on the tide and are thought to be part of the cargo of pottery that was lost from a sunken ship - presumably bound from Liverpool for the Americas in and around 1857 - 1858.

These are accurately identified and dated from the registration marks found on the underside of the pieces. Some pieces are dated accurately to November 30, 1853 and come mainly from the 'Copeland' and 'Adams' potteries in Staffordshire and Derbyshire.

The organisers said they wanted to thank all those who contributed 'Chanies' and in particular Margaret Hartigan who donated her full collection of Chanies.

As this is a community project, the KRH Tops group suggested that the group unveiled their masterpiece at the end of their village parade for their community weekend.

The unveiling was carried out by Angela Leahy, Connie McCabe, Stuart Van Der Bliake, Vera Fox, Donny Walsh, Theresa Doyle, Pat Roche, Tony McCormack, and Kieran McCormack who are all either members of the Environment Group, family members of the deceased or were involved in the project through Tus or WWETB.

Michael Delaney (Environment Group), Jean Rawson (WWETB) & Aileen Ironside (Learner) all gave speeches and Jean read out a beautiful poem about the sunken ship by written one of the learners Marc Kelly.

Wexford People

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