Dungarvan (Irish: Dún Garbhán, meaning 'Garbhann's Fort') is a coastal town and harbour in County Waterford, on the south-east coast of Ireland. Prior to the merger of Waterford County Council with Waterford City Council in 2014, Dungarvan was the county town and administrative centre of County Waterford. Waterford City and County Council retains administrative offices in the town.[2][3] The town's Irish name means "Garbhann's fort", referring to Saint Garbhann who founded a church there in the seventh century.[4] The town lies on the N25 road (European route E30), which connects Cork, Waterford and Rosslare Europort.

Irish: Dún Garbhán
Dungarvan's harbour
Dungarvan's harbour
Coat of arms of Dungarvan
Ní Maraidhe Go Stiúrthóir
Can't Have a Mariner Without a Steersman
Dungarvan is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 52°05′04″N 7°38′23″W / 52.0845°N 7.6397°W / 52.0845; -7.6397Coordinates: 52°05′04″N 7°38′23″W / 52.0845°N 7.6397°W / 52.0845; -7.6397
Country Ireland
 • Total4.63 km2 (1.79 sq mi)
1 m (3 ft)
Time zoneUTC±0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (IST)
Eircode routing key
Telephone area code+353(0)58
Irish Grid ReferenceX259930

Location and accessEdit

Dungarvan is situated at the mouth of the Colligan River, which divides the town into two parishes - that of Dungarvan to the west, and that of Abbeyside to the east -, these being connected in three places by a causeway and single-span bridge built by the Dukes of Devonshire starting in 1801;[5] by an old railway bridge; and by a ring-road causeway and bridge.


Food riot in Dungarvan during the Great Famine. (The Pictorial Times, 1846)
Dungarvan Castle

Dungarvan Castle, commissioned in the late 12th or early 13th century by King John of England, stands by the harbour. The original structure of the castle, including a shell keep of a type atypical in Ireland, dates to c.1209.[6]

The town of Dungarvan was incorporated in the 15th century, was represented by two members in the Irish Parliament until the Act of Union in 1801, and returned one member to the Westminster Parliament until 1885. Unlike nearby Waterford and Duncannon, Dungarvan surrendered without a siege in the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland (1649–53).

The remains of a woolly mammoth were discovered in the town in 1859 by postmaster and amateur antiquarian Edward Brenan.[citation needed]

The 1921 Burgery ambush, an incident in the Irish War of Independence, took place near the town.

Irish languageEdit

As of the 2011 census, approximately 3% of the town's population, or 242 persons were then daily Irish speakers, outside of the education system.[7] Education through the medium of Irish is available at pre-school and primary level in the town in the local Gaelscoil, Scoil Garbhán. The Irish Language Officer of Waterford City and County Council is based in Dungarvan.

There are a range of activities and projects undertaken to strengthen the Irish language in the town. An Irish in Business award was established in 2009 to recognise businesses in Dungarvan and West Waterford who work to promote the Irish language.[8]

The town is home to an office of Glór na nGael, a national body that promotes the Irish language in three areas, the language in the family, in Business and enterprise, and community development. The Dungarvan office is responsible for Glór na nGael’s work across South Leinster and most of Munster.[9]

There is also contact between the town and the nearby Gaeltacht area of Ring, County Waterford and Old Parish which make up Gaeltacht na nDéise. Dungarvan was identified as a potential 'Gaeltacht Service Town' under the Gaeltacht Act 2012.[10]


Dungarvan is situated at the mouth of the Colligan River. Dungarvan Harbour as such is formed by The Quay (on the town side) and The Causeway. A single-span bridge was built in the late 18th century by Lord Devonshire to link Dungarvan with Abbeyside and indeed Waterford via said causeway. Outside the harbour, a 3-kilometre (1.9 mi) sandbar, "The Cunnigar" (Irish An Coinigéar) defines the western limit of the 4-kilometre (2.5 mi) wide Dungarvan Bay. The Cunnigar encloses the estuary of the River Brickey which flows out to sea at Abbeyside without actually joining the Colligan. The two estuaries are separated by "The Point".


A friary in Abbeyside, founded by Augustinians in the 13th century, is partially incorporated with the structure of a 20th-century Roman Catholic church. One of the most significant colleges in the town was also founded by these Augustinians whose order survives and maintains an Augustinian church nearer to Main Street.[12]


In everyday local usage, "Dungarvan" is taken to refer to the western, more commercial half of the town, where the administrative buildings and shopping areas are situated.[13]


Devonshire Bridge


Dungarvan is positioned on the N25 national primary road and the R672 and R675 regional roads.


Dungarvan harbour

The town is separated from the open ocean by a shallow, eastward-facing bay. At its mouth, the bay is about two miles wide, with Dungarvan lying about four miles from the mouth. A meandering navigation channel marked by red/green buoys leads into Dungarvan from the ocean. For most vessels (except small dinghies) this channel is not navigable at low tide. Even at high tide, cruising yachts and larger vessels must be careful to remain in the buoyed channel. There is a well-maintained concrete slipway in Dungarvan town, suitable for launching vessels up to eight metres in length. However, larger vessels should only use it up to three hours either side of high tide. Moorings are usually made available to visiting yachts by Dungarvan Harbour Sailing Club, often free of charge.


Dungarvan is served by several bus routes. The Cork to London Eurolines coach, which provides a daily overnight cross channel service, stops at Dungarvan.[citation needed] Bus Éireann Expressway route number 40 runs hourly in each direction providing a link to Cork, Waterford and Rosslare Europort. Bus Éireann's route number 362 also provides a commuter link to Waterford. Several Local Link bus services terminate in the town, including the service to Tallow via Lismore.[14] Dublin Coach serve the town on its M9 Cork to Dublin route via Waterford, passing through every two hours.


Until 1967 Dungarvan had a railway station on the now dismantled Mallow to Waterford line and was served by the Rosslare to Cork boat train.[15] A greenway has been developed along the former line to Waterford.[16]


One of the few major manufacturing facilities for GlaxoSmithKline consumer products is located in Dungarvan, employing more than 700 people. The town is also the home of Radley Engineering, the company responsible for manufacturing the Spire of Dublin. In days now gone, Dungarvan had a tannery, a distillery, a gasworks, and a fishing fleet. In the later 20th century, a source of trade and employment was Dungarvan Cooperative (Creamery), which connected the town of Dungarvan with its agricultural hinterland.[citation needed]

International relationsEdit

Twin towns – Sister citiesEdit

Dungarvan has been twinned with Erie, Pennsylvania in the US since March 2007.[citation needed] Mercyhurst College, located in Erie, hosts the Global Intelligence Forum held annually in Dungarvan.

Entente FloraleEdit

Dungarvan is a 2018 participant representing Ireland's towns in Entente Florale, an international competition organised by the European Association for Flowers and Landscape (AEFP).


The British Poet Laureate, Sir John Betjeman (who lived in Ireland from 1941 to 1943) mentions Dungarvan in his poem, "The Irish Unionist's Farewell to Greta Hellstrom". Each stanza closes with the line, "Dungarvan in the rain".

Dungarvan is referred to in the collection of short stories Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges: "He was Irish, from Dungarvan. Having said this, he stopped short, as if he had revealed a secret."

Poet Mai O'Higgins was born on Saint Mary Street in the town centre.[17]

Dungarvan is also mentioned in the 2002 novel The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor.


Church and old cemetery in Dungarvan

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Sapmap Area: Settlements Dungarvan". Census 2016. Central Statistics Office. 2016. Archived from the original on 14 February 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  2. ^ "County Waterford In Context". Waterford City and County Council. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  3. ^ Local Electoral Area Boundary Committee Report 2013p. 124: The new local electoral area in the west of the county acknowledges the position and status of Dungarvan, which is currently the 'county' town of Waterford County Council and has a town council.
  4. ^ "Dungarvan History". dungarvan.ie. Archived from the original on 31 May 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  5. ^ "Factual - Key Dates in the History of Dungarvan - Waterford County Museum". www.waterfordmuseum.ie. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Dungarvan Castle". heritageireland.ie. Office of Public Works. Archived from the original on 20 October 2020. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  7. ^ "Census 2011 Reports". cso.ie. April 2011. Archived from the original on 4 May 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Irish Language" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2015. GRADAM GNÓ NA nDÉISE Irish in Business Awards 2016 - Waterford City and County Council
  9. ^ "Glór na nGael office in Dungarvan - Glór na nGael".[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Gaeltacht Service Towns". Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. 3 December 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  11. ^ "Post 2002 figures include environs of Dungarvan". Archived from the original on 20 September 2010. Retrieved 1 August 2009. For a discussion on the accuracy of pre-famine census returns see JJ Lee "On the accuracy of the pre-famine Irish censuses" in Irish Population, Economy and Society edited by JM Goldstrom and LA Clarkson (1981) p54, and also "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700–1850" by Joel Mokyr and Cormac Ó Gráda in The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Nov. 1984), pp. 473–488
  12. ^ "The History Of The Augustinians In Dungarvan". www.thefriarydungarvan.ie. Archived from the original on 21 December 2013. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  13. ^ "Photo Archive - Waterford County Museum". www.waterfordmuseum.ie. Archived from the original on 24 September 2021. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  14. ^ "New Local Link 6-day Service - Tallow to Dungarvan and Fermoy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 January 2016. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  15. ^ "Dungarvan". Eiretrains.com. Archived from the original on 25 March 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  16. ^ "Deise Greenway, the Waterford Greenway group". Deisegreenway.com. Archived from the original on 10 January 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  17. ^ "Mai O'Higgins back on song". Waterford News & Star. 8 October 2004. Archived from the original on 22 June 2011.
  18. ^ "'There were some really dark days' - Niamh Briggs finds a new lease of life". the42.ie. Journal Media Ltd. 10 March 2018. Archived from the original on 10 April 2021. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  19. ^ "John Deasy TD". finegael.ie. Fine Gael. Archived from the original on 22 June 2019. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  20. ^ "Political and family life of late Austin Deasy recalled". irishtimes.com. Irish Times. 12 June 2017. Archived from the original on 25 September 2020. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  21. ^ "There's no holding her back". independent.ie. Independent News & Media. 10 August 2008. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  22. ^ "Moe Dunford: 'Patrick spoke to me. I know Patrick very well'". irishtimes.com. Irish Times. 6 February 2015. Archived from the original on 1 July 2017. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  23. ^ "Million reasons for feeling home is where the heart is". irishtimes.com. Irish Times. 6 September 2010. Archived from the original on 24 September 2021. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  24. ^ "Roll of Honour". dungarvangaa.ie. Archived from the original on 18 October 2020. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  25. ^ "Ernest T.S. Walton". nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB. Archived from the original on 4 October 2019. Retrieved 17 October 2020.

External linksEdit