Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bust unveiled of Waterford cleric & historian

A bust of a famous Waterford priest, archaeologist and historian was unveiled this week as part of the programme of events for National Heritage Week.

The bust of Canon Patrick Power was unveiled in the city’s Central Library on Friday by the Mayor of Waterford, Councillor Pat Hayes. 

Canon Power, who was born in 1862 in Callaghane, four miles outside the city, was ordained in 1885.  

This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of his death in 1951.

He spent some time ministering in Australia where he is believed to have acquired an interest in archaeology after coming into contact with Aborigines.  

On his return to Waterford, he worked in various posts, including that of diocesan Inspector of Schools and he wrote a Manual of Religious Instruction of which thirty editions were run and which was used widely in Ireland in the early twentieth century.

Canon Power showed an interest in local history during his student days and it became a lifelong passion that made him renowned for his contribution to the study of the history of the city and county.

His greatest academic achievement was his book The Place-Names of Decies, which catalogued and explained the meaning and origins of thousands of Gaelic place names and the antiquities of every townland in the county.

He served as editor of the Journal of the Waterford and Southeast of Ireland Archaeological Society for many and published many scholarly articles as well as other books.

The bust of Canon Power was funded by contributions from the people of Waterford and the unveiling was accompanied by a talk on his life and work by the former county librarian of Waterford Donal Brady.