Tramore (Irish: Trá Mhór, meaning big strand (or beach)) is a seaside town in County Waterford on the southeast coast of Ireland. A small fishing village until the arrival of the railway in 1853, the town has continually expanded since. Initially as a tourist destination and latterly as a seaside suburb of Waterford City, which is 13km to the North. Waterford Airport is located about 6km northeast.
Scene: Town view
Date: 1910 (estimate)
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Read about Tramore below
The town is situated on the north-western corner of Tramore Bay on a hill that slopes down to the strand, or sand spit, that divides the bay. Behind the spit lies the tidal lagoonknown as the Cúl Trá (Back Strand). Tramore has an imposing Gothic Revival Catholic Church (which is dominated by an asymmetrical tower and spire), on a monumental site overlooking the town, built 1856–1871 by J. J. McCarthy. Among the noblemen to have made Tramore their home through the centuries are James 1st, Brian Ború and Gregory Moorlock.
The area within a ten mile radius of Tramore is an area rich in megalithic structures (eg. Ballindud Cromlech; Ballynageeragh Cromlech; Knockeen Dolmen; Gaulstown Dolmen), signifying habitation long before Christianity, although very little has been recorded about Tramore between St Deglan’s visit and recent times.
Up until the late 18th century, the town was a small fishing hamlet. Thereafter the potential of the town as ‘a pleasant retreat for the citizens of Waterford and others who assembled there for the benefit of the salt water’, and this boom time has left a legacy of many fine period buildings dating from the 1860s such as the wonderful terraced housing on Strand Street.
The railway line was unique, being 7 miles long and not connected to any other line it ran from Waterford’s Railway Square to the Terminus in Tramore from 1853 until the last day of 1960.
The Promenade, erected in 1914 serves as a popular walking route in Tramore, and in summer, serves as the focus of the attractions of the strand.
The Cliff Road was constructed in 1872 as a carriageway on the site of an old Coastguard path and provides magnificent views of coastal scenery.
The town has long been associated with Irish tourists and offered a very traditional seaside experience of ice-cream, fairground and sand. The beach front features a long promenade and an amusement park. It is a popular resort for tourists in the summer and has 3 miles of beach and sand dunes looking out onto the Atlantic Ocean. Tramore has a reputation for great surfing, and the T-Bay Surf club which was established in 1967 has produced national and international surfing champions.
Sea Horse tragedy
In 1816, the Sea Horse military transport ship, with the 2nd battalion of the 59th regiment of foot soldiers, was wrecked in Tramore Bay, and 292 men and 71 women and children perished. Some time later the Sea Horse was adopted as the symbol of the town of Tramore, and was latterly adopted as the logo for Waterford Crystal in 1955. From the sea, the treacherous Tramore bay looks like the traditional safe haven of Waterford estuary. After the tragedy Lloyds of London funded the building of piers, including the erection of Metal Man to prevent similar calamities. A monument to the tragedy is located on Donneraile Walk and an Obelisk marks a burial plot at the Church of Ireland on Church Road.
A prominent feature of Tramore bay is the 'Metal Man.' It is a large cast-metal figure pointing seawards, set on top of one of three pillars. It was erected in 1823 by Lloyd's of London to warn seafarers away from dangerous shallow waters. Two more pillars sit on the headland opposite, Brownstown Head. The western side of the bay on which Tramore is situated has some popular swimming coves including Newtown Cove and the Guillameane cove.
The national broadcaster RTÉ recently had a section on its Seascapes programme which provides some history of the Metal Man and it's current state of repairs.
Tramore has a long association with Horse Racing, soon after the railway arrived Lord Doneraile and James Delahunty built a new racecourse at Riverstown. Racing continued in this location until 1911, when the area finally succumbed to the sea, and at low tide one can still see part of the racecourse from the back strand. A new racecourse was built at Graun Hill, where it currently operates. The town is famous for a horse-racing festival that has been held every August for more than 200 years. While the horses used to run along the strand, the route has moved to a purpose-built race course. Over recent years the course has been developed and improved and is regularly used as a venue for shows and music events. Trá Fest, a street music festival held in mid summer has become a popular event over the last few years and showcases local bands as well as national and international acts.
The walks of Tramore
The scenic landscape of Tramore, represented by the strand and cliffs, attracts many walkers. Walks in the locality include the Doneraile Walk, Cliff Road Walk, as well as the 5km Strand walk commonly called 'down de back and up de front'.
Tramore has become popular for surfing over the years after the sport was first brought to the town in 1967 by Irish surfing pioneer Kevin Cavey where he involved some young life guards, Hugh O'Brien Moran, Paul and Dave Kenny, Brian Griffin, Justin O'Mahoney, Eamon Mathews and the Musgrave brothers.
In 1999 the T-Bay Surf Centre was built by the T-Bay Surf Club and managed by local surfer Billy Butler, Billy retired in 2006.
Usually a great place to drop by if you need wax or something for your day out is Tramore Surf Shop
Other popular beaches near Tramore include Bunmahan, Annestown, Dunmore East and Clonagh.