Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Sunday 28 May 2023 Dublin: 14°C
Waterford County Museum
# Double Take
Double Take: The Waterford town that's splitting the atom
Take a stroll through Dungarvan and you’ll spot some intriguing carvings outside the shops on Grattan Square.

LOOK DOWN IN Dungarvan town’s Grattan Square and you’ll be greeted by something a bit unexpected.

Dotted around the street are dozens of carvings: all 33 are located outside shop fronts throughout the town, and are part of The Grattan Square Heritage Plaque Project, a project run by Waterford County Museum to start conversations about local history.

Perhaps the most interesting plaque lies unassumingly outside a Turkish Barber on Grattan Square. It’s a cluster of small circles surrounded by larger, overlapping circles. It’s familiar to anyone who studied science for their Junior Cert – but why is it here?

The “splitting the atom” plaque was laid in honour of Ernest Walton, who came from outside Dungarvan and won the Nobel prize in 1951: he, along with Briton John Cockcroft, were the first men to split the atom artificially.

waterford-county-museum-barber Waterford County Museum The site of Ernest Walton's plaque. Waterford County Museum

Dungarvan’s Walton Park already pays homage to the physicist, but local historian Willie Whelan said:

A Nobel prize winner is really out of the blocks for a small community, so we couldn’t really leave him out.

They glow silver when the sun goes down, so people notice them more then – they’re unexpected.

So there you go now – Dungarvan is one of the only places in the country that can lay claim to anything as impressive as splitting the atom.

If you’re really curious, Waterford County Museum’s Facebook page has profiles on all the plaques on Grattan Square.

More: The Irish Hollywood in the Wicklow Gap

‘Coffee shops are the new pubs’: How coffee took over Ireland – and what’s coming next>

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment

    Leave a commentcancel