On June 15th, Waterford Metropolitan Mayor Cllr. Jason Murphy set sail from Dunmore East on the Irish Naval vessel, LÉ George Bernard Shaw to ‘reclaim the waters’ in a tradition that dates back centuries.
In 1626, the city of Waterford was granted a new charter by King Charles I. Known as the Great Governing Charter, it confirmed all previous charters and privileges granted to the city, which had been removed by his father James I, whose accession in 1603 had caused great disaffection.
Under the terms of the Great Governing Charter, the Mayor of Waterford was also conferred with the office of ‘Admiral of the Harbour’. This empowered the Mayor of Waterford City to hold admiralty courts within the harbour. As part of this tradition the Mayor fires a ceremonial dart into the estuary where the three rivers meet, claiming the waters for the city of Waterford.
Speaking of the custom Mayor Murphy said, “It’s a great honour to continue this tradition, and the sense of ceremony attached to the occasion is significant. I’d like to thank the officers and crew of the LÉ George Bernard Shaw, particularly EO Colm Brennan, and also Cpt. Darren Doyle of the Port of Waterford for facilitating us today.”
Mayor Murphy then ‘reclaimed the waters’ by stating, “At this place where the Three Sisters rivers meet, to drive out King Neptune, I will throw this silver dart into the place where the rivers meet, and I declare, ‘According to the Governing Charter of Waterford City, as granted by King Charles I, on behalf of the Mayor of Waterford and Admiral of the Harbour, I claim these waters.’
Free to use images: John Power
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