Behind Closed Doors – Cathedral Square


In our Behind Closed Doors Series, we invite you to join us for a guided tour of 3, 4 and 5 Cathedral Square. The tour start time is 11:30am and the duration is approximately 45 minutes.

Cathedral Square itself is the site of the oldest graveyard in Ireland’s oldest city. Numbers 3, 4 and 5 Cathedral Square contain elements of the fabric of an almshouse founded on All Souls Day 1478 – the purpose of which was to provide accommodation for the respectable aged poor.

Later in the late 18th century the architect John Roberts, who designed Christ Church Cathedral and the Roman Catholic Cathedral, lived in what is now called the John Roberts building in 1-2 Cathedral Square. His wife Suzanna gave birth to 22 children so Roberts gained possession of numbers 3, 4 and 5 presumably to create living space for his growing family. By the 19th century the houses in Cathedral square were subdivided and became essentially tenements.

Over the past few years, Waterford City and County Council have been working with Eamonn Mc Eneaney, Director of Waterford Museum of Treasures to develop these buildings into a museum which will explore the traditions, superstitions and customs associated with death over the centuries. When works are completed, the museum will have an extensive collection of very rare objects associated with death from the earliest times to the 20th century.

This tour will showcase the ongoing works to restore the buildings. The various features have been discovered during the works, tell the story of the evolution of the building over the past 6 centuries.

Rosemary Ryall, Waterford City and County Conservation Officer, presents this wonderful series of house calls giving us the opportunity to get a in-depth look at building we pass on the street everyday, wonder about or don’t even see.

Rosemary will walk and talk us through buildings and layers of a complex history to reveal architecture that forms an integral part of the City’s cultural heritage and identity.