In addition to a flourishing solo career, John Power had the distinction of being a member of two iconic British bands of the 1980s and ’90s, the La’s and Cast.
Born in Liverpool, England, in 1967, Power was 19 years old when he formed a band with fellow Liverpudlian Lee Mavers; that band would become the La’s, one of the most legendary U.K. acts of the ’80s, who released a top-selling album in 1990 but were also fabled for their striking live shows and the eccentricities of Mavers, who was never able to reproduce his grand musical vision in the recording studio.
Leaving Mavers and company and moving from bass to guitar, Power formed Cast; while they lacked the critical acclaim of fellow Britpop bands such as Oasis and Blur, Cast’s powerful, straight-ahead rock approach clicked with audiences, and their 1995 debut, All Change, became the fastest-selling debut album in the history of the venerable Polydor label. Cast’s second and third albums, 1997’s Mother Nature Calls and 1999’s Magic Hour, both went Top Ten in the U.K., but 2001’s Beetroot was a massive commercial disappointment, and in 2002 Power broke up the band.
In 2003, Power released his first solo album, a deeply personal acoustic set called Happening for Love, but the disc attracted few listeners and in 2005 Power rejoined the La’s when Lee Mavers opted to reunite the band for a series of festival appearances. While continuing to work with the La’s, Power resumed his solo career in 2006, releasing an album of hard-stomping folk-rock, Willow She Weeps, in the fall of that year and supporting the set with a tour of the U.K.
Edermine House, which was built by Sir John Power, of Power Distillery fame, in 1838. This impressive collection of buildings has been described as “possibly the most interesting domestic architectural ensemble in County Wexford.”
Edermine House, a fine example of the Greek revival style, is a two-storey, three-bay Italianite villa designed by John B. Keane, with a handsome portico formed by Doric columns. There is a five-bay side elevation with a Venetian window.
Edermine, with it’s chapel And splendid Victorian iron conservatory designed by Richard Turner and James Pierce – an extraordinary curvilinear conservatory with a central semi-dome, flanked by plant houses that once housed a grapery and a peachery. The chapel commissioned by Sir James
Power and his wife, Jane, built in the 1850s. Lady Power was a daughter of Pugin’s Irish patron, John Hyacinth Talbot, and the Power family later intermarried with the Cliffe family of Bellvue.
A plaque on the door and a second inside the chapel has led many to believe that the chapel is too late to have been designed by AWN Pugin, and they have ascribed it to either his son, Edward Welby Pugin, or to JJ McCarthy. However, Pat Doyle has long believed that the chapel is an original work by Pugin and that McCarthy merely supervised its later construction, and many contemporary writers believe the intermarriages between the Talbot and Power families underpin the supposition that the chapel was originally designed by the elder Pugin and that the project was supervised either by his son or by McCarthy.
Words and Photographs copyright to and courtesy of Reverend Patrick Comerford, Wexford and Dublin. With thanks.
John Power, was an ordinary Waterford man and like so many of his contemporaries, an ordinary emigrant.
Born in Waterford in 1833, he left his native county nineteen years later in 1852, travelling alone, but with 183 other souls, on the famine ship ‘Orinoco’, direct from Waterford to New York.
His name now appears, along with countless others on the new Irish Emigrant Database, online for free at the website of the Dunbrody Famine Ship, in New Ross. What became of John Power ? What went through his mind as he sailed for a final time down our magnificent harbour, out past Hook Head and away across the Atlantic ? Did he have descendants ? Did he ever come home ?
John Power, just one common farming man, amongst thousands, who sailed over the horizon …