County surveyor for Co. Waterford, 1915-1944. John Bowen, a son of Patrick Bowen, of Ballyorban, Monkstown, Co. Cork, and his wife, Eliza, and an elder brother of RICHARD FRANCIS BOWEN , was born at Monkstown, Cork, on 18 April 1888 and educated at the Christian Schools, Cork, and Queen's College, Cork, from which he graduated in 1908 with degree of BE (NUI). His first appointment - from 1908 until 1911 - was as engineer on the Courtmacsherry &Timoleague Railway. Subsequently he was an engineer on the staff of the Congested Districts Board for Ireland, working principally in Co. Mayo. After gaining first place in the county surveyorship qualifying examination in January 1915, he was appointed county surveyor of Waterford on 1 April, when he was twenty-seven, and held the post until his death on 30 November 1944 at the age of fifty-six. He was also town surveyor for Dungarvan from 1941. He was married to Nancy (née Ryan) and had at least three children. His son Vincent was also a civil engineer
According to his obituarist in the Transactions of the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland, Bowen's success as a county surveyor 'was due in no small measure to his skill as administrator and his capacity for organisation. He was an early advocate of the use of machinery on a large scale, both for quarry work and road construction, and he succeeded in bringing the Waterford roads to a high state of perfection in a very short time. Mr. Bowen had an imposing presence, a fine speaking voice and always took an outstanding part at conferences, on deputations and at meetings of professional societies.' Bowen submitted a report on road maintenance in Co. Waterford to Waterford County Council in 1926, which attracted favourable notice in the Irish Builder.
ICEI: elected member 1916; council member, 1930-1931.
Addresses: Ballyorban House, Monkstown, Co. Cork, from birth ->=1915; Ballinaparka, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford, at time of death.
See WORKS and BIBLIOGRAPHY.
The fullest account of Bowen's life and particularly of his career as a county surveyor is in Brendan O'Donoghue, The Irish County Surveyors 1834-1944 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007), 102-104.
IB 50, 28 Nov 1908, 745.
Obituary of Muriel Bowen in Irish Times, 2 Sep 2000 (B.O'D.).
Obituary notice in TICEI 71 (1945), 249; another obituary is in IB 86, 16 Dec 1944, 520.
IB 68, 6 Mar 1926, 170,185.
TICEI 42(1916), ?.
TICEI 57 (1930-31), ?.
Guy's Cork Almanac and Directory, 1915.
See note 3, above.