Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, original, comedic, modest, scholarly, erudite, self-effacing, a right boyo, a historian supreme, a big hit with the girls, a sheer genius and above all else—wily, that wily boy from beside the mine pits.

Gold and silver has always followed the Barrystown childre. St Kevin of Kilkevan preached of a historian to come from beside the mine pits, of unsurpassed wisdom and most profound logic—he would be named after the most famous and awesome scholar in the history of the Church. [Maybe some of my many readers will divine who the holy saint was referring to!]. And St Kevin wryly observed that there would be no doubt in the works of this great historian to come: he would define the definitive truth of things. There are phrases in the Latin for these matters. St Kevin was given to puns to intricate and delicate word-play!

If a mere fraction of those who say they are coming actually come, then the crowd at Bernard Browne’s lecture on the Rebellion of 1798 with special reference to General Tom Cloney of Moneyhore, Davidstown and the Rev. James B. Gordon of Boro Lodge, Ballymackessy on Tuesday night April 21st at 8.30 pm in the Clonroche Community Centre will be larger than the Allied Forces that landed on the Normandy beaches on June 6th 1944! I had an article on Boro Lodge in The Local History Review, the journal of the Federation of Local History Societies before last Christmas. Bannow Historical Society are affiliated to the Federation so my readers in my native parish should have no difficulty in procuring a copy. A mere £8 I think; one would not give as little as that to the home for cats and dogs…..

The 21st of April is the eve of my birthday and there is no need for me to stress the importance and significance of that date.

A document at the Southampton University, now digitised, states of the Moor of Bannow circa 1824:–

“Upon this uncultivated Moor are 47 houses, containing 247 people; amongst whom are the labourers and road makers of the parish, who work at ten pence a day; the occupiers of the farms being engaged in their own private concerns. Thus the road-jobbing system so justly complained of is here altogether obviated; and the sums granted are disbursed in advance to industrious labourers, who pay no rent, and who have no secondary objective beyond their honest earnings.”

From The People January 15, 1881:–

“Postal Communication Between Bannow and Wexford—A Suggestion

To the Editor of the People

Sir—The people of Bannow are fairly perplexed on account of the late arrival of the mail there—generally near 12 o’clock. They have petitioned over and over again for redress but in vain. It was found that the delay principally occurred in posting from Thomastown to New Ross—the train coming no further than the former. Now it is strange if this state of things be permitted to last much longer. I would suggest that the car which at present starts from New Ross should start from Wexford—all ends and purposes served by the one, could be equally served by the other—no inconvenience would occur by the change, whilst the mail, at the very least, would be two hours earlier at Carrig-on-Bannow and thus, daily communication with our county town would be established. Trusting that you will bring public opinion to bear on the matter

I am, sir, yours faithfully


They were having problems about the post in Carrig-on-Bannow back in 1862, it seems as well; this letter was published in The Wexford Independent on March 5th 1862:–

“Proposed Mail Car Between Wexford and Carrick-on-Bannow

To the Editor of the Independent

Sir—I understand that two memorials, signed by persons of rank and position, have been forwarded to Henry James Esq., Surveyor, G. P. O., Limerick praying that the present postal arrangements may be remedied by having a mail car established between the—places. Now according to the existing regulation, it takes part of two days to convey letters from Wexford to Bannow (according to the proposed scheme, the distance could be accomplished in about two hours) and, further, letters posted in Bannow for Duncormack, Bridgetown or Murrintown, take the same time; thus causing much inconvenience to parties living in those localities. All this would be fully remedied by having the mail car to call at the intervening posts—all of which it will benefit, in some degree, for though they do not labour under the same amount of inconvenience as the inhabitants of Bannow, yet they will have much more time for replying to their correspondents. And as monthly fairs have been recently established in Carrick-on-Bannow and from the good supply of stock and abundance of buyers, they promise to be equal to our best rural fairs; this arrangement would confer much benefit on the public in general. Indeed, the result is most anxiously looked for by all interested in its welfare. I only wish the result may be favourable, in order that the many disadvantages which we labour under may be removed.

A Correspondent

Bannow, March 1st 1862.”

From The Wexford Independent April 5th 1834:–

“Caesar Colclough

We have heard and we announce with pleasure that the benevolent landlord of Tintern has forwarded the handsome contribution of twenty pounds towards the repairs and improvement of the Chapel of St Leonard’s. This generous act is an additional proof that Mr Colclough, although not constantly resident on his estate, is not insensible to the wants of his tenants and that he is what he was always considered to be, a kind and considerate landlord.”

From The Enniscorthy Guardian July 12 1913:–


Doyle and Hayes—July 2nd at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Tagoat, with Nuptial Mass, by Rev. Philip Doyle O. S. A. brother of bridegroom, assisted by Very Rev. Canon Doyle P. P. and Rev. W. Harpur, St Peter’s and Rev. Thomas Murphy O. S. A., cousin to the bride, Patrick, son of Patrick Doyle, Maudlintown, Wellingtonbridge to Anastatia Mary, sixth daughter of Nicholas Hayes D. C., Lough.”

From The Free Press March 22 1957:–

“Along The New Line

Lambs Plentiful—A ewe belonging to Mr Martin Crosbie, Ardinagh, gave birth to five lambs last week. It is a record year for lambs, almost every ewe having 3 or 4 and sheep farmers hoping for a good market.

Darts—Tullicanna darts club weekly tournament, for which attractive prizes are offered, are becoming increasingly successful, with large entries and keen competition.

Foxes Plentiful—Owing to the threat to lambs and fowl from prowling foxes which are plentiful, there is a brisk demand for good house dogs in the district, as the dogs are regarded as the best means to prevent stock losses at night.

Ballymitty G. A. A. Club—The club has now re-organised and, as most of the old members have rejoined and there are many new players coming in, the football teams from the parish hope to do well in this year’s championships.”

This is the opening part of the rules for Gaelic Football published in the People in January 1888:–

“1. The ground for full teams (21) aside shall be 196 yards long by 140 yards or as near that size as can be got. The ground must be properly marked by boundary lines. Boundary lines must be at least five yards from the fences. Note—There is no objection to a larger ground but no ground should be less than 140 yards long by 84 yards broad.

2. There shall not be less than 14 or more than 21 players a side in regular matches.

3. There shall be two umpires and a referee. Where the umpires disagree the referee’s decision shall be final. There shall also be a goal umpire at each end of the ground to watch for goals and points. The referee shall keep the time and throw up the ball at the commencement of each half time.

4. The goal posts shall stand at each end in centre of goal line. They shall be 21 feet apart with a cross bar eight feet from the ground. Beside the goal posts there shall be two upright posts standing in each goal line 21 feet from the goal posts. A goal is won when the ball is driven between the goal posts and under the crossbar. A point is counted when the ball is driven over the crossbar, or over the goal line, within 21 feet of either goal post

5. The captains of the teams shall toss for choice of side before commencing play and the players shall stand in two ranks apposite each other in the centre of the field until the ball is thrown up, each holding the hand of one of the other side.”

From The Echo August 27th 1927:–

“Gallant Attempts At Rescue

George White (73) fisherman of Cullenstown, Bannow, lost his life on Tuesday by the capsizing of his fishing boat near Keeragh Rocks.

He put out in the morning from Cullenstown, accompanied by Patrick Bennett (24). A sudden squall of wind caught the sail and capsized the boat. The men clung on for a number of hours but the strain of the cold proved too much for the older man and just when the rescuing boats were rushing towards them, his heart, apparently failed and he fell into the water.

News that the boat was missing was telephoned to Kilmore, where the lifeboat (a sailing boat) was launched. A number of motor boats, also, put out. Mr J. N. Scallan’s “Acushla” in which was the owner, with a friend, Mr Coleman of Liverpool and the crew, Walter Cousins and J. Madden, took the lifeboat in tow, as a high wind made progress difficult. The motor launch “Splash” owned by Mr T. W. Salmon, Wexford, in charge of Capt. John Power, Chief of the Dublin Fire Brigade and Capt. Quirke of the Rock Lightship, also put out to rescue, as did Messrs Cecil Slocock and E. J. Duggan of Carlow; J. J. Fanning of the County Council staff and Sylvester O’Flaherty, Dublin, in the “Kingfisher”.


Assistance was, also, rendered by Mr Philip Walsh. Some delay was occasioned by the bats setting a course for Fethard, but immediately the wreck was sighted, the rescuers made for it with all possible speed. Bennett, still clinging to the fishing boat, which, though awash, had returned to an eve keel, was taken aboard the “Kingfisher”. Mr White’s body was found floating on the surface some distance away. It was taken aboard the “Acushla”. Recourse was had to artificial respiration but without avail. The body was brought ashore to Kilmore Quay where an inquest was held on Wednesday. The late Mr White was himself noted as a swimmer and took part in rescues on not a few occasions. The Keeragh Rocks are the scene of the wreck of the ss. Mexico in 1911 when nine members of the Fethard lifeboat crew lost their lives.

The Inquest

An inquest was held by John J. Roche, Coroner on Wednesday. Supt. Murphy represented the Civic Guard. The following jury were sworn:–Thomas Sutton, Kilmore Quay, foreman; Walter White, Crossfarnogue; Robert Grant, Ballyteigue; Chas. E. Taylor, do; Walter Furlong, Beak; John Rossiter, Libgate.

Patrick Bennett, Cullenstown stated that he left Cullenstown on Tuesday morning. There was no one in the boat but he and the deceased. When about three miles out at sea a sudden squall came and capsized the boat. They were about a mile from Keeragh at the time on the Saltees side. They had one sail and a jib up at the time and it was the squall striking the sail which capsized the boat. Witness and deceased were flung into the sea. There was no water in the boat before it capsized. Deceased was a remarkably good swimmer and witness could swim a little. They got back to the boat which was then on its side and clung to it. They held on for about an hour. The mast then broke and the boat turned back on its keel.

Both of them got into the boat. Deceased got in first. He seemed all right at that time but complained of being cold. There were about two hours in the boat when witness saw some boats coming from the direction of Kilmore. Witness told deceased to hang on as assistance was coming. He did not seem to take any notice of what witness said. He seemed to be failing and fainting. There was a big swell on the sea at the time. The next thing witness saw was deceased in the sea again. In witness’s opinion he fell out of the boat. Witness did not see him fall. He was watching the bats coming and was weak himself. Deceased remained floating. The rescuing boats were about half a mile away. One of the rescuing boats picked up deceased. Witness was also taken into one of the rescuing boats; Mr Rochford’s. Witness believed that deceased was alive the last time he saw him—before he was rescued. Witness did not see him again until he saw him that day when he had seen and identified his dead body.

To Supt Murphy—Witness was in partnership with George White for the past two years. They were always on friendly terms. When the boat turned deceased said it would not be worth while trying to swim ashore as they would be numbed with the cold. The boat was practically full of water when they got back in it.”

I will resume this account of the evidence at the inquest in my next blog.