Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, obliging, inspiring and  inspired, a prophet, visionary, blessed among the women, an exception to every rule, a right boyo, humble, modest, self-effacing, nigh perfect, eloquent, poetic, uses big words (appropriately), a sheer genius, a superb wit, a  scintillating raconteur (my little dictionary define that word as meaning a skilled storyteller), a whiz at Latin and law, a trainor of hurling teams, a marathon runner, an intelligence quota miles higher than that of Einstein, incomparable, and above all else, the most devious and most wily of them all—that wily boy from beside the mine pits. If it is true, it ain’t bragging.

“State of the Country—Grand Display of Ribbonism—We have heard for some time back rumours of large quantities of fire arms being clandestinely landed along the coast—from Slieve-Griue (the property of Mr Villiers Stuart) to Bannow and Ballytrent. Recent facts prove we were well informed and in some degree develop the object these arms are intended for.

Our informant (whose name for obvious reasons we conceal) assures us that he saw on Wednesday night last (it being moonlight), a grand assemblage of Ribbonmen and Whitefeet on the Hill of Graigue near the residence of Thomas Boyse Esq. Surprised at so great a crowd at such an hour, our friend hid himself in a plantation and could distinctly perceive Father O’Donoughmore saying High Mass for them, after which they fell into line to the number, he verily believes, of from 50 to 60,000 men, many of them armed with muskets; after some persons (several of whom he recognised) had apparently gone round inspecting them, which occupied nearly an hour, they got orders from some leader to give three cheers for the Queen, three for O’Connell, three for Mr Boyse, three for Lord Mulgrave and nine for Rapale; they then dispersed as if by magic; for in five minutes not a soul was to be seen, such is their state of organisation and he pursued his way home unmolested.

We ask is this, or is it not an alarming state of things? What was 1641 or 1798 to the bloody and dangerous rebellion ready to explode like a bombshell? But in vain we warn a government, whose study seems the destruction of all our institutions, of Protestantism, nay of the Empire itself.”

The Gorey Standard carried that report in late October 1837: it is as credible as that of one of my uncles and his sarcastic story—told to a  gullible and superstitious relative— about the fairies detaining him at the cross of the five roads, Loughnageer! The informant to The Gorey Standard may have been imbibing strong liquor at the pub on the Moor of Bannow….he could even have been on the methylated spirits…. It was a staple of this Orange Order propaganda to sneer at the ignorance of the Catholic peasantry, especially their supposed inability to pronounce words properly—thus Repeal [of the Act of Union] is pronounced as Rapale. One could write a ballad about it, a come all ye…..with 60,000 fairies on Graigue Hill—at the Rising of the Moon

“To Samuel Boyse, Henry H. Hunt, Esqrs., to make 100 perches of the road from Windy House, Pill to Waterford, between Peter Kelly’s house and Edward Feore’s house, at 7 shillings per perch.” The contract was set at 30 pounds.

The above is taken from “County of Kilkenny, The Presentments of the Grand Jury of Said County at Lent Assizes, 1801”. In modern parlance, these were contracts awarded by the Grand Jury (a rough equivalent of the modern local authorities) to contractors to build roads, usually by driving stones into the ground. Members of the aristocracy and gentry often served as such contractors. I have no doubt that the Samuel Boyse mentioned here is the famous person who came to reside at Bannow circa 1814 and a daughter of Sam Boyse married a Hunt, presumably a son of the Henry H. Boyse, mentioned here.

From The Wexford Independent the 24th of March 1869:–

“Casualties at Sea—We regret to state that on Friday evening last the Proteus, the property of Mrs Curran of Dungarvan, ran ashore at Bannow. The vessel, a fine brig, left Cardiff with about 300 tons of coals on Tuesday and on her passage sprung a leak. When near Hook Tower the wind changed and put her off course. A sudden squall then struck her and she dipped, thereby driving the water in the hold forward, causing her to sink under water to the lee gangway. The captain, seeing the state of the vessel, thought it best to run her on shore and in doing so, she struck a reef of rocks between Bannow and Cullenstown. The hands all got ashore safe. On information coming to town, Mr W. Coughlan (Collector of Customs) and Mr Jasper W. Walsh (Agent at Lloyds) left in order to render assistance. The vessel is likely to become a total wreck.”

“Carrig-on-Bannow, January 4th 1864

Sir—I have much pleasure is stating that the Manure, supplied me by you, and manufactured by Prangley & Co. Bristol, is, I consider, superior to that of any other firm in the same line of business. I have tried many, but I must say, I never had such crops, until I was induced to make an experiment by using theirs. I shall certainly adopt it again next season—Yours truly

Stephen Colfer

To—Mr Richard Fortune, Wexford”

Stephen Colfer farmed at Carrig Hill and in his will left a bequest for the poor of the parish of Carrig-on-Bannow. His letter was one of three used by Mr Richard Fortune in an advertisement in The People on June 4th 1864. Artificial fertilizers were increasingly used by farmers after 1860to pick a date arbitrarily. The poorer farmers still clung to the use of sea weed. There was an aspect of the primitive to some of those modernising fertilizers: Mr Fortune was offering “Dissolved Bones” at £7 10 shillings per ton and Nitro-Phosphate or Blood Manure, also, at £7 10 shillings per ton. I have no way of determining if Mr Colfer wrote the letter himself or if he merely put his signature to a letter drafted by Mr Fortune; I presume that he got a bit of money or free manure for so doing.

From The Wexford Independent 23rd September 1876:–


On the 15th instant, fortified by the rites of the Church, at his residence, Ambrosetown Mills, in this county, after a protracted and painful illness borne with patience and resignation, Mr John Parle, sincerely regretted by a large circle of friends and acquaintances, aged 67 years. The Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul was sung at Rathangan Church on Tuesday last, the Rev. Henry Williams Adm. officiating as High Priest. The lamented deceased was Secretary of the Bannow Dispensary Committee from its formation and was highly esteemed for his rectitude of character. May he rest in peace.”

From The Wexford Independent March 25th 1903:–


At St Matthew’s Church, Glasgow, Francis Robert Leigh of Rosegarland to Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the Barton Bell of Blackhall, Lanark, N. B.”

On Tuesday 13th of May 1947, Mr Daniel Curran of Barriestown, Wellingtonbridge offered for public auction “the complete furnishings of his bungalow at Barriestown, Wellingtonbridge (the furniture having been moved for convenience to the Auctioneer’s salerooms”; the auctioneer was Raymond E. Corish M. I. A. A., Wexford. Aladdin Lamps and Oil Lamps were among the items auctioned but, surprisingly, also, “very fine Electric Standard Lamps”.

The Echo on May 10th 1947 reported that Mr R. E. Corish, auctioneer, Wexford, sold for Mr Daniel Curran, “his very attractive bungalow at Barriestown, Wellingtonbridge, to Miss K. Hanna, Rosslare Strand, for £1,400. This bungalow is held free of rent and stands on 1 acre, 3 roods, 7 perches, statute measure (Poor Law Valuation on buildings £9 10 shillings; on land £1 5 shillings.”

The Free Press in July 1942 reported that Mervyn Boyse Bannow House, gave over a thousand trees to the Parish Council for distribution to the poor for employment and gave seasonal employment to 25 men in thinning his onion crop of 30 acres.

From The New Ross Standard March 16th 1895:–

“Postal News

For the past week a new daily delivery has been established between Bannow and Danescastle which is very convenient to the people of that locality. It is understood that the three guaranteed telegraph offices of Bannow, Ballycullane and Foulksmills will be opened by the Post Office authorities next month and that it is also rumoured that a telegraph office for the Rower (New Ross) will be shortly established.”

From The People September 17th 1955:–

“Muintir Na Tire—Mr L. Fanning presided at the monthly meeting of Carrig Guild on Monday night. The principal business was consideration of the forming a dramatic society. It was decided to install an electric heater in the Club rooms for the winter months.

Hurling Challenge—A very interesting hurling match took place in Bannow on Sunday afternoon between Cullenstown and Bannow teams. After a very good display Cullenstown won (2—4to 1—6). Mr Paddy Morris was a capable referee.

Bonfires Blaze—The parish of Bannow was aglow last week in honour of the Wexford hurlers’ triumph in the All-Ireland final. Young and old took part in the victory celebrations. Crowds from the district went to Wexford to welcome home their heroes.”

The People reported on March 21st 1874:–

“Conveyance of Prisoners—Mr Leigh called the attention of the Grand Jury [of the County Wexford] to presentment 51, in which he saw an item for £31 for the conveyance of prisoners. He said it was increasing every year and ought to be stopped altogether. He understood if a prisoner had to go a mile or so nowadays they would have to be conveyed in a car; which in his opinion was only unnecessary expense and should be stopped immediately. Captain Chichester said that it was the magistrates who gave the order for the conveyance of the prisoners.

Mr Leigh—They ought not to be so very liberal; the horse police could take them—in other countries they do so and fasten them to the stirrups.

Captain Chichester said he once refused an order to a prisoner for a car conveyance to Wexford and the prisoner who wanted the order walked to Wellingtonbridge and got an order there from some magistrates for a car to come to Wexford. The secretary said that an order was issued from the castle for the magistrates to give cars to the prisoners.”

From The Wexford Independent June 22nd 1859:–

“Mr Nicholas Sinnott (Bannow) applied for out-door relief for a woman in his Electoral Division and produced the following certificate:–

“I certify that Ann Hanrahan of Danescastle is a very feeble old woman and seems to be in great pain. She has a large ulcer on her leg and it would pain her very much to go to Hospital.

The Chairman (Mr Howlin) said if all with ulcers now in the house were to be left Out Relief, they would have very few coming in. The doctor, too, did not show the case to be a very serious one requiring Out Relief and his own opinion was that she should have the choice of using the House or staying where she was—Out Relief refused.”

In that era access to relief had to be sharply curtailed and consequently the Poor Law dictated that for most destitute people Relief would have to be given indoor, that is one had to go to the Workhouse and reside there. Many disliked this option and would much prefer to be given money while residing at their homes. During and after the Famine the concept of Out-Door Relief took hold and certain categories of persons were entitled to receive money from the Poor Law Union while residing at home, for example a widow with four children, seriously ill people who could not be removed to the Workhouse, etc.

From The People August 3rd 1912:–


A meting of the Ballymitty Branch of the Irish National Trade and Benefit  Society was held on Friday evening last. Mr Michael Waters [was] in the Chair. Also present—Patrick Waters, J. Byrne, N. Scully, Thomas Scully, J. Monaghan V. G., Walter Parle, J. Kinsella, Philip Waters, R. Furlong, treasurer, P. J. Chapman, secretary. Some new members applied for enrolment in the branch and were admitted. The members present reported that nearly all the employers in the district were stamping the contribution cards and the employees were having no trouble in this respect. Some insured persons also applied for transfers which will be considered at next meeting.”


To the Editor of the Independent

Sir—After a lapse of some years business having occasioned me to pass through Bannow I was greatly struck with the improvements made during that short period. On all sides may be seen clean and tidy cottages and farm-houses—the well tilled land—the hedge ways trimmed with the greatest care—everything evincing both skill and judgement in its management—I find that the present proprietor Captain Boyse, in whose hands the estate is only a short time has become a resident landlord and that he has evinced the greatest desire to carry on improvements to employ labourers and confer all possible benefit on his tenantry. I have noticed also that a new gate house is about being erected; this with a suitable entrance will add considerably to the already pleasing appearance. In the demesne which is, also, much improved, from its having been much enlarged, I observed a rustic monument, beautifully covered with honey suckle, &, erected to the memory of the late Thomas Boyse Esq. After some time a visit to this locality would be well worthy of the attention of the tourist for he cannot fail to find much to please and delight him

X. Y. Z.”

The above appeared in The Wexford Independent on April 28th 1866. Lloyd Bentsen said that he knew Jack Kennedy well—Jack Kennedy was a personal friend of his—but  Dan Quayle was no Jack Kennedy! You could paraphrase that and say that Captain Henry Hunt Boyse [the Boyse was added to the name after he acquired the Bannow estate] was no Tom Boyse. One could write a thousand books on the greatness of Tom Boyse and only be at the start of the beginning; to repeat what I said in the previous blog, (or rather what the 1798  rebel leader Jeremiah Fitzhenry asserted) Tom Boyse was alike to “the diamond, no matter what part you hold up to view, or how minute the particle, it still contains a lustre above all other gems” and to praise him “in a society of Irishmen” would be as attempting “to gild refined gold or paint the lily.” I would be loath to say the same of Captain Boyse; one of his first communications on coming to Bannow, was to issue an edict (I use the word “edict” with its connotations of total power and ruthless control deliberately via his agent to the tenants to get rid of all their dogs and sub-tenants plus to sell their livestock at the fair in Carrig village. His name was Hunt and he was a son of a sister of Tom Boyse. He was planning a move towards sheep and I presume cattle farming—hence his emphasis on the fair in Carrig; incidentally the fair in Carrig was never really successful. A man who evinces inhumanity to dogs is not a likeable man. Captain Boyse accused the dogs of posing a threat to all the sheep he proposed to have.