Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, inspiring, inspired, erudite, scholarly, historian supreme, blessed among the women, of an intelligence far in excess that Einstein, invulnerable, invincible—that wily boy from beside the mine pits…actually the most devious and wily of them all. It was ever gold and silver for the Barrystown childre—the highest awards and prizes.
As proclaimed in The People on February 13th 1884:–
“We the undersigned farmers of the Townlands hereinafter mentioned will allow no hunting on our lands; and we give notice to the Master of the Foxhounds and to all others whom it may concern that our lands are poisoned:–
Kilkevan—Patrick Murphy, John Murphy, Thomas White, John Gallagher.
Whitttyshill—Patrick Scully, Thomas Cullen, Joseph Neville, John Neville.
Sheastown—Michael Neill, Martin Nugent, Mrs Ennis, Miss Nugent.
Kilderry—James Donohoe, Mrs Donohoe, Thomas Codd, James Hayes.
Ballinlee—Luke Long, John Browne, Moses Redmond, Thomas Waters, Simon Furlong, Patrick Butler, John Howlin, James Byrne, John Moore, Mrs Byrne, Patrick Kehoe, James Crosbie, Patrick Hanton, Matthew Byrne, Stephen Coughlan, Patrick Crosbie.
Marshalstown—Richard Fardy, Philip Crane, Thomas Murphy.
Ballymitty—Nicholas O’Hanlon-Walsh, Nicholas Furlong, Martin Crane.
Maxboley—Martin Cleary, Mrs Cleary.
Knockbine—Thomas Cullen, Samuel Pierse, James Ryan.
Tullicanna—Laurence Pender, James Lambert.
Moortown—Nicholas Furlong, Paul Kehoe.
Walshgraigue—Michael Kavanagh Poor Law Guardian, John O’Gorman.”
At the height of the Land League agitation, the farmers who were members of that movement, determined to spite the landlords by not allowing them to come across their farms: these farmers while tenants were empowered to do that as for the duration of a lease, the proprietor or landlord could only come onto the farm with the tenant’s permission.
From The Free Press, Friday February 27th 1959:–
“Danescastle National School
Blessed and Re-opened
Improvements in Building and Equipment
Danescastle National School, Carrig-on-Bannow, which has been reconstructed and extended, was re-opened and blessed on Sunday by the Bishop of Ferns, Most Rev. Dr Staunton.
The reconstruction work which was carried out by Messrs John Ferguson and Sons, Wellingtonbridge, included the provision of two new cloak rooms, play shelters, new furniture and modern sanitary equipment, which brings the school up to modern standards. The entrance and grounds were, also, renovated.
The simple ceremony followed 10 o’clock Mass celebrated by Very Rev. J. O’Brien P. P., Carrig-on-Bannow and attended by His Lordship. School children in charge of their teachers, Miss Lynch and Mr P. Garvey headed a procession which included the Church Choir, singing the Ave Maria and acolytes, followed by the congregation. His Lordship was assisted in blessing the school by Very Rev. G. J. Murphy P. P., Rathangan and Father O’Brien. Papal and National flags were flown in the village for the occasion.
The School has accommodation for 120 pupils.”
I am sure that “Miss Lynch” is mis-print for Mrs Lynch but I am open to correction. I remember her as my teacher for second class, and in the May of that year we went up the country, towards Clonroche.
At the Wexford Quarter Sessions as recorded in The People July 13, 1881:–
“Francis Leigh V Patrick Stafford for the sale of lands of Rochestown, held at a rent of £10; due, £15.
Mr T. J. O’Dempsey appeared on behalf of the defendant and stated that although a year and a half’s rent was claimed in this ejectment by Mr Leigh at £10 to 1st May such was not the fact. The real facts of the case were that the tenant was indebted only in one year’s rent ending the 1st November 1880. Mr Carr said there was a mistake in the service of ejectment which had been delivered to the wrong person. Mr O’Dempsey said under these circumstances he would ask a dismiss with costs, which the judge allowed.”
From The People Saturday March 10 1877:–
March 8, at Carrig Hill, Bannow, Mr Stephen Colfer, aged 83 years. This venerable octogenarian practised through life a praiseworthy and persevering industry in cultivating and multiplying the fruits of the earth, was ever prompt in the discharge of his duties and vigilant in his business concerns, so that he earned for himself the proud distinction of being “a good farmer” while his uprightness in all his dealings and sterling worth won for him the character of “an honest man”, which the poet has written is “the noblest work of God.” R. I. P.”
Stephen Colfer was generous to the poor of the Carrig-on-Bannow parish in his will.
The Board of the Wexford Poor Law Guardians at their meeting in March 1892 discussed the matter of the Ballymitty cottage. The Chairman said he wished to call the attention of the rural Guardians to what he considered to be a very great grievance with relation to the cottages. He referred to the fact that very many of the tenants left Ireland in the Spring and went to England or Wales to work there and did not return home until late in the Summer when their services to the farmers were not half so valuable. This practice he held was most unfair to the farmers who paid half the rent of the houses and he though the Board should try to get a covenant inserted in the bond which would put a stop to this practice in the future. He also mentioned that every single tenant of a cottage in the Rosslare division went last year to work at a big canal in Manchester and would probably do the same this year. No doubt they got higher wages in England and Wales but that said nothing. If there was any means by which they could make their absentee tenants pay the higher rent of 1 shilling 10 pence a week it should be adopted…..
Anyway they got down eventually to the question of who should get the cottage in Ballymitty. The first tender was from William Whitney, Waddingtown, “who was recommended by several ratepayers, including Fr Meehan [C. C. Ballymitty] and he sent in, also, a guarantee from Mr Richard Sheppard that as long Whitney remained in the cottage the rent would be paid and all conditions agreed to.
The second tender was from Patrick Callaghan and was dated from Hilltown National School. The candidate wrote saying that he was teaching for the last eight years in the locality, in which he considered himself to be a most useful and necessary labourer and that it was desirable that he should live near his work. He offered to pay any reasonable amount of rent in advance. He was recommended by fifteen ratepayers .
The Chairman said the last applicant was not an agricultural labourer.
The Clerk remarked that it was strange that in Ballymitty where they were wanting cottages they had only a schoolmaster and another man, who might or might not be a labourer.
Master—Mr Doyle, the Relieving Officer, says he is not a labourer.
The applicant was called before the Board and he stated that he had worked as a labourer for twenty years, portion of which time he was in America. Mr Sheppard, he added, was near hand and would give any further guarantee that was necessary. When he retired,
The Clerk asked was he a Protestant?
Mr Doyle said he was.
Clerk—In that case I would be inclined to give him the cottage.
Mr White said he was acquainted with Whitney’s circumstances and knew that the house he, at present, occupied was a bad one. He moved that he be accepted as the tenant.
Mr Cashin—I second that; I don’t see what better we can do.
Mr Hore—It was said that he was not a labourer before he came into the boardroom.
Mr Cashin—When he was before the Board you could not break him down.”
The cottages built by the Poor Law Guardians were specifically intended for agricultural labourers so a school teacher applying for one would be out of order.
The People on the 15th of July 1911 carried this charming article, of which I only quote the parts pertaining to Bannow:–
“OUR IRISH EXPERIENCES
A TOUR IN CO. WEXFORD
By M. Adeline Cooke
(From The Cyclists’ and Touring Club Gazette)
The Rosslare-Waterford train arranges itself with due caution along the platform of Duncormack’s wayside station. The beaming stationmaster himself accelerates our alighting, our bicycles are handed out and duly examined; in Ireland cycles cost but 6 pence for 50 miles and a return ticket can be had for 9 pence. Duncormack is no exception to railway stations in county Wexford. Presumably those who laid out the line must have had some good purpose in so doing but the village of the same name is some distance away and only a grey farm, one or two cottages and a ruined wind-mill greet the newly arrived passenger. We wait perforce for the train to depart in order to cross the line and meanwhile our luggage is being hoisted on to the top ubiquitous ass car (most picturesque and uncomfortable, simply, a flat, low cart without any sides or seats) drawn by a donkey which contrives to maintain wonderful spirits considering the weights he is usually upon to carry. The daughter of our prospective landlady has kindly come to show us the way to Cullenstown, a necessary precaution since an absence of signposts or cottages leaves the strangers in an uncertain state of mind. She turns sharply to the right and we follow as best we can along a narrow, villainous lane, full of stones, mud, presenting an ever-increasing difficulty of deciding whether there is less chance of a mishap by goggling—can I call it riding—on the rutty ridge or within the rut itself. My heart sinks for have I not that tenderly protective yearning which one invariably feels over a new bicycle?
Our first experience of Irish roads is not pleasing. A number of pigs, duly scoured and scrubbed so that they present a cleanliness unknown to their English cousins, straggle across the way, so that it is necessary to dismount with much haste; donkeys and cattle are negotiated with difficulty but it is beyond my pen to describe the eccentricities, no! the positive fiendishness of Irish fowls. Remain quietly by the roadside they will not, however, toothsome the morsels which lurk there; your approach is a signal for them to rush backwards and forwards without rhyme or reason exactly before your wheel. “One often rides over a fowl”, says our guide. I range alongside her. “But what do the owners say?” “It is better not to look back” is the significant response. The hamlet of Cullenstown stands boldly outlined on a hill rising from the sea. Many miles away one can behold that cottage-clad ridge suddenly rearing itself from the ocean on one side and bare fields on the other. It is crowned by the picturesque remnant of a windmill once, so we are told, by a man named Cullen who, maybe, gave his name to the place, though I fancy the original Cullen must have lived long before that time, at any rate, if he had any connection with the Castle. The cottages are low, sparsely furnished and frequently have no upper floor but from without they shame the Dutch for cleanliness, dazzling white from over-fresh coats of whitewash which the peasant who has his own ideas about the amount of work it is desirable not to do in the week leisurely applies in his numerous spare moments. Below the hill, just of the edge of the cliff, a new bungalow stands in a garden of scarlet opium poppies, courting the pure Atlantic breezes and affording the loveliest views over an irregular coast-line where the sea pink flushed cliffs and rocks rosy-red, and blue of an intensity of colour unknown in England, suffuses the farthest shores, a strand—one never says beach here—golden with flowers and behind open country, divided by low banks, covered with primroses or hedges of brilliant gold from the full bloom of the gorse and rising steadily upwards to the great belt of trees screening Bannow House and the high hill whereon the tower of the Roman Catholic Chapel dominates the district. We have a wing of the bungalow to ourselves, with our front door, verandah and hammock chairs; the coach-house shelters our cycles.
The sun glints through the mist and immediately, as it seems, the heavens are azure and the sparkling sea gemmed with brilliant colours. Full of a laudable desire to explore, we walk up the stony hill and mount our machines to fly down a very steep, narrow and nasty descent with a dangerous curve in it. How well by the time we left Cullenstown, did we know that treacherous hill! Passing the turning for Duncormack station, we continue along the road to Duncormack village more that three miles. I believe but it is difficult to acquire accurate information about mileage. Irish miles equal a good one and a quarter English miles and most unluckily I have not a cyclometer. It is quite impossible to remedy this defect, since the sole pretence of a cycling shop exists up at Carrick on the hill and is simply the dwelling of a saddler who will “oblige” by mending punctures and a few similar details. For roads in county Wexford the surface is very fair to Duncormack and quite like a switchback. It lies along the top of the cliff but at some little distance from it; at intervals narrow ways give access to the shore or to cottages and superior farms and being quite open the views are magnificent. Far over the sea one looks. The Keeragh Islands with the little habitation thereon for the assistance of shipwrecked sailors before the lightship was established glow, as if richly jewelled, the gleaming ocean rivals the sky with its intense blue; blue, also, that curious inland, water cut off by a high sandy-shingle bar of brilliant gold at Cullenstown and curving with the curve of the coast in the Kilmore direction. Only a grassy bank girdles the road and it is thick with primroses and bluebells or again a low hedge is formed by golden, fragrant gorse or hawthorns, already donning their snowy mantle. Presently a windmill appears on the left; to the right one can see across the long spit of coast land forming the bay and stretching far out to sea, the tower of Ballyteigue Castle and the chapel on the hill above Kilmore Quay. In the distance the tower of Duncormack Church now appears but such are the eccentricities of the road that the nearer we approach it in reality the further off does it seem to be. Two sharp curves—one must always be on the watch for such are the eccentricities of this road that the nearer we approach it in reality the further off does it seem to be. Two sharp curves—one must always be on the watch for such because they appear with startling suddenness and are unmarked by danger or warning posts—just above a steep hill, brings me to the village and a conversation with an Irish Constabulary man about the route to Kilmore Quay. The constabulary re most courteous in assisting the cyclist and giving details concerning surface and so on; they also advise as to where tea is procurable or whether the local inn should be left strictly alone. Many of them are such handsome men, tall and fair, with sunburnt faces and perfect manners and their soldierly air and military uniform marks them distinctly from our English police though by this remark I have no intention of decrying a corps of which one is justly proud. There is a signpost on the hill above the village—quite an unusual occurrence in County Wexford—and printed in Irish and English—that imparts a foreign atmosphere…..Obeying the directions to ….I find presently find myself ….in private grounds….[difficult to decipher the print]
On the further side an intermittent path, necessitating much scrambling leads to Blackhall, its towering circle of bright rose and its arched way, through which the tide thunders; the path by the marsh forms a short cut to a lane thick in violets, ferns primroses and bluebells and a magic wood of tall young saplings with sheets of azure spread at their feet, a carpet of bluebells, blue, pink and white. This delightful lane leads to the road to Bannow and the buried city in the sand. The wood forms part of the exquisite grounds of Bannow House, screened from the sea breeze by a thick belt of trees through which peeps the blue of the gleaming ocean. Our path is a short cut also to one of the many lodges while the grey restful house awakens wonder that anyone can dwell in the modern brick villa. It has been in the possession of the Boyse family for many and many a year, and portraits of bygone owners look down from the walls of stately rooms and the great square hall, through which the house rushes to lay a welcome…
If the house is full of treasures and relics, royal gifts of centuries ago, reverently handled, the christening garments of a Tudor Queen, ancient pictures and antique china, the gardens are no less a haunting dream. For here are famous walled gardens of some eight acres, where huge bushes of fuchsias hang their crimson petals by snowy syringes, rustic ways are wreathed with roses, long flower beds are gay with many coloured tulips and conservatories are brilliant with hothouse blooms. Wooded glades lead to a wishing well and a stretch of water sleeping in the sunlight….
I believe that the above essay is over-written and excessively (but not effectively) descriptive with the result that it seemed interminable at times. The value of it is that it does, to a limited extent, describe Cullenstown and Boyse’s elegant and extensive garden plus serving as a recall of the fascination of the young men and women of that era with the bicycle: it was transforming people’s lives! I am sometimes not completely convinced that such writers are recording their actual experiences or relying on information given to them by others.
From The Free Press 25th of April 1936:–
“The Bannow Hurlers—For an initial effort the new Bannow hurling team acquitted themselves very well on Sunday last at Kilmore against Rosslare, and with a little more luck and experience they should have won comfortably. They are down to meet Killinick on next Sunday when they hope to give an even better display.”
My suspicion is that the advent of Tom Walsh as Principal Teacher at Bannow National School prompted this sudden surge of interest in hurling for very obvious reasons as this item from the local notes in The Free Press on the 25th of January 1936 suggests:–
“An Acquisition to Bannow—The appointment of Mr Thomas Walsh N. T. to the principal teachership of Bannow National School should lead to a hurling future for the parish. His well and widely known enthusiasm for the game would doubtless be a big factor in promoting its popularity in the parish and no time should be lost by the boys in enlisting his services as a first class instructor for a Bannow hurling team, for there is material in plenty to be drawn on. We are sure the schoolboys—and girls—will be put on the right road to hurling fame by their new teacher.”
If I am correct, Tom Walsh had been Chairman of the County Kilkenny G. A. A. Board before coming to Bannow.
A meeting of the Board of Wexford Poor Law Guardians—as reported in The People on March 29th 1884— heard some disturbing but not really unprecedented things about housing in Bannow Electoral Division:–
James Boyd M.D. gave evidence about this division. One house had fallen on the occupier, a man named Power, and nearly killed him. There were two unsanitary houses in Harpurstown and nine in Harristown. One of the houses in this division fell about a year ago and killed the occupier’s mother. Williams, the occupier, had an acre of land and the Guardian of the district thought he did not come under the Act.”
“The Parnell Tribute
The collection for the Parnell Tribute for the Parish of Bannow and Ballymitty will be held on Sunday 22nd July 1883 when it is hoped all will be prepared to contribute. It is unnecessary to say that Mr Parnell’s services to the National Cause are inestimable. Let us show that we recognise this great fact.”
The above appeared in The People on July 7th 1883. In the same issue of that newspaper Meadowing for Sale and Grass to let was advertised at Woodgraigue; one could apply to the steward Martin Walsh.