Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, ebullient, innovative, inspiring and inspired, prophet, a visionary, historian supreme, a right boyo, blessed among the women, obliging, modest, self-effacing, eloquent and grandiloquent and above all else, wily—that most manipulative and wily boy from beside the mine pits….the wiliest of them all. If it is true it ain’t bragging and besides no native of the parish of Carrig-on-Bannow ever brags or tells lies—as I always say it is ever gold and silver for the Barrystown children.

I hope that on the Clonroche tour to the G. P. O. that I will stand where Brigadier General William Lowe accepted the surrender by Patrick Pearse. Pearse closely followed the protocol of an army leader in surrender but Brigadier Lowe in a rare touch of humanity, in that fearsome week, treated him and, later, Thomas Mc Donagh with courtesy and good manners—by doing so he left an implication that he regarded them as leaders of a legitimate army. One of my former teachers wrote many years ago that the manner of Pearse’s surrender greatly enabled the rebel Sinn Fein army and Rebellion to be accepted by the wider public.

I do not have the exact date for this extract from The People but it was circa 1898, as another article beside it deals with the 1798 Centenary:–

“New Postal Facilities in Ballymitty

We are pleased to learn that Mr Parker, the engaging postmaster of Wexford, has been making arrangements for a much needed reform in the Ballymitty postal district to come into immediate operation. Hitherto many districts at a distance from the sub-office were wretchedly served but in the course of a few days additional carriers are to be engaged; one to distribute postal matter from house to house in the Harristown and Kilcavan direction, returning by Ballinglee and Arnestown; the other by Springwood, Tullicanna and Moortown; thus successfully securing for the entire district a daily delivery of letters. The people of the locality are highly pleased with the facilities that are soon to be afforded them and appreciate the efforts of Mr Parker in securing for them this much needed boom.”

I wonder why the Broadband had not reached Ballymitty by then: in that era post was deemed to be of enormous importance, especially to commerce.

From The People August 25th 1900:–

“Ballymitty Concert

The concert announced to be held at Ballymitty tomorrow (Sunday) has been unavoidably postponed…..

Wexford Post Office

A new letter box is about to be put up at Blackhall Cross-roads, near Carrig-on-Bannow. This box will be cleared about 3.30 pm for the mail car which arrives in Wexford at 7.15 pm. The public are having their wants well supplied by out local postmaster.”

The people of Ballymitty will undoubtedly understand the reference in this extract from the “I Hear” column in the Free Press on the 23rd of July 1949:–

“That visitors from Neath to Wexford during the past fortnight included Mr and Mrs Pat Kenneally and family and Mr and Mrs Mc Cormack and family, formerly of Ballymitty.

That Wexford players who were quartered in their homes in Neath say they will never forget their hospitality.”

From The Free Press June 1949:–

“Motor Car Burned—On Tuesday afternoon of last week when Mr John Fardy, Wellingtonbridge, was motoring on the Tomcoole road accompanied by Mr Wat Murphy, Harristown¸ the car went on fire and was completely burned.”

The Echo reported on February 2nd 1915:–

“Presentation To A Priest

On Thursday a deputation from the Ballymitty parish journeyed to Askamore to present an address to the Rev. T. Scallan C. C. who was for many years ministering in the parish of Ballymitty and who endeared himself to the people by his earnest zeal for their spiritual and temporal welfare. The address, a real work of Irish art, is from the brush of the talented Wexford lady¸ Miss Mary F. Carty. On the top is a portrait of Father Scallan and at the bottom a water colour painting of Ballymitty Church. It is encased in a massive gilt frame and bears an inscription paying a glowing tribute to Fr Scallan and is signed on behalf of the committee by Messrs John F. Mayler, chairman, John Doyle, Hon. Treasurer and John D. Ennis Hon. Secretary.”

A long letter published in The Echo on May 31st 1913 concluded as follows:–

“In conclusion, my club are refusing to accept the medals and are forced to sever their connection with the G. A. A. in the county and, perhaps, the County Committee has taken a step that may end in disaster for them. Apologising for trespassing so much on your valuable space and thanking you in anticipation of publication—Yours sincerely,

Jack M’Cormack

Bannow and Ballymitty United Football Club.”

Bannow and Ballymitty United had very recently won the 1912 County Junior A football championship final but instead of celebrating were engrossed in a row with the Co. Committee [in latter parlance County Board] over the nature of the medals—they wanted gold ones, the same as given to the winners of the Senior Championship. I opine that Jack M’Cormack was too defiant, too driven, too quick to reach for the nuclear option. The Club closed down with bad results for football in the district.

The Echo on May 17th 1913—in the Forth and Bargy notes— reported:–

“The Carrig Band are procuring a splendid uniform and will make their first appearance in same in a short time.”

The People on the 8th of July 1893 had this report of the Bannow and Ballymitty  branch of the Land League:–

“Met on Sunday—Met on Sunday. Mr John M’Cormack V. P. presiding. The attendance of the committee is not as it might be expected or ought to be. Surely men who were elected on the committee cannot plead the excuse of not having time to attend, as one hour of a Sunday once in the month could hardly be called a sacrifice and the weather during the summer months, for the present at any rate, is most suitable for driving a couple of miles or less once a month. Attention was called to this matter before and it had some effect but the falling off is again apparent of late. The evicted farms of the district are in much the same state as when we last reported them. Mr William Rochford’s still in the hands of the grabber; Knocktarton still in the same position, grazed by the agent or his representative; the Cottage, Vernyly in the hands of the ex-policeman. And all those parties will have their own supporter—some low-spirited, unprincipled persons, but if those parties were touched themselves they might not like it so well. A discussion took place relative to the collection for the Home Rule Fund which is to take place on the first Sunday of August. The collection will be made in this parish in the usual way at the chapel gates, and the usual collectors will please attend. The collection  will be made at the rate of one penny in the £ on the valuation and all are expected to subscribe in this crisis  of our country’s fortunes. As a constant reminder is necessary in Parliament during the present session, our representatives should be constantly at their posts and the country should support them. Next meeting on the first Sunday of August at Ballymitty.”

The Echo on the 29th of March in its report of the meeting of the Board of Wexford Poor Law Guardians informed its readers, amongst other items:–

“The Labourers’ Act

Mr P[eter] Ffrench M. P. forwarded a letter from Mr Birrell acknowledging the resolution of the Guardians re the providing of an additional million pounds for labourers’ cottages. Sir Thomas Esmonde wrote stating he was about to ask a question in the House of Commons on the matter.”

There is no need for me to point out to a Carrig-on-Bannow readership that Peter  Ffrench Member of Parliament, was a native of Carrig-on-Bannow.

At the same meeting it was reported:–

“Cottage Concerns

Dr O’Brien, Bannow, reported that the cottage occupied by Richard Tyrrell, Cullenstown was in need of urgent repairs as the ceiling over two rooms had fallen admitting wind and rain.”

From The Echo the 1st of February 1913:–


Salmon—January 25th 1913, Cullenstown, Bannow, Wexford, William Salmon, ex R. N. [Royal Navy?], aged 67 years. Deeply regretted by his sorrowing wife and family.”

The People on August 6th 1859 was complaining:–

“Answer to Correspondent

“A Bannow Subscriber” informs us that he does not receive his papers regularly and that, sometimes, they come to him “thumbed, crumbled and soiled” three or four days after publication. The letter-carrier of the district, he says, instead of having letters and papers sealed in a bag¸ “more generally has them roosted on his head, or shoved into his pockets.” We hope this notice may meet the eye of the postmistress of Bannow and her assistant and save us the necessity of writing to the Postmaster-General.”

The above indicates that newspapers were posted to their subscribers in that era. When John Cummins, the Land League activist, established The County Wexford Independent in circa 1906, he had shopkeepers appointed to sell the newspaper on their premises. I am ever uncertain about missives like the above: could it not have been someone seeking to have the postman dismissed and to have himself appointed in his stead? The things that I think up. The People was established in 1953: it supported the ongoing land agitation and opposed the Liberal/Whig political movement that held sway in the first moiety of the nineteenth century. Tom Boyse was an icon of the Whig establishment but after his demise in January 1854, a radicalism infused the popular mind-set, probably leading in time to the Easter Rebellion and related War of Independence.

At the Duncormack Petty Sessions in July 1918 “District Inspector Patrick (sic) charged T—M—Coolhull and W. D—Rosslare with failing to report wrecked timber which had been in their possession. The case had been adjourned several times and now came on for hearing. Mr Brennan appeared for the defence.

Mr Brennan said he would shorten the case by pleading guilty on behalf of M–. He did not think any charge was against D–, as D—merely found the stick and sold his part of the salvage of it to M—for 12 shillings. He merely sold his salvage to M—and he understood the stick was stolen from M—and he had not the stick now at all. However, he was responsible for buying the stick from D—and he believed the stick was worth about £4, which M—was willing to pay and end the case. Mr Corish (our Clerk here) sold several baulks like it by auction and he should give a very near estimate of its value.

Mr Corish—I think from the description given it should be worth about £6.

Mr Brennan—I am willing to abide by the decision of the court, whatever they think fair.

District-Inspector—It is evident the baulk is worth more than £4.

Mr Roche [a member of the Bench] (to Mr Brennan)—Was the baulk found in M—s possession? Mr Brennan—No; but we admit buying it or buying the salvage of it from D–.I do not believe any case lies against D—in the matter. He merely sold his part of the salvage to M–.

The magistrates retired to consider the case. Upon returning, the Chairman said they were unanimous in fining D—the sum of 12 shillings which he got for the baulk from M—and M—should pay the value of the baulk, which they would estimate at £5 and costs.

District-Inspector Patrick—I hope this will be an end to this work of taking timber off the sea-shores. If it continued he could only say they were determined to put it down.”

I presume that the case focussed on timber washed onto the beach from a shipwreck; I am puzzled at the high value put on it. I would have imagined that the police and the courts would have more important things to pre-occupy themselves with. At the same court a local man was ordered to pay instalments due for his children in industrial schools. The court thundered that if he did not pay the court would find ways of taking the monies from him.

At the Spring Assizes in Wexford in March 1819, His Lordship, the Hon. Baron George asserted:–

“There was another institution, of recent date, formed in December 1818; it is called the “Bannow and Kilkevan Sick, Poor, Institution and Dispensary”. This, also, he would recommend, in the strongest manner, to their consideration. They can grant to the amount of £250 each, for such laudable purposes; and he was happy to observe that the county of Wexford was, at present, the most healthy county in the Kingdom, owing to the attention of the Gentlemen in their respective neighbourhoods.” The Grand Jury would decide the amount given to each institution. I have no that the Boyses, Sam and Tom, instituted the Dispensary.

In the Wexford Evening Post on October 16th 1829, a reviewer of Anna Maria Hall’s “Sketches of Irish Character” noted one tiny and merest fault:–

“In her style there is a negligent elegance—and the only thing we think capable of being censored—but what is easily pardonable—is rather a too frequent use of the peculiarly Irish manner of pronouncing the English language. The inflection of the words as given generally in the work, is not to be found so frequent in use among the inhabitants of that place, as one would be led to believe from the perusal of this delightful little work.” In other words, she exaggerated the quaint mode of speaking English in the baronies of Forth and Bargy; by the same consideration, did Sean O’Casey exaggerate and distort—in the most colourful way—the speech patterns of the inhabitants of the slums in Dublin? I think that he may have: if confined to such a lingo how could they communicate with each other?

The People reported on July13 1973:–

“Newly ordained Rev. Michael Murphy of Bannow, a member of the Kiltegan Missionary Fathers, celebrated 10.30 Mass in St Patrick’s Church, Rosslare Harbour last Sunday morning. Fr Murphy is scheduled to leave for Zambia in Central Africa in the autumn.”

The People on July 18th 1891 carried this report:–

“The Bannow Foreshore

(Before the Vice-Chancellor)

Boyse V The Attorney General, James Stafford and Others

This was an action brought by Major H. A. Boyse of Bannow House to restrain Stafford and others from carrying away seaweed and sand from the foreshore of the Bannow estate, which include the Keeragh Islands. The case was heard on June 26th and was then adjourned for further affidavits in proof of title of the plaintiff to the royalties of the Islands named.

On Thursday, the Vice-Chancellor delivered an elaborate judgement in favour of the plaintiff on all the points raised.

Counsel for the Plaintiff:–Messrs Kenny Q. C. and Barton B. L. (instructed by Mr M. Huggard). For the Attorney-General:–The Solicitor General, Serjeant Jellet Q. C. and Mr Wm P. Hall (instructed by Messrs Hallowes and Hamilton). The other defendants did not appear.”

Did the Counsel for Major Boyse produce the patent that granted Bannow to the Boyses? The Keeragh islands were granted with that patent. In his defence of the Boyses in the controversy over the moor, John C. Tuomy National Teacher, Taghmon, ascribed to himself a mythical residence on the Keerogue Islands (in a deliberately discrete allusion to the patent granting Bannow to Nathaniel Boyse).