Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, the historian supreme, always in fine fettle; charismatic, charming, ebullient, scholarly, erudite and above else—wily. As I always say it is gold and silver for the Barrystown children.

The talk continues about my lecture at The Cloch Ban, Clonroche on Thursday night, March 6th at 8.30pm. It looks as if a big crowd is coming and people are eagerly talking about the Lt Colonel Ryan, especially, of the details coming from my research and that of others helping on the project. The themes in it are not familiar to me but I have grasped the issues fairly well now. Some people have discovered old documents and letters and showed them to me. I have decided to leave my own views and agendas out of it and concentrate on putting the verified facts across. Col. Ryan fought in the Boer War, the World War I and the Irish Civil War; he was a noted horse-man and wrote poetry. If asked to, I will do lectures commemorating those who fought on the republican/Sinn Fein side in the years 1916—1922. They were different times and men fought for all kinds of causes and did so sincerely. I have a dislike of war and would always prefer compromise and negotiation to resolve issues.

“We understand that Mr Brady of Duncormack National School has been awarded the Carlisle and Blake Premium for the superior manner in which his school has been conducted and the extraordinary success achieved by his pupils at the last results examination. About five years ago Mr Murphy of Carrig had the honour of being the first teacher in this county to secure this bluer ribband of the teaching profession and now we have sincere pleasure in recording this second success. The examinations of the schools which compete for these premiums are conducted by the Head Inspector and as the district included comprises five or six counties and upwards of one thousand schools it will be seen that the competition must be very keen and, as a consequence, the honour is proportionately great. Father Williams is Manager of the Duncormack School and the lively interest he takes in primary education deserves to be highly commended. We sincerely congratulate both teacher and manager on the great success which has attended their efforts. We remember some few years ago seeing it stated on some undoubted authority that with one exception Wexford ranked lowest as regards primary education of all the counties of Ireland. About that time Mr Macaulay was appointed inspector of this district and we are aware that since then a great change has taken place, that our county has made wonderful advances and at present ranks highest in the list. We believe this success is in great measure due to Mr Macaulay’s tact and ability as an educationalist. His examinations are not conducted in that demoralising manner so demoralising to schools but every teacher is made to feel that if he wish to succeed he must work and if he work he will succeed…..”

The above is taken from The People Saturday April 30th 1881. William Murphy the famous schoolmaster at Carrig-on-Bannow was a native of Davidstown parish, near Enniscorthy. I still do not comprehend how these inspectors travelled from school to school conducting examinations; they would have to stop over-night in various towns and villages. An inspector conducting an inquiry into a matter of contention between the teachers and Manager at Danescastle National Schools in circa 1917 stayed at the Hotel in Wellingtonbridge. If the Inspector were to return home each evening after going to schools it is hard to see how he could get much done. In latter day Ireland there does not seem to be any necessity for a hotel in a village but in the nineteenth century there was such a need: commercial travellers, school inspectors, cattle dealers, government officials, mining experts and tax men as they traversed the country could not possible return home at night fall and the only recourse would be to stay at a village hotel. Their modes of transport were desperately slow: they would hire a man with a horse drawn car to transport them from one school to another or would an inspector have had a horse of his own to ride about on? A doctor in Killanne claimed that a sizable portion of his salary was required to provide food for his horse. Why did he not buy a motor car?

William Murphy was involved in a public controversy about a “Spelling Bee” contest in which pupils from National Schools competed in a spelling contest, in Wexford town (I think as I do have my notes on it to hand). The proficiency of some of these children at spelling was astounding.

The final paragraph from a report of a meeting of the Carrig-on-Bannow Tenants’ Defence Association:–

“A Treasurer, Secretary and Committee having been appointed, names and subscriptions were handed in when the whole matter was wound up to the tune of “The good times are coming”. Subsequently jig and reel dances and Lancers and quadrilles, with an occasional polka, were indulged in by the hardy sons of toil. After an hour….all separated, rending the air with “God Save Ireland”.

From The People July 11th 1883:–

“The St Tintern and Ballymitty Bands

The St Martin’s (Tintern) Fife and Drum Band visited, by invitation, Ballymitty, on Sunday last the 1st instant. On arriving at Wellingtonbridge the bandsmen were met at Wellingtonbridge by members of the Ballymitty Band, when a circle was formed and immediately the strains of national music—“God Save Ireland”—followed by “Let Erin Remember” resounded making vale and wood and Bannow’s banks echo with melodious strains. After a short stay both bands proceeded towards Ballymitty, accompanied by a large contingent who were attracted and moved “with the concord of sweet sounds”. On arriving at Ballymitty a sumptuous luncheon was prepared to which ample justice was done after which music was resumed—music that

“Came o’er the ear like the sweet South wind

That breathes upon a bank of violets

Stealing and giving odour.”

During the evening a choice selection of national music was given, which with song and “tripping on the light fantastic toe” at intervals made up a most enjoyable and pleasurable evening. The Ballymitty Band will pay a return visit to Taylorstown on the 22nd instant.”

The Land League was touched by radical tendencies and reflected philosophies and ideologies coming into vogue in the closing decades of the nineteenth century all over Europe. Feminism was one such development and the establishment of the Ladies Land League was shall we say an Irish variant of that development. This is a list of the main subscribers to a collection held the Carrig-On-Bannow Ladies League published on February 15th 1882:–

7 shillings and six pence—Miss Doyle, Sheilbaggan; 5 shillings each—Miss Ennis, Springwood, Nicholas Furlong, Moortown, Nicholas Walsh, Knocktartin;

3 shillings each—Miss M. A. Walsh, Knocktartan; 2 shillings and sixpence—Mrs Ennis, Woodgraigue, Mrs Breen, Carrig, Mrs Furlong, Cullinstown, Miss O’Connor, Tullicanna, Mr Connick, Arnestown, Patrick Dake, Graigue; 2 shillings each—Mrs Scallan, Lough, Mrs Corish, do, Mrs Furlong, Moortown, Mrs Kehoe, do, Mrs Roche, Ballygow, Mrs Colfer, Danescastle, James Barry, Bannow, Laurence Keane, do, Captain J. Furlong, do, A Friend, Mrs Roche, Tullicanna, Joanna Byrne, Ballyknock, Kate Furlong, Little Graigue and Mrs Leacy, Arnestown.”

The Ladies Museum reviewed Anna Maria Hall’s “Sketches of Irish Character” in late December 1822:–

“The second is written in imitation of “Our Village” by Miss Mitford but it is nevertheless, full of originality. Mrs Hall describes a simple people of peculiar habits and manners, totally unlike the habits and manners of the generality of the Irish. They are the remnant of an Anglo-Saxon colony settled on an extreme point of the county of Wexford, at the time when Alfred was compelled by the Danes to take refuge in the wilds of Athelney. They have preserved their language and their independence; and though Bannow, the inhabitants of which Mrs Hall describes, is some distance from the barony of Forth, where the Saxon is still spoken, the good people in that district retain enough of the idiom to show that they sprung from the same parent stock. Mrs Hall’s sketches are lively and possess abundant interest to make them popular.”

On Wednesday the 6th of February 1924 Matthew Cleary put up his desirable farm at Ballyfrory of 84 acres, and 34 perches “with comfortable thatched Dwelling house and suitable out-offices (thatched and iron-roofed thereon, held as a yearly tenancy (non-judicial) at the yearly rent of £36 and now subject to an annual payment in lieu of rent of £24, which will be considerably reduced on completion of purchase under the Land Act of 1923.”

In March 1926 Mrs  Elizabeth Scott Leigh of Rosegarland appealed to the court of the Irish Land Commission, in Dublin, before Mr Justice Wyne against the intentions of the Land Commission to take 810 acres of the Leigh estate. The lands were in the townlands of Ballyowen, Ballylannon, Polldoon, Rosegarland, Respile, Maudlintown and Coolbroke. Mrs Leigh acted as Guardian of the minor Francis Edward Leigh, the owner of the land. Counsel for Mrs Leigh said that the Land Commission proposed to take 810 acres leaving 550 acres of arable land. The lands were the property of the minor, who was a ward of court and whose estate had been under the control of the Chief Justice. The New Ross solicitor Thomas A. Colfer was the receiver in charge of the estate. The account of the case stated:–

“The father of the minor farmed the whole of these lands and carried on a modern farm there. He often tilled as much as 300 acres and employed large numbers of workmen there. Counsel referred to an affidavit of Mrs Leigh who stated that the lands included the home farm of Rosegarland and contained over eleven hundred acres. Her son, the minor, Francis Edward Leigh was entitled to the lands as her-in-law of the Francis Robert Leigh. The minor had been specially educated with the object of fitting him to carry on the business of a farmer and is at present studying agriculture at Garvagh, Derry and Raheenduff, County Wexford. Her late husband Francis Robert Leigh, father of the minor, farmed the entire lands as a home farm and usually tilled from two to three hundred acres, stall fed about three hundred head of cattle and stocked from 1,400 to 1, 500 sheep. He farmed on the most modern and scientific lines, employed about 28 working horses and a large number of workmen and kept a saw mill and forge on the lands. The minor was most anxious to farm the lands on similar lines but on up to date methods. The Mansion House in Rosegarland was a very large one and the farm buildings, sheds and out-offices were very extensive. If the Land Commission acquired the lands set out in the schedule to the notice the greater part of which had not been broken for the last forty or fifty years and was the most valuable asset on the whole farm and was amply supplied with water, the minor would succeed to a narrow strip almost devoid of water and containing approximately 450 acres, having no pasturage lands whatever with vastly over-sized farm buildings, situated on the edge of the farm. The time lost in haulage and getting men to and from work would render such a farm an economic impossibility for the purposes for which the minor had been trained.”

Tom Colfer the New Ross solicitor the examiner to the estate told the court that the late Mr Leigh “was a very progressive man and did things in a perfect way and he continued that way up to his death in 1909. He (Mr Colfer) carried on the farm for a year and until arrangements were made in 1917 to let the lands to a Mr Dollar during the minority of the minor. It was a home farm.” Mr Justice Wylie rejected the contention that it was a home farm—“It was not worked as a convenience for the landlord’s residence.” He added that Mr Moloney was perfectly free to go the Land Commissioners and make the best case he could about the loss to the country and so on.”

Two valuable residential farms in Co. Kilkenny, were put up for public auction on the 10th of November 1927. Lot 1 was at Curraghlane Upper and Aughkiletaun  containing 278 acres plus. They were held from H. T. Boyse as a judicial tenancy at a yearly rent of £103 plus, fixed by order of the Irish Land Commission dated 10th of March 1906. There were five sub-tenancies on this holding occupying 151 acres and paying rents of £58 plus.

Lot 2—was at Curraghlane and Aughkiletaun containing 275 acres plus, held under H. T. Boyse as a judicial tenancy at the yearly rent of £106, fixed by order of the Irish Land Commission dated 28th of March 1903.

On February 21st 1889 at the Catholic Church Carrig-on-Bannow by the Rev. Chancellor Sheridan P. P. Carrig-on-Bannow, John Joseph, the son of Mr William Murphy Danescastle was married to Sarah, the second daughter of Mr Richard English, Merrion, Dublin. William Murphy was the famous schoolmaster and Sarah English was the charming and gifted teacher at Danescastle girls National School that Fr Philip Doyle O. S. A. wrote so eloquently about.

On February 21st 1889, at the Bay Bannow, Mr Bartholomew Cullen died aged 76 years. “His remains were interred in the old Church, Bannow and were followed to their last resting place by a large funeral cortege.”

I am at a loss to know how word spread that quickly that he had died. It is unlikely that they had telephones let alone email or mobile phones or motor cars or even bicycles.

“Bree Branch of the Ladies Land League and the Knocktartan Eviction

Dear Sir—At the eviction of Mrs Walsh [of Knocktartan] from her holding on June 30th it is said that I supplied the police with my car, knowing, at the same time, what their business was to Taghmon. I can fearlessly state that I never knew the police were going to assist at an eviction, until I was informed by people in my shop that day, after the car leaving. Had I known it was to an eviction the police were going, I would not have given my car under any circumstances. I trust my ignorance of the whole transaction will be accepted as an apology by the general public and the above branch of the Ladies Land League, of whose rules I humbly admit my act was a gross violation.

Mary Stafford

Bree July 5th  1881.”

Fr Davey O’Hanlon-Walsh was sceptical about these explanations of inadvertent collusion with the authorities in evictions but he may have been wrong. I think that they were attempted by the lure of payment for their horse and cart and tried to ignore the obvious purpose of the Constabulary’s travels.