Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, ebullient, original, innovative, inspired and inspiring, a big hit with the girls and indeed truly blessed among the women, a historian supreme, a right boyo, humble, modest and self-effacing but above all else—wily, that wily boy from beside the mine pits. St Kevin of Kilkavan prophesised that a great historian would come from Barrystown and that, moreover, gold and silver would always follow the Barrystown children. Maybe that is why providence puts the mines in Barrystown.

At the meeting in Clonroche on Tuesday night there was unanimous agreement that the tour this summer would be to Bannow. It would be difficult to see how anyone could disagree with such a proposition! Is there a contrarian anywhere to oppose such a proposal? I spoke of Bannow as steeped in history but forgot to add that Jack Kennedy said in the Dail in Dublin town in June 1963 that a great orator of the English language asserted that history began in Bannow, blah, blah….

Jack Kennedy, in that memorable speech, had intended to quote David Lloyd George, the Welsh wizard, who served as British Prime Minister during the second part of World War I; Kennedy’s advisors were aghast as they feared an adverse reaction both in the Dail and in Ireland, generally, to an approving mention of Lloyd-George, as he was Prime Minister during the time that the infamous and bizarrely clothed Black and Tans were serving in Ireland, during the War of Independence.

In his address to the Dail, Jack Kennedy left out the name of Lloyd-George and substituted the phrase “a great orator of the English language” and duly quoted Lloyd-George’s proud claim about the little five foot, five (inches) nations, who gave so much to the world.

I assume that Bannow Historical Society will advise on various aspects of making a visit there.

According to the police returns, on October 24th 1880:–

“A notice was found posted on a telegraph pole threatening the life of —. He took a farm which Dr Boyd of Bannow surrendered and he pays 5 shillings an acre over Griffith’s Valuation. This fact has made him obnoxious in the neighbourhood and the motive is to make him surrender his farm.”

On October 30th, a notice was posted, presumably on a pole of some kind, telling the tenants on Mrs Colcough’s estate “to keep back from paying the rents and to be united as their forefathers were in ’98.”

This return is from late 1880:–

“Captain Boyse received by post a letter some time in November 1879 threatening him with death should he put out his Catholic tenants and replace them with Protestants. The motive was to intimidate him against evicting any of his tenants.”

A list of tenants of Captain Boyse, each pledging to pay a stated amount of money to any person coming forward with information that would lead to the conviction of the author of this letter was published in the newspapers—and provoked sarcasm and toxic comedy. It was alleged that most, if not all of these tenants did not have the money that they pledged to pay out if the information sought was given. It was suggested that the estate agent Mr Edwards had effectively coerced the tenants to put their names to this list. And above all else, a correspondent in The People alleged that Captain Boyse and his agent had invented this story of a threatening letter themselves and that Captain Boyse had received no such letter.

My own opinion is that he did: there were repeated rumblings about Captain Boyse seeking to introduce Scottish tenants onto his estate and besides, he was not popular and many of his actions were, at the very least, high-handed and at the worst plainly provocative and oppressive. In his first missive to his tenants he demanded that all dogs on his estate should be removed.

From The People January 2nd 1904:–

“Mrs Breen, Carrig-on-Bannow

We greatly regret to announce the death on Christmas Day of Mrs Breen, beloved wife of Mr John Breen, merchant, Carrig-on-Bannow. Mrs Breen who had been ailing for some time was an amiable and charitable woman and was a general favourite in that neighbourhood, where her death is very much regretted, not alone by her own attached family but by all inhabitants of the district. The funeral to the family burial place in the old church of Bannow was a striking testimony to the high esteem in which Mrs Breen was held and of the sympathy which prevails for her husband and family, who are so well known and highly respected in the great sorrow that has befallen them. R. I. P.”

From The People November 2nd 1957:–

“Bannow and District Notes

Garda Sergeant Transferred—

Sergeant Ryan who was stationed in Carrig-on-Bannow for the past few years, has been transferred to Ballywilliam and has been replaced by Sergeant Davis from Ballywilliam.

Heavy Cow—A cow, the property of Mr M. Cowman, Lough, which was sold recently, weighed 17 cwt, 1 quarter.

Beet Crop—Farmers are very busy getting out their beet crops. No returns crop have yet been received.

Entertainment—The concert and dramatic entertainment which will be held in St Mary’s Hall on Tuesday night promises to be very successful. St Mary’s Dramatic Society will stage the two act play “Birthright” by T. C. Murray and Danescastle schoolchildren will, also, stage “The Thief” by Padraig Pearse.”

From The Free Press September 3rd 1932:–

“The Black Racks—The Black Racks football team is being organised with a view to having a challenge match with the Upton Rovers. The Black Racks are made up of the boys in and around Rack’s Cross and were in existence some couple of years ago. Their Captain Mr Paddy Walsh is mainly responsible for their re-organisation and in a short time he expects his team to lower the colours of the best of the novice teams now playing.”

Novice teams were composed of players who had not performed at championship level.

This is an extract from an article carried by the Wexford Independent about Anna Marie Hall, the famous writer with the Bannow connections:–

“Mrs Hall was interred in the grave in which her mother had already been laid to rest in the burial ground attached to Addlestone Church, Surrey. The coffin was, at her request, made from an old oak family chest which her mother had brought with her to London when she left Bannow, county Wexford in 1815. The Halls lived for many years in Firfield House, a pleasant little villa residence quite near the church. In the garden are a number of firs which were planted by distinguished visitors to the house while the Halls lived there; and among the number were Moore, Lover and Lady Morgan. The pretty little church is covered with ivy. The ivy was planted by Mrs Hall’s own hands and the root brought by her all the way from Killarney after one of her frequent visits to that beautiful spot. Attached to the Church is an infant schoolhouse, built at her expense. The grave in which she sleeps is to the left of the church near the entrance door. It is marked by a marble altar which contains the following inscription:–

Mrs Sarah Elizabeth Fielding

The good and beloved mother of

Mrs S. C. Hall

Died on the 29th of January 1856,

In the 83rd year of her age.

Her life was a long and cheerful preparation for death

And her whole pilgrimage a practical

Illustration of the text that was her frequent

Precept and continual guide—

“Keep innocency and take heed unto the thing

That is right, for that shall bring

A man peace at last.”

No mention is made on the stone of the interment of Mrs Hall as it is the intention of Mr Hall to have a more suitable memorial to her genius and worth erected on the spot. Mr Hall is now in his 89th year and enjoys splendid health of mind and body. He is a true benefactor to the sisters of St Clare at Kenmare. His staunch Protestantism does not blind him to the good work those ladies are effecting in partially clothing and feeding and wholly educating four hundred little children. Every year he sends them money and clothing, the result of appeals he has sent broadcast through England. Highly prized by him are the letters he receives from the Rev. Superioress, brimful of warm, affectionate and heartfelt thanks for the good work he is engaged in and which he says is not the hobby of his life.

From The Wexford Independent January 6th 1836:–

“Accident by Fire

We regret to hear that the stables and a rick of hay, belonging to Mr Hincks of Rosegarland were accidentally consumed by fire on Friday night last; but provisionally no lives were lost. The fire originated with a servant boy who slept in an out-house, retiring to rest, without having previously quenched a lighted candle placed by his bed side.”

One would imagine that they would have electricity installed.

From The Wexford Independent January 28 1843:–

“Dairy Farm

To Be Let For Dairy Land

The Demesne of


Near Bannow, Taghmon Consisting of about 119 Irish Acres

The person taking it to find his own cows and dairy utensils.

For terms, apply (if by letter-post paid) to Anthony Lowcay, Kilhille, Arthurstown; James Boyse, Esq., Ross; Mr James Harper, Nursery-man, Wexford; Mr James Nugent, Carrick, Taghmon; or Mr Patrick Murphy. Tillebards, Bridgetown.”

The above is surely enigma! This is the demesne of Jonas King; was Jonas or his father Rev. Richard King putting it up for sale? My suspicion is of a row between Jonas and his father. Jonas (who died circa 1881) was a tenant of his father Rev. Richard King.

A report on Bannow and Sam Boyse’s estate done, in circa 1824, by the Secretary of the Farming Society of Ireland on Bannow and the estate of Sam Boyse stated inter alia:–

“Thus the roads of this parish might be useful as a model for general imitation. Their formation is so correct that no surface water can affect them; they are of uniform width, made of the flat gravel of the sea shore, which, with a covering of finer quality, becomes as smooth and as firm as a well made gravel walk; they are 26 feet wide without gripes and with a gradual fall of six inches from the centre to the water tables at the sides.

At rectangles with the public road parallel lines of road leading to the sea shore are executed upon the same scale, at the private cost to the proprietor, for the accommodation of the country with respect to sea manure.

At their several junctions with the main road, the corners of the fences are so correctly rounded off, that in the centre, where the wheels do not track, a triangular figure remains of grass and, where this occurs in the proprietor’s vicinity, uniformly submitted to the scythe, as well as the grassy sides of the road, about six feet in width; and this not merely for ornament but for real use in soiling working cattle.

There is an expressible neatness in this which one would scarcely venture to report, were it not accounted for by the unceasing attention of a resident landlord, who by strict perseverance has succeeded in banishing all swine and every trespassing animal from the roads of this parish.

Twelve miles of road have been thus formed; three of them at the proprietor’s cost, the remainder at that of the county. The first expenditure was about five shillings a perch for forming and making, and from two shillings and sixpence to three shillings a perch for inclosing with ditches of five by six feet; and so perfectly have these roads been executed for that sum, that the present presentment of nine pence a perch to the same gentleman as supervisor, not being altogether required for repair, is now applied to the cutting down of hills within the district.

A great economy of the public money is observable in the judicious management of this parish. The dispensary, where nearly 1,000 patients have been annually relieved, has been instituted and supported for three years, without requiring the usual county grant, of which the subscribers have latterly availed themselves for the purpose of building a fever hospital.”

While some significant progress had been made in medical science by 1824 I am, nevertheless, puzzled as to what the treatment at the Bannow dispensary consisted of; more pertinently, one wonders if the remedies were both gruesome and futile, such as bleeding by attaching leeches to the patient. A leech is a species of blood sucking worm. In the early twentieth century a red hot iron was used to burn the nerve carrying the pain involved in sciatica—I do not know if such was remedial but I doubt it. Iodine—if they were aware of its qualities—could kill infections, especially fungi, such as ringworm. Iodine could be used on cuts to prevent blood poisoning. Dr Freddie Stock of Coolaught, Clonroche (died 1886) told a court hearing that he had told the wife of a seriously ill patient that he could eat a little butter: the implication is that he had prescribed a restricted diet in order to starve the infection! Circa 1830 after a Spanish ship was wrecked on the Bannow shoreline with great loss of life, Tom Boyse burned their (the sea men’s that is) clothes to prevent local people wearing them as he feared infection could be carried on the clothes and cause an epidemic in the Bannow neighbourhood. This indicates that to the learned men of that era the nature of infection was understood: it was an invisible, living organism. They would have had gruesome methods of pulling teeth and I presume that they were able to set bones.