Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown. Always charming, charismatic, innovative, obliging, resourceful, scholarly, erudite, humble, modest, self-effacing, a right boyo, a historian supreme and above all else—wily. It was, ever, gold and silver for the Barrystown children.

They are all talking about my lecture on the Killoughram Wood, Caime, in Clonroche Community Centre on Tuesday night October 14th at 8.30pm. Or rather they are talking about the “Captain” Jeremiah Grant the leader of the gang who from their refuge in Killoughram Wood, Caime, attacked the Enniscorthy area in 1816. Grant was iconic, famous and revered by all classes of society in his lifetime and after his execution in Maryborough in August 1816 contemporary authors wrote widely divergent but equally excited and exciting biographies of him. He was a figure of myth and I believed that his sense of himself as mythical led to his downfall: he vastly over-estimated his genius at escaping from jail but in the spring of 1816 the officers at Wexford jail found a hacksaw concealed in his boot and its confiscation meant that he could not escape and he was brought to Maryborough to face a charge of burglary. He was sentenced to death and on the day of execution August 29th 1816 the sheriff delayed the execution to one o’clock in the hope that the petitions for his reprieve sent in by gentry and aristocratic strata alike would induce the Lord Lieutenant to grant a commutation of the death sentence but it did not come.

Killoughram Wood, Caime (near Enniscorthy) is a phenomenon of antiquity and its transformation into agricultural land after 1858 a feat of awesome proportions in that era. I am sure that a large crowd will come to this lecture and those who do not come will tell their grand-children that they were there—the next best thing to do, I presume.

From The People December 28th 1861:–

“The Wreck The “Cumloden Castle”

To the Editor of The People

Sir—Allow us through your journal, to express our grateful thanks to the noble people of this district, of all classes—firstly for their active humanity in rescuing us from our ship, the Cumloden Castle, stranded here during the fearful gale of the 12th instant. In doing us this service they fearlessly exposed themselves in darkness to the full effects of storm and rain, often up to their waists in the sea; secondly for the cheering sympathy and kindness we have met with ever since. To the Coast Guards, under the command of Lieutenant Lett R. N. and W. Coughlan, Esq., Collector of Customs, we are indebted for their activity, in opening a communication, by means of the rocket apparatus, with the ship and bringing twenty of us on shore, in a very short time, over rocks and through a heavy surf, without accident. To Mr and Mrs Sinnott of Ballymadder, we feel deeply grateful for their kind and hospitable reception and many thoughtful acts of kindness. The Captain has specially to thank Jasper W. Walsh, Esq., Acting-Agent to Lloyd’s, for advice and active co-operation in this, to him, trying ordeal.

Signed on behalf of crew of ship, Cumloden Castle of Ardrossan,

William Young, Master

Thomas Shaw, First Officer

Ballymadder, Carrig, Bannow, 24th December, 1861”

Sam Elly leased his house from Nick Sinnott of Ballymadder.

It is no wonder that Mc Cutcheon wrote of that dear, peaceful parish where the people befriend you, be you native or strange: there is no need for me to discourse extensively on the kindness of the people of Carrig-on-Bannow as such is axiomatic, so obvious as not to require proof. These men wrote on Christmas Eve but I am not sure if Christmas was then as celebrated as now. It was celebrated but not to the latter day extent.

From The People October 5, 1861:–


Fair at Carrig

We the undersigned, hereby give notice that a fair or public market, for the sale of every kind of Cattle, including horses, cows, pigs, and sheep will be held at the village of Carrig or Carrick in the parish of Bannow, Barony of Bargy, County of Wexford on the first Thursday in each month.

Buyers will find those fairs well deserving their attention. The surrounding district produces largely in pigs and fat and store cattle, and sheep with horses of the best class. Carrig is situated 12 miles from Wexford, 10 from Ballyhack and Duncannon, 13 miles from New Ross, about 4 miles from Foulke’s Mills and 1 mile from Wellingtonbridge.

Dated this 13th day of Spetember, 1861

Rev. R. Boyse, Bannow House; F. A. Leigh J. P. Rosegarland; C. Wilson J. P. Balloughton; Jonas King J. P. Barristown. Fr R. Doyle O. S. A. Grantstown; Josiah Martin, Colbrok (sic as written); Ephraim Hinson, [Clerical Minister], Bannow Parsonage; W. Sparrow, Cullenstown Castle; Samuel Warriner, Ballygow; Thomas Mayler, Harristown; Richard Codd, Clonmines; John Sheppard, Hilltown; John Sparrow, Ballyconnick; John White, Farm House; James Boyse, Haggart; Patrick Rossiter, Grange; Andrew Cullen, Bannow Bay; Bartholomew Cullen, Bannow; Matthew Cullen, Bannow; Patrick Colfer, Carrig; Martin Boyse, Bannow; Thomas Keane, Blackhall; Michael Corish, Coolhull; John Stafford, Coolhull; Patrick Corish, Lough; Patrick Furlong, Lough; Richard Revell, Lough; Nicholas Colfer, Cooleshall; Patrick Codd, Little Grange; Peter Stafford, Little Grange; James Boyd Medical Doctor, Bannow; Nicholas Sinnott, Ballymadder; Edmund Harper, Ballymadder, Michael Furlong, Cullenstown and Captain P. Stafford, Cullenstown”

In the early decades of the nineteenth century and before the establishment of a new fair was an arduous process involving a petition to the Lord Lieutenant from interested parties. The Lord Lieutenant would arrange for a jury to determine if a new fair would harm the interests of any existing fair—all of this would be published in the newspapers. The fair at Carrig-on-Bannow was not a success; Wellingtonbridge fair, in close proximity to the railway station, endured. There were reports of the pubs in Carrig village closing early on the evenings of the fairs.

On April 12th 1891 Mary Rebecca, widow of the late William Burnside, died at Cullenstown Castle.

James Crane of Barriestown (sic as written) married Ellen, the daughter of Patrick Murphy, Tullabards at Kilmore Chapel on Tuesday February 14th 1865. Fr Nicholas Crane O. M. I., brother to the bridegroom, assisted by Fr Philip Meyler P. P. Kilmore, performed the ceremony.

Mr J. J. Furlong of Little Graigue was elected to the Co. Council in September 1950. The Bannow district had not any “resident councillor” for many years.

The Maid from Ballygow

Three cheers my boys for Bannow’s banks, the place that I love best

Likewise to fair Ballygow I’m now bound for the west

As I went down to Cullenstown to bid my last farewell

‘Twas there I spied the prettiest girl that e’er your eyed beheld.

As I went down to Cullenstown, ‘twas in the month of May

I roamed for recreation and to watch the ladies gay

‘Twas there I spied the pretty maid and she standing on a brow

Her beauty bright did me delight that day in Ballygow.

I said my lovely girl I pray you to me tell

Is it on Bannow’s lonely banks your parents do dwell

Or if you are a stranger here to-day I wish to know

For the killing glances of your eyes have proved my overthrow.

Oh no, it’s not on Bannow’s banks my parents do dwell

Nor either in Duncormack or yet in Gibberwell

But I came here from sweet Kilmore, kind sir you know it now,

I’m here today a servant said the maid of Ballygow.

Well since you are a servant here you must come along with me

For I do wish with all my heart that you will marry me

No more I’ll roam from Bannow’s banks where the tides do ebb and flow

Or cross the stormy ocean where the wintry winds do blow.

Although I am a servant here your offer I decline

You’ll sail the stormy ocean and you’ll waver with the wind

And when you meet with pretty maids to them you’ll swear and vow

Then you’ll leave them there to mourn said the maid of Ballygow.

So fare thee well sweet Bannow’s banks where dwells the comely maid

Where oft’ times I had courted her down in yon fragrant shade

I pressed her to my bosom and I kissed her burning brow

But now I’m on the ocean wild and she’s in Ballygow.”

Paddy Berry done the county and generations to come a great service by putting into print a large number of these beautiful ballads. I think that some of them have the character of poetry: about two years ago I recited The Maid of Ballygow” in the Cloch Ban, Clonroche (God rest John Jude’s lively soul) and a man remarked to me later that the crowd went so quiet as I recited the poem. Maybe they felt in deference to the myth of my learning that they should not make noise as I proceeded but I like to feel that they simply enjoyed the exquisite turns of phrase in the poem and the rhythm of it as one speaks its words. The lyrics in it are haunting and deeply moving.

The name of the girl was Nellie Keating, born in Kilmore village and later lived in Moortown. She worked minding children at Mosey Colfer’s of Ballygow. Her thwarted suitor was James Cahill. She had sandy coloured hair.

In June of 1960 the very old Canon Michael Murphy of Cloughbawn knocked at our front door; I answered it and he said to me that I came from the barony of Bargy. I told him that we came from Barriestown and he laughed. Amazingly in all the years I studied history I did not ever really encounter the word barony until about 1998.

I have always asserted that the girls of the baronies of Forth and Bargy are uniquely beautiful, although I have never had any interest in romance, etc. In The New Monthly Magazine in 1826 a Barrister from Dublin (actually a lesser form of Justice) wrote a diary of the Assizes in Wexford and he had this to say about the girls:–

“I am disposed to think the young women of the lower class in the baronies of Forth and Bargy, even more graceful and feminine than the most lively of the English peasantry, whom I ever had occasion to notice. Their eyes are of deep and tender blue, their foreheads are high and smooth, their cheeks have a clear, transparent colour and a sweetness of expression sits on their full fresh lips, which is united with perfect modesty and renders them objects of pure and respectful interest. They take a special care of their persons and exhibit that tidiness and neatness in their attire, for which their English kindred are remarkable.”

The writer was convinced that the stock of people in the baronies of Forth and Bargy were of Anglo-Saxon extraction: they did speak a form of old English up to and maybe after 1700. They were regarded by contemporaries as apart from the rest of the people of the County Wexford.

“Bannow, Ross, December 13th 1861

Sir—In reply to yours requesting to be informed why I gave a certificate stating that though Cullamore of Tullicanna could not be removed to Wexford, inasmuch as I had not visited her for some days previously. In reply I beg to state that I was quite sure from the weak state the woman was in when I had seen her last, that she could not be removed. I sent you a short time before a statement, saying this woman could not be moved for the winter and when her daughter asked me for a fresh ticket I gave it to her, though I believed at the same time was not necessary, having sent the statement such a short time before. I was so much under that impression that though I passed within a few yards of Mary Cullamore’s house the same day on my way to calls at Tullicanna and Coolraheen, I did not think it necessary to stop to examine her. I may add that I invariably visit the patient when I have the slightest doubt. The Guardians will greatly oblige me by instructing their Relieving Officers to require in writing from me a certificate of the state of health of any of these applicants, and if so I will give no certificate without such written application.

J. Boyd.”

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 the locality. It is understood that three guaranteed telegraph offices of Bannow, Ballycullane and Foulkmills will be opened by the post office authorities next month….”

From The People August 12 1955:–

“Cullenstown Big Day—The annual Big Day in Cullenstown on August 15th is expected to show some signs of a revival of its old time popularity on this occasion. Bad weather in recent years and an increase in the number of counter attractions left Cullenstown with only a memory of the days when thousands of people from many parts of South Wexford used to make the “15th” an outstanding event.”

From The People August 3rd 1912:–

“Trade and Labour—Ballymitty Branch

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

From The People September 17 1955:–

“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—4 to 1—6. Mr Paddy Morris, Bannow, 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.”

Did they go on bicycles or by horse and cart? The indications are of ecstasy in Carrig-on-Bannow parish after the Wexford teams triumphed in the All-Ireland senior hurling finals of 1955 and 1956.

The Free Press reported on June 15th 1956:–

“Bannow Votes For Summertime—

Carrig-on-Bannow Guild of Muintir Na Tire has held a ballot of the parish of Bannow to decide whether the people favoured the adoption of “old” or “new” time and summertime won by a large majority. Accordingly the clocks will go on one hour next week. However, those who voted against the change say they will not observe it as “new time” does not suit the harvest work.”