Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, ebullient, scholarly, erudite, and –wily. The word wily means given to clever ploys, tricky, devious and very clever—a right boyo, a historian supreme and it has always been gold and silver for all the childre of Barrystown. I forgot to put the wily in the last blog.
I take the liberty of quoting from the most useful and accurate book by Bernard Browne on Co. Wexford writers—re Arthur Conan Doyle he states:–
“According to his biographers his family originally came from Ballytrent, near Carne and, also, had connections with Whitty’s Hill, Bannow Co. Wexford. His grandfather came from Kiltra, Bannow, Co. Wexford. The family grave is in Bannow.” This is not necessarily correct in terms of exact detail and then again it could be exactly correct. My caveat is that an article in The (Wexford) People on the 27th of December 1919 stated that the grandfather of Arthur Conan Doyle had lived near Whitty’s Hill, Wellingtonbridge and later at Ballinglee. He may have come from the Midlands and was of well to do Catholic landowners in a previous era. There are biographies on Arthur Conan Doyle but it will be a couple of weeks, at least, before I may read one.
Mr Browne’s book has an exhaustive list of people from and connected with the Co. Wexford who wrote on a greater or lesser scale. I am acquainted with a vast number of the historical persons described by Mr Browne and was surprised by the accuracy shown in these accounts as it must have involved an enormous amount of research. Doyle wrote detective novels, the creator of Sherlock Holmes—he was also fixated on proving the existence of fairies and two young girls with the aid of photography played a practical joke on him in a phoney proof via a fake photograph that fairies existed. My mother told me of a cousin of my father’s who was obsessed with and totally afraid of ghosts: he was certain to believe any account of ghosts without the slightest reservation. My mother although a deeply religious person, attached no credence to ghosts. The impression that I have of my father’s cousin is that he was only too willing to believe any story of ghosts as it afforded him some bit of tenuous proof of their existence; his desperate need for proof disposed to believe the awful accounts told to him plus the practical jokes played on him. Arthur Conan Doyle –like my father’s cousin—would believe any story about fairies as proof of any kind (even the most phoney and comical kind) was better that no proof to him. In the time of my childhood very few people attached any credence to ghost stories but regarded them as comedy. People are not always strictly rational. Is it the Doyles (the cousins of Arthur Conan Doyle) that are buried in Bannow? I will check all this out in a biography of Doyle. I have never had a ghostly experience but if my readers have had any such experiences I would be delighted to hear from them. Only true stories, please!
From the Forth and Bargy notes in The Free Press on May 12th 1934:–
“The Carrig Invincibles—The new Carrig-on-Bannow football team is getting into form for the proposed novice tourney for non-championship players. Mr John Cousins is taking a leading part in the organisation and with a few more of the boys, Messrs J. Holmes, W. Purcell, R. Dake, M. Walsh, W. Neville, etc, to help, the future of the “Invincibles” looks bright.” There were numerous attempts at setting up clubs in the 1930s in the parish of Carrig-on-Bannow; a subject worthy of a book in itself.
On May 10th 1863 the wife of William Kane of Blackhall, Bannow gave birth to three daughters “who together with their mama are going on well, under the kind treatment of Dr Boyd.”
Tom Boyse bought the Graigue estate of the deceased George Carr in 1833. In May the heirs at Law of the late Simon Osborne in the county of Kilkenny and George Carr of Graigue in County Wexford put on sale a number of estates, lands and houses; I quote the part of the notice pertinent to the Graigue estate:–
“Also that capital dwelling house and domain of Graigue in the parish of Bannow, in the county of Wexford, with all the offices, gardens, pleasure-grounds, lawn, plantations, etc; containing about 120 acres, with that part of the lands of Blackhall, containing about 60 acres and part of which is now let to respectable tenants, at the yearly rent of about…..£389.
Also the valuable town and lands of Coolhull, in the said parish, now on a lease for lives, to respectable tenants, at the yearly rent of about….£360.
Also the lands of Little Graigue, in the said parish—also the lands of Coolhull—Also the lands of Coolseskin—Also the lands of Ballyfrory, all in the Barony of Bargy, in the county of Wexford and together let at the yearly sum of about….£600”
There was an advertisement for the ALLAN LINE the Royal Mail Steamer to United States and Canada. Aidan Ennis, Springwood, Ballymitty was an agent for them.
Mrs Frances Barry the wife of James Barry, Bannow died on June 3rd 1890 at her residence. “Her remains were followed by a most respectable funeral cortege to the family burial place in the old Church of Bannow. American papers please copy.”
According to an otherwise incomprehensible court case in June 1890 Anne Sinnott, The Island, Bannow had land at Kilcavan, Ballymitty. A Mrs Mary Morgan claimed that she was caretaker of the land in Kilcavan and that she had a garden on it given to her for her own use. Another man in Kilcavan was nominally sued by Mrs Anne Sinnott but when told by the defendant of the summons Mrs Sinnott said that she didn’t know anything about it. Mr Frances King, the sole Magistrate at the Duncormack Petty Session, abruptly dismisses the case. The trespass was by goats.
There was a second prosecution (related in a kind of way to the first) at the same sessions. The complainant—the son of Mrs Mary Morgan—spoke of attending the pattern at Kilcavan on Sunday June 15th 1890. He referred to a “Kate Swords, a gingerbread woman from Wexford” as at the pattern and said that it was usual for people to have stands at the pattern. There was a row or to put it more strongly, a fight or attempted fight and James Neville, Harristown caught the defendant by the arm and brought him away. Mr Neville was asked by the complainant if he caught the defendant and held him by the arm “when he was jumping around with his coat off?”
My suspicion from reading countless similar cases in the nineteenth century is that men postured as seeking violent confrontation but, in reality, assumed that other people present would intervene to prevent them actually fighting—let me at him but hold me back as well!
The Carrig-on-Bannow branch of the Land League resolved at their September 1885 meeting among other items:–
“That we find parties from the coastguards of Bannow who when going for apples get very thirsty passing by the grabbed house at Wellington Bridge.
That we thank John Roche of Tullicanna, for refusing to see any commodity or accommodate in any way the evicting landlady of Tullicanna, who flung old Mary Kinsella out on the roadside.
That we recommend all members of our branch, under pain of expulsion, to employ no steam-threshing machine but one owned by a Nationalist who can show his card of membership and let those in opposition to us take their own side. To those who employ horse threshing machines we recommend Mr James Harpur of Barrystown and Mr John Gallagher of Kilkevan as Nationalists….
Proposed by Mr Nicholas O’Hanlon-Walsh, seconded by Mr Nicholas Walsh—
“That no member of our branch work in one forge with —of Knocktarton, the aider and abettor of the Duncormack emergency man who cares the evicted farm of the Widow Walsh and any member of our branch who patronises any person who assists –, after this resolution appears in the press, will be expelled from membership and published for doing so. The farm at Knocktarton should be held sacred by every nationalist as a battle ground against landlordism and anyone meddling with it should be discountenanced by every person worthy of the name of Irishman.”
From the Free Press “Along the New Line” notes on Friday March 1st 1957:–
“Juvenile Football—Tullicanna defeated Ballymitty on Sunday in the tournament to select a parish juvenile team for Bannow to enter the Nicky Rackard Cup competition. Bannow and Carrig are, also, in the tournament.
Darts—In Tullicanna on Saturday night Messrs Michael Keegan and William Harper won the weekly tournament.
Foxes and Rabbits—Rabbit trapping who have been making good money from rabbits in recent months are finding their profits reduced at present owing to the number of rabbits being killed by foxes.”
The notes on January 11th 1957 on “Along the New Line” read:–
Darts—The game has become very popular in Tullicanna district, tournaments being held every week, for which substantial prizes are offered.
Drama—A dramatic class is being organised in Tullicanna. Ballymitty classes rehearsals for production in the class rehearses for production in the near future.
Mumming Competition—The competition to be held in Carrig-on-Bannow promises to attract a record entry and local sets are practising hard for it.”
The “Along The New Line” notes in The Free Press on January 25th 1957:–
“Hay Knife Accident—When Mr John Doyle, Kilcavan, was climbing down from a hayrick, with a hay knife on his shoulder, the knife slipped and he sustained a deep cut on his wrist.
A Record—The sowing of early potatoes in local gardens at present is a month ahead of the usual time but the mild weather last week made the conditions specially favourable for the crop.
A Ringed Widgeon—Mr Dick Cleary, Lacken, Duncormack, shot a widgeon last week that bore a ring marked “Tooloz Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark, 481426. Rebour.”
Dr Staunton, the bishop of Ferns, visited Carrig-on-Bannow to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation on the 9th of March 1957.
It was reported in February 1857 that the bulldozers, steam ploughs and other machinery engaged on the extensive drainage of Rochestown bog had completed their work “and planting is going ahead.”
When they made the address and presentation to Fr Davey O’Hanlon-Walsh at the Land League Cottage, Ballymitty he had some baffling and (I think) unfair things to say to the men of Ballymitty:–
“Many of you attended at the eviction; I saw the tears flowing down your cheeks; cowardly time-serving slaves that you are; the spilling of a few gallons of buttermilk was too much for you. We had you here in great force the harvesting day; then things looked bright; we were to won the land we till, etc. As time rolled on and as the clouds darkened, when it was not permitted to me to take part in the affairs occupying the mind of every honest man; Nick O’Hanlon-Walsh lodged in Kilkenny Jail; where were you then, men of Ballymitty? Where were our next door neighbours and cousins to boot? Herding the cattle for Tom Boyd, on our farm; entertaining Burrel; assisting the Emergencymen. Tom Boyd being anxious to build a cottage or two on the Knocktarton farm, you dried your tears, forgot the spilling of the milk and returned by your votes, aided by the exterminators, Adam as the fittest man to assist his friend Tom. This very day I have seen the geese keeping a sort of possession. The sacrifices we have made are nothing. The blood of Myles Joyce was a sacrifice. The blood of Francis Hynes was a sacrifice; the sufferings of Bryan Kilmartin, Arran Islands, who was afterwards liberated through the exertion of Mr Sexton in going to America and finding out the real culprit. We know the apple of discord was thrown into our ranks and like mange in sheep, it took root in the flock and went from Bannow to Tintern, thence to Ramsgrange; and the poor Hook fellows, although they bravely stood the storm, had, also, the apple of discord thrown in amongst them; but I hope this will only tend to purify them. If you allow these men back again, be very careful to keep them down low in the ranks and not give them the opportunity of selling you (loud applause). I hear that the League in Carrig-on-Bannow have appointed the men to represent them and I believe there are current whispers, “Will Adam go on this time?” and a great many wiseacres say it is better not. For the sake of unity, let it go forth from this meeting that we challenge Adam to come forward; we have no milk and water compromise. John M’Cormack must be returned by your honest support or the Leighs, Boyds and O’Neills must win their spurs.” Fr Walsh exhorted them to support Irish manufacture and shun alcohol:–
“Speaking on the subject of Irish manufacture he said they should put themselves to inconvenience to get things Irish; they should not put into comparison the foreign-made stuff; they should bear in mind that every gallon of whiskey they drank they gave 12 shillings to the Government and yet they thought hard to pay out of the rates the cost of the labourers’ cottages, although the cost of three gallons would clear them off entirely for a year. In the name of God, he would ask that Leaguers should not be drinking.” Fr Walsh told them not to allow either coursing or hunting. His objection to these sports was probably not based on considerations of kindness to animals but as a means to inconvenience the landlord class.
The above is of limited comprehensibility to modern readers but I shall try to elucidate matters in it! The emergency-men were those employed to maintain an evicted farm for the landlord—they lived on the farm in a hastily constructed hut and I am at a loss to know how they coped with the cold. They were detested by the ordinary people. Myles Joyce was executed for a murder in the west of Ireland that he did not commit and to make matters worse the hangman made a cruel mess of the execution. There were huge controversies in the Tintern and Shelburne branches of the Land League—the latter branch was a splinter branch of the Tintern one. There was sharp conflict between the Tintern and Carrig-on-Bannow branches but then there was always a hostility between the men of Clonmines and Bannow.
Adam O’Neill was elected, or sought election, to, the Board of Guardians of the Wexford Poor Law union. John M’Cormack of Arnestown was father of the famous footballers Paddy and Jack M’Cormack and grandfather of Aidan and Jim Mc Cormack of the famous Ballymitty team of 1947 and the Corah Ramblers of 1956.
From The People August 20th 1864:–
“On Monday evening last, a young man named Kelly, whilst bathing in the Scar, convenient to Ballylannon church-yard, suddenly lost his footing by getting into one of the holes in which the place abounds and was instantly lost. His remains were found shortly afterwards.”
In 1886 Nick Dake had a forge at Grange and Nick Brennan had a house at Kiltra.
From The People July 1, 1885:–
“Dr Boyd wrote that some parties object to the site of the pump at Carrig, owing to the proximity to the graveyard. It was ten feet to the west and fifty feet to the south of the wall. The graveyard is formed of shingly stuff but he is informed that at a distance of six feet there is rock. He wrote that the guardians might refer the matter to their consulting sanitary officer.
The matter was referred to the committee appointed to select a site.
Grazing, meadows and turnips were offered to be let by public auction on Wednesday January 10th 1917 at Ballyknock, Ballymitty for Mr John Hore.
From The Wexford Independent January 2nd 1864:–
“To Be Let, The Farm of Halsyrath
Containing about 120 acres, Irish, convenient to the village of Tullicanna, about 10 miles from Wexford.
Also part of the lands of Coolsallagh, containing about 18 acres, 2 roods, near Murrintown, in the parish of Kilmannon.
Also the Cottage with enclosed yard and pump, near Wellingtonbridge, late in the occupation of the Constabulary.”
Did the Constabulary move at that time to Carrig-on-Bannow village?
I leave it with this letter written in 1863 to the editor of the People:–
“Sir—Having read in your very popular journal some time since, a letter headed “Tenant Right, Moor, Bannow” in which the writer gives a rather ludicrous description of how the Moor tenantry were gulled by Mr Boyse, etc, I think that the “Ex-Bannow Man’s” well told tale does not altogether deserve credence as I can clearly vouch being an inhabitant of my present residence nearly 60 years. Trusting you will give insertion to this note, I am sir, yours truly,
Keerow Isle, 20th January 1863.”