Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, the most wily of them all, or something to that effect, resonates from an orator of times now past; a mix of sheer genius, originality, erudition, forensic skills galore, historian supreme, with the gift of prophecy, charming, charismatic, inspiring and inspired, once studied pure history in the old university, a historian supreme, a right boyo, blessed among women; no wonder St Kevin of Kilkaven prophesied that gold and silver would be always won by the Barrystown children (or childre as they are called in the Bannow depicted by Anna Maria Hall)? Any political party that proposes that the 22nd of April, the date of the birthday of the boy from Barrystown be made a public holiday would, to digress in the colloquial, be on the pig’s back, and sweep to the first overall majority—since Jack Lynch in 1977—in the next general election that now may eventuate with the arrival of the Cuckoo!

The Clonroche Historical Society is going on tour to Kilmainham Jail and Glasnevin Cemetery, when the weather gets better. Anybody from the south of the county who wishes to come on the tour may join it at Ballymitty (at the car park, I think). My phone number is 0872937960.The details are still to be worked out. I will give a lecture at Clonroche Community Centre on the 3rd of May on Patrick Pearse and the Easter Rebellion in the context of World War I, at 8.30pm (the celebrations of my birthday will conclude on that night).

I assume that my legions of readers will bring me a bit of sea weed to grow my flowers.

From The Free Press August 1st 1953:–

“The farmhouse owned by Mr Patrick Doyle Maudlintown, Wellingtonbridge was completely gutted on Sunday morning while the owner was at Mass. Neighbours first noticed flames coming through the thatch and large numbers gathered and were successful in saving much of the furniture and effects. The Wexford Fire Brigade was summoned and arrived in record time under Captain T. Crosbie. Lines of hose were laid to the Coragh River which provided an ample supply of water. Neighbours and Civic Guards from Carrig rendered valuable assistance but no hope of saving the dwellinghouse existed as the strong breeze fanned the flames into an inferno. Efforts were concentrated on the out-buildings which were saved from destruction. The dwelling was one of the oldest in the district and was in the possession of the Doyle family for generations. Great sympathy is felt with them in their heavy loss. Tributes were paid to the great work of the Wexford Fire Brigade who were untiring during the course of the fire.”

The People reported on June 10th 1891 that on Sunday evening the Missionary Fathers, Enniscorthy, brought their mission at the Church of Carrig-on-Bannow to a close. It had been going on for the previous two weeks. The report continued:–“From the commencement large numbers attended daily to the morning and evening devotions, the confessionals being constantly crowded. The closing ceremony and renewal of baptismal vows were given by the Rev. Father Kelly, concluding with the Papal Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The sacred music and singing was conducted by Mrs J. Murphy and her pupils and was greatly extolled. The mission will continue at Ballymitty during the ensuing week and will close on Sunday next.”

Also from The People June 10th 1891:–

“Accidental Death

On Saturday evening, about six o’clock, a man named Michael Craan, a labourer employed at the building of the new coast-guard station, Bannow, whilst returning home from Wexford with a heavily laden wagon, was pitched out on his head, nearly opposite the Farm House, and killed instantaneously. An inquest will be held when further particulars shall be given.”

The Echo on the 8th of August 1914 lampooned the exhaustive endeavours of the authorities to find any connections to the then very recent Howth gun-running; I am unsure if these risible actions took place or if the report in The Echo is mere spoof, as that paper would have been hostile to the authorities:–

“Next morning four policemen and four coastguards rowed from Cullenstown to the Keeragh islands, carrying carbines and revolvers. The rain fell on them and wet them thorough; they were thrown into the turf at the island; the only ammunition they got on the island was a few birds’ eggs. A shore party stood by to save them from a watery grave, but after a painful experience, lasting over five hours, they got back alive to the coast and were loudly cheered by their comrades. They brought back the guns they had brought out with them.”

At the Duncormack Petty Sessions in October 1912, District Inspector Fleming said that before the court rose he wished to draw their attention to the resolution passed last court day “to grant no licenses for the 15th August at Cullenstown and in fact most traders were refused when applying in open court. In consequence of that very admirable arrangement for the suppression of drunkenness, he sent no extra force of police to Cullenstown that day; but….notwithstanding that the matter had received due publication in the local press, that the court had decided to grant no licenses, it seems that a man named G–, from Carrig, who, he believed, was a fishmonger, by times, was plying a brisk trade upon a license signed by a magistrate of the district, with the result that numbers of people were under the influence of drink, which they would not have been did they not receive the chance of getting it in wholesale quantities. He considered that the one public house that was there was quite sufficient for the day. The magistrates thought so, too, when they refused to grant any licenses. He was told, too, that G– publicly boasted that he would get a license, no thanks to the police, and unfortunately he did so. However, he was sure that it was an over-sight of the magistrate referred to, or he would not have signed it, or he probably might not have seen the resolution of the bench to refuse all licenses; but he sincerely hoped that he would never have to call attention to a like matter again. It was a license of James Kelly’s Bullring, Wexford that G– was selling on. Consequently G– had no license at all and he would have him prosecuted.”

The People on the 8th of August 1891, was high in praise of Major Boyse of Bannow—but I speak in irony and jest (I should be in a circus):–

“On Monday last evictions were carried out in Bannow on the estate of Major Boyse. It appears the leases under which the tenants on a certain townland held their holdings, expired in the beginning of 1890. Ejectments for over-holding were served by the landlord on all the tenants and with one exception, they allowed judgement to go by default. Major Boyse then entered into new agreements with the tenants, raising their rents in nearly all cases. The one exception mentioned was Mr William Rochford, who defended the ejectment brought against him. Mr Rochford’s holding contained about ten acres, held under a lease for 90 years, at the yearly rent of £5. When the first rent became due after the expiry of the lease, Mr Rochfort tendered it as usual, but it would not be accepted. Major Boyse wanted possession of the land, though not a penny was due by the tenant. The ejectment came before the County Court Judge, and afterwards before Judge O’Brien at Assizes, the result being that as there was an under-tenant, who held a house and about an acre of the land for many years, the judge decided that it was not a present tenancy and the ejectment decree was put in force on Monday last. None of the public were present. No one knew what time the eviction would be carried out. Mr Walker, the agent, Pierse, his clerk and D– the Taghmon bailiff, with an assistant, put in appearance and evicted Mr Rochford. Michael Colfer and wife, Mary Kearns, Thomas Keane with four in family and John  Wallace, his wife and two children, all cottiers. The latter two were re-admitted as caretakers. Wallace and his family have been evicted twice in six months, first by Mr Sheppard of Ballygow, from a holding that was reclaimed from a knock into a state of cultivation by Wallace, who paid for over fifty years four times the valuation. He offered double the valuation or to leave the matter to arbitration which was proposed by Mr Sharpe who afterwards went back on it. This appears to be an opportune time for landlords to vent their vengeance on those who took an active part in the agitation. Andy W—of Carrig is caretaker over the farm. There is no branch of the Federation in Bannow.”

From a report of the New Ross Quarter Sessions on the 21st of October 1876:–

“Captain Henry Samuel Hunt Boyse, R. N. versus Nicholas Furlong and Thomas Furlong, brothers Boyse, Elizabeth Wallace and Nancy Wallace, for over-holding. Decree.

The same versus John Cahill and Simon Burke, upon notice to quit—Nil. “

I do not know what Nil signifies there.

The Echo noted, on November 14th 1914, that one of the largest meetings ever held in the district was held at Loughnageer, on the previous Sunday, to protest over a continued occupation of the Colfer farm. I do not really understand the issues involved and am loath to recall unhappy matters of this  kind but one detail is not controversial:–

“Bands from Bannow, Carrig and Tintern were in attendance and discoursed a pleasing selection of patriotic airs.” The famous Leo Maguire used to say on the Walton programme on Radio Eireann, in my childhood, way before the Flood and Noah’s Ark that if you sing a song, do sing an Irish song. In the nineteenth century they played Irish airs and sang Irish songs, all the time: the added purpose, apart from enjoyment, was to stimulate nationalist and patriotic feelings. The impression that I have is of a collective addiction to music and song in that era; large crowds would follow a band around and young men in every half parish, sought at the century progressed to found a band. These bands played at local Land League meetings, and on the beaches and at matches, etc, et al. The meeting, referred to, was at the cross of the five roads, Loughnageer; I did not notice any of my relations in the list of Loughnageer delegates.

From The Echo May 29th, 1909:–

“Visitors To Cullenstown

Things are beginning to look holiday-like in Cullenstown now. All the pretty cottages are artistically renovated, and quite a large number of seaside pleasure seekers are staying around. To those desirous of having a quiet, comfortable holiday, Cullenstown is their mark. What a pity the Great Southern and Western Railway do not put on a few excursions. It might bring extra visitors to the popular spots.”

From The Echo January 25th 1913:–

“Ballymitty Mummers’ Ball

The Ballymitty Irish Mummers Class brought off their ball on Sunday night at Mr Hugh Hayes’s. The ball opened about 6.30 and there was a continual flow of Irish dance, song and music until a late hour on Monday morning. The arrangements were most admirably carried out by Messrs Kelly and M’Evoy. The music for the occasion was splendidly rendered by Messrs T. and J. Chapman. The re-union was the most successful yet held in the district; everybody present being more than pleased.”

The People on July 4th 1883 published this letter from Nicholas Moore, the Secretary of the Carrig-on-Bannow branch of the National League/Land League; it is an extremely long and tedious letter:–

“The Parnell Testimonial

To the Editor of The People

Dear Sir—In spite of the hostile attitude of the enemies of Ireland, who seek to calumniate and vilify every national movement, the testimonial to our honoured leader and Ireland’s truest friend and champion, Charles S. Parnell, has by this time attained enormous proportions and, no doubt, by the time it closes will have reached a magnitude sufficient to put to flight for ever, into that obscurity which so befits them, those posing renegades and Castle Cawtholics who finding  their power and influence gone, try to divide priests and people, and by base misrepresentations, lies and calumnies, seek to damage the Irish Leader and cast discredit on the cause he represents. But their silly game has been played out with but little effect. Never did a similar tribute swell to such proportions; money now flows into the funds in a continuous stream and our countrymen in the far West, beneath the Southern Cross, rally to the standard of our leader and send their thousands of pounds across the ocean to swell the tribute to his priceless worth. Mr Charles S. Parnell, a young Protestant, forsook his palatial residence, the ease and comforts of home, the society of the aristocracy, and threw himself heart and soul into the service of his country, regardless alike of the slanders, frowns and misrepresentations of Whig and Tory. He might have chosen the broad path of ease and pleasure to find the easy chair at the end; he might have revelled in the best London society. But he chose the narrow path of duty to an oppressed and misgoverned country and famishing people; he travelled thousands of miles over land and sea with hat in hand, begging for the hungry victims of an all-devouring landlordism; he spent his fortune, strength, energy and talents in the cause of his country; and now when his countrymen at home and in exile seek to repay him, in a small degree, for his priceless services a parrot-cry is raised. Where were those English memorialists and Castle Cawtholics when Mr Parnell was sending home to his starving countrymen in our Western counties the money he had collected from our exiled brothers in the West? Pocketing their rents no doubt from the starving tenantry and squandering it in extravagance. Where were the Irish squireens and shoneens? Did they open their purse strings to relieve the poverty that surrounded them? Oh, not at all, we heard nothing of them, then. They did not want to know anything of the distress in Donegal, Galway or Mayo. But they are now foremost in hounding down Mr Parnell and the cause he so ably advocates. Irishmen will fling back those foul calumnies in the teeth of those who uttered them. They were formerly at the toe of every understrapper to be kicked about at pleasure. The fruits of their labour were filched from them; but they can now raise their heads as free men and look their oppressors boldly in the face. They can have some share of the fruits of their labour and if they are true to themselves and to each other, the regeneration of our country is but a question of time. Irishmen, prove to the world that you fully appreciate the priceless services of our honoured leader. Let each hand in his mite to the testimonial; let all give something, everyone according to his means and the tribute will be a grand success. Some have got a mistaken idea into their heads that if they are not prominent members of the National League, or don’t take an active part in the movement, they don’t want to subscribe very much , if any at all. Now, I ask what have prominent men got but more trouble than any other person? Of course, no man with a patriotic spirit will think bad of giving some of his time to forward the National Movement, but to expect prominent men to give more than others is an absurdity. All have gained directly or indirectly by the Movement of which Mr Parnell is the acknowledge leader. Therefore, all are bound to subscribe—farmer, labourer and artisan. Bannow men have proved themselves of true spirit at recent collections for national movements; they will not be less so now. The collection will soon come off in this parish and hoping that Bannow will again come to the front with their well known prestige and patriotic spirit—I remain, dear sir, yours truly,

Nicholas Moore, Secretary,

Bannow Branch of the Irish National League

June 30th, 1883.”

A Castle Cawtholic was an Irishman with an ingratiating and excessively pro-British disposition; the term West Briton was, also, used. The prosperous Catholics were suspected of, in some instances, favouring British rule in Ireland, as they benefited from it, through business, commerce and careers in the British public service. They were caricatured as speaking with an English accent and manifesting English inflections in their speech patterns. Ironically, Patrick Pearse at school spoke with traces of an English accent and English inflections which was, perfectly understandable, as his father was an Englishman. People who spoke that way may have been posturing: the most obvious and ever recurring speech speciality of the Castle Cawtholic was the near o sound in words spelled with an a! Carrig-on-Bannow would become Corrig-on-Bonnow.

My wonderment at Mr Moore’s letter is—did he write it himself? Did the local schoolmaster write it for him or more likely was he adapting a template sent from the Land League headquarters to suit the local situation? I think that he became a rate collector for the Wexford Board of Guardians; maybe my legions of readers know more about him. I do now know why they were collecting all that money for Parnell.

From The Echo the 8th of March 1913:–

“A New Football Team

A new second division football team is about to be formed at Kiltra, Bannow in the near future. Already the boys are getting into form and some of the preliminaries for organising the team proper have been gone through. There is some fine material for a football team in this locality and with proper training they should rank amongst the best. Arrangements are being made to have the team affiliated and we trust it may have many successes.”

The Bannow-Ballymitty team were, then, about to contest the 1912 County Junior A Football Final which they won at Campile, shortly afterwards.