Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, obliging, visionary, modest, self-effacing, innovative, scholarly, erudite, historian supreme, a right boyo and—wily; surely proof that gold and silver always follows the Barrystown children.

Present day authors are taking Captain Jeremiah Grant for their theme; there is a two act play on him and a historical novel touches on his sojourn in Killoughram wood. I have not read or seen the drama but I have read the relevant section of the novel. My problem with history as the subject of literature is my conviction that one cannot imagine history correctly no more that one could imagine a complex and intricate molecule correctly; there are inevitably factual errors. In the novel it is related that Grant had been a leader in the 1798 Rebellion. That is untrue: his followers called him Captain because of the strict control he exerted over them—and the title “Captain” had a resonance of the rebel era. It was believed by the authorities in Enniscorthy when Grant was engaged in depredations around that town in the spring and summer of 1816 that his gang (and Grant himself presumably) were controlled from Dublin. I assume that cronies or controllers of Grant paid bribes to officers in the gaols to permit him to escape. Ever since his execution literary people have depicted Grant as a noble and charismatic robber. He has lived on (metaphorically) in the folklore of Caime but that lore is replete with mis-facts and fanciful inventions. In August 1925 a sergeant of the gardai and garda colleagues found an almost perfectly concealed cave in Killoughram Wood: it was most probably Grant’s cave and before him of the rebels in 1798; the gardai destroyed the cave. That proves my theory that those in the security forces should have an extensive knowledge of local history (and I should give up the day job and join a circus). I have new facts about Grant.  Anyway I will talk about him on this Tuesday night October 14th at 8.30 pm in Clonroche Community Centre.

In my last blog I mixed up my files and omitted a large part of the report of the

Duncormack Petty Sessions in February 1869; this is the rest of it!

“Mr Sweetman told the court that they had another case and he begged to be heard before the Bench pronounced judgement in Maher case.” (Incidentally Percy Sweetman was brother of Laurence Sweetman of Ballymackessy, Clonroche who was married to Eliza the daughter of Michael Kehoe, a native of Coolhull, who became an opulent shipping magnate in Dublin. Arthur Keating of Carrig Hill was connected with the Sweetmans. Laurence Sweetman of Ballymackessy was a close confidant of the 1st Lord Carew of Castleboro).

Mr Coghlan, the receiver of wreck, then presented a case against John Dunne. Abraham Goodall—a costal guard I presume—deposed to finding on the strand at Bannow, on the 2nd of January 1860, “the defendant, who had a donkey and car, in which was some tobacco and copper; about 30 lbs of tobacco, which was part of the wreck of the Arethusa; the defendant was a servant in the employ of a farmer at Danescastle.

Mr Sweetman would beg to say that they had no charge whatever against his employer—that they were quite certain the boy acted without his master’s knowledge.

Chairman—You may now Dunne say what you think well but be cautious in saying anything that may turn against yourself.

Dunne—I have nothing to say, only that I went down to see the wreck; and being tired I took the ass and car to carry me; I seen some of the tobacco going about; I put a bit of it in the car and some people there threw some more of it in the car.

Mr Wilson—What hour did you leave home to go see the wreck?

Dunne—About 10 o’clock at night.

Chairman—Well, Mr Sweetman, do you press for the full penalty?

Mr Sweetman—We not desire, your worships, a very heavy penalty, particularly, against the young boy Dunne; but as regards Maher, who is a farmer, and who came a long distance from Tintern for the object of plunder we ask for the sake of example such a penalty as will mark the offence in a way that he may not be guilty of a repetition and show others that they cannot do likewise.

Mr Coghlan—I will just remark to your worships that it is by desire of the Board of Trade, that we bring the matter before you; and I may add, that they have acted very kindly towards the parties and taken the most lenient mode of prosecution by ordering it to be carried under the Merchant Shipping Act 1854.

The magistrates retired to their consultation room and after about 15 minutes returned:–

The Chairman [John Rowe] gave a lecture to both defendants which they will not soon forget, in the course of which he reminded them, that the penalty attached to the crime, of which they were clearly guilty, was fifty pounds or six months imprisonment. The Bench, however, in this instance resolved on dealing mercifully with them and had accordingly agreed to inflict a fine of £5—or six weeks imprisonment on James Maher, to be paid within a month—and a fine of £1, or a fortnight’s imprisonment on John Dunne, to be paid within like period.”

The people who lived along or near to the coastline had a visceral hatred of the coast-guards and I presume that this incandescent feeling arose because the coast-guards impeded them in the task of gathering goods lost in shipwrecks.

Sub-Constable Henry Wilson prosecuted Thomas Mc Donnell, John Roche, Edward Brennan, Daniel Murphy, Robert Carroll, Patrick Connors, Thomas Connors, Laurence Treacy, James Treacy, James Brian and Patrick Whelan—for having in their possession at Danescastle, a quantity of tobacco, part of a cargo wrecked at Bannow.

H. Wilson sworn—deposed to finding in the possession of each of eleven defendants a quantity of tobacco.

The defendants admitted the charge but said they intended giving it up to the proper party and getting salvage.

Mr Dennehy—I can’t see a distinction between the case of these men and those already disposed of—if the tobacco was part of the cargo of the “Arethusa”.

Chairman—Do you, Mr Sweetman, take part in this prosecution?

Mr Sweetman—No, your worships, it is I understand, solely with the Constabulary.

Chairman—Well, then, we can try those cases under the Summary Jurisdiction Act.

Mr Wilson—I am of opinion those men were quite ignorant of what they were doing and that they did not think they were committing any breach of the law—the fact is, this tobacco was consumed through the country, almost every lover of the weed was endeavouring to smoke it.

Mr King was one of the same opinion.

The Bench consulted for a short period and ordered each of the parties to pay a fine of 5 shillings and 1 penny costs or in default to be imprisoned for a week.”

There were several cases of trespass and in one of them involving trespass by 21 goats in corn the attorney Mr Waddy caused much humour in the exceedingly thronged court by the manner in which he examined the witnesses or rather the manner in which the witnesses answered him! 58 cases were disposed of in the court that day. The general impression of the Petty Courts is that they were places of spontaneous comedy and farce…experiences of a Resident Magistrate kind of thing. The proceedings at Duncormack Petty Sessions in February 1860 are a corrective to this facile thinking—the sentences given out in such courts could have hefty jail sentences imposed on them.

In July 1915 the parishioners of St Leonard’s presented a new chalice to their church: the base and stem were found at Clonmines during the time that Fr John M. Browne was curate of the Church (around 1880 or later). It had the following inscription:–

“31st Mar. Anno Dni 1673 et Ora Pro Gulimo Daniel et Uxore ejus Juann 1637, obyt Haec 18 Juli 1668, ille vero”. The boy from Barrystown is a whiz at Latin and the above translates as—

“31 March A. D. 1673 and pray for William Daniel and his wife Johanna. She died 1637 and he on the 18th July 1668.”

Fr Browne fixed a modern cup to the old base and stem.

The Carrig-on-Bannow branch of the Land League at their meeting in July 1881 elected by acclamation Thomas Flynn, Kiltra, John Gallagher, Kilcavan and James White, Tullicanna as members.

“To The Editor of the Wexford Independent

Sir—I see by your last issue a notice of a large seal washed ashore at this place, the dimensions of which, as ascertained by Mr Craig, the chief boatman of Coastguard here were, length, 10 feet, 3 inches from tip of nose to end of tail; greatest girth, 5 feet, 4 inches, weighing about 20 cwt. These figures will give your readers an idea of what this specimen of Mammalian was like.

X. Y. L.

Bannow Banks, 4th July, 1881.”

“Carrick-on-Bannow League

To The Editor

Sir—I am surprised to see my name in a report of the last meeting of the above branch as appointed to collect subscriptions for the re-organising of this branch of the National League. I beg to decline acting in such a capacity, as I am in no way a supporter of Parnell and his party. I gave no authority to anyone to publish my name. As far as I can learn the above meeting was held without consulting the feelings of the respected clergy and the majority of the people of the parish.

Yours etc

John M’Cormack

Arnestown, May 11, 1891.”

In Patrick O’Farrell’s book Archbishop Croke of Cashel is quoted as writing in a letter to another bishop that he had taken the bust of Charles S. Parnell out of his study in the Archiepiscopal Palace at Thurles and thrown it out; such was his disgust at the revelation in the divorce courts that Parnell was in a love affair with a married woman. They had called Parnell the uncrowned King of the Irish race and the Catholic hierarchy and clergy had totally supported him prior to the O’Shea divorce case. Mr Gladstone, the leader of the Liberal Party in Britain to which the Irish Party was associated said that he could not accept Parnell as an ally any further. A bitter controversy ensued in the Irish Parliamentary Party and Parnell was deposed.

On mature reflection after many years mulling on this issue I now feel an empathy with the likes of Archbishop Croke: this was a post-famine Ireland where farmers, artisans and labourers either delayed marriage or did not marry at all because of the fear of inability to support wives and families. Sexual promiscuity and a paradigm of failed marriages invited desperate hardship, privation and, possibly, starvation for the victims of such a scenario. The Workhouse would be the only option for the dumped wives and un-provided children if husbands and fathers felt that the example of a powerful political leader like Parnell gave them social sanction to abandon their families and seek a fresh love. Maybe my thousands of readers might like to comment.

From The Wexford Independent May 5th 1866:–

“We understand that Mr King, late Chief Resident Engineer, Vehar Water Works, has been appointed Chief Engineer of the Mazagon Land and Reclamation Company in room of Mr Latham—Bombay Gazette.

[Mr King is son of the Rev. Richard King of Woodville in this county; and we are happy to be able to add his name to those who reflect an honor on old Wexford].”

There is no need for me to tell a Carrig-on-Bannow readership that Rev. Richard King was father of Jonas King of Barriestown.

Senator Kathleen Browne wrote in The People on July 18th 1925:–

“Barrystown Castle, built by the Barrys, is situated between Wellingtonbridge and Carrig-on-Bannow. It was one of the long line of fortresses that defended the “Pill”­­—the border between the “English” and “Irish” baronies. In the printed Inquisitions I find several entries dealing with the Barrys of Barrystown. One taken at Wexford on the 17th August 1640, states that John Barry¸ late of Barriestown, was seized [possessed] of the townland and lands of Barriestown, Wyningtowne, Grantowne, alias Knockdoran, and Flemingtowne and the townland and lands of Boncarrige which was part of the manor of Nicholas Codd of Castletown. Also of 15 acres and 4 gardens in Clonmines, which he held of the King in capite by military service, viz., the 20th part of a Knight’s fee.”

The Wexford Conservative reported on July 12th 1834:–

“His Lordship [The Lord Bishop of Leighlin and Ferns] has promoted the Rev. Mr Moore, curate of Ballynakill, to the Vicarage of Bannow vacant by the promotion of the Rev. Doctor Newland.”

From the Clongeen notes in The Enniscorthy Guardian October 1, 1960:–

“On Holidays—Mr Aidan Mc Cormack, Ballymitty, is on a visit to his parents residence. He is a prominent member of the Toronto Gaelic team at present touring this country and he has figured in all their scoring lists over here. A few years ago he gave sterling service to county football teams and assisted Ballymitty and Corah Ramblers in winning county championship honours.”

The People on May 14 1910 reported:–

“Barrystown Mines

These mines are still worked by close on a score of hands and there are indications that the efforts of the promoters will ultimately be crowned with success. Already a great deal of money has been spent in experimental operations and it is sincerely to be hoped that those who have expended so much capital will be more than recouped for the outlay. The working of the mines would prove an incalculable boon to the labourers of the district”

From The People January 7th 1950:–

“Knowing Ladies—A farmer in the Bannow area wishing to remove a tractor from his field on Christmas Day had some difficulty in starting the machine. To make matters worse he was jocosely ragged from the roadway by two young ladies. Not too politely he invited them in to try their hand at its removal. To his surprise they jumped on the machine and in a matter of moments had it roaring along the headland.”

From The Free Press September 4th 1948:–

“The Horseshoe Game—The Carrig and Wellingtonbridge Horseshoe Clubs are training regularly for a big challenge contest in the near future. The Carrig players will try hard to regain lost honours as they were badly beaten on the last occasion. Wellingtonbridge, on the other hand, hope to hold the laurels. This locality is going in for a lot of sport of late: a Horseshoe Club, a Cricket Club and there are rumours of a new Football and Hurling Club. There is, also, talk of a sports meeting before the end of the season and that the tug-of-war team is to be revived.”

This is an extract from a manuscript of a priest in the Barony of Forth, probably named Sinnott, writing in the 17th century:–

“Rossegarland, together with most parts of that peece, did anciently belong to David Neville, commonly called Baron of Rosegarland; for in those days ye chief lord of this place, as well as others of ye same kind in England and Ireland, were summoned to Parliament by the name of Baron. The same Neville was executed in ye reign of Queene Elizabeth, for treason, and those lands are greate part the inheritance of Robert Leigh, of Rossegarlande, second son of John Leigh of Rathbride in ye county of Kildare Esq., who for his loyalty to his sovereigne, King Charles 2nd was banished into foreigne countries by the usurped powers and there died leaving the said Robert—being the only child he had abroad with him—very young and a participant as well as many more of his Prince’s calamitys till upon his Majesty’s happy restoration he returned to England and in some yeares after into this Kingdome againe, with marks of His Majestie’s favour and sense of his services.”

Apart from the archaic spelling the above translates as meaning that Robert Leigh was granted Rosegarland after the restoration of King Charles II. His father King Charles I was executed by order of Oliver Cromwell’s ugly Parliament.