Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, who uses big words, has a hawk-eye for telling detail, is a genius, erudite, scholarly, historian supreme blessed among women, original, creative, innovative, humble, innovative, humble, self-effacing, modest, never brags, never lies, historian supreme, a right boyo and above all else, wily, that wily boy from beside the mine pits. St Kevin of Kilcaven prophesised that gold and silver would always follow the Barrystown children. No native of Carrig-on-Bannow has ever told lies or bragged…..

On Wednesday night, at the A. G. M. of the Ui Cinsealaigh Historical Society, they asked me to speak on my article in The  Journal of Local History, about Tom Boyse and assisted emigration from Bannow. I did so and alluded to the greatness of Tom Boyse. The Society is planning to publish another issue of The Past; the Boy from Barrystown will contribute, at least, one article. The Society is eager for people to contribute articles and the Society would welcome new members. The membership fee is £10 (ten euro)—an amount of money that one would not bother to pick up off the road, let alone offer to a child. The Society was established circa 1920 as a Diocesan Journal of History; in the initial decades, Catholic clergy and school teachers plus prominent people throughout the county were listed as members. Names from Carrig-on-Bannow were among them. Do give them a bit of support!

In the summer of1977 Jack Lynch, on the election trail, kept singing the “Banks of My Own Lovely Lee” to enthusiastic crowds. He was an iconic sportsman, having won 5 senior All-Ireland hurling medals with Cork plus 1 senior All-Ireland Football title with Cork, also. The Northern Ireland troubles were then going on and Mr Lynch was perceived at a man of peace, especially as he had reacted to the outbreak of hostilities in the summer of 1969. The election now over demonstrates the sheer difficulty in a democracy of convincing voters of the correctness of your policies. Some observers have theorised that if the men of Easter 1916—or Michael Collins, for that matter—had survived, that they would stood on windy platforms, without an assurance of absolute support from their audience. On this occasion, my impression was of a tsunami of agendas, visions, promises and opinions: my sympathy was with them all; I once canvassed at election times and would not now have the courage to do it again. Maybe I would talk of Tom Boyse and recite poetry—I am unable to sing, one of the rare inabilities that I have!

The candidates, successful or otherwise, will hardly apply for this job in The Enniscorthy Guardian on January 8th 1910:–

“Wanted, a young man to serve his time as Blacksmith. Apply to W. Cullen, Ballylannon, Wellingtonbridge, Co. Wexford.

The Second Report of the Commissioners of Education in 1835 listed the schools in the parish of Carrig-on-Bannow as follows:–

1. Boarding School kept by Mr James, with payments from the scholars; 44 boys attending; teaching English, Classical and Scientific instruction; the Catechism and Scriptures are taught by the Protestant clergyman.

2. National School [presumably at Carrig village, or strictly speaking Danescastle]. The building was rent free and the School  received a grant of £10 per annum from the Board of the Commissioners of National Education and quarterly payments from the children from 1 shilling and 8 pence to 8 shillings. There were 51 boys attending and 22 girls giving a total of 73. It was—in terms of its progress—as stationary since its inception in 1833. Reading, writing and arithmetic and geography were taught to the boys with needlework for the girls.

Parochial School. The building was rent free on an acre of land with quarterly payments by the pupils of 5 shillings to 15 shillings. It had no pupils! It taught reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, catechism and Scriptures.

4. Hedge School with Benjamin Radford as master. The quarterly payments for the pupils were 1 shilling and 8 pence to 5 shillings. He taught reading, writing, arithmetic, and the Roman Catholic catechism. There were 11 girls and 9 boys; a total of 20. The school was in decline [for numbers attending].

5. Hedge School kept by Laurence Moore. The quarterly payments for the pupils were from 2 shillings to 4 shillings. There were 22 boys and 20 girls attending; a total of 42; the school was described as increasing [in numbers]. . He taught reading, writing, arithmetic, and the Roman Catholic catechism.

6. Hedge School kept by Matthew Roche. The quarterly payments for the pupils were from 2 shillings to 4 shillings. There were 21 boys and 12 girls attending; a total of 33; the numbers were describing as increasing since inception of the school in 1833. He taught reading, writing, arithmetic, and the Roman Catholic catechism.

The Parochial Schools were established under legislation from the reign of Henry VIII. They were of use only, in practice, to children of the Protestant orientation—the Scriptures were taught in them in the proper Established Church manner. It is noteworthy that the three hedge schools in the parish of Bannow taught the Roman Catholic catechism; a school that did not do so was of no use to the Catholic community. The National Schools had to be—in theory, at least—secular schools and so the teaching of religion was prohibited during official school hours. The details of the National School in Carrig village do not have any reference to the teaching of religion. The compromise permitted by the Commissioners of National Education was to permit religious instruction after 3 o’clock each day and also on Saturdays; in the case of the Protestant children, the local Rector would instruct them; in the case of the Catholic children, the Parish Priest or local Curate would instruct them. There was to be no religious emblems in them. The Established Church [Protestant] bishops and clergy opposed the National Schools as the Scriptures were not—officially—taught in them. They saw the National Schools as an affront to the true Established Church faith—they, also, were uneasy at the preponderance of Catholic children in them.

I think that there is a mistake in the details given of the subjects taught in Carrig National School: in no case was the teaching of girls limited to needlework: this subject, needlework would have been taught in addition to the ordinary subjects of reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, and maybe bits of science to the girls (the same as to the boys). I am sure that Tom Boyse would not have tolerated a school limiting instruction to girls to needlework!

Larry Moore lived on the Moor of Bannow; a letter in circa 1860 claimed that he initially refused to become a tenant of the Boyses but under pressure from his wife relented. I now attach no credence to this letter: the Boyses had always owned the Moor, so Larry Moore could not refuse to become a tenant of them.

I have no need to tell any of my readers that Mr Benjamin Radford is the real life person on whom the fictional “Master Ben” in Anna Maria Hall’s story is based. He privately instructed the writer Anna Maria Fielding at the Graigue mansion of Counsellor George Carr where she resided. He could make no progress in teaching her arithmetic and in desperation marked her answers as correct, anyway.

From The Echo January 30th 1909:–


The work of mining at Barrystown had to be stopped owing to the heavy rains. Mr Lett has applied for leave to the Co. Council to lay rails across the road to remove the ore. It is hoped he will be afforded this liberty.—The body of the victim of the Cullenstown boating accident has not yet been found. There have been four men employed during the week to search for it…..The Bannow Gaels should waken up to practice, as the championship will be on them very soon.”

The Echo on the 30th of January 1909 reported:–


An outbreak of scarlatina has occurred at Wellington Bridge. Fortunately only a few cases have as yet been reported, and let us hope it will not spread further. It is only a couple of years since the same epidemic was very prevalent in the district and many families were stricken down. Preventative precautions are always necessary in such cases.” The Echo , in the same issue, also, reported:–

“Death of Three Bannow Men in America

During the week intelligence reached the parish that three men who emigrated a number of years ago died in America. They were John Harpur, Walter Walsh, and William Browne. Much sympathy is felt with their relatives in Bannow in their sad bereavement.”

The Echo, in early January 1909 described the sea tragedy at Cullenstown referred to above (30th of January 1909 issue of Echo):–

“Cullenstown Boating Fatality

Gallant Rescue

Further particulars are to hand relative to the drowning on Wednesday week of Simon Roche off Cullenstown, from which, it appears that Mr Tyndall of Oaklands, who has been residing at Haggard, Cullenstown, for the shooting, went to the Keerochs (sic) Islets. The sea was calm but, towards evening, as they were preparing to return to the mainland, it was blowing itself a gale and the water was very rough in the bay. Mr Tyndall was not in favour of leaving the island, but Roche thought there was no danger. They launched their small fishing boat and set out in a tempestuous sea. When about eighty yards from the mainland, as they were putting the craft about, it capsized. Mr George White of the yacht Destiny, had been watching the progress of the boat, saw the two men struggling in the water and without hesitation he jumped into the sea and swam to the rescue. He succeeded in reaching Mr Tyndall, but Roche was, already disappeared. Hampered as he was with heavy top boots and his clothes, Mr White grasped Mr Tyndall, who was exhausted and became unconscious, and swam ashore. On reaching the shore he sent for the coast-guards and had the unconscious man removed to his home, where he afterwards recovered. The body of Simon Roche has not yet been found. This is the third occasion on which Mr White has saved life at sea.

From The People the 12th of January 1888:–


On last Sunday, at Mulgannon, the Mulgannon Harriers played a team from the Bannow  and Ballymitty Football Club. The match was not distinguished for any excellent play, though some of the players of both sides gave promise of much improvement in the near future. From the beginning to the end, there was not a single squabble, nor in fact, was there a loud word spoken, and in this important matter, it differed considerable from the match which followed. The Mulgannon Harriers won by 5 points to 2.

The second match was between the Curracloe Football Club and the Selskar team of the W. G. A. C. It was a much faster match than the former in every way. Indeed there were at times, some specimens of play which could not be surpassed in any of the championship matches. Both teams are comparatively young in the ranks of the Association and consequently deserve all the more praise for the creditable display which they made last Sunday. The home team won by 5 points to 2.

I have curtailed the actual description of the two matches to the narrowest limits because it is my intention to devote the space placed at my disposal by the editor to say a few words relative to what occurred in reference to both the matches.

In the first place I have to complain that the first match was fixed to commence at 2 o’clock but no active arrangement was made for the commencement until about 2.40. I do not know who to blame for this faux pas, but I do say, on behalf of the footballers and the public at large, that the like should not be allowed to occur again. Last Sunday was rather a cool day on the lofty heights of Mulgannon and there was no visible enjoyment in stalking around the field in expectation that something great was going to happen. The fact is that several people left the field and went home swearing—I beg their pardon—asserting that they would never be seen again near a football field until their representative on the Central Council would succeed in having inserted in the new rules a clause something of the nature of the cloture (sic)—“That the match be now played or that the players and public be “kicked” out.” On account of the great delay in beginning the first match, the second was almost broken off, and as a compromise it had to be confined to 50 minutes play. Forgiving the delay, I must congratulate the Mulgannon and the Ballymitty men on the good humour and friendly play which characterised the match from beginning to end.”

I am at a loss to understand the logic of playing football matches between purely amateur teams in the coldest and wettest month of the year. It would, also, be enormously difficult for both players and spectators to travel to such contests given the rudimentary means of transport then available.

The People on the 18th of January 1888, in its account of a meeting of the Board of the Poor Law Guardians of the Wexford Poor Law Union, inter alia, reported:–

“Throwing Up His Contract

Mr James Doyle, Tullycanna, wrote that he could not perform the contract for which his tender was accepted without serious loss, and that he did not intend to complete his bond. [a contract to build labourers’ cottages]

A discussion took place on the above, from which it appeared that Doyle was accepted for the erection of twenty-six houses and it was alleged that the fact of his now resigning the contract was evidence that he tendered having no notion to fulfil the contract at all, and this was done for the purpose of ousting other contractors from getting the houses.

On the motion of Mr Codd, seconded by Mr Chandler, it was resolved to forward Doyle’s letter to the solicitor of the Board to advise what action might be taken upon it; and should he advise, that action be taken accordingly.

Mr M’Grath protested against the Board proceeding against Doyle, who was a poor man.

The Clerk said he had made a calculation since last week and although the throwing up of the twenty-six houses upset it somewhat, the average cost of building the houses would be £67 15 shillings per house; last year it was £72 and 2 pence and the year previously £80.”

Mr M’Grath represented the Ballymitty area on the Board but even if had a vested interest in defending Mr Doyle, I still think that he was right to protest at the Board’s bluster and legal codology against Mr Doyle. My impression is that Doyle probably put in too low a tender—estimated too low—to increase his chances of winning the contract and then found that he could fulfil the contract as serious loss to himself would result.

From an account of Wexford Board of Guardians meeting in The People on the 4th of April 1898:-

“A Tenant Problem

There was but one applicant for the vacant cottage at Bannow. Ellen Furlong, the widow of the former tenant, James Furlong. She was recommended by the Guardian, Mr Devereux, and by Mr Boyse and Mr Lett. She came before the Board and appeared to be an intelligent young woman.

Mr Petitt said a difficulty arose with regard to this case, as the woman was on out-door relief and it was illegal to give the tenant of a cottage out-door relief. Mr Devereux said the woman would not be long on relief. She was a most industrious woman and very inclined to work.

Mrs Furlong said that she had three children, the eldest five years and the youngest 15 months. She would not be able to do without the relief for some time. If the Guardians objected to herself as a tenant they might accept her brother who intended living with her and helping to pay the rent. Her father had ten acres of land and always helped her to manage the plot and pay the rent. Her mother who lived convenient would mind her (applicant’s) children and allow her to go out to work.

Mr Codd said he would be in favour of the brother and sister been accepted as joint tenants. Mr Hendrick said that if the brother was the sole tenant he, if he was so disposed, could evict his sister at any time.

Mrs Furlong in reply to a remark of Mr Petitt as to what position she would be in if her brother got married and claimed (?) to the house, said that if this event occurred her brother had a house of his own to go to.

Mr Petitt—but he would be owner of this house. Mrs Furlong said that she did not think that her brother would do that. She had been working while her husband was alive. Mr Petitt—Would you promise not to apply for further relief after a month? Mrs Furlong (with tears in her eyes) said she did not know how she could live and support her three children if she did not get relief for more than a month.

Mr Petitt—No doubt the Board sympathises with you in every way but you see the difficulty they are in. Mr Doyle Relieving Officer considered the brother would act properly towards applicant. He had a similar case in his district and the parties were getting along happily. Mr Hendrick suggested that the brother should get the cottage for three months. Mrs Furlong said she was satisfied if her brother was accepted as tenant. Mr Codd considered that this should be done. Mrs Furlong’s application was recommended by the largest rate-payers of the district and their recommendation was entitled to serious consideration.

It was decided to accept Mrs Furlong’s brother (James Colfer) as tenant.”

Out-door relief was given to people who were sick and/or to widows with a certain number of children. Reading the above account one may easily see why in that era or a bit later, that legislators would be eager to provide that no mother should have to work outside the home for financial reasons. Mrs Furlong’s husband had died; she no longer had his support. The issue about a person on out –door relief not getting a labourer’s cottage is one of ability to pay the rent: that meagre portion of money would barely provide food for the recipient and her children. It was an appalling case and it is clear that the Guardians thought that it was indeed cruel and grotesque.