Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, in fine fettle, charming, charismatic, ebullient, scholarly, erudite, modest, self-effacing, a historian supreme, innovative, a right boyo and—wily; surely proof that gold and silver always follows the Barrystown children. I am puzzled that they are not making a blockbuster—is that what they call the films about extraordinary personalities and events?—about the boy from Barrystown; they could put a picture of the chimney stacks in the mine yard on the advertising. I don’t know who they would cite as a comparison with my intellect, blah, blah, make up the rest yourself…
The plaintiff in one of those silly cases over assault and abusive language at the Duncormack Petty Sessions in 1890 had this useful information to impart:–
“the complaint said that he was not much worse for the assault. He was not at all nearly killed but he was bad enough. He did not go to the doctor. This was on Major Boyse’s estate. There were rules on that estate with reference to the taking of seaweed and the tenants were to hold onto these rules. One of them was that no tenant on the estate could have any vested rights in the ore until it was on his car. A tenant, therefore, had no right to heap the manure on the strand; but a lot of tenants did so not withstanding this rule, according to which the defendant had as much right to the ore as he had when it was not on his (complaint’s) car…..”
The astounding aspect of the case was the lengths that men would go to in their battles over the seaweed—they could seriously injure or even murder one another over the seaweed.
William Murphy Postmaster and formerly principal teacher at Danescastle Boys National School died on February 12 1890 at his residence, Carrig-on-Bannow. He was “deeply regretted by his sorrowing wife and grandchildren.” He was interred at Rossdroit Cemetery, Davidstown, on the road from Clonroche to Enniscorthy.
The Coal Yard Field in Kiltra according to the National Schools Project in 1938 was so named because the coal boats came from St Kearn’s and deposited their loads in it. My father sold coal at Kiltra during the World War II and according to my mother riposted to a query from a shopkeeper in Wellingtonbridge that he was not sweating at it! Tom Broaders aged 69 from Kiltra told of a Peggy Connors who lived in a house in Danescastle near that of James Hayes (the tailor)—she made men’s and women’s hats from wheaten straw; they were banded with black ribbon and cost from 1 shilling to 1 shilling and 6 pence. That was a long time ago—about 60 years past (1878 approximately). The glowing account of the Fair in Carrig-on-Bannow in the same project is wrong as this fair was never really successful, despite the determined effort of Captain Arthur Hunt Boyse to promote and—to coerce his tenants to trade at it.
At The Duncormack Petty Sessions in late January 1917:–
“Sergeant Dolan against Martin Kane, Bannow Moor, for having no light on his donkey’s cart after lighting up-time. Defendant said he had a light alright on the car and if he thought the Sergeant was so near he would have it lighting. The Sergeant said that was true. He thought a small fine would meet the case. Chairman [Mr J. Roche]—This man has come a long way to meet the case. He advised the defendant to light up in time next time out and for the present offence, which was his first, he would ask him to pay only 1 shilling and costs.
The Wexford Guardians prosecuted Andrew White, Bannow Moor, for neglecting to have his child vaccinated. Mr J. R. Colfer, solicitor, appeared for the prosecution. Dr O’Brien was called to prove the case but did not appear. Chairman—Better let this case stand over until the rising of the court and, perhaps, the doctor might be present. When the case was again called Dr O’Brien did not answer and the case was adjourned for two months.
Same against John White, Barrystown. Dr O’Brien for the same offence. As the child was dead the case was withdrawn.”
The Poor Law Guardian for the Bannow district, Mr Nicholas Sinnott, in June 1859, applied for out-door relief for a woman in his electoral district and produced the following certificate:–
“I certify that Ann Hanrahan of Danescastle is a very feeble old woman and seems to be in great want. She has a large ulcer on her leg and it would pain her very much to go to hospital.
James Boyd, Medical Doctor
The Chairman (Mr Howlin) said if all with ulcers now in the House were to be left on Out Relief, they would have very few coming in. The doctor, too, did not show the case to be a very serious one requiring out door relief and his own opinion was that she should have the choice of using the House or staying where she was—Out Relief refused.”
As the nineteenth century progressed the system of out door relief—as distinct from taking paupers into the Work House was relied on to an increasing extent. The problem for the Board of Guardians was that out door relief, where the Relieving Officer brought the poor person weekly money, removed the natural impediment to seeking relief: the shame of living in the Work House deterred most people from seeking indoor relief—that is residence in the Work House. In my opinion Ann Hanrahan should have got out door relief.
From the report of the Duncormack Petty Sessions in The People July 21st, 1881:–
“The Wexford Board of Guardians by Relieving Officer Dillon, summoned Lucy Hayden and Cecilia Brennan, under the sanitary act, about a house of which Mrs Hayden was landlady and Mrs Brennan, tenant.
Dr Boyd [of Bannow] deposed that the house had no roof on the part of it in which the occupant slept and it was not fit for human habitation. Mrs Hayden said she received no rent for the house for a considerable time and for this reason, she did not repair it. Mrs Brennan said the roof was blown off in a storm and she paid rent for a long time after this occurred and in October last she declined paying rent when it would not be repaired. Mrs Hayden was ordered to repair the house within one month and Mrs Brennan was ordered to leave it until such repairs would be done as would render it fit for human habitation.”
The law in that era was that the courts could order people to cease living in a house if it was not deemed fit for humans to live in and, presumably, decree that such a house be knocked down. It was a case of logic and reasoning spluttering about in a quagmire. The basic problem was a shortage of houses, habitable or otherwise and as the second Laurence Sweetman of Ballymackessy observed at the Clonroche Petty Sessions some years later where were the people, ordered by the courts not to live in uninhabitable houses, to go to? Usually the landlord or landlady repaired the house but in some cases the landlord was quite willing to allow the house to be demolished and to be rid of the tenant. Where would Mrs Brennan go during the time required to repair the house? The option of staying at the Hotel in Wellingtonbridge would hardly be available to her.
The people living in such houses would be impecunious: I suspect that Mrs Hayden was getting little rent from Cecilia Brennan who was I presume a widow although she could also be a deserted wife. It would be possible that her husband was abroad working and supporting her. The earning capacity of an ageing woman would be meagre enough—there were no old age pensions, then.
On August 23rd 1881 six farms were offered for sale at the Co. Courthouse, Wexford. The usual procedure at these sales was that a representative of the Landlords would seek to bid the price of the farm up to the aggregate of the rent arrears plus legal costs and at that stage allow the tenant to buy back his farm. There was ever a boisterous and rough edged comedy at these auctions. I now record one sale that did not conform to the usual pattern.
“The next lot was that of Francis Augustine Leigh, plaintiff, James Busher, defendant. It was all the defendant’s right, title and interest (if any he has) in and to all that and those, that part of the lands of Maudlintown, as now in his possession, with the houses and buildings thereon, containing 29 acres, 0 roods and 30 perches, Irish Plantation measure, situate in the parish of Kilcaven, barony of Bargy, held as a tenant from year to year, at the yearly rent of £43 and 5 shillings. Amount due, £51, 12 shillings and 6 pence.”
There would be in excess of 45 acres modern statute measure in the above farm. The tenancy was very short, from year to year.
Mr O’Dempsey, the Land League solicitor “for the information of the people, would say that the rent for the farm demanded in this case is £43 5 shillings and Griffith’s Valuation is only £25 15 shillings (great groaning). The tenant is under the necessity, consequently, of letting it go to the Emergency purchaser (cheers and loud cries of “Let him have it”). The auctioneer announced the conditions of sale.
Mr Huntley offered £10 (groans).
Mr Richard O’Connor—and a penny (groans).
A Voice—Are the Emergency men on strike?
Mr O’Dempsey—We are going to make an example and let the Emergency man get it (cheers).
A Voice—Oh! the poor fellow must get something to support him. Let him get it as he has come down so far (cheers).
The lot was then knocked down to Mr Huntley (groaning and cheering). Some voices now cried out for “to put it up again” but no notice was taken of the demand.”
Mr Huntley was effectively bidding for Mr Leigh but hoping to bid the price up to the £51 required plus legal costs; Mr Busher, perhaps because it was a mere yearly tenancy, was not prepared to pay that kind of money to get the farm back.
The Carrig-on-Bannow branch of the Land League dwelt on a recent dismal event at their meeting in July 1881:–
“Another matter, not of a very pleasing character, took place since their last meeting. The matter to which he [J. A. Ennis Esq., V. P. the Chairman]
alluded was the eviction of the Widow Walsh of Knocktartin. It was a deed of stealth, for they came like a thief in the night and in her absence from the home of her early affections, the minions of the law asserted their power and majesty, supported by the gallant R. I. C. from the different stations of the county, armed to the teeth; and all this display to take possession of the widow’s holding. Truly great-might is right. The day was one to be remembered: a regular downpour of drenching rain and still the widow’s effects should be removed. And where? Unto the roadside they were hurled. The locking of the house by Natty closed this portion of the proceedings. In trying to get possession of the land a remarkable incident occurred. The cattle were all removed with the exception of a mare and she instinctively held possession against all comers. It was something to look at to see the mare deploying on the approach of the besieging army and after a series of assaults and retreats they abandoned the hopeless task of getting the mare off the land and she is now mistress of the field after a bloodless battle and may she long enjoy her victory.”
The People on June 18th 1955 reported that Fr John Duggan C. SS.R., the well known Redemptorist, had died in Belfast after a short illness and that he was born at Wellingtonbridge in 1893.
From The People December 15th 1886:–
“Taghmon G. A. A. Club
This Club was inaugurated about a month ago and has since been practising steadily. It now shows fair “form”, which is in great measure due to the painstaking exertions of its energetic captain Mr T. J. Murphy. Its first match for the season comes off on Sunday next, 19th instant, with the Ballymitty (Bannow) Football Club at Coolcull, in a suitable field kindly given for the occasion by Mr Walsh. A practice match in which those selected to play in the match on Sunday took a prominent part was held on yesterday (Sunday). The ball was thrown in at about 3 o’clock. Brisk and determined action ensued for about an hour, in which some of the members played quite scientifically. After a little more practice I expect to see the Taghmon Club take a prominent part in the manly game of football, for which our county is now so remarkable. The match on Sunday will commence at 2 o’clock sharp and it is requested that the players will be punctual in attendance.”
The adjective “manly” denoted a relish in physical challenge. “Goalminder” in a missive in late August 1886 threw out this challenge—“Now is the time, before the excitement cools, to form a club in each parish where one has not yet been already formed. Castlebridge, Oulart, Blackwater, The Ballagh, Oylegate, Taghmon, Adamstown, Kilmore, Rathangan, Bannow, Clongeen, Mayglass and Tintern should all send in their representatives to the next meeting of the Association at Wexford.”
Goal-minder claimed that at the recent competition at Mayglass only eight clubs—drawn from the district lying within a radius of six or seven miles from the town of Wexford—participated: nevertheless there was great excitement—the cauldron of emotions referred to him in the extract above.
It would seem that in the interim between late August and early December 1886 the Ballymitty and Taghmon clubs were inaugurated—in so far as one may be certain of anything.
The report of the Co. Committee of the G. A. A., for March 1889, gave a list of the teams entered for the county championships, football and hurling; Bannow-Ballymitty is not on either list. Ballymitty were scheduled to play Adamstown at Kilmannon on Sunday February 19th 1888. The general impression is of clubs finding it difficult to continue without interruptions.
From the Forth and Bargy notes on May 29 1937 in The Free Press:–
“G. A. A. Games—On next Sunday the Wexford district (Southern Group) junior football championship will open at Balwinstown, with two ties, Ballymitty St Aidan’s v Bannow Isles and Rosslare St. Mary’s v Killinick. Both games are expected to draw a big crowd, especially the first in which the teams are from Bannow parish. The St Aidan’s were formerly the old Bannow team. The Isles, who are a new combination, from the “Buried City” country, look forward to lowering the colours of their opponents. The latter, however, hope to go further in this year’s competition.”