Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, eloquent, grandiloquent, inspired and inspiring, scholarly, erudite, a prophet, a visionary, a right boyo, blessed among the women, historian supreme, humble, modest, self-effacing, a trainor of hurling teams, a marathon runner, an experienced gardener and expert at sowing sunflowers, sheer genius, innovative, original, and above all else—wily, that most devious and wily boy from beside the mine pits, looking down to the road that leads from Wellingtonbridge to the village of Carrig-on-Bannow. If it is true, it ain’t bragging and no native of the parish of Carrig-on-Bannow ever brags or tells lies or is dishonest. I merely state axioms and axioms are so true as to defy proof. As St Kevin of Kilkevin, writing in an antique mode of Latin, prophesised, it would always be gold and silver for the Barrystown children. And Anna Maria Hall wrote that the best hurlers came from close by to the Scar of Barrystown: the Scarroughs were ever supreme.

The great poet William Butler Yeats believed that history is an account of famous people: there is a parallel to that in the coverage of current affairs where the media have ever focussed on the famous people. I reject Yeats’ paradigm of history as I believe that it is the duty of historians to record as far as is possible the entirety of the people who comprised previous societies. Such a model of historiography would undermine local history as there would be insufficient famous people in a small district or parish to go on writing and lecturing about. If one applied this model to the parish of Carrig-on-Bannow then it would be possible to write only about three people: Tom Boyse, Anna Maria Hall and the boy from Barrystown.

I think—and I may be mistaken, a rare occurrence—that the media have an invariable response to local historical journals: if some article connects the area or someone in it with some famous person or event, that is highlighted but serious research on the history of the area is dismissed. Articles on olden mansions may attract attention, also. In all Irish historiography, national and local there is interminable re-cycling of both themes and narratives: history was generally regarded as an adjunct to the militant separatist and nationalist struggle.

It is also my determined contention that the adulation of famous people is not correct: the most famous of men and women are subject to human flaws, often of a substantial kind. Sean Lemass once said that he would take his own advice; I concur—one must make one’s own decisions for one’s own time and context, rather than to scrupulously adhere to what departed persons may have prescribed. The poet Yeats, according to one expert, (with whom I concur) in parts of his work, wrote words and phrases blended with other words and phrases without making any possible sense: the words and phrases plus ancient allusions merely filled poetic space, finished a stanza, maybe.

I will return to this theme of finding a mission statement for a local history society next week.

I am not sure what this means but I quote Patent Roll 10 Henry V:–

“Appointment of John Neville, baron of Roscarlon, as seneschal of the liberty of Wexford.”

The Neville had been proprietors of Rosegarland and its estate.

The Wexford Independent on the 22nd of September 1838 carries this story once again proving—as if such needed to be proved—that the people of the parish of Carrig-on-Bannow were unrelentingly honest, in all matters:–

“Not long since a farm servant of the name of John Larkin picked up after nightfall a parcel containing £25 10 shillings in bank notes, on one of the public roads, which intersect the classic parish of Bannow. Not conceiving “all to belfish which came into his dish” and recollecting the precepts inculcated by the ancient religion of his fathers—the creed of a Fenelon and a Bossuet, he had the money advertised the next Sunday on the Church gate of Danescastle. On the following Sunday, another advertisement was posted in the same place, saying that Mr Houghton of Kilmannock had dropped notes to the amount £24 10 shillings. Young Larkin –lately waited on him and instead of £24 10 shillings presented him with £25 10 shillings. Mr Haughton identified the notes as those that he had lost and rewarded the boy with a £1¸ the difference between the sum returned and that which he advertised he had lost. The above would probably never have found its way into the columns of a newspaper but for the rascally comment of the “Conservative” [the organ of the Orange Order in Co. Wexford] on the character of the people.” The Wexford Conservative had carried an ugly story about the taking of the accoutrements by the local people of an unfortunate soldier who died near Taghmon. My little dictionary says that accoutrements mean clothing and equipment for a particular activity. “Justitia” who wrote the piece was proving an axiom—if such is ever possible!

“The Wreck of the “Cumloden Castle”

To The Editor Of The People

Sir—Allow us, through your journal, to express or grateful thanks to the noble people of this district of all classes—firstly, for their active humanity in rescuing us from our ship, the Cumloden Castle, stranded here during the fearful gale of the 12th instant. In doing us this service they fearlessly exposed themselves in darkness to the full effects of storm and rain, often up to their waists in the sea; secondly, for the cheering sympathy and kindness we have met with ever since. To the Coast Guards under the command of Lieutenant Lett R. N. and W. Coghlan, Esq., Collector of Customs, we are indicted for their activity, in opening a communication, by means of the Rocket Apparatus, with the ship and bringing twenty of us on shore, in a very short time, over rocks and through a heavy surf, without accident. To Mr and Mrs Sinnott of Ballymadder, we feel deeply grateful for their kind and hospitable reception and many thoughtful acts of kindness. The Captain has specially to thank Jasper W. Walsh, Esq., Acting-Agent to Lloyd’s, for advice and active co-operation in this, to him, trying ordeal.

Signed on behalf of crew of ship, Cumloden Castle, of Ardrossan.

William Young, Master

Thomas Shaw, First Officer

Ballymadder, Carrig-on-Bannow, 24th December 1861.”

The crew of this ship were obviously in temporary lodging at Nicholas Sinnott’s place at Ballymadder.

These extracts from the will and later codicil of Shapland Carew of Castleboro, dated 10th November 1777 and 26th September 1780 respectively, are undoubtedly part of the history of the parish of Carrig-on-Bannow:–

“4. Whereas he has paid his eldest daughter, Elizabeth, wife of Richard Power, Esq., her marriage portion of £4,000, he gives his son-in-law Richard Power and said Elizabeth, his wife, the sum of £50 for mourning. To his second daughter, Ellen, £3,000; to third daughter Dorothy £3,000; to his fourth daughter Mary, £3,000. Wishes his said daughters to accept these portions in full satisfaction of any gift or legacy given or left them by grandfather Dobson, their grandmother Meethov (?) or their uncle Joseph Dobson to them or to any of them. Said portions to be payable at 21 years or day of marriage whichever shall first happen; with interest in the meantime at the rate of £4 for every £100 by the year for their maintenance and education. If any daughter should die before her portion becomes payable, the amount of that portion to go back into the estate for the benefit of son Robert.”

Why Mr Carew gave the first daughter £4,000 as her dowry and only allowed £3,000 each to his other daughters I do not know. The next extract is:–

“Codicil to the above dated 26th September 1780:–

Make the following changes….

2. Daughter Dorothy has since married Samuel Boyse Esq., and has been paid £3,000 as marriage portion, therefore the bequest to her of this sum is cancelled and she is now bequeathed £50 for mourning.

3. Increases his bequests to daughters Ellen, Mary and Sarah by £1,000, making them now £4,000 each.”

In this codicil, duly signed and witnessed, Mr Carew rectifies the discrepancy between the amount given to Elizabeth, the wife of Richard Power and that previously prescribed for Ellen, Mary and Sarah. This, in effect, means that Dorothy, alone of the daughters, got only £3,000. Maybe Mr Carew reckoned that since she married Sam Boyse then living near to Waterford city (and not yet come to Bannow) she would never be short of wealth—that she would have mega wealth!

The locus of time for the marriage of Dorothy Carew to Sam Boyse is between the will of Mr Carew dated 10th of November 1777 and 26th of Spetember 1780. The Carews of Castleboro, near Clonroche, were intermarried with the semi-Catholic Shaplands of Wexford; the Carews over the generations were ardent advocates of Catholic Emancipation and religious and civil liberty. I assume that Tom Boyse acquired some of his radical views on civil and religious liberty from his mother Dorothy Carew/Boyse. Sam Boyse later stated that he had as a young man shared the Protestant prejudices against Catholics but that his son Thomas convinced him of the need to be just, to support civil and religious liberty.

The Carews would have a shared lineage with many of the Norman/Irish aristocrats—the Fitzhenrys, the Fitzgeralds, the Fitzwilliams, etc going back to Princess Nesta of Wales who had an irregular liaison with the King Henry I of England.

At the Duncormack Petty Sessions in May 1915 “three young boys were charged with breaking a number of telegraph insulators in the vicinity of Bannow.

Sergt Dolan stated that there had been many complaints of insulators being broken in the vicinity and from inquiries made he discovered that the defendants, with another boy who had decamped and joined the army, were the culprits.

The boys pleaded guilty and in answer to the Chairman said they did not know how many insulators they broke.

Mr Morris, a farmer who was in court, said that the boys had not broken many of them but on being asked by the chairman what he knew about it he answered not a word. The Chairman said it was a serious offence and said if he thought that they had broken the insulators for the purpose of interrupting communication he would send them to jail for three months. Mr Cranitch, telegraph inspector, deposed that he found 25 insulators broken at Bannow and the cost of them would 1 shilling 3 pence each.

Two of the boys’ employers who were in court and the mother of one of them said they would pay the damage and in consideration of this the Chairman said that instead of sending them to jail they would merely bind them each other in a surety of £2 to be of good behaviour for twelve months. The offence was doubly serious now under the defence of the Realm Act and he hoped they would not hear of the like in that court again. He complimented Sergt Dolan of the sagacity he had shown in finding the culprits.”

The Chairman referred to was J. J. Roche with Mr John Ennis also on the bench.

I do not think that these boys were acting at the behest of a subversive organisation, such as the I. R. B. to disrupt communications at a time of war; the World War I was going on then. Even in the time that I went to National School, boys fired stones at these insulators on Telephone and Telegraph poles for the fun of it. In the Petty Courts, such as that of Duncormack, local notables formed the Bench in judgement: this could not endear them to their neighbours! Sometimes a Resident Magistrate presided at the Petty Sessions; giving evidence against near neighbours is an unpalatable and unpopular task—hence Mr Morris uttered not a word in reply to the Chairman. I would not fault him for that.

From the Echo August 2nd 1902:–

“25 Cocks of Hay

To Be Sold By Auction

On Thursday 7th August 1902,

For Miss Radford

At Cullenstown, Carrick-on-Bannow

25 large cocks prime first crop hay

Terms—Cash. Sale at two o’clock.

G. W. Taylor, Auctioneer, Wexford”.

James Fraser’s Guide to Ireland, published in Dublin in 1838, states some useful— and bizarre and baffling—things:–

“No VIII—Dublin To Bannow; First Road 88 Miles by Wexford.

This road runs for four miles through the barony of Forth; and for the remainder through Bargy. The observations we have made on the soil, husbandry, appearance and condition of the people in describing the country which the road to St Margaret’s runs, are here applicable [favourable commentary].

Leaving Wexford, the country to the right is varied by what is here called the Barony of Forth mountains; a low ridge of rocky hills, four miles in length, forming a remarkable feature in this flat country and separating the rich flat tracts of the baronies of Forth and Bargy, from the more northerly, undulating and less fertile districts. At three miles are Rathaspeck, L. V. W. Richards, Esq., and Johnstown Castle, the seat of H. K. Grogan Morgan, Esq. The mansion is an extensive modern building; and the demesne is the largest and most improved in this part of the country. At five miles, Sledagh, the seat of Benjamin Wilson, Esq.; and at seven and a half, Brideswell, the residence of Dowager Lady King. Near this is the village of Balwinstown; to the right of which is Richfield. Ten miles from Wexford is the village of Duncormack, on an arm of the sea, called here a salt-water lough. The lough is of considerable extent and is connected with Ballyteigue Bay by a very narrow inlet. Between the lough and bay is the most extensive rabbit-warren along this coast. The old castle of Ballyteigue is at the head of the warren; and the Saltee Islands are three miles off the shore. Two miles from Duncormack is Bannow House, the seat of Thomas Boyse, Esq.; and a little beyond it, near the shore the small village and abbey ruins of Bannow, situated in a narrow winding bay, running about three miles inland. Bannow has been called by Mr Inglis, Rev. R. Walsh and other, the Irish Herculaneum; on what grounds, we are at a loss to understand. Not a vestige of antiquity remains, nor does a feature exist, nor is there even a legendary story among the peasantry to warrant such a statement. A shallow winding creek choked with sand, dreary shores—still made more dreary by the lonely ruins of the Abbey, on its sequestered green knoll, render, however, the site of this imaginary town interesting.”

That final sentence is a trifle confusing! I concur that the claims of the Rev. Robert Walsh who came to Bannow to explore it circa 1832 are outlandish. I do not concur with the rest of what Mr Fraser wrote about Bannow. I am surprised that contemporaries did not challenge it—maybe they never read it! I am glad that they did not read it!

In outlining the course of another road to Bannow, Mr Fraser gives a modicum of useful information:–

“Leaving Taghmon for Bannow, we pass at two miles on the right, Slevoy, Colonel Pigott; and Coolcliffe, Sir W. Cox; on the left, Harperstown, Walter Hore, Esq., and at three miles, Rosegarland, the seat of Francis Leigh, Esq. At four miles we meet the new line of  road from Wexford to Passage East, which crosses the Scar.

The Scar is the upper and narrower part of Bannow Bay, up which numerous lighters ply with limestone and culm. The limestone is brought from the peninsula of Hook-Head; and is used to a great extent throughout the whole of this tillage district. On the banks of the Scar and about a mile and a half from our road are the detached ruins of Clonmines; the abbey was founded in 1385. From this to Bannow there is little to remark beyond what we have adverted to.”

The Free Press on July 16th 1949 reported as follows:–

“Rural Electrification

For Ballymitty and Tullicanna

A representative of the E. S. B. is making a survey of the Ballymitty and Tullicanna Districts with a view to having rural electrification extended to the area. The houses and farm buildings of those who wish to have their premises included in the scheme have been measured up to arrive at the valuation charge for the current. The majority of the people of the locality have signed the forms and it is believed that there will be sufficient users to have the scheme extended to the district. A minority of people consider it to be too expensive.

Rev. L. Kinsella C. C. Ballymitty presided at a very largely attended meeting held in the school rooms, Tullicanna, on Tuesday night. Every part of the area was represented.

Mr A. Keane, Ballyoughton, Chairman of the Carrig-on-Bannow Committee that handled the scheme and Messrs P. Walsh, Woodgraigue, and J. Wallace, Wellingtonbridge were in attendance and gave very interesting information of how the scheme worked in their districts.

The project was debated at length and the meeting unanimously approved of it. A number of those present were appointed to carry out a canvass of those not at the meeting.”

From The People on June 6th 1891:–

“Carrig-on-Bannow National League

At a meeting of the Provisional Committee of the above League it was decided, in consequence of a Mission being at present in the parish to postpone the meeting to be held on the 1st Sunday of June to the 1st Sunday of July.

In addition to the names already published to collect subscriptions the following were added:–Messrs James Mc Grath Poor Law Guardian, Richard Murphy, James Donohoe and Nicholas Furlong.

John Kehoe, Secretary pro tem.”

The above proves that the Land League was deferential to and deeply respectful of the Catholic Church and claims or assumptions that the landlord’s agent and the Catholic clergy were equally distrusted by the Land League are utterly ridiculous and untrue. The attendance of the local Catholic community at the mission would be virtually total.