Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, obliging, innovative, brilliant, pure genius, a historian supreme, a big hit with the girls, a right boyo, modest, humble, self-effacing, visionary, inspired and inspiring and above all else—wily, that wily boy from beside the mine pits. If it is true it ain’t bragging. St Kevin of Kilkevan prophesised that gold and silver would always follow the Barrystown childre (to use Mrs Hall’s word). Providence placed the mine pits there as symbols of the deeper mystical and intellectual wealth of the Barrystown inhabitants.

The motto of St Kevin of Kilkevan was “Banno est magnus semper” [Bannow is always great, for those whose Latin may be rusty]. He was canonised on April 1st by Pope Assinem XXIV.

From The People October 22nd 1949:–

“Planting of Saltees—Prince Ml. Neale, owner of the Great Saltee Island off Kilmore Quay, has visited the island. On returning to Kilmore Quay he made arrangements for the planting of 2,000 young trees on the island. A further 2,000 trees were planted on the island last year. The Prince proposes to plant 2,000 trees every year until a considerable portion of the island is planted. The trees when grown to maturity will considerably enhance the beauty of this famous bird sanctuary.”

In 1947 T. D. Sinnott as Co. Manager was involved in litigation with the Prince over rates on the Saltee islands; this is an extract from it:–

“Sir John Esmonde—Am I permitted to address you as Mr Neale or Prince Neale? Witness—I would prefer Sir John, if you will address me as Prince. Is that a title you have assumed? I got registration from the British Office of Heraldry.”

I am still endeavouring to comprehend the issue of Clonee and Ramsgrange in the 1946 Co. Junior Football Championship: this is my best effort at it up to this. Clonee were scheduled to play Ballymitty in the Co. Final but Clonee felt that an injustice was done to Ramsgrange as the O’Donnell brothers then working in Dublin were wrongly prevented from playing the Co. Wexford championships as they had become affiliated to a club in Dublin. The Co. Chairman Fr William Mernagh C. C. agreed with Clonee that an injustice was done to Ramsgrange and after appeals to the Leinster Council, Ramsgrange eventually contested the Co. Final against Ballymitty.

Maybe some of my more senior readers will elucidate this matter more fully. It was extensively covered in the local newspapers and Andy White the secretary of the Ballymitty/Bannow Club was most vociferous and out-spoken at these meetings of the County Board.

Jonas King the eldest son of the Rev. Richard King of Woodville, Duncormack (or thereabouts) (his mother the wife of Rev. King was the daughter of Christian Wilson of Sleedagh) married in 1852, Mary Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of Rev. Abraham Goff, Rector of Duncormack. Jonas lived at Barrystown.

According to The Monthly Chronicle on February 18th 1773 Anthony Loweay Esq., jun., of Rochestown, Co. Wexford married Miss Anne King of Barristown.

On January 10th 1915 The Free Press reported that a concert was held in Mr Lett’s room at Barriestown to raise funds to build a parochial hall but I do not what became of the project.

From The People October 2nd 1909:–

“One morning with the sunlight dancing on his curtains and the bells of the great city [Philadelphia] ringing in his ears John Keane lay awake and tossing in his bed and thinking of his home and childhood, an old friend, one of “the boys with whom he spent his youth while sporting on the green”—came and at by his bedside and there for the first time he recited and committed to writing the verses which he had been long singing in his heart. Later on he sent them by his aunt to Bannow, where after a number of years, he had the pleasure of hearing them sung near Bannow’s lonely shore.

On the occasion of this visit he wrote another song, beginning “Farewell to thee, Bannow, forever”, the words of which will appear in next issue of this paper….

Towards the end of his life John Keane wrote to the Wexford friend who sat by his bedside the morning he composed “Bannow’s Lonely Shore”. “My hair is very white now” he wrote “and soon I’ll be laid to rest in this foreign land. I wish I could be laid by the walls of Bannow Church. I wonder will the people at home remember me when they sing my song.”

About twelve years ago, his eyes were closed and now you who read these lines should cut them out and keep them in your scrap-book or album in memory of him, who sang of your joys and sorrows in “Bannow’s Lonely Shore”.

We may deduce that John Keane died circa 1897. I did not realise that John Keane lived so comparatively close to modern times. I will check if The People carried his other poem in its next issue.

From The Universal Traveller 1779:–

“In a district near Dublin but particularly in the baronies of Forth and Bargy, the Saxon tongue is spoken without any mixture of the Irish and the people have many customs which distinguish them from their neighbours.”

From The People February 3rd 1892:–


Hanlon—January 21st at Ballyhenigan, Taghmon, Julia, relict of the late Denis Hanlon and daughter of the late John Colfer, Danescastle, Carrig-on-Bannow, in the 87th year of her age; fortified by the rites of the holy Catholic Church. May she rest in peace. American papers please copy.”

At the first meeting in August 1899 of the Wexford Board of Guardians—

“Dr Boyd Bannow, reported that the Carrig pump is now dry and there was a nuisance at the enclosure. As it became dry every summer, he recommended that borings be made in a convenient place and a new well sunk and surrounded by iron railings. A Guardian remarked that pumps were costing a terrible lot of money. The matter was referred to Mr Devereux Relieving Officer to report on.”

According to an advertisement in The Free Press in May 1961 Nevilles, Ballymitty were “Appointed Dunlop Service Centre for car, tractor, truck and bus tyres”. They were providing Dunlop Remould Tyres. Maybe some of my readers will tell me what remould tyres were!

From The Forth and Bargy notes in The Free Press on May 11, 1946:–

“Promoted—Mr Peter Hannon, Wellingtonbridge, railway platelayer, has been promoted to ganger. He is son of Mr Paul Hannon, ganger, who has retired…..

Going to the Bogs—A number of youths have gone from the Ballymitty district to Newbridge to work on the turf bogs, amongst them being Mr W. Kelly, the popular captain of the local football team.”

From The People November 5th 1931:–

“Bannow Ceilidh Band

The members of the newly formed Grange (Bannow) Ceilidh Band are making great progress and indications are that it should be amongst the most prominent in the county next season. It will make its debut shortly after Christmas as the band has been invited to attend some big social dances during the festive season.

Carrig Dramatic Class

The members of the Carrig Dramatic Class have again resumed practice. The Class has been inactive for some time past but now they have taken up practices and some new members have joined. They are at present learning a new play for presentation during the Christmas holiday season…..

Bannow Athletic Club

The Bannow Athletic Club are thinking of starting a cross-country team in connection with their club. Two athletes, belonging to the parish—Messrs P. Dunne and R. Tobin—have been members of the Carrigbyrne Club for the past two seasons and should Bannow form a cross-country team there is no reason why those two should not be transferred back to their own parish.”

The above items invite the observation that in those bye-gone times, local communities felt a compulsion to amuse themselves, to generate a variety of sporting, musical and cultural activities on their own initiative. I am amazed that they could have got to Carrig village in the harsh, wet, freezing and severely cold winter weather. Would one even have a bicycle to travel on in 1931?

The People on March 22nd 1952 reported that Miss Sheehan N. T. Danescastle National School had left “to take up an appointment in the Carrig-on-Bannow district.” She was secretary of the local Guild of Muintir na Tire.

The People reported on February 7th 1925:–

“On Tuesday before Mr Justice Wylie, in the Land Court, Patrick Roche, tenant of part of the lands, Vernegly, Bannow, Co. Wexford, objected to the landlord’s compounded arrears on rent at £2 10 shillings 10 pence and, also, to his return of £10 12 shillings 4 pence as the rent of the holding. Mr James J. Walsh, instructed by Messrs P. J. O’Flaherty and Son appeared for the tenant and Mr Hector Hughes, instructed by Messrs Huggard and Brennan, solicitors for the landlord. After hearing the evidence Mr Justice Wylie decided that the true rent was £10 12 shillings and 4 pence but that there was not a penny of arrears due. Each side would have to bear their own costs, as both were wrong.

Fr Paul Kehoe P. P. Cloughbawn was a native of Moortown, Ballymitty but my readers will have been aware of that, anyway. Fr Kehoe was scheduled to give a lecture, presumably oh his travels in New Zealand, at the Tagoat Concert and Dramatic Party in June 1919 and this informative item appeared in The People on June 28th 1919:–

“The fame of Father Paul Kehoe, as a lecturer, has preceded him, to those parts, so there is not the slightest doubt that he will speak to a large audience on Sunday night. In country places as a rule when a popular function is being brought off, the chief difficulty is to find seating or even standing accommodation. In this case the difficulty vanishes completely, as there is room in the tobacco barn for about 1,500 people. A novel and it is hoped innovation in connection with the lecture will be that persons travelling on car, bicycle, motor or any other conveyance will have same taken care of at the responsibility of the committee. A small fee will, of course, be charged.”

“Car” presumably denotes a vehicle pulled by a horse (or donkey!). It is interesting that some would travel by motor car. I, also, presume that they did not have amplification then so it is unclear if the anticipated large crowd would have heard what Fr Kehoe was saying.

From the Inquiry held by the Commissioners on Municipal Corporations in Ireland on 17th September 1835:–

“Borough of Clonmines

Clonmines is situate near the upper extremity of a small bay in the southern part of the county of Wexford. There is no house at or near the place, except Mr Sutton’s; from him we learned that there was formerly a town there, which returned Members to Parliament before the Union. In former times, ships came up to the town, but that port has since been stopped by a shifting bar at the entrance. In Mr Sutton’s opinion a moderate sum would restore the harbour and render it again fit for shipping; and if restored, it would be very beneficial to the neighbourhood, which is  a populous one.

The population of what was once the Borough consists merely of this gentleman.

Mr Sutton said there was no corporation, nor had he heard of one in the Borough.

We have not discovered any charter of Clonmines. Several inquisitions post mortem, in the reigns of James I and Charles I, mention the seisin of certain persons in burgages in the town. The Borough seems to have been held of the King in free burgage. These records make no mention of a corporation.

It appears from the returns of the Irish Union Compensations, that a sum of £15,000 was awarded on account of the loss of the representative franchise of this borough to Charles, Earl of Ely, and Charles Tottenham Esq.,

William Hanna  and Maurice King, Commissioners.”

The Free Press on June 9th 1961 reported—

“Mr T. Mulcahy P. C. has sold his historic 400 acre Bannow House estate, including the Keeragh Islands, to a German industrialist from Hamburg, West Germany. Thomas Moore the poet was a frequent visitor to Bannow House and local tradition has it that it was here that he composed “The Last Rose of Summer”.

I do not believe that Moore was a regular visitor to Bannow House; he visited it once in August 1835. Local tradition may get it wrong!

From The People July 12th 1947:–

“Ballymitty Coal—As reported some time ago an expert diviner reported the presence of coal in many places in the Ballymitty district and on the lands of Mr Patrick Byrne, Ballyknock. Here a seam was located which runs from a north to south direction into Mr Nicholas White’s land at Knockbyne. There are two seams at Ballyknock, the upper one at 40 feet deep and the lower at a depth of 75 feet. Very Rev. M. Keating P. P. Bannow and Messrs S. Murphy Shelbourne Co-op Society and Jos. Wallace, Wellingtonbridge are taking a keen interest in the development of the project. The work of excavation was commenced last Monday with expert men. They are sinking an opening of eight feet square; this opening to be used in the main shaft. The diviner says they will encounter very hard rock at about 14 or 15 feet, which will entail some blasting operations and the work of getting down will be somewhat tedious. During the week many people visited the scene of the operations.”