Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, erudite, charismatic, obliging, witty, scholarly, exceedingly humble, a right boyo but a bit shy with the girls, historian supreme and—wily. It is always gold and silver for the Barrystown children, a tsunami of accolades. A preservation order should be placed on the humble house of my birth. The famous Wellington said that if a horse was born in an ass’s house it was still a horse, blah, blah….I could have got a job in the circus.

From The Free Press Bannow notes on Friday March 2nd 1962:–

“Accident—While foddering cattle one day last week, Mr Nick Coady, Whittyshill, Wellingtonbridge, had a narrow escape from being smothered when a rick of straw fell on him.”

I have a copy of Andrew Lycett’s biography of Arthur Conan Doyle and this may disappoint some of my readers but I could find no reference to Doyle having antecedents in the Co. Wexford, generally and in Whitty’s Hill in particular. I will keep checking this matter

From the report of the meeting in early July 1898 of Board of Wexford Poor Law Guardians:–

“The Master reported:–“A man named Devereux from the island of Bannow was admitted to workhouse infirmary on Monday last. He states that he has ten acres of land but that he cannot afford to pay anything towards his maintenance. I have him entered on a separate register….

Mr Hore—Whose ticket was he admitted on? Master—He was admitted on a doctor’s certificate, which was given me by Mr Devereux, acting relieving officer on Saturday last. Chairman—It would be well to institute inquiries about it. In reply to Mr Hore Mr Devereux said the man had no stock on the land. There was a house on it. (To Mr James Codd)—He did not give up the land to anyone.

The Master said that Devereux had a family of seven children, all young, and he said if he had to pay he would have to go out. Mr Devereux [member of the Board]—His wife and family are living in the house. Mr Hore—If he has nothing to pay he need not be frightened. The Master in reply to the Chairman said he could not say how Devereux held. Mr Devereux said that the place was on portion of the Colclough estate.

Mr Hore—Maybe he is evicted out of the place. Mr Parle—He may only be a caretaker. Mr Devereux—He is not a caretaker.

It was then decided that Mr Devereux, acting relieving officer, make full inquiries into this case and report to the Board by this day week.”

That particular Devereux may or may not have been evicted from Bannow Island but the Devereuxs remained in numbers on it. In March 1969 the Free Press featured the story of two remaining inhabitants of the Island—sister and brother, Larry and Margaret Devereux. About a week previously a third member of the family John Devereux died. Larry then about to become seventy-one years of age in April, remembered nine different families on the Island and the population of it at one time was eighty-four. As a young man he served with the merchant navy.

This letter appeared in The Free Press on the following week:–

“Sir—In your issue of March 14, 1969, a copy of which recently reached me, you printed an interesting article about the Norman invaders of 1169 headed “On Lonely Bannow Strand”.

Then under a photograph of Mr Larry Devereux and the sub-heading “Devereux have survived since 1169” you wrote that Larry and Margaret Devereux were “The last surviving descendants of the Normans who landed at Bannow strand around May 1, 1169.” I believe this to be incorrect.

In the Library at St Peter’s College, Wexford are preserved the full notes made on the complete history of the Devereux family by the great Wexford county historian, Hore.

There he states, if I am not mistaken, that the first Devereux to arrive in Ireland—coming direct from Normandy where the family was closely related To Royalty—landed in 1232, some 63 years after the original invasion of 1169.

My own interest in this stems from tracing the history of my own family in Co. Wexford, as they intermarried with the Devereux on at least three occasions, the first being in 1320.

But the Whittys too just missed the boat in 1169; they came with the second wave in the following year and dominated the Ballyteigue Bay area from their castle there for nearly 500 years, until Cromwell uprooted them. But that’s a different story.

Kenneth Whitty

Malvern College



In 1634 Piers Neville and Walter Furlong were returned as members of Parliament for the borough of Bannow.

The Rev. Atkinson in his book The Irish Tourist published circa 1818 wrote of the sea weed on the south west coast of Co. Wexford:–

“That species of sea-weed which grows on rocks near the shore, is collected by the poor people on this coast and after being dried and burned, is manufactured into kelp and made an article of commerce. Another kind of sea-weed, to wit, that which is thrown by strong convulsions of the sea upon the shore, they collect for manure and although by no means of a strong or durable character yet as being impregnated with a quantity of salt sufficient to produce one crop, at least, it suits the necessities of the poor. The weed collected for this purpose is usually found upon the beach after tempestuous weather and may therefore be called, the gift of Boreas to the poor cottagers.”

The concluding part of the above is contradicted by documented history. Farmers not only used sea-weed—they paid charges to obtain it and there were a series of court cases on the issue of access to sea weed. Rev. Atkinson is correct about the use of a particular species of sea weed to make the kelp ropes.

Rev. Atkinson continued:–

“On my return from the sea coast to Taghmon, I passed by an ancient ruin called the castle of Coolhull, by the village of Duncormick; by Tallycanna, another village, which has , also, the ornament of a neat little castle in its vicinity….”

Phonetically “Tallycanna” sounds very like the form of the name of the modern Tullycanna used by Fr Edward Hogan in his book in 1598 as cited in my last blog. I am inclined to conclude that the opening syllable was “Tally” not “Tully”.

From The People on the 24th September 1913:–

“Lost at Cullenstown (between White’s and the Strand in the direction of the lake) on Thursday 26th August a lady’s gold watch. Finder will be rewarded on leaving it at Duncormack Police Barracks.”

In November 1904 a priest who was a clerical student when Tom Moore came to Bannow in August 1835 recollected:–

“The present writer was not at Bannow that day. What then, were the pathetic circumstances under which he got sight of Thomas Moore? When the poet’s visit to the Grange was over, he drove to Wexford, in order to travel to Dublin by the night mail coach. Hearing that the coach was to stop in the Bull Ring to take up this illustrious passenger, I mounted to the box seat just before the coach started. This gave me a good view of Moore when he came to take his place, passing over from the corn market, where he had just visited the house in which his mother was born. He stood for a few minutes in the Bull Ring bidding good bye to his friend Mr Boyse. He had a bright, pleasing face, I well remember, and wore a high shirt collar and a cloak such as is associated with O’Connell. He was small of stature and this was often alluded to playfully by his friends, as when Mr Boyse said in one of his speeches:–“He is in every inch an Irishman, though to be sure, his inches may not be very many.”

Tom Boyse made that quip when addressing the crowd at Bannow when Moore visited.

In August 1896 Arthur Keating had a game notice in the local newspapers regarding his lands at Carrig and Coolishal.

Among the Road Presentments made at the Lent Assizes in Wexford in April 1807:–

“To John Sutton Esq., James Doyle and Richard Williams to repair 80 perches from Bannow to Ross, between Peter Nevil’s bounds and Nicholas Furlong’s bounds.

To George Carr Esq., John Purcell and Nicholas White to repair 70 perches from Bannow to Wexford, between John Colfer’s house and Patrick Fourlong’s.

An observant friend of the editor of the Wexford Independent wrote to him as follows;

“Carrig, Bannow, 28th July 1849

There have been so many evil reports respecting the wheat crop, so industriously circulated, from what motive I know not, I was induced to examine very minutely several fields of wheat in this neighbourhood and in the Hook; and from that examination I conclude that those reports are vastly exaggerated and that the ravages of this mighty worm does not amount to one-fiftieth part of the crop. Knowing that you would be anxious to hear the cheering intelligence, I have hastily scribbled this note which you are at liberty to make use of.”

If the writer was John C. Tuomy there is an obvious puzzle: school holidays were given in the harvest time in August and September to allow the children help out with work at the corn. Tuomy would find it hard to leave Taghmon where he was a schoolmaster.

From an agricultural report in April 1849:–

“Called on Thomas Cahill Cullinstown. Found him draining a field, only 18 inches deep. Succeeded in convincing him his drains were too shallow and stones too large.

John White, Bannow, holds about 50 acres. He states that he had 7 acres of potatoes in 1848, a total failure. Had no turnips in 1848. In consequence of the very serious loss he sustained by the failure of the potato crop, he is now determined to change his mode of operation and to put down 3 acres of turnips and 2 acres of potatoes in 1849.”

“Taghmon May 4th 1854

“Is there, has there ever been, an Oyster fishery near the old and romantic town of Bannow?”

To the Editor of the Independent

Sir—Your correspondent “Amicus Piscatorum” asks the above query and he and you refer to me for my assistance in solving it. At present there is no oyster fishery off the coast of Bannow and in the estuary where you say a former proprietor of Tintern laid down a “bed”, no oyster is to be found but about the site of the Colclough “Oyster Bed” there is an excellent cockle bed; and had your correspondent been here at the last fair, he would have heard the stentorian voices of our Fish Jolters, sing out “Fine Tintern Cockles, fine Tintern Cockles”; but the cry of Bannow, or Tintern oysters, is never heard here nor in the streets of your town; which by the bye, are supplied with the largest and best description of Cockle from the Tintern side of the estuary of Bannow. So much for the present.

Whether there ever has been an oyster fishery near Bannow I cannot say. Tradition, in the locality, on the subject is silent; and in the valuable collection of works on Ireland which the late lamented Thomas Boyse handed me for my perusal, during my last sojourn in Bannow I never found any allusion made to an oyster fishery on the coast. Still I am of the opinion that oysters were taken there. On the side of the old Fishery Village, when the sand had been removed, oyster shells were found in abundance—and in Clare’s Island, among other marine shells, those of the oyster are very numerous. From these facts I am led to infer that the olden fishermen of this “City in the Sea” did thrall for oysters off the Bannow coast. “City in the Sea” reminds me of other “pleasing writers” on the wonders of the “Irish Herculaneum” and I would respectfully refer “Amicus” to the transactions of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society for the year 1850, in which he will find such writers rather roughly handled by Dr Graves and your humble servant.

And now a word about the advantages and disadvantages of the Reclamation of the loughs and estuaries on our coast. Some speculating company has obtained the consent of the Lords of the Admiralty to embark the Tintern Cockle Bed. If the company succeed in passing its Bill and will expand a large capital, grass may yet grow where fish do now abound and an inexhaustible mine of manure (slob) will be forever closed on the Tintern people. A beautiful sheet of water (at each returning tide) may be converted into sickly waste and a positive source of profit to many poor people sacrificed to the thirst for “dividends” of many speculations. If the present proprietor of Tintern should ever follow the example of his predecessor, Sir Caesar, he must go out to sea to form his oyster bed, or should the old abbey, by the vicissitudes of fortune, ever again revert to its original owners, no cowled monk, at the close of evening, will walk down to the strand and with basket and scraper, to pick up a supper of fresh cockles for his brethren of the cloister. What I say of the intended Bannow reclamation applies with equal—nay greater force, to other reclamations on our coast and those gentlemen who have their fingers already in the mud, find their “dividends” to be what mathematicians call “negative quantities”—when they may become “positive” ones, would take a greater soothsayer than I am to predict.

John C. Tuomy.”

Amicus Piscatorum” is Latin for friend of the fishermen. Tom Boyse was opposed to the drainage of the Ballyteigue Lough but the objective was to reclaim from the sea a vast amount of submerged land. It was not of the highest quality but improved over time. John C. Tuomy as a writer tended to over elaborate as did Ned Carroll the famous agriculturist? Mr Tuomy never used one sentence or one clause when twenty could be used. I hope that he never tried to ask a girl for a date; maybe she would think he was buying fruit.

On the 7th of August 1853 the house of Martin Boyce of Bannowmore, Parish of Bannow, was entered by his servant boy James Walsh who stole therefrom ten pounds and decamped.

From The Wexford Independent on July 29 1891:–

“Sad case of drowning

On Sunday last a very lamentable drowning accident occurred near Ballingly. A young man named John Ennis, went to bathe in the river Corock and it appears he was able to swim a little but not much. Becoming bolder, the longer he stayed in the water he went out of his depth and the tide carried him into a whirlpool where he sank. There were on the bank at the time of the accident two young lads but they were unable to give any assistance. What makes the fatality extremely sad is the fact he was the only son and the sole support of his parents, both of whom are over seventy years of age and needless to say beyond their labour. They hold a small farm of about eight acres at Arnestown and through the industry of the deceased were fairly comfortable. The sad intelligence was broken to the parents by the Rev. T. Meehan C. C., Ballymitty, who did all in his power to assuage the great grief of the unfortunate couple. An inquest was held on Monday evening by Dr Cardiff, Coroner for the southern division of the county when a verdict of accidental drowning was returned.”

It is hard to comprehend that three people could live off a farm of eight acres. The fact that an inquest was held is proof that the laws of the nineteenth century did deem all human life as important: those awful stories of the authorities at a whim massacring humble people are a later lurid imagination and the great thing about imagination is that one can arrange the past as one wishes.

From The People on October 23rd 1875:–

“Accidental Death—On Friday evening at Cullinstown, Walter Furlong, servant at Mr Burnsides, received a kick from a pony in the abdomen; from the effects of which he died the following Monday.” I believe that Mr Burnsides lived at Cullinstown Castle, later owned by the Hayes family but I am open to correction.