Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, heroic, valiant, a sheer genius, of astronomical intelligence, historian supreme, inspired and inspiring, a right boyo, blessed among the women, a prophet, a seer, exceedingly modest, humble, self-effacing, a whiz at Latin and law,  a florist, an expert at cultivating sun-flowers and hollyhocks, humble, self-effacing, once a trainor of hurling teams, marathon runner, eloquent, uses big words (appropriately) and above all else, the most devious and wily of them all—that wily boy from beside the mine pits; as St Kevin of Kilkevan prophesised, it would always be gold and silver for the Barrystown childre (to use Anna Maria Hall’s word). If it is true it ain’t bragging. Anybody living in the adulation that now envelopes the boy from Barrystown would not need to brag! There never has been any need for any native of the parish of Carrig-on-Bannow to brag or tell lies. The dahlias are impeded by the abnormally cold summer weather and the same applies to the alstromeira flowers.

If any of my millions of readers were ever at the Strawberry Fair in Enniscorthy from 1968 onwards do let me know about it, phone 0872937960

The People on May 23rd 1953 carried a picture of Corporal T. Scully Ballymitty and Corporal E. Grace, Wellingtonbridge after their passing-out parade. Young men from the Wellingtonbridge district have ever joined the army.

In the feature “Co. Wexford Memories” the editor of the Wexford Free Press and gifted writer William Cronin included an article from a learned Journal on the Leighs of Rosegarland; I am not sure if it is one hundred per cent accurate but I think that it may be relied on. The antecedents of the Leighs were Gaelic and I presume Catholic before the Reformation; I presume that because they were of Gaelic stock that the Leighs were of such use to the British Monarchs as interpreters, one supposes of the Gaelic tongue. In my reading of modern Irish history the Stuart Kings were comparatively sympathetic to the Irish people, especially to the Catholic denomination. (the print in the Free Press is difficult to decipher or make out at all, in some places and much of the document is written in medieval legal gobble-de-gook, more to obfuscate than to enlighten). It does seem that John Alie was appointed royal interpreter in 1587 at twelve Irish pence per day.

“Mention of Rosegarland recently being under the cultivation of flax during the Great War recalls that the owner of this estate Mr F. A. Leigh is a descendant of the State Interpreter in the Irish language, during the stormy period of the Elizabethan regime. He was John Lye, as the family name was then, and as interpreter earned a fee of “twelve pence Irish per diem”. In the Journal of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society the following appears:–

“John Lye an interpreter to the State, an important functioning (sic) during the disturbed reign of Elizabeth, is frequently noted in our public records and correspondence and his service obtained rewards which conjointly with services loyally rendered by one of his descendants to Charles II, placed his posterity high among our landed gentry. His extraction is a curious archaeological question. He was, of course, conversant with the Irish and English languages. He appears to have been one of the few remarkable men of the native race of that period who became singled out from the general disaffection to the English Crown and who serving the Government by their talents and loyalty, rose to power and honours and founded wealthy and noble families. The Mac Laighid or O’Lees were hereditary physicians in West Connaught. One of them Morogh of O’Lye, as he signed his surname, an eccentric inhabitant in the county of Galway in the time of Charles II, had failed to recover his mortgaged and forfeited patrimony after the Restoration [When Charles II was restored as King, on the death of Oliver Cromwell who had executed Charles I, the father of Charles II], commenced the practice of medicine and surgery, being in possession of an antique vellum Ms, written in Gaelic and Latin characters, treating of medicine and which, probably, belonged to his professional ancestors, he imposed on the vulgar by asserting his wonderful book had been given him in the enchanted island called Hy—Brazil, whither, he declared he had been forcibly conveyed. Whether John Lye, before he became interpreter, to the State spoke English or Irish, as his mother tongue, or whether he studied either language “or the grammar” are parts of an unsolved question. In one of his petitions to the Crown, he says that “being an Englishman he is very perfect in the Irish tongue” but it is impossible to say how this phrase was interpreted by Lye or in his day. It is said he may have been freed “Irish servitude” and granted the right to use the English laws and to have considered himself no Irishman though born in Ireland. In a letter, however, dated 1669 (?) the Irish interpreter writes of his “cousin”, Sir Charles O’Carroll which connection, as it implies an interior relationship with the chieftains of Ely O’Carroll, seems to favour a Gaelic origin. He is designated John “L-e” [print blurred] in a record of his time and also “Lye” and it is assumed that “L-e”  may either be an anglicised form of O’Lye, or a corruption of an ordinary English form of surname. Soon afterwards, his descendants took the name of “Leigh” and possibly they may have been of the same family as Captain Thomas Lye who was cousin of Sir Henry Lye (the famous old knight of Ditchley) whose career was closed at Tyburn, for his share in Essex’s revolt.

….At any rate the interpreter was serviceable to the English Government and was duly rewarded. If he was of native origin his career is an exceptional instance of loyal and valuable service to the Crown. The first record in which his name occurs is the Memorandum Bull of the Exchequer in the ninth year of Elizabeth’s reign. There is the entry—“John Lye prays enrolment of the following; for as much as it is verie requisite and necessarie to the state of this realm, in consideration of the dayle resort of the Irishe gentlemen and others of this realme, for their severall attayer, to the same, to have and use as interpreter for the better understanding of their greves, and redresses of their causes and for that we have had long experience of our servant John Alie (?), whom we have used in that service and he being a person most meet and convenient for sundry respects and good considerations to serve the Lord Justices in our absence, we the Lord Deputies, and Counsel, having condescended and agreed that he the said john Alie, as interpreter to the State of this realme, shall have and receave (sic) the Fee of twelve pence Irish per diem. Willing and requiring you, the Threasorer and Vice-Threasorer of these our letters to be made to pay unto him the said Fee of –Irish per diem as the same shall term—grow unto him taking his bill testifying the receipt hereof shall be zuere sufficient warrant in that behalf, given at Carlingford, the xxxiii (23rd) of September 1587—Henry Sydney, Robert Weston; To our Trustie, etc, Sir Wm Fitzwilliam Kent Vice threosurer, etc, …at War”

The second notice is an entry in the Council Book of “a freedom of forty mares to John Lye, the interpreter, in respect of maintaining a bridge upon the Blackwater in the county of Kildare.” By this order he was exempted from the payment of a sum he owed, the Crown, for a consideration more appreciated in his time than even in those palmist days of grand juries when Squire Somebody–

“Of his great bounty built a new bridge at the expense of the county.” His services had already been rewarded by a lease of Crown lands in the county he was assisting to keep passable as appears in a State paper entry on 1571, at the suit of “John a Lee, interpreter to my Lord Deputy and a messenger unto dangerous places.” He was employed as an envoy from Dublin Castle to the great Gaelic chieftains during time of danger and in places of peril of wild woodkerne who –respected even an ambassadorial officer. His petition of 1857 was dated from Clonagh Castle, in Kildare and his suit was for a grant of RathbrdieManor in that county which was conceded to him and became the seat of his descendants. It is mentioned by one writer, Stowe, that “on the trial of Sir Brian O’Rourke in the year 1591, at Westminster, for various acts of high treason that Master John Lye, of Rathbride, a gentleman out of Ireland was appointed to interpret between the court and the traitor.

The grandson of John Lye, the interpreter, became Robert Leigh of Rosegarland in the county of Wexford which ample estate was conferred on him for his loyalty to the exiled Charles II. In a description of Rosegarland in 1684, Robert Leigh states—“Rosegarland, together with the utmost part of Peere, did anciently belong to David Neville, commonly called Baron of Rosegarland. The saide Neville was executed in ye reigne of Queen Elizabeth both for treason and those lands are now the inheritance of Robert Leigh of Rosegarland, second son of John Leigh of Rathbride, in ye countye of Kildare, who for his loyaltie to his Sovereigne, King Charles the 2nd was banished into foreign countries by ye Usurped powers and there died leaving the said Robert, being the only child he had abroad with him, very young and a participant as well as many more, of his Princes’s calamities; till upon his Majesty’s happy restoration he returned into England and in some years after this into this Kingdom again with marks of his Majesty’s favour and sense of his services. Rosegarland took its name from ye Lady Rose.”

[The writer of the article corrects Leigh on the origins of Rosegarland as a name.] Rosegarland did not, however, take its name from a lady but from the words “Ros” and “Carlon” meaning “Carlon’s Wood”. At the time of the Strongbow invasion, it was granted to Sir Maurice de Longres, Knight, whose family passed it for an heiress, to that of De Lynnott and again by an heiress of De Lynnott, Baron of Roscarlon, in the reign of Richard II in 1380 (?) it passed to Simon son of Sir Raymond Neville. The castle here was the head of an extensive tract of land termed a barony and Sir Maurice was one of Strongbow’s “Barons of Leinster”. His name and that of Sir William de Londres occur as witnesses to the foundation charter of Tintern Abbey. In the 12th year of Henry the Fourth, 1411, John Neville answered to the Exchequer for the “Royal Service” due from his barony of Roskarline, military service then proclaimed at Kilkenny. The estate of David Neville, Baron of Roscarlon was forfeited for the part he took in the revolt of Silken Thomas in 1534 and was granted by Henry VIII for William de St Loo, the Seneschal of County Wexford in 1539. This gentleman dying without issue, Henry granted it in 1544 to John Isham Seneschal of the liberties of Wexford by whose only child, Margaret, it passed into marriage to Richard Sinnott, in whose family it remained unto Cromwell’s time of general confiscation. David Neville whose life escaped the hand of Henry VIII, fell for his “offence” by those of Elizabeth in 1560. The right of Charles II conferring Rosegarland on Robert Leigh on account of the treason of Neville, committed more than one hundred years prior, is a striking feature of his assumption as was the act a proof of his utter forgetfulness and disregard of the Sinnott family whose father fell in defence of the deceitful Charles I and as a consequence his fine estate was lost to the rightful owners. It showed the selfish indulgence of favourites on the part of the Stuart King and the monarchical prerogative of right to all lands in his kingdom.”

On Saturday June 3rd 1837, James Ryan the editor of the biliously sectarian and Orange Order supporting Wexford Conservative, in his obscenely humorous manner, published a spoof missive from the long deceased father of Sam Boyse to Sam Boyse:–

“To Mr Samuel Boyse the Good Samaritan

Mr Dear Sam,

Such was the general joy diffused through the Catholic Church in this county and such, the reverberating echo of the praises heaped upon you in the last [Wexford] Independent, for the good Catholic sermon preached by you, on laying the first stone of a TEMPLE at Carrig [-on-Bannow], that even the silent abodes of the dead were penetrated by the joyful sounds. With great satisfaction I have awaited your gradual approximation, and that of your worthy son [Thomas] and heir, towards our holy communion; and I wonder very much, and did often wonder before I left the upper world what the reason was that you both did not join the true Church [the Catholic one is meant by this sarcasm] long ago: but now I am sure you’ll join us; for the speech you have made shews me that the report which has been going the rounds among us here for some time is true, viz., that you are going to be married again and that to a Roman Catholic lady.

Wishing that many heirs may spring up to you from your new marriage in order to afford you the additional pleasure of diffusing happiness, by dividing your extensive estate among many.

I remain your’s after death

As well as before it,


From the churchyard of”—

Sam Boyse had recently become a widower when he laid the foundation stone for the new Catholic chapel in Carrig-on-Bannow village; his wife was Dorothea Carew of Castleboro who brought a dowry of about £3,000 to her marriage. The suggestion of a man of Sam Boyse’s age re-marrying was grotesque and the prospect of him generating several heirs by such a new marriage was horrible comedy. In contemporary extreme Protestant polemics, it was charged that the Catholic church required Catholics who married to produce huge families—this was happening with the labourers and holders of tiny potato plots but not because the Catholic Church decreed that such large families should be produced; neither did the parents in such marriages desire to have such enormous families, such outlandish fecundity; but in an era devoid of any knowledge of how to control human biology such was inevitable and exacerbated in the case of the very frequent early marriages—that Anna Maria Hall criticised in her story Lucy Hackett. I think that James Ryan could rest assured that Sam Boyse in 1837 no longer possessed the physical capacity to generate a host of heirs!

The boy from Barrystown has written and lectured in many places on Jeremiah Fitzhenry of Boro Hill, Ballymackessy, Clonroche, the friend and confidant of the first Lord Robert Carew of Castleboro (the first cousin of Tom Boyse). In his other personae, Jeremiah Fitzhenry was a rebel leader in 1798, an officer in Napoleon’s army in the Peninsular Wars, from where in April 1811 he defected and handed himself in to Wellington, the commander of the British forces. Wellington persuaded the Prime Minister Lord Liverpool (in a manner of speaking) to pardon Fitzhenry who then returned home to Ballymackessy. Fitzhenry had attained the rank of Lt-Colonel in Napoleon’s army and all through his life he was known as Colonel Fitzhenry. In August 1839, at the celebrations of young Bob Carew’s majority in Clonroche, Jeremiah Fitzhenry (the old 1798 rebel) likened Tom Boyse (a 1st cousin to Lord Carew) to “the diamond, no matter what part you hold up to view, or how minute the particle, it still contains a lustre above all other gems” and added that to praise him “in a society of Irishmen” would be as attempting “to gild refined gold or paint the lily.4

In May 1837 John Corcoran, previously a close friend of Fitzhenry, became embroiled in a ferocious row with Fitzhenry, over a failed tithes auction at Boro Hill—Fitzhenry made a total ass of the Enniscorthy solicitor and in the summer of 1837 both Fitzhenry and Mr Corcoran paid for advertisements in both the Wexford Conservative and Wexford Independent attacking each other. James Ryan, the editor of the Wexford Conservative, could not contain his glee at this development and carried this skit on the proceedings in his paper on June 3rd 1837:–

“Mr Corcoran

On perusing this gentleman’s’ first letter we could not avoid feeling strongly impressed with the opinion that he was grossly injured; and this opinion has gained strength since the appearance of Jerry’s [Jeremiah Fitzhenry] reply. Facts are stubborn things that cannot be tumbled about, or shaken from their position in an argument founded on them. Mr Corcoran has give a plain statement of facts which are still standing in their upright posture, in his narrative, bidding defiance to all the tactical skill of the Colonel [Jeremiah Fitzhenry]. He [Jeremiah Fitzhenry] must take some lessons on bombast from the new general Tom Boyse; and, perhaps, he may then be able to frighten poor Corcoran with big words; if not he can set his well beloved friends the Whitefeet at him.” My little dictionary defines bombast as pompous language. There is no evidence that Fitzhenry had any connection with the obnoxious White feet, who were agrarian terrorists that I have written on.

It was written in the obituary of Rev. William Murphy, Vicar-General and Pastor of Taghmon who died in the early days of June 1896:–

“Another fact in connection with the late Dean Murphy not generally known is that it was he who composed the address presented to Thomas Moore, the poet, on his “triumphal entry into Bannow”, where he was guest of the late Mr Thomas Boyse in August 1835. Father Murphy was then a student in Maynooth where he had a very distinguished career and compose the address at the earnest and pressing request of Mr Boyse and the then P. P. of Rathangan, the late Rev. John Hore, (grand-uncle of the present P. P. Canon Hore). The address was read at Bannow House by Mr Nicholas Ffrench, grand-uncle of Mr Peter Ffrench M. P. [Member of Parliament].”

“Sale At Eleven O’Clock


To Be Sold Bt Auction, on Thursday the 31st of March 1881


(Near Clongeen)

For Mr Lalor

About One Hundred Tons Of Good Sound Turnips

(in lots)

Terms—Cash. Sale to commence at 11 o’clock


Wexford, 21st March, 1881.”

It puzzles me why anybody would need to have a public auction to sell turnips.