Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, erudite, scholarly, eloquent; moves and talks with panache, inspired and inspiring, historian supreme, a genius, an intelligence far greater than Einstein; blessed among women and destined to be the historian of Bannow, an area steeped in history. My likes will never walk this earth again…

From The Enniscorthy Guardian of the 14th of August 1926:–

“Attacked By A Bull

A man, named Cogley, having liberated a bull from a house in an out-farm at Quitchery, near Ballymitty, was driving him across a yard when the animal turned and attacked him, knocking him down. The driver, however, succeeded in driving off the attack and escaped with a severe shock.”

John Ryan the author of the billious “Popery Unmasked etc” explained the rationale of Rev. William Hickey (previously Rector at Bannow) using the pseudonym of Martin Doyle

;–“I should explain that the name Martin Doyle is merely a nom de guerre, selected as being a very Irish one, with the view to render his publications more acceptable to the Romish lower classes.” He simply feared that the Catholic tenant farmers would baulk at guidance in farming matters from a Rector of the Established Church.

From The Zoist; A Journal of Cerebral Physiology & Mesmerism; Volume X; March 1852 to January 1853.

XIX. A new method of producing Sleep. By Mr. James, of

the Society of Friends. Communicated, with a Note,

by Mr. Janson, of Exeter.

XIX. A new method of producing Sleep. By Mr James of the Society of Friends

,Bannow Grammar School, New Ross

County Wexford, Ireland, October 15th 1852

Mr James to Mr Jansen

I beg to make you acquainted with a new fact which I think I have discovered relating to the science of mesmerism. I have no doubt as to the reality or the utility of the circumstances which I am about to state, and I have not seen anything like it in any of the few mesmeric publications which I have read. Perhaps you will mention it to Dr Elliotson: he may consider it worthy of a notice in The Zoist.

Mode of producing ordinary sleep. It is an easy and simple process of putting myself asleep (I suppose the natural sleep) merely by the employment of the will and attention in making imaginary passes; that is to say, passes in thought only from the top of the head down over the face. I have long found it difficult to procure a proper allowance of sleep; sometimes lying awake for several hours and very frequently getting no sleep for several hours, and at the same time feeling so irritable, nervous and restless that I could not read in bed with any degree of comfort or satisfaction. From time to time I have adopted various means and often found benefit from them: fro instance, I have sometimes risen in the middle of the night and gone out to walk for an hour; at other times worked at some mechanical employment; washed the surface in cold water; spent some time in reading or writing or smoking tobacco. I generally obtained some hours of sound refreshing sleep by one or other of these methods. But one very cold night about a month ago, as I lay awake, and did not much relish the notion of getting up, I began to think of some other methods of procuring—

“Tired nature’s sweet restorer, balmy sleep”.

And as I reflected that many, to whom I had given a few mesmeric passes for head-ache, tooth-ache, &c, had slept well afterwards, I thought, perhaps, I might be able to apply the same medicine to myself. I accordingly made five or six passes with one hand and then settled myself comfortably to sleep, continuing mentally to draw down over my eyes an imaginary sort of sleeping influence and in two or three minutes I was fast asleep.

On the next night I tried the effect of thought or mil alone without any manual operation and was almost instantly transported to the land of dreams. Ever since I have invariably practised this simple plan, once, twice, or three times, each night, as occasion requires; so that I think I have more than a hundred times put myself asleep, and by a voluntary effort of the will, I positively—

“weigh my eyelids down and sleep.

and steep myself in forgetfulness”

I have often counted the number of passes necessary and find them generally from three or four to twelve, and some times as many as forty. They never once failed: and I never since was obliged to rise for the purpose of trying the effect of smoking or anything else. I rest well every night and have been in better health and spirits every day.

Having well tested this experiment and feeling fully assured of its truth and thinking it must be of great service to many persons who cannot procure necessary sleep, I now take the liberty of making it known to you; and, although, I do not find it an easy matter to describe, I hope you will be enabled to understand me. You, sir, were the means of making me acquainted with mesmerism by writing me a letter and sending me the April number of The Zoist. This is my apology for troubling you with this communication

This is my apology for troubling you with this communication.

With grateful acknowledgments, I now bid you farewell”

The above is a typical specimen of mid-nineteenth century pseudo science or maybe pre-science—it seems to be nothing more than a variant of counting sheep and probably as effective or ineffective! All kinds of medical and neurological factors may block one sleeping but I also hazard to suggest that the cold weather could disturb one’s ability to get to sleep, as well. Mr Janson, of Exeter, the friend of Mr James really said the same as I have in the note that he sent to the editor of The Zoist, but he was much more tactful:–

“Note by Mr Janson

I do not suppose there is anything really mesmeric in Mr James’s process; it appears to be simply an effect produced by soothing and fixing the mind, without any effort of thought. Many have been in the habit of producing a similar effect by imagining a steadily continued series of motions; as, for example, imagine you are looking at a gap in a hedge, through which a large flock of sheep are escaping.  You watch them (mentally) and seem to see them popping through in regular succession, each with a single leap, as he clears the hedge-bank: and before all the flock is through you will be, as Mr James poetically expresses it, “transported to the land of dreams.” However, this process of imaginary mesmeric passes may be even still more effective.

There is moreover something so truly innocent in the idea, that I think even the most virulent of the “Satanics” (a race by the way that is now very rife and rapidly increasing) could, hardly, I think, find brass enough to raise a serious objection to it.

H. U. Janson.”

I have been haunted by the name Edward Armstrong Johnson Pasha: circa 1912 (give or take a couple of years) this man with the obscure name was involved in trying to make the Barrystown mines commercially feasible. He, also, prospected at Bree, Adamstown and Caime. This is the easy part: the next task id to deconstruct his name. He died on the 18th of April 1932 at Ballinapierce, near Enniscorthy. His obituaries stated that he was born in Dublin in 1846 and was son of the Venerable Armstrong Johnson of Ferns and Rector of Adamstown; his childhood was spent between Adamstown and Newlands, Bunclody. The obituaries do not say this: an attempt was made to set the home at Adamstown of the Rector and his family, on fire, by piling furze bushes against the front door and igniting them. A servant (I think it was) sensed or saw the smoke and raised the alarm. Anyway we have now deconstructed his name down to Edward Armstrong Johnson. He was gazetted as an Officer of the Royal Field Artillery and during the next 15 years he saw much foreign service in India and Africa. He served under General Phayre in the Afghan campaign, retiring with the rank of Captain in 1881. He acted for about a year as resident Magistrate at Mullingar. He went to Egypt in 1882 (or 1883 depending on the obituary that you read) and served under General Valentine Baker at the Ministry of the Interior until 1898 and continued to serve in various departments of the Egyptian Government until he retired in 1908, after 25 years service in that country. A few years after his arrival in Egypt, the title of Lewa Pasha was conferred on him.

His obituaries teem with descriptions of his exploring in Egypt, building of schools there with an emphasis on technical and practical subjects, building railways and boring artesian wells, reviving pottery skills, etc et al. It is the way that you tell it! If Mr Johnson had done all these things on his own, especially on the basis of his own finances, he would be a extraordinary man but the understated part of his story is the real narrative of his successful career: he was a Colonial administrator and the monies spent by him would be public money presumably the British Exchequer and the general funds of the British Empire. Nevertheless, he was a truly unique man with a strong humanitarian instinct. In retirement, he was still acting in the role of the imperial administrator. He his buried at Clonmore, Bree.

From The Free Press, the 23rd of June 1928:–

“A M. O.’s Privilege

Bannow Doctor’s Protest Against Health Board’s Action

At the meeting of the Co. Health Board held on Monday, Mr M. Doyle, presiding, the following letter was read from Dr Brady M. O., Bannow

With reference to your communication of the 4th instant, I beg to reply to the Minister for Local Government and Public Health to state that I am thoroughly dissatisfied with the arrangements made for the discharge of my duties during vacation. Dr Ryan and myself have had a complete understanding regarding the dispensary and private patients in our adjoining districts for the past five years with excellent results, so I need hardly explain that any change from same would place me in a very difficult position, particularly, regarding my private practice. Besides I cannot see what objection the Board of Health can have to my nominee apart from the fact that they are depriving dispensary doctors of one of their very few privileges—that of nominating our own locum tenens. I can vouch for the unanimity of my colleagues on this latter point which was brought to the notice of the Public Health Board about three years ago.

Chairman—What led to this was that he nominated Dr Ryan to act as locum tenens in his absence on holidays and we thought Dr Ryan, having a very big district, would not be in the position as somebody without an appointment, so we nominated Dr Mc Cabe. The Local Government Board had not sanctioned him yet and asked us if we thought Dr Brady would be satisfied. This is his reply.

Col. Quin—and it is definite enough.

Chairman—What? Col. Quin—His reply.

Chairman—Is it a matter that should knock you about? Could not he make any arrangements he likes about his private patients?

Col. Quin—His private patients are his own business

Mr Sean O’Byrne—We have appointed a doctor who is available in the district and we should stick to our appointment, because it is our business to look after the interests of the patients and not altogether the doctor.

Chairman—Dr Brady says we are taking something away from him that he enjoyed. I don’t believe they have this privilege. If they had why do they acquaint us? Mr M. J. Jordan T. D.—It might be tolerated. Chairman—Yes and they never had the privilege. Sec.—They were entitled to nominate their locum tenens to the Board.

Mr J. Hall—Isn’t Dr Mc Cabe more convenient to Dr Brady’s district than Dr Ryan?

Chairman—He is. Mr Hall proposed and Mr Jordan seconded that they adhere to the appointment of Dr Mc Cabe. Passed unanimously.

Chairman—We can explain to the L. G. D. that we consider Dr Mc Cabe can give more attention.”

The County Health Board employed dispensary doctors to attend to the needs of medical card patients: going back to the time of the Boards of Guardians of Poor Law Unions, there was an official determination that if such a patient requested medical assistance that the dispensary doctor should promptly turn up. Failure to do so could lead to his dismissal. I presume that the County Health Board—a subsidiary institution of the County Council—were also focussed on the risk of litigation in the event of a failure to attend to a genuine need of a public patient. There were several problems about getting a doctor in 1928 and in the era before that! Firstly there was a communications difficulty—very few phones and most people at best had a choice between horse (or donkey) drawn transport and bicycles. The roads were often difficult to travel. Close proximity to his patients would be desirable for any doctor with such onerous duties. A dispensary doctor attended to private patients, also—but the County Health Board were not interested in this aspect of the doctor’s work. The system was tediously bureaucratic and at times officialdom exceeded reasonable requirements—in the present case with Dr Brady, I think that they were a trifle unreasonable with him.

From The People the 8th of July 1899:–

“Ballymitty Erin’s Hope v New Ross Young Irelands—The return challenge match between these two teams will be played in New Ross on Sunday next, 9 inst at Dousley’s Barn at three o’clock. The local bands will attend.”

The above advertisement surely proves the instinctive and unshakeable nationalism of those who played Gaelic Football in that era: the Young Ireland appellation refers to the revolutionary and physical force Young Ireland movement of Thomas Davis and John Mitchell, etc. Erin is of course the Gaelic name for Ireland, with a poetic ring.

From The Free Press the 8th of November 1941:–


Very Rev. Canon Hickey  P. P. presided at a meeting held on Tuesday of last week.

Mr B. Byrne Hon. Sec. read a letter from the Co. Surveyor stating that he had applied to the Board of Works for a grant to repair the river bank at Wellingtonbridge , where there is a considerable quantity of excellent turf to be won as the breach in the river bank is repaired.

Mr F. R. Leigh, Rosegarland, has intimated that he is placing two groves at the disposal of the Council for supplying firewood to necessitous persons in the parish.

The Chairman on behalf of the Council expressed sincere thanks to Mr and Mrs Leigh for their generosity and thoughtfulness which, he said, would be appreciated by everyone in the parish and especially be the poor who were without the means to procure firing for the winter.”

The above was one of the parish councils established during the awful years of World War II.