Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, beside the mine pits, charming, charismatic, obliging, innovative, inspired and inspiring, awesome, scholarly, erudite, grandiloquent, eloquent, poetic, valiant, courageous, a historian supreme, a right boyo, blessed among the women, humble, self-effacing and above all else, wily, that wily boy…..It is always gold and silver for the Barrystown children: such is their inevitable destiny.

There is a most positive, indeed overwhelming, response to my intention to lecture on the history of hurling and the Cloughbawn senior hurlers from 1947—52 in Clonroche on September 29th at 8.30 pm.  There will be quite a few surprise findings in the section of the history of hurling. All those who deem themselves to be of importance will be there, blah, blah, blah….

The County Junior Hurling first grade title was won by Cloughbawn on August 10th 1935; as far as I can ascertain this team was representative of the whole parish. As favourites in the 1934 final they had succumbed badly to Rosslare. At the 1931 Co. Convention there were representatives from the Clonroche Independents, the Clonroche Mutineers and Clonroche Rangers; and all three Clonroche Clubs entered teams in the Enniscorthy district in 1931! The 1935 final was played at Barrett’s Park, New Ross and the astounding feature of the first half was the mesmerising display of young eighteen year old John Foley for Adamstown; all of their scores came from him and they led Cloughbawn at half time on the score line of 2—7 to 2—1. Larry Harrington moved to centre back in the second half, in an attempt to curb—insofar as anybody could curb him– the effectiveness of John Foley. Cloughbawn ran out easy winners, with two late goals, on the score line 7—3 to 4—8.

John Foley—as there is no need to point out to my legions of readers—later lived in the village (and had a business there) of Carrig-on-Bannow.

Barrett’s Park, New Ross, was after the untimely death of Sean O’Kennedy, the iconic All-Ireland Hurling and Football medallist from that town, later re-named  O’Kennedy Park. If I am incorrect on that I am open to correction.

“The Traveller’s New Guide Through Ireland” was published in 1819; I quote this pertinent piece from it (with archaic wordings):–

“Here the Banno river, augmented by many tributary steams, empties itself into Banno Bay; the Scare is fordable at low water but at middle, or high water, it must be crossed in boats. It is asserted that, during the period the Danes, or Ostmen, held possession of these coasts, a mint was erected and silver coins to a very considerable extent were stamped, in consequence of the abundance of silver ore discovered in the adjacent mines—A mine was formerly wrought at Barristown, contiguous to the banks of the Banno.” As I always say, it ever was gold and silver for the children of Barrystown.

In his feature “Life in Our Villages”, in The Free Press in late 1963, the famous writer Hilary Murphy, writing on Clonroche, referred to the work of Father Paul Canon Kehoe, the Parish Priest of Cloughbawn, a much revered pastor of his flock, who was a native of Moortown, Ballymitty. Fr Kehoe was by then 32 years departed from this earth, so the fond recollections of him are remarkable. Hilary Murphy related:–

“Centre for all functions is the village hall which was opened with a two day bazaar in June 1918. Mainly responsible for building this hall, which was one of the first village halls to be erected in the Model County was the late Very Rev. Paul Canon Kehoe, much loved pastor from 1911 to 1931.

Almost everywhere we went in the district we heard references to the great work done by “Father Paul”. A native of Moortown [Ballymitty], Fr Kehoe had spent three years as Chaplain to Sing Sing prison in New York prior to his appointment as Pastor of Cloughbawn in 1911. The Church was in need of repairs and the grounds surrounding it were in bad shape.

Father Paul got to work and his infectious spirit got the people of the village interested in improving the area. A bazaar was started and Fr Kehoe’s efforts were so successful that the late Harry Blythe wrote in his inimitable style, “Clonroche washed its face”.

Fr Kehoe was, also, responsible for having a number of trees planted and for getting the present water supply installed in the village.”

The court of the Petty Sessions in Taghmon in February 1892 heard some weird and crazy things: it is difficult to believe that any court would bother to deliberate on this trifling case:–

“Mr Leigh Rosegarland summoned Gregory K–, Ballinglee, to show cause why an information should not be taken against him for having on the 19th of December last unlawfully in his possession four rabbit snares, the property of said complainant.

Mr Taylor who appeared for Mr Leigh said this case had been adjourned from last court-day for the purpose of producing witnesses. There were two other charges against the defendant, to come afterwards, but they would hear this case in the first instance.

The defendant did not appear.

Mr Leigh retired from the Bench during the hearing. [Mr Leigh was a magistrate of the Taghmon Petty Sessions].

James W–, a gamekeeper in the complainant’s employment, deposed that he knew the lands of Ballinglee; he remembered the 16th December last and was on the lands, in question, on that day; John W—was with him at the time; he knew the defendant and saw him on the lands; he had twenty-one snares and some rabbits in his possession; four of these snares belonged to Mr Leigh; he was quite positive about that; he produced the snares and showed them to the court.

To Mr Considine [Resident or Official Magistrate]—He was setting a snare out of which he had taken a rabbit; he was going to reset it.

Mr Taylor—Had not some snares been missed before this occurrence?

Witness—Oh, yea.

George D—deposed that he was in the habit of making snares for Mr Leigh; the snares produced were made by him for Mr Leigh.

Mr Spring—Was this man prosecuted before for a similar offence?

Mr W—said he had not been summoned but had been warned before for trespassing on the same land.

Mr Taylor said he would apply for a warrant which was granted.

The same defendant was, also, prosecuted by Mr Leigh for having on the 16th December between sunrise and sunset, used and set snares for the purpose of taking and killing rabbits on land in the occupation of plaintiff.

James W—deposed that the lands trespassed upon were in the possession of Mr Leigh; he saw defendant taking a rabbit out of the snares and resetting them; it was about a quarter to eight and after sunrise; when K—saw him he ran away; John G—was with witness at the time; K—had a trap and some rabbits in his possession.

John G—deposed that he was in the employment of Mr Leigh; he remembered the 16th December and was on that day in the company of the last witness; he saw K—raise the snares and take some rabbits out of them and then re-set them; the gamekeeper ran after him and he ran to the gamekeeper’s assistance.

Mr Taylor then read the Act of Parliament dealing with the case and said the defendant was subject to a penalty not exceeding £5. He thought K—had given a great deal of trouble.

Mr Spring—What age is he?

Mr W—About twenty-four or so.

Mr Taylor said that defendant was the son of Mr Meyler’s steward of Harristown.

Mr Spring said he would be in favour of inflicting the full penalty, especially, because the defendant did not put in an appearance, and, also, because he had been warned already.

Chairman—There is still another case against this man to come on.

Mr Taylor said that in regard to the case of Mr W—against K—for assault, he had been instructed to withdraw it.

Mr Stannard would be in favour of inflicting the full penalty. It would be a warning to others.

The Chairman [Mr William Monck Gibbon, Templeshelin, Adamstown] then announced that the decision they came to was that K—be fined £5 and 2 shillings and 6 pence costs.”

This is an opposite view of the Moor of Bannow controversy:–


To The Editor Of The People

Sir—Having read in your very popular journal, some time since, a letter headed “Tenant-Right, Moor, Bannow”, in which the writer gives a ludicrous description of how the Moor tenantry were gulled by Mr Boyse, &c, $c., I think that the “Ex-Bannow Man’s” well told tale does not altogether deserve credence, as I can clearly vouch being an inhabitant of my present residence nearly 60 years. Trusting you will insertion to this note, I am sir, yours truly,


Keerow Isle, 20th January 1863”

The editor of the Wexford Independent reported on December 12 1846 some predictable news:–

“We feel true pleasure in stating that Mr Boyse, of Bannow, has expended £1,000, in the purchase of corn, to guard against the alarming contingency before us. Le the princely example be followed.”

On August 20th 1836 the editor of The Wexford Independent corrected a mistake in a previous issue, regarding the guests at the table for the public dinner in Wexford when the iconic and genuinely reforming Mulgrave, the Lord Lieutenant made his triumphal tour of the county; tens of thousands of people poured onto the roads to catch a glimpse of him and follow him. Erratum is the Latin word for error:–


In our account of the public dinner to the Lord Lieutenant, the compositor omitted the respected name of Samuel Boyse Esq., as having sat the head table with his Excellency.”

According to The People July 12th 1947 Prince Michael Neale asserted:–

“During the war he could not get oil for the boat to go to the island. It was impossible to till the island because bad weather for a couple of months would result in a total loss. Witness could see arable land there and he derived no benefit out of the land. He had lost a good deal of money on it, paying the annuity to the Government. He bought the island as a bird sanctuary and ornithologists came from all parts of the world, to study these birds but they did not pay him anything.

I intend to develop the island, something similar to Monte Carlo” continued Prince Neale. “I was in Monte Carlo, a short time ago and I am convinced I can develop the Saltee Island on similar lines. The only way I could develop it was by employing aeroplanes and it is my intention to use helicopters which I have used to a great extent in England during the war. If I was to go to the Island at present I would have to go illegally using market paraffin in the boat”

Judge—Could you not row a boat there? Witness—That is impossible.

Mr O’Connor—Some of the fishermen go out in that direction and land the ornithologists?

Witness—yes. They pass fairly close going to the Lightship. When I went out myself before I bought the Island, I paid £3 to go there.

The witness added that submarines commanders and Naval men had told him that the currents there were the most dangerous in Europe.

Sir John Esmonde examining—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. The Irish Government refused to recognise my title on the registration of the birth of my son a short time ago and I intended to bring it to he High Court and consequently the Registering-General acceded to my request and registered my son as a Prince.

What is your title as registered?

Prince of the Saltees….

His father, Mr John O’Neill of Ballinglee, Co. Wexford, had the ownership of the Island for some months early in 1945.

In the books of distribution after the Petty Survey in the Parish of Carrig, John Barry, Irish Papist, is listed as owning two hundred and ten acres in Barristowne, valued in the year 1640 as forty pounds. I presume that the measurement was in old Irish Plantation measure so Mr Barry’s land would in Barrystown would amount to 336 acres. He was listed as owning “fifteene acres” in Grantestowne”, in modern measure about twenty four acres.

The above figures are certainly not the full extent of Barrystown. There is a reference to the “Myne Pitts of Barristowne”. John Barry lost his lands, I presume, because he was involved in the Rebellion of 1641. I was previously sure that Barrystown was named after the Barrys but I am now not quite certain; is “Barris” derived from Barry or from something else. The part of Barrystown not owned by John Barry may have been inhospitable to cultivation and simply left there, perhaps a Moor.

From The Wexford Freeman November 12th 1836:–

“…a man named Wallace was killed at Lough, near Cullenstown, by the electric fluid, whilst returning home from working.”

The electric fluid was a roundabout way of describing electricity.

On the 7th of December 1836 Tom Boyse at a meeting of the General Association [euphemism for Catholic Association] railed against Lord Lyndhurst who “designated the people of Ireland in the last session of Parliament—as aliens in blood, aliens in language, aliens in religion….” Tom Boyse handed in £1 subscription towards membership from Rev. Ennis P. P. Ballymore.

The Liberator Dan O’Connell spoke after Mr Boyse and said of him—

“It would be useless for me to attempt to eulogise the gentleman who has just sat down.” The Liberator was insisting that he could find no words or phrases adequate to praise Tom Boyse. The latter returned repeatedly to the pronouncement of Lord Lyndhurst—Boyse was clearly incensed by the conservative aristocrat’s statement. Boyse interpreted Lyndhurst’s statement as implying that the Irish were not genuinely worthy of British citizenship and by extension not entirely human. It is clear from the letters written by Boyse to William Horton, chairperson of a Parliamentary Committee on emigration, that Tom Boyse felt that spurious and malicious depiction of the Irish as feral, savage, unmanageable and undisciplined was deterring British businessmen from investing the capital in Ireland that it so desperately needed. This denigration of the Irish Boyse regarded as an impediment to the forging of Irish national self-respect. All of that is a prelude to the irony—in the longer term context of Irish history—wrought by time on Tom Boyse’s words.

The basic and core principle of the Gaelic revival and of the new, separatist nationalism that underlined the Easter Rebellion of 1916 was that the Irish people were indeed separate from Britain with a culture, language, a set of spiritual ideals, a history and racial consciousness of their own. Patrick Pearse, Tom Mc Donagh, Joseph Mary Plunkett, Tom Clarke, etc, et al, would have thoroughly concurred with Lord Lyndhurst— with a twist of Lyndhurst’s logic: they would say that not only were the Irish alien to the British way of life but that the Irish civilisation was superior to the British one. The Gaelic Revival sought to seal Irish life from the contamination of Anglicising influence.