Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown—as if it could be anybody else! The dictionary of the English language does not suffice to describe my greatness, historian supreme, a genius with an intellect far higher than Einstein, scholarly, erudite and now writing a long over due account of my life and I am sure that my millions of readers will be most eager to bring forth information and photographs to aid my biographical endeavours. I am, of course, blessed among the women and my likes will not tread the world again. I ever remain that wily boy from beside the mine-pits.

I am sure that all of you have read David Tucker’s excellent article on the Barrystown mines in The People newspapers. Tom Boyse assisted some of the destitute miner families to emigrate and presumably financed them on their arrival in America as well. The pre-truth phrase I intended as a witty allusion to the present theory of a post truth society: truth is, in many cases, not actual facts but philosophy and ideology; there are variants of religious truths and left wing-communist regimes in a previous era propounded a revolutionary truth. As a general rule, it is difficult for politicians of any hue to stick rigidly to fact, especially in a democracy. But I believe that democracy is the only political system that may confer legitimacy on a government.

From The People the 3rd of July 1895:–

“The Bannow Telegraph Office

The following, under date June 25th, was read from Mr W. H. Creswell, Secretary to the General Post Office, Dublin:–“With reference to your letter of the 11th instant, I beg leave to state for the information of the Wexford Board of Guardians that a telephone is considered by the department to the most suitable instrument that could be employed on the circuit in question and that the substitution of a single needle instrument, while not adding to the efficiency of the service, would add considerably to the cost. Under these circumstances, before the department is prepared to state the terms on which it which will provide single needle instruments on the circuit, perhaps, the Board of Guardians will be good enough to state in detail what are their objections to the telephone.”

In reply to Mr Peacocke, the Clerk said he had no correspondence with Bannow in connection with this matter since. Mr Peacocke—It would be well to refer this letter to those directly interested. What do you think, Mr Chairman? The Clerk said what the Post Office wanted to know were the objections which the people of Bannow had to the telephone. Mr Devereux, Relieving Officer, said the Guardians told him that the people of Bannow considered that as they had given a guarantee for a telegraph service they should get it, particularly, as the Post Office had given the telegraph for the same money to another place. Mr Devereux, the Guardian, told him he would be in favour of having the reply of the Post Office sent to the ratepayers and having it considered. Lord Fitzgerald said he supposed that the messages sent by telephone would be less expensive than those delivered by telegraph. That was a matter which was not taken into account when Mr Devereux, the Guardian, was present. The only thing really considered was whether the guarantee would be lower or not—that is, if the guarantee for the telephone would be les than the telegraph but the matter was not considered by Mr Devereux or by the ratepayers as to whether every message that would be sent would be cheaper than if sent by telegraph and that is a very important point.

Clerk—The message would be no cheaper but probably they would require a larger guarantee for the telegraph than they would for the telephone. He thought they would have to pay the same for the messages. Mr Peacocke said he believed that the prices for the messages were exactly the same; but he believed if it was in contemplation that the telephonic system should be worked at so much for the length of the conversation. The Clerk said as soon as he got the objections (in writing) from Bannow he would send them to the Post Office Department. He got a wire yesterday from Mr Hollingshed of the Post Office, from Gorey, and who had been with him regarding the matter previously, asking for the valuation of Major Boyse, Mr W. H. Lett, Mr Thomas Devereux Poor Law Guardian; and Mr Andrew Devereux of Danescastle. He had sent on this and he thought they could refer the letter of the Post Office to these gentlemen for a reply. Lord Fitzgerald said that it seemed a strange thing that there had been no consultation with the mass of the ratepayers at all and that the matter had been left to the decision of five or six of the large ratepayers. Mr Devereux had taken on himself to answer for the whole of the district. Mr Devereux, Relieving Officer, said that Mr Devereux had consulted a very large number of the ratepayers before he had mentioned the matter at the Board.”

On the motion of Mr Peacocke, seconded by Mr Kearns, it was decided that the reply of the Post Office be sent to the people in Bannow, who were directly concerned.”

The reasoning of the people of Bannow is obvious enough: in an era when only a tiny minority of the people had access to the telephone—and when it was a most cumbersome device-dependence on the telephone would be a very restricted mode of sending any urgent message. A telegraph—and most of my younger readers may not even have heard of such a service—involved phoning a message to the Post Office nearest to the intended recipient of it; it was written in shortened format and delivered by a telegraph boy (for want of a better description) to the recipient. It thus avoided the obvious difficulty of phoning a person without a telephone—only a person with a telephone could receive a telephone call. By 1895, it would have been possible to contact the higher Government offices by telephone.

From The Enniscorthy Guardian the 4th of May 1927:–

“Native of Clonmines

Mr J. V. Stafford of Chicago, who is conducting a big tour to Ireland on the 19th instant, is connected with well known families in the Co. Wexford; his father being a native of Clonmines, Wellingtonbridge. Mr Stafford, who is an esteemed and prominent citizen of the Middle West, will probably spend some time with his relatives in the Co. Wexford.”

From The Enniscorthy Guardian the 7th of June 1930:–

“CULLENSCROS (Tullicanna)

Sports and Pony races

Will be held on

Thursday, June 19th 1930

Programme of Events:

220 Yards (boys under 16); 100 Yards.

220 Yards; Half mile flat; 3 Miles Cross

Country (teams of 4); I Mile Cycling. 3

Miles Cycling (all open). Tug o’War

Weight 115 stone.

Three Pony races

Confined to Ponies that never won a £5

Prize. See Posters.

Athletic and Cycling. Entries Free.

All Pay On Gate.”

From The Enniscorthy Guardian the 25th of May 1927:–


Harvey and Leigh—June 21st 1927, at Horetown Church, by the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Ossory D. D., assisted by the Rev. T. Talbot B. D., Rector of the Parish, Captain C. C. Harvey, Bromley, Wexford to Nancy, eldest daughter of the late Francis Robert Leigh Esq., D. L. and Mrs Leigh, Rosegarland, Wexford.”

From The people the 6th of July 1895:–


To Be Sold By Auction

On Tuesday July 9th ‘95


For Mr Andrew Walsh

The produce of One Acre of Forced Grass and Two Acres of Upland Hay, in Cocks

Sale at 1.30 o’clock. Terms—Cash

N. J. Cosgrave, Auctioneer.”

From The Free Press, the 17th of June 1939:–

“Fire in Duncormack

Extensive Damage

Wexford Fire Brigade Summoned

A big blaze broke out in a large store belonging to Mr John J. Furlong, Little Graigue House, Duncormack on Thursday night of last week. Mr Furlong, besides being an extensive tillage and live-stock breeder, goes in extensively for growing pedigree seed corn and potatoes and has also developed a large general trade in hardware, coal, meal, manures and general merchandise, for which purpose he has erected big ranges of stores.

He had been out motoring with his children on the evening of the fire and had not long returned home when the conflagration was discovered in a very large store to the right of the dwelling house. The first intimation of the catastrophe came about 9pm when Mr Furlong and two of his friends and neighbours Messrs John Dake and John French of Johnstown were having a chat around the kitchen fire. The children rushed in to say that there seemed to be a fire in the big store. The three men went out at once to investigate and when the store was opened it was seen that a motor car and lorry and a stack of a couple of hundred potato sprouting boxes had been gripped by the flames and the whole house and its contents were threatened.

The building besides the motor and lorry and the potato boxes, held on the ground floor a binder, an elevator, many agricultural machines and close on 100 tons of coal. Three hundred barrels of seed corn were stored on the lofts.

The alarm was given and neighbours anxious to help at once answered it. The traction engine, mill and elevator were got away but the remainder of the valuable contents could not be saved. It looked as if the fire would inevitably spread to the other stores and to the dwelling house and a message was despatched to the Civic guard barracks at Carrig-on-Bannow to ‘phone for the help of the Wexford fire brigade. Meanwhile the fire fighters passed large chains around the walls of the store in an effort to stay the spread of the fire by pulling them down.

When Alderman Corish, Mayor of Wexford, received the call for help he lost no time in summoning the fire brigade and Captain John Wallace and Fireman Tony Crosbie (driver), John Molloy and Patrick and Thomas Lacy were soon on the road to Little Graigue with their engine and full fire-fighting outfit. They covered the sixteen miles in less than half an hour, arriving about 1 am and were followed by the Mayor of Wexford in his car. Six hundred feet of hose were at once laid on to pump water from a large marl hole and a spring well and the brigade soon had the fire under control. They remained on duty for about seven hours while it smouldered out and left when all danger of its coming to life again was past. A large crowd, attracted by the glare which lit up the countryside for many miles around had gathered and were highly appreciative of the effective work of the Wexford municipal fire brigade and of the capability of their equipment. They succeeded in confining the conflagration to the buildings in which it originated.

The cause of the fire has not been ascertained but the loss is estimated to run into thousands of pounds.

From The People on the 5th of October 1912:–

“Serious Cycling Accident at Cullenstown

On Sunday evening last Mr J. Jordan N. T., Adamstown, was the victim of very serious cycling accident. It appears that Mr Jordan visited Cullenstown on the day in question and towards evening was cycling homewards. During the afternoon, some heavy showers had fallen and consequently the roads at some points were very slippery. When Mr Jordan was rounding the place known as Kingsbridge, from which there is a sharp turning for Ballygow the machine skidded and the rider was thrown heavily against the wall of the bridge, his forehead coming in contact with one of the projecting stones, inflicting a deep wound over one of his eyes. He lay unconscious until some men came on the scene and had him conveyed to Mr J. Stafford’s near by, where having been attended to he rapidly recovered and was able to resume his journey home on Monday evening. The wound to his head, though extensive, is not considered very serious and he will probably be all right in a short time. Under the circumstances he had a very narrow escape from being killed outright.”

Writing in 1868 in his Notes and Gleanings etc, the Rev. William Hickey [Former Rector of Bannow] stated:–

“Mr A. F. Leigh (high sheriff of the county in 1860 is one of the most distinguished of the many agriculturalists among the resident proprietary of this large Barony [Shelmaliere West]. This gentleman farms about 1,000 acres of his own estate at Rosegarland. In 1850 he commenced the reclamations and improvements which he has been gradually but energetically working out from the commencement. By clearing away useless fences he has probably obtained one-tenth more of cultivable land than his predecessors had; and by subsoiling all his land, after an expenditure of £5,000 in draining, he has brought it to a degree of fertility which surprises the old men who can compare its present with its former degree of productiveness. The cost of draining Mr Leigh has partly defrayed from the Board of Works and in part from his private resources. In all the work of thorough draining he has used pipes in preference to stones. The parallel drains are 22 feet apart and 4 feet deep; and all the drained land was subsoiled before the cropping commenced; the rotations being:–tawny oats; 2. turnips, mangolds; 3. barley with grasses4. meadow;5. pasture

Mr Leigh had generally 100 acres under green crops, and of these the turnips and potatoes are invariably raised from Mornington’s superphosphates and Golding’s “special manure” at the rate of 10 cwts to the Irish acre, without dung. The produce of ten Irish acres in 1867, is computed to have been 140 barrels (of 20 stone) to the acre.

Golding’s £50 cup has been awarded for the best crop of turnips to Mr Leigh who has gained several medals from the Royal Dublin [Society] and other societies. For mangolds, dung is always used; but generally the farmyard manure (of which large quantities are accumulated) is applied as top dressing for grass land. A great amount of artificial green fodder is consumed in the numerous well arranged cow houses, cattle sheds and stables; and Mr Leigh had derived great advantage from laying down 10 acres under furze plants, the seed of which was sown in drills. This green food has promoted the good condition of cattle and horses in winter and of course conducted to economy in the consumption of hay. By regularly and timely mowing the tender furze shoots there arises no growth of woody fibre to obstruct the scythe; and the shoots are easily bruised by a machine. The cutting of rye as soiling for milch cows commences about the tenth of April; vetches follow and then clover. There are 150 breeding ewes, for which rape is cultivated in drills and also sown broadcast, with grass seeds only.

Ten horses and four bullocks are sufficient for the farm work, which is well executed. The barley is drilled (the soil is unsuited to wheat) and all the crops are clean, cereals never coming without an intervening green crop. The barns and all the offices and buildings are constructed on most approved principles and nothing of machinery is wanting for performing work of various kinds, in the most economical, prompt and perfect manner. Timber being abundant of the estate, Mr Leigh has thought it expedient to erect a steam sawmill, which enables him to prepare boards, planks, roofing, timber, &c and even wood for cooper’s puroses, for which ready sale is found. This mill has, also, been useful for many purposes. It has induced the proprietor, for instance, to erect a hay barn, 150 feet long, 26 feet wide, with a wooden roof (on brick pillars) of slight scantling. This barn has on the weather-side a louvre frame which protects from rain, or admits air at will. There is, also, a straw barn 120 X 65 feet, with a roofing of galvanised tin. For some of the cattle sheds, inexpensive rain-proof calico, manufactured at Portlaw, is used for covering.

To preserve the cattle from the necessity of drinking foul and stagnant pond water, or treading their water places into mortar, Mr Leigh has made in all his fields drinking troughs, built of bricks, which are supplied with water from the drains. They are 8 feet in length, 2 feet in width and 2 feet in depth; the bottom and sides are cemented and the overflow is carried off by pipes into the nearest drains.”