Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, ebullient, humble, scholarly, brilliant, wily, blah, blah, blah etc. A historian supreme, and gold and silver for the Barrystown children.

They have put notices on a series of buildings in Duncormick village denoting their historical significance and the Petty Sessions (or court-house) is one of them. The court-house seems so small that it is a mystery of sorts how it accommodated the people at the hearings there. While some of the proceedings were serious enough there was a parallel culture of Petty Sessions comedy—some of the laws, observed and broken, were risible and largely ignored and certain local characters performed in court as if on a stage. The law prohibiting the grazing of live-stock on the sides of the public roads was often ignored and, perhaps, laughed at. People living small farms and corresponding incomes supplemented their supply of grass by going on the “long acre”. Sergeant Newcombe prosecuted Ned Neville at the Duncormick Petty Sessions “for trespass of five cattle on the public highway” in August 1898; my suspicion is that the newspaper reports of such cases exaggerated the quaint and idiomatic diction of the defendants. Major Boyse was chairman of the bench on that day and a lively repartee ensued between Ned Neville and both the Major Boyse and, also, District Inspector Fleming. I quote some of it:–

“Mr Fleming to Ned—You said a while ago that when the cows ran away you sent your son after them. Ned—I did, your honour. Mr Fleming—What did you send him after them for? Ned—Why, of course, sir, to bring them home. Mr Fleming—Or drive them from home—which? Ned (smiling)—You would not accuse me of that, sir? Mr Fleming (to Sergeant Newcombe)—When you saw these cows were they grazing? They were, sir, nice and leisurely. What was Ned’s son doing? Sergeant—I think picking blackberries, sir. Ned—Oh the brat (loud laughter)”

At the conclusion there was this dialogue:–

“Chairman [Major Boyse]—I doubt, Ned, you have a bad case. Ned—Ah, begor, I’m beginning to think that myself now, too (laughter); but Major try and make it a good case for me by not fining me hard; for t’was the hot weather did it all an’ sure it is too soon to go fall out with the fine time yet, ‘til the harvest is over. The times are hard an’ the oats blasted and considering all, gentlemen, I ask you to make it as light as you can. Chairman [Major Boyse]—I think, Ned, we can’t treat you better than fine you 2 shillings and costs. Ned—Begob, hard enough, Major (laughter). Ned—I don’t know what I’ll do with them if the gad fly keeps following them. Chairman—“Tether” them in the field by giving them something to eat.”

By the time of my childhood the tradition of grazing cattle on the road-side was generally vanished: the coming of motorised vehicles made it a dangerous practice. I think that by that time it was embarrassing and even shameful to have cattle grazing of the road-side. My mother certainly regarded it as sheer embarrassment to have cows or cattle grazing in that way. In the above case Major Boyse jibed that the gad flies were after Ned Neville’s cows “winter and summer.” Ned Neville was a superb character, vibrant with wit and so at ease with trivial issues (as he perceived them).

From The People July 8th 1899:–

“Lost on the 14th June, between Coolbrook and Ballymitty, a silver patent lever watch; number unknown. A reward will be given if left at the R. I. C. Barracks, Wellingtonbridge or at The People Office, Wexford.

Lost in the Chapel of Carrig, or about, a purse and money, on the 30th June, the property of a working man. Anyone bringing it to Mr Breen will get a reward.”

From The People on December 11th 1875:–

“Death of Mrs Stafford

To the Editor of the People

Sir—As a correspondent who signed himself “X” referred to this woman’s death in a recent issue of your paper, I beg to forward to you the following note of the evidence given at the inquest

Yours etc Y. Z.

“Mary Stafford (sworn) said—I worked with deceased on yesterday, the 10th inst.; she was apparently in her usual good health; we were in the kitchen making bread; shortly after four o’clock she went into the parlour to drink a cup of tea; I heard her moaning; ran to her; she was sitting in a chair; had not taken any of the tea; I asked her what was the matter; said that there was a lump in her neck and that she was going to die; I carried her outside the door, thinking she was only in a faint; she spoke two or three words and died in a few minutes; afterwards I screeched for help; Judy Whitty and James Kelly came to my assistance; about half an hour before her death deceased had some conversation with a man named George Galavan after which she sat down, cried, and appeared frightened.

John Stafford (sworn) said—The deceased was my wife; I went from home about one o’clock yesterday, leaving her in good health; I returned about half past four in the evening; when coming up the lane to the house I heard screeching; then found deceased lying in the arms of Mary Stafford and Mary Murphy; she was dead before I had time to take hold of her; she took her meal as usual on yesterday, but she was always delicate and frequently complained of a pain in her side.

Dr James Boyd, sworn, deposed—I have made a superficial examination of the body of deceased; found no marks of violence; from the evidence I am of opinion that death resulted from heart affection; I have heard the evidence of Mary Stafford, in which she states that deceased after an interview with one George Galavan, sat down, cried and appeared frightened; a fright, if she had an affection of the heart (which affection I believe caused death) would be likely to accelerate death; but as from the evidence some time elapsed after the fright before her sudden death, during which time she was able to work at her business, it is probable that the fright did not accelerate the death.

Verdict—We find that the said Bridget Stafford died from natural causes, probably heart affection, at Cullinstown, on the 10th day of November 1875.”

The above verdict would not be accepted in latter times: it is clear that stress and tension has a dire cumulative effect on the heart. If, as was alleged by a correspondent to The People Mrs Stafford was under stress as a result of been forced from her former home to an inferior one then it is quite likely that this strain would contribute to a heart attack. Dr Boyd would have to be wrong in his reasoning.

From The Free Press January 19th 1935:–

“Ceilidhe At Ballymitty

On Sunday night a very successful little Ceilidhe was brought off in Ballymitty Hall, under the auspices of the local branch of the Gaelic League. The attendance was very good, something like 30 couples being present, notwithstanding that there were several functions of the same kind in the district. A programme of Irish dancing commenced at 7pm and was carried on with zest until midnight. Songs were contributed by Miss Mollie Meyler, Mayglass, Messrs P. Kehoe, Ballymitty, M. Murphy, do, E. Hore, Ardinagh, J. Hawkins, Tullicanna and Mr Carew, Irish teacher and step-dancing exhibitions were given by L. Furlong, Balwinstown and P. Clancy, Tullicanna. The music was supplied by “The Merry Rovers” Accordeon band consisting of Miss M. O’Reilly and Messrs J. Hawkins, L. Furlong and M. O’Kelly. As M. C. Mr Carew had everything in the best of order and the Ceilidhe was voted to be the most enjoyable of its kind held in Ballymitty for a long time.

Dance at Ballymadder—On Sunday night a big social was brought off at Mr P. Wade’s of Ballymadder and it was a very successful night’s amusement. The genial Pat Wade himself was M. C. in which role he is a master hand and on Sunday night he excelled himself. The function was in the nature of a farewell function, as a young lady in the vicinity who is home on holidays from the U. S. A. is about to return. There were good songs, good dancing and a really enjoyable night’s amusement.”

I presume that most of the people did not have either television or radio and that the nineteenth century craving for music and song still obtained. In latter times there is an exhaustion of interest in music and song as means of providing such entertainment have proliferated.

From The People April 22nd 1950; Bannow and District Notes:–

“Ballymitty Gaelic Football Club—Will experience great difficulty in filling the vacant positions on the senior team resulting from the departure of two of its renowned stars, William Kelly “Spider” and Wm Carty. The former is now playing with a Dublin team while the latter has gone to England to seek employment.

New Proprietor—The premises in Cullenstown disposed of by Mr Ed Kelly have been purchased by Mr Nolan, Enniscorthy….

Recent Death—The death has occurred of Mr Bartholomew “Batty” Walsh, Bannow. Deceased who had reached a ripe old age was in his younger days a famous footballer. Forty years ago he played with the “Bannow Isles” and later one with “Bannow and Kiltra United”. Up to the last he took a keen interest in all Gaelic activities.”

From The People July 5th 1899:–

“At the meeting of the Wexford District Council tenders were received for building eleven cottages and in each case the lowest tender was accepted.

For Cottage 5n (Bannow), Thomas Neville, Bannow Moor, tendered at £76; Wm Rochford, Bannow, £77 10 shillings; Edward Browne, Ballymitty, £92, 10 shillings. Rochford and Browne offered the same figure for No 6n (Bannow Moor) which was given to Neville at £74 10 shillings. For 7n Coolishal, Martin Carroll, Busherstown, tender at £79 10 shillings; Rochford £87 and Browne £98 10 shillings…..” The other cottages tendered for were outside the parish of Carrig-On-Bannow.

From The People May 24th 1862:–

Carrig-on-Bannow Fair

Early Closing

(From our own Correspondent)

It is pleasing to record the performance of a work which is calculated to do a large amount of good and benefit society. The proprietors of licensed houses, in Carrig-on-Bannow at a recent meeting, have agreed to close heir houses permanently, on all fair evenings—in summer from 8 and in winter from 9 o’clock. This voluntary and meritorious act ought certainly redound to their credit and will effectually be the means of rendering this thriving fair a model one, also, for order and regularity.”

“To the Editor of the People

Killenaule, February 9th 1863

Sir—Whilst recently looking over an old number of your paper which accidentally fell into my hands, I perceived an article headed “A Contrast—Killenaule versus Bannow Post-Office” which I read with avidity. Evidently the writer must have been accurately informed, otherwise he could not describe so accurately and I may add truthfully, the occurrence in question. The following is an extract:–

“For some months past, the inhabitants of Killenaule have been subjected to much inconvenience, in consequence of no person being found to accept the vacant situation of Postmaster, for the small remuneration of four pounds—so that Postmaster, carrier and deliverer were incorporated in the same individual”. Your correspondent states, that with Bannow, the case was different—that there were many applicants, for the government office, all possessing talent, education, and a variety of accomplishments, though the salary was only three pounds per annum; and that so vehement was the desire to become the successful candidate, that both the humble voter’s interests, as well as the great M. P.’s patronage were canvassed to obtain it. Now Mr Editor, you would confer a favour on a new subscriber, by giving insertion to this, as some of your obliging correspondents might then furnish me with information as to how the contest was decided.

Yours Truly,


William Murphy the schoolmaster at Danescastle national school became the new Postmaster. I hope the man in Killenaule, Co. Tipperary, reads this blog. If you read my blog you will know the important things well ahead of the posse. Maybe they have no broadband in Tipperary.