Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, returned from his travels about the world but as charming and charismatic as ever. There may not be a part of this wide cosmos where the boy from Barrystown is not known and adulated, the greatest of our time. Throughout my life where ever that I have gone the people have referred to my unique intellect—that is the constant greeting to me (although within myself I have often felt foolish). The boy from Barrystown who remains ever young in mind and soul is the historian supreme, the most devious and wily of them all—that wily boy from beside the mine-pits. History is the highest form of knowledge.
“Sir—In your issue of March 14th 1969, a copy of which recently reached me, you printed an interesting feature article about the Norman invaders of 1169, headed, “On Lonely Bannow Strand”.
Then under a photograph of Mr Larry Devereux and the sub-heading “Devereux have survived since 1169” you wrote that Larry and Margaret Devereux were “The last surviving descendants of the Normans who landed at Bannow strand around May 1, 1169.” I believe this to be incorrect.
In the library at St Peter’s College, Wexford, are preserved the full notes made on the complete history of the Devereux family by the great Wexford county historian, Hore.
There he states, if I am not mistaken, that the first Devereux to arrive in Ireland—coming direct from Normandy where the family were closely related to Royalty—landed in 1232, some 63 years after the original invasion of 1169.
My own interest in this stems from tracing the history of my own family in Co. Wexford, as they intermarried with the Devereux on at least three occasions, the first being in 1320.
But the Whittys, too, just missed the boat in 1169; they came with the second wave in the following year and dominated the Ballyteigue Bay area from their castle there for nearly 500 years, until Cromwell uprooted them. But that’s a different story!
The Editor of The Free Press which published the above letter on April 11, 1969, graciously noted:–
“We are grateful for Mr Whitty’s erudite correction.” The original feature had told of the Devereux family living on Bannow Island.
As I always say every piece of writing on the parish of Carrig-on-Bannow should have a vignette, a telling detail about Tom Boyse of Bannow, of glorious memory. In August 1853 the Connaught newspapers carried details of a most unusual auction: on Monday the 5th day of September 1853, at one o’clock in the afternoon, Mr Edward Staunton, the auctioneer, at Kilroy’s Hotel, in the town of Galway would offer for public sale:–
“In the Court of the Commissioners for the Sale of Incumbered Estates in Ireland
In the matter of The Estate of Thomas Boyse, Owner and Petitioner
The lands of Carrowreagh, alias Carraghy, situate in the Barony of Clare and county of Galway, held in fee simple, containing according to a recent Survey, thereof, made by the Commissioners, 171 acres 3 roods, 16 perches, statute measure. The Annual Rental of such lands (including £36 10 shillings, as the Annual value put upon the Unlet Portion thereof) is £86 10 shillings subject to the Quit or Crown Rent of £2 6 shillings 0 pence per Annum and to the Annual Tithe Rent Charge £8 6 shillings 2 pence.
Dated this 29th day of July 1853,
Henry Carey, Secretary.”
The Commissioners referred to were The Commissioners of the Encumbered Estates, established after the Great Famine, to buy out bankrupt estates.
The bidding would be submitted to the Commissioners on the 1st November 1853. The property was about mid-way between the market and post towns of Galway and Tuam, “being with a two hours drive or less of each of them”; it was only two miles from Clare Galway where there were a Post Office and Police station. I presume the drive referred to a journey by horse drawn vehicle.
In that era opulent men invested in land and this looks like an investment by Tom Boyse but in a far-off part of the country where he would have to rely on an agent. The Famine hit the west of Ireland badly and I presume that Boyse bankrupted this small estate in endeavours to save the tenants from outright starvation and resultant death. It was probably still a loss making project for him
The trumping of the post towns is proof that broadband was not then available in that part of the County Galway.
The People, on the 19th of August 1911, exclaimed:–
Not for a number of years have the Cullenstown people witnessed such crowds as visited that popular seaside resort on the 15th and made one wonder that they were in proximity with Bannow’s lonely shore.
From The People the 26th of July 1911:–
Neville—Saturday 15th July 1911, at the residence of her daughter, Ballygow, Carrig-on-Bannow, Mrs Mary Neville, aged 76 years, a native of Sheilbaggan. Fortified by the rites of the holy Catholic Church. Interment at Ballyhack. R. I. P.”
The People on July 1st 1911, reported on a massive Temperance demonstration on Vinegar Hill, Enniscorthy; my focus is on the speech given by Mr Peter Ffrench Member of Parliament, and a native of Bannow and a scion of the famous Bannow family. His speech could be used to explain the basic political and religious thinking of that time.
“Mr Peter Ffrench who was cordially received said:–Dean Kavanagh and men of Wexford, I beg to support the resolution proposed by my friend and colleague, Mr William Redmond and seconded by my old friend whom I am so glad to meet once more. I have been at a great many meetings in my time and I am bound to say that this great Temperance demonstration here to-day, on Vinegar Hill, is amongst the largest and most important meeting that ever it has been my privilege to witness. And Vinegar Hill is a fitting place for a Temperance demonstration (“Right you are”). Here in the year ’98 the people assembled to fight for home and country (cheers). May we not safely assume that we, in this great Temperance demonstration here today on Vinegar Hill, are also assembled to fight for home and country (cheers). Our homes would be brighter, happier and more prosperous if we did not consume so much intoxicating drink. Our country would be more prosperous and more productive, our people more physically, morally and intellectually fit to fight the great battle of life if we did not consume so much intoxicating drink. We often hear the drunkard say, “I never injured anybody but myself”. Oh, didn’t he indeed! What about the wreck and ruin brought on many a homestead? What about the pale wife and emaciated children? What about the terrible diseases he transmits to the human race?…..If you want to see the terrible effects of drunkenness go to some of the public institutions; go to the lunatic asylums, over twenty-four thousand patients at a cost of nearly £480,000 annually and that about one-fifth of the patients are there owing to drunkenness. Go to the hospitals. See all the people suffering from accidents, cancer, tuberculosis, epilepsy and other diseases wilfully inflicted by the patient himself, or somebody else, and if you inquire you will find a vast proportion are there owing to the abuse of alcohol. Go to the jails and the workhouses and you will find that here also alcohol is one of the greatest and most prolific causes which produce criminals and paupers. The annual crop of deaths due to actual drunkenness in the three Kingdoms is somewhere between six and seven thousand. The number of inquests is about thirty-seven thousand and a large proportion of these are traceable to over-indulgence in intoxicating drink. With the process of nation building before him a great cause to work for, an Irishman should be ashamed to be even under the influence of drink. And the man who is not is, undoubtedly, a person to be avoided. Unquestionably our people are getting more self-respect and a better spirit is growing up amongst them. Let us hope that it will continue to grow until every Irishman feels that he loses caste if he drinks to excess and that he is on the high road to worse. Now all available forces should be enlisted in the cause of Temperance. We have our great force and nobody, so far as I know, has ever said what it is, or attempted to explain it. To my mind it is the intense patriotism and love of old Ireland that is down deep in the heart of every Irishman. Sometimes we are up, sometimes we are down, sometimes we are scattered, sometimes we are sold, sometimes we are betrayed, sometimes we are torn asunder by factionism but when things are looking worst a great unseen force comes along, pricks us, binds us together and impels us forward towards the great goal of National self-government (loud cheers). Well now, so as the mind of men can penetrate into futurity, Home Rule when it is attained, which will be surely in the near future, surely our best and wisest men, our good bishops, priests and laymen can devise some means by which at least a portion of this great unconquerable force can be utilised in the cause of Temperance (prolonged applause).”
In the closing decades of the nineteenth century there was an intense revival of the memories of the Rebellion of 1798: the purpose of this euphoric recall of ’98 was ambiguous as some of the more extremist elements in Irish society wished to use it as a stimulus to foment another rebellion but the more restrained forces in Irish society wished to take inspiration from the glorious memory of the ’98 Rebellion (as it was perceived) to achieve Home Rule, an independent Irish state, albeit to some extent still under British sway. Everybody was agreed on this basic conviction: that the Rebellion of 1798 was a glorious event in Irish history and should be commemorated and ever remembered and—re-enacted in Mummers rhymes, P. J. Mc Call songs (Boolavogue, Kelly of Killanne, etc), in pieces of drama and of course in long-winded speeches by politicians and Churchmen. Apart from the extremists in the Irish Republican Brotherhood and maybe in aspects of the Sinn Fein movement, most people did not wish to re-enact 1798 in a literal sense, that is have another Rebellion, a replay of 1798, if you like!
Ironically the most fervent enthusiasts in recalling the 1798 Rebellion were the priest, politicians and Catholic laymen promoting Temperance: they challenged the young men of Ireland to emulate the heroes of 1798 in a different way—by abstaining from alcoholic drink. The metaphorical battle to curb alcoholism became most basic to all nationalist purpose, including the 1916 insurgents: when the Volunteers occupied Enniscorthy town in Easter Week 1916, their first action was to close the pubs.
The thunderstorm on a Saturday evening in early August 1911 was so terrible that old people in Taghmon sighed that “the end of the world is nigh” and there were showers of hail—most unusual at that time of the evening. Even though it was only five o’clock in the evening, shops in Taghmon had to light candles to cope with the darkened conditions. This is an extract from the report in People on August 11th on happenings in Ballymitty during the storm:–
“The Storm in Ballymitty District
The storm was far more severe in the above district that around Taghmon. Mr P. Furlong, Ballymitty had a narrow and what may be termed a providential escape from death. It appears he was cleaning a side car in his yard and had just left it to go into his own house when a lightning flash struck the step and tore it from the car. A large tree in the vicinity of Ballingly was rent in twain by being struck by lightning
On the 15th of July 1911, the People had a report of “a pretty wedding” in Carrig-on-Bannow and the report refers to a then prevalent practice of exchanging presents after such a ceremony:–
“On June 27th the commodious church of Bannow was the scene of a pretty wedding, the contracting parties being Mr P. Devereux, son of the veteran and sterling Nationalist Mr A. Devereux, Danescastle and Miss Anna Eva Whythe, Cullenstown, daughter of Mr George Whythe, Cullenstown. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Mortimer Sullivan P. P., the bridegroom being supported by his brother, Mr T. Devereux while the bride was attended by her charming sisters Mary and Margaret. There was no reception after the happy event, on account of the recent sad demise of the bridegroom’s aunt, the late Mrs Codd, Grange; but the newly married couple left for a short honeymoon in the metropolis. The bride has for some time past been postmistress of Bannow and her urbanity, efficiency and popularity may be judged from the following list of presents which is by no means exhaustive: Bridegroom to bride, long gold guard; bride to bridegroom, gold chain; bridegroom to bridesmaids, gold brooches set with pearls; bride’s parents, dinner service; bridegroom’s parents, house linen, bride’s sisters, Mary toilet service; Lily, down quilt; Margaret M. epergne; F. J. Whyte Divisional Inspector [Royal Irish Constabulary] cheque; J. J. Whyte, clock; P. Whyte, over mantel; Mr W. R. and Miss Murphy, tea service; Mr. J. Walsh, plush mantel border; Miss M. E. Redmond, silver teapot; the Breen family, bedroom set; the Crosbie family, silver cruet; Mr and Mrs Cahill, silver mounted jelly dishes; Mrs O’Hanlon, silver hat pins; Mrs P. E. Holmes, breakfast set; Mrs N. Philips, fancy table covers; Misses White, pair art pots; Mrs E. Wade, table centres; Mr J. O’Mahoney, bedroom mirror; Miss Hayes, Irish linen tablecloths; Mrs Stafford, silver mounted jam dishes; Mrs J. Hayes, silver teapot; Miss A. Walsh, tea knives; Miss Dolly Cowman, case of silver coronation spoons; Miss E. Murphy, doyleys; Mr S. Keating, gold links; Miss Harpur, Irish linen tea cloths; Miss Josie Barnwell, pair vases; Mr P. Ffrench, brass fender and irons; Miss J. Warriner, pair vases; Miss Duffy, silver mounted butter dish; Mrs Cowman, silver teapot; Mrs Byrne, toilet set; Mr and Mrs A. Devereux, dinner service; Mrs Barry, breakfast cruet and hand-painted pictures; Miss R. Salmon, silver butter knife and jam spoons; Rev. M. Sullivan, prayer books; etc, etc, etc…..
In some Royal Art Union exhibition in 1845, a picture exhibited by Thomas Boyse, Bannow, Taghmon won a £20 prize. It depicted a “Heath near Warwich, Gleamy Weather by H. H. Horsley”.
WILL IN FUTURE BE HELD
At Wellington Bridge
On the first Thursday of Every Month
For the Sale of Cattle, Sheep and Pigs
NEXT FAIR THURSDAY, JULY 3RD 1919.”
My impression of the fair at Carrig village is that it was never successful; the railway station at Wellingtonbridge gave it a huge advantage as a place for a fair.