Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, ebullient, blessed among women, a historian supreme, original, a genius, describable only in superlatives, a right boyo, poetic, inspiring and inspired, innovative, lyrical, eloquent and above all else wily—that wily boy from beside the mine pits. Gold and silver for the Barrystown children and sticks and stalks for all the gawks (whatever they are). It ain’t bragging if it is true. If my readers have any anecdotes or stories, factual or apocryphal about the sublime greatness of the boy from Barrystown then send them on and they shall be placed at the top of the blog.

St Kevin of Kilkevan wrote that history was the greatest science of all. Conversely one could say that St Kevin was the greatest saint of all!

The Clonroche History Society will come on tour to the parish of Carrig-on-Bannow on Saturday July 18th. I hope that all our friends in that historic parish will join us on that day. I will of course talk all through the tour on the history of Carrig-on-Bannow.

Ambrose Potts, is given in the Cliffe estate map as having six tiny fields and a cabin plus yard at Kiltra; the total of his holding was four acres plus, presumably Irish acres. The fields are sketched in a rudimentary way and the cabin and yard are, also, marked. The map dates back to shortly after 1800. I presume that the Cliffe’s of Bellevue, Ballyhogue had taken a lease of Kiltra and the area around Carrig village from the Boyses and had in turn leased it in small farms to under-tenants. Fr Edward Murphy had approximately 11 acres close to the modern Carrig village. His house is sketched on the map as is the pigeon house field rented by William Marchant of Kiltra House. The Cliffe estate maps are easily accessible on-line. There are a few of them. The fields are in modern estimates so tiny. In time the Boyses would buy back these leases; they would buy back leases on the land that they held in fee simple or full ownership. Before 1800 on the basis of these maps the Boyses did not own the Moor of Bannow: it seems a genuine Commons.

A sister of Cliffe of Bellevue , Jane Cliffe, would marry the future first Lord Robert Carew of Castleboro in 1816. Dorothy Carew, the sister of the first Lord Carew, was wife of Sam Boyse and mother of Tom Boyse. The Cliffes later converted to the Catholic faith.

I wrote on the visit of Tom Moore to Bannow in the second Journal of the Bannow Historical Society. The contemporary newspapers are the main source of information on the visit but another source is Tom Moore’s diary which is easily accessible on-line. I originally read it in the National Library. After Moore’s death Lord John Russell who was the Whig/Liberal Prime Minister of Great Britain during the second part of the Famine edited the diaries and they were published as a means of raising money to provide for the widow of Tom Moore. Tom Boyse was of the Whig/Liberal political persuasion. Tom Boyse’s great wealth meant he could have easily become a Lord or Peer of the Realm; equally he could have elected to Westminster Parliament but because of bad health he declined such offers—he may also have felt such posts beneath him. In 1831 his first cousin Robert—the future first Lord—Carew of Castleboro indicated that his preference was for Tom Boyse to be elected to the Westminster Parliament rather than himself. Dan O’Connell told the Catholic Association that it would be an idle task for him to attempt a eulogy to Tom Boyse as no speech could properly address the greatness of Tom Boyse. He defied all precedents in his passionate support for Catholic Emancipation and sought the ending of the loathed tithes; he anticipated modern democracy and the modern social welfare system. He scorned the greed of the Established Church clergy and hierarchy. The Boyses had previously lived at Bishop’s Hall in Waterford or near it and did not come to love in Bannow until circa 1814 or a little later. Tom Boyse stated that he was a native of Co. Kilkenny, presumably Graignamanagh, where they had an estate.

The agricultural school established by the Rev. William Hickey at Bannow in what is called now the Farm House was spoken of in the Westminster Parliament.

From The People the 26th of July 1947:–

“The Ballymitty Coal—Work on the excavation of the expected coal mine at Ballyknock, Ballymitty is being carried on apace. Shafts have been sunk to a depth of 20 feet. From now on work will become slower as rock will probably be encountered. Many people are visiting the scene of operations and last Sunday a number arrived in motor cars. The “diviner” with some interested parties, again visited the area last Sunday and made a survey of adjoining areas to the one at which the work is being carried out but the result of his investigations were not made known.”

From The People :–

From The People the 13th of January 1920:–

“Meeting at Tullicanna—A meeting in connection with the rural electrification scheme was held in the schoolroom, Tullicanna, last Thursday night. There was a very large attendance. Rev. L. Kinsella C. C. occupied the chair. Each locality in the area was well represented. Mr M. Keane, Balloughton, chairman of the Carrig-on-Bannow committee in connection with the scheme attended and gave detailed particulars of the working of the scheme. Messrs P. Walsh, Woodgraigue House and J. Wallace, Wellingtonbridge, also, attended and gave some very valuable information. After the matter had been debated at considerable length, the meeting was unanimous in approving of the scheme and having it in the area. A number of those present were appointed to canvass the area. A further meeting will be held in the near future at which all the residents in the area are expected to be present.”

From The Forth & Bargy Notes, The People, October 1st 1949:–

“Large Hen Egg—A hen owned by Mr A. Hillis, Halseyrath, Tullicanna, has laid a very large egg weighing 3 and a half ozs….

In Bloom a Second Time—The laburnum tree is most beautiful when it blooms in the month of May. At present in the Tullicanna area there is a tree of this kind in bloom a second time, which is most unusual. It is believed this is due to the exceptionally fine year.”

From The People September 17th 1949:–

“The County Football Final—The Ballymitty senior Football Team are travelling to Enniscorthy next Sunday to play Wexford Volunteers in the county final. It is expected that a large number of the Ballymitty supporters will travel, as every available motor has been hired for the occasion; in fact the biggest crowd that ever left Ballymitty is expected to travel. The Ballymitty team has been in training for the past few weeks and are reported to be in good form and hope to bring the honours home. In any case, win or lose, they should render a good account of themselves.

From The Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, Vol. VI, 1797:–

“So late as the year 1626, Bannow is registered in the custom house books of Wexford, as having four streets, which paid quit rent to the crown; viz, Lady Street, High Street, Weavers Street, Little Street and some buildings surrounding the church. The only remains of Bannow, which stand visible at this day (1786) are the walls of its church. There is not on or near the town but one poor solitary hut. The election for the representatives of the town is held on the walls of the old chimney, adjoining to the church, which tumbled down piece-meal, and forms the council table of that ancient and loyal corporation.”

Camden in Britannia Ed. 1594 states that the name of Bannow, a town situated not far from the promontory, where the English made their first descent, signifies “sacred” in the Irish language. The Irish verb beannuigh means “to bless” and its participle is beannuighthe, “blessed”…

Dr W. H. Grattan-Flood has written on Bannow:–

“In 1634 Piers Neville and W alter Furlong were returned as members of Parliament, for the borough of Bannow and in 1639 the Members of Parliament were Christopher Hollywood and Gerald Cheevers.

From the Down Survey by Sir William Petty, we learn that in 1650 the old proprietors of Bannow were Thomas Cullen, Arthur Cheevers, James Devereux, Richard Cullen, James Furlong while Sir Caesar Colclough is put down as owner of Slade Island and Brandon. In 1665 we find Nathaniel Boyse and Margaret Cullen as new owners and Sir Caesar Colclough was left undisturbed.”

“The Interest in Tullacanna Mill


Tullacanna Mill is ten miles from Wexford Three from Taghmon, three from Carrig and two from Duncormac. The mill is newly built, within the last year and well fitted for flour and country business and in an excellent neighbourhood for both. A new kiln, dwellinghouse and out-house, all in the best repair; with about three acres of prime land. Immediate possession will be given.

Apply at the premises.

November 23, 1844.”

From The People March 26 1864:–

“Death of a miser—Tom Grant, a well known mendicant in Bargy, died suddenly on Wednesday, at Mr Doyle’s, Kilcavan. It is said that more than thirty sovereigns were found safely deposited on his person, though in life he never indulged even in the common luxury of shoes. His costume generally consisted of a large frieze coat, confined tightly by a leather belt round the waist, a cap or hat, usually ornamented with a large bunch of ribbons, of various colours and a lash in hand to prevent wicked youths from cultivating too near an acquaintance.”

From The People January 23rd 1864:–

“A race will be held on Bannow strand on Monday 8th February 1864, for a new saddle and bridle, given by Mr Matthew Cullin, Bannow, for the produce of his pony, Prince of Wales, for all age, two off. Course, one mile, best of heats.

Also a sweepstake for a saddle and bridle, for all horses that never won a higher prize. Entrance 2 shillings and 6 pence, to be paid at the post, before starting. In both races, three to start or no race. Horses to the post at 12 o’clock, sharp. No professional Jocks allowed to ride. Decision of the stewards to be final.

Mr Patrick Codd

Mr John White             }stewards

Mr Richard Colfer

January 16th 1864.”

“Dance at Cullenstown—On Sunday night last, a great social gathering was held at Ballygow, near Cullenstown (Bannow) in a house that is situate there known as the “old barracks”. There was a very large attendance, it being the first of the kind held in this locality for a great number of years and consequently nearly all the inhabitants of all  ages took part. As one “wag” in the locality put it, “they were there from 14 years to the age-old pensioner”. The function was a great success from every point of view and all present enjoyed themselves thoroughly. There were Irish songs, dances and music galore and the promoters may well congratulate themselves on their initial effort and it is generally hoped in the locality that this is only a forerunner of many more of the kind in the near future.”

The War of Independence was at height in 1920 so it is remarkable that an activity such as dancing denoting ordinary and conventional life was so routinely indulged in. The overall impression from that item is of a stable, peaceful society; in itself a paradox. The barracks was knocked down during the 1950 and stones from it were used for another purpose, road-making I think. I don’t think that it housed the Irish Constabulary as they were never stationed in Bannow but the police force antecedent to the formation of the Irish Constabulary may have occupied it—the tradition was that it was a police barracks.

Prince Michael Neale told the High Court sitting in Wexford in July 1947 :–

“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

Prince Michael Neale told the court in :–

“The Iris 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 the High Court in Dublin and consequently the Registering General acceded to my request and registered my son as a Prince.

What is your title so registered?

Prince of the Saltees.

In further reply the witness said his secretary was instructed by him to refuse all letters not addressed to him as Prince of the Saltees, whether they contained money or otherwise. He assumed the title shortly after he bought the Island. His father, Mr John O’Neill of Ballinglee, Co. Wexford had ownership of the Island for some months early in 1945.

Sir John Esmonde:–

When you bought the island you had some intention in your mind? In the right sense of the word I bought the island when I was 10 years of age, although I could not pay for it then. It was an ambition of mine and I was determined to buy it. I was reared in very poor circumstances and it was my ambition to own these islands since I was 16 and to become Prince of the Saltees.

And at last in 1943 your were able to carry out your life-long  ambition to purchase the territory and assume the title? Yes.

Your prime reason for purchasing the Islands was to obtain territory through which to take the title?

Yes, I have always held that neither the Irish nor the British Government have any jurisdiction over the Saltee Islands except by force.

You recognise that it is one of the finest bird sanctuaries in the world, visited on numerous occasions by people interested members of ornithologist associations from different countries and you have arranged with your solicitor that they can visit the island? Yes, if the birds were never there, I would still have bought the Island. Witness added that he did not buy the Island for tillage because he did not think it could be tilled for profit. He heard Mr Francis grew potatoes there for export and that people hostile to England burned the boat.

Asked if he intended to be an Irish Monte Carlo witness replied that he would not call it Irish, because he did not believe the Islands were part of Eire. He would develop the Island when the coming war with Russia was over. He would spend a considerable amount on it then”

Communist Russia, then one of the two super-powers, was then embarked on aggrandizement of its Marxist empire; it threatened to take over all other countries and subject all nations to the communist system and elimination of all religion. Stalin was a brutal dictator and his death in 1956 began a softening of the Russian system. In the autumn of 1962 President Jack Kennedy forced the Russian Premier Khrushchev into a humiliating backing off in the Cuban missile crisis. Kennedy came to the Co. Wexford in June 1963 as a heroic figure, an icon on account of the Cuban crisis.

Prince Michael’s expectation of developing the Saltee Islands after the Russian war seems risible and naïve: if the Russians invaded Ireland and/or if they bombed it to kingdom come what scope would there be for development of anything on the cessation of the war? If the Russians won the war then all the properties of Prince O’Neill would be confiscated.