Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, ebullient, erudite, scholarly, innovative, original, visionary, a right boyo, a historian supreme and—wily. Gold and silver for the Barrystown children; that is why they mined silver at the mine pits there. And still the wonder grew that one small head could carry all he knew! I am at present in deep despair about the Cork hurling but glad that poor Christy Ring is departed from the earthly terrain—he could not cope with that.

On September 12th 1953 The Free Press reported that Fr Philip Doyle O. S. A. was transferred to Grantstown and noted that he was the author of the play about the Hook in the Harvest time. Serving Mass was then a great issue, indeed a great honour and for the boys doing it a source of small bits of money. My mother became dismayed by the contention over who should serve and the necessity of getting up so early in the morning to go to serve Mass on week-days. She told me that she regarded Fr Doyle as a very holy man, maybe excessively so; she spoke to him about some difficulty in the serving of Mass and he responded by quoting Scripture about the last being the first and the first last….She was not really satisfied and in my time she indicated no interest in my serving Mass. At school in Clonroche I was somewhat apart from the other children—that was understandable in itself—and young Fr Jim Ryan (God rest his gentle soul) wanted boys to train to serve Mass. Mr Healy the master in Clonroche National School, spoke to his classes about this request and there seemed to be quite a bit of contention about who should be recruited (if that is not the wrong word); Mr Healy—as if sensing that I seemed to be unmentioned and this is to his credit—seemed to psyche himself (he may have been slightly afraid of me) and then with a nervous tone of voice asked me if I was interested in serving Mass and I simply told him no. I think that he was relieved with my answer. By then some of the mystique about serving Mass may have vanished but, anyway, I would not have wanted to tell my mother that I had signed up to this commitment! I suspect that the clergy of that era sort of hoped that serving Mass would introduce boys to the concept of the priesthood and produce vocations. Weekly Mass was central to people’s lives in the 1950ies plus various devotions at different times of the year: the people lived for the religion. On the oral history project for the Co. Wexford Library I talked about these issues and especially my time in Carrig-on-Bannow: the C. D. of it is available in Wexford Library.

It was reported in late August 1953 that a man in Broadway had a hollyhock twelve feet in height and still growing. One of my hollyhocks this year was also up to twelve feet and growing literally all over the place. You could no more put a boundary to the march of a nation—as Parnell said—that you could stop hollyhocks growing in warm weather. It was warm in August 1953.

From the Forth and Bargy notes in The Free Press on October 10th 1953:–

“Miss Bernadette Coady, who recently celebrated her coming of age, is eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs J. Coady, Danescastle, Bannow, holds a responsible position on one of London’s chief banks.” Presumably she had celebrated her 21st birthday and this illustrates the young age at which many, in that era, came into positions of responsibility. Acting Principals of National Schools were in some instances, as young as 20 years of age. My father talked a lot about a Garda Coady in Carrig police station; he actually got on very well with him.

From The Wexford Herald June Monday, 10th 1816:–

“Death—On Friday at Barriestown, the seat of Jonas King Esq., Miss Sarah Hammond.”

I do not believe that Jonas King, a confirmed bachelor, had a live in lover so Miss Hammond may have been a relation and the obvious query is whether this woman was related to the Miss Susanna Hamond who died when her house at Tullicanna went on fire in April 1824? (See my last blog).

A lecturer in the 1950s had this inter alia to say of Bannow:–

“Rev. James Graves, writing in 1849 objected to the name “Irish Herculaneum” being given to Bannow. He gave a description of the view at present displayed to everyone standing on the most elevated part of Bannow Island. The effect he said, at full tide was that of a noble and well sheltered harbour of refuge but when the tide had ebbed, the spectator beheld but a few winding shallow channels and a small expense of deep water adjoining Bannow Island, surrounded on every side by thousands of acres of sand and sludge; while a highly dangerous bar, on which a fearful sea breaks in rough weather, renders access difficult, even to the scanty anchorage existing within the shelter of the island.

He comes to the conclusion that this change from what he believes must, in past times, have been a safe and noble harbour has been brought about in two ways—by the sinking of the land and the rising of the sea level and by the gradual accumulation of sand and gravel deposits by wind and tide within the harbour.

Dr Graves shows that, as recently as 1657, by the evidence of the map of the Parish in “The Down Survey” the sea entered Bannow by two deep channels of which only one exists at present while the other is high and dry and a road running across the sand far above the high water mark connected the island with the mainland. He considers the existence of important and flourishing towns at Bannow and Clonmines is very strong proof that the bay was a tolerably safe and commodious harbour within the times of authentic history.

Having remarked that the Church and the chimney and some few traces of masonry are all that still remain of the town, Dr Graves, mentioned that a castle, marked on the Ordnance Survey Map, had disappeared.

Mr Walsh said that Dr John O’Donovan said there never was a house of Bannow buried in the sands but the people believed that there was an old Irish village there, the houses of which were of mud and wood which fell into decay like the town of Mayo.

Both Rev. Robert Walsh and Dr Graves gave the names of streets of Bannow as taken from the Quit Rent Rolls as High Street, Weaver Street, St George Street, Upper Street, St Podlock’s Street, St Mary’s Street, St Ivory Street and Little Street. References were also made to farm slated houses, horse mills gardens, etc, as paying Quit Rent, indicate that Bannow was at one time a prosperous place.”

[Quit Rent has something to do with hunting rights].

From the Bannow and District Notes in The People December 5th 1953:–

“Beet Returns—Beet returns still continue good in the area although no outstanding sugar content is being obtained. The crop is averaging between 18 and 19 per cent generally and the bulk around 14 tons per acre. A crop grown by Mr Martin Waters, Brandane, it is claimed, will average 16 tons per acre while Mr Joseph Hogan, on his cottage plot at Cullinstown, the are of which is one third of a statute acre approximately, had a return of 3 tons, 17 cwts and 2 qrs of clean beet equal to almost 18 tons per statute acre, with a net cash value of over £30.”

At a meeting of Wexford Co. Council in November 1953

“Mr J. J. Furlong urged that the river between Cullinstown and Ballygow be improved. Several farms were flooded by it. It was turned down because a sea groyne was thought to be too expensive.

Mr T. Redmond supported the recommendation and said the Co. Engineer had admitted the extensive benefits the scheme could give. A mile of land on each side of the river was flooded. The improvement scheme was being deferred year after year and even if it cost £7, 000 it would be well worth it.”

From Enniscorthy Guardian March 27th 1915:–

“The National Festival was creditably celebrated in Carrig. About 100 members of the Rathangan Gaelic League and Dramatic Class was formed in the village and headed by the Carrig band. The members marched to the church where the Rosary was recited in Irish by the Rev. Patrick Walsh C. C., the responses being given in the native tongue by a large congregation. In the evening a Ceilidh was held in the village and the programme of Irish song and dance was much enjoyed.”

The People July 16 1887:–


Beans—Only a small area sown; prospect not promising; an hour’s wind might not leave them worth much. Barley—This crop has suffered much from the continued drought, stunted and thin on the ground; exceptional fields a full promise. Wheat—Not much sown, only for home use; looks pretty well and is expected to harvest good. Winter Oats—Gone out of tillage here. Spring oats—Apparently seedy, straw very short and thin on the ground. Potatoes looked very well up to last week but would not appear to have stopped growing; stalks getting yellow. I don’t know of any new yet in this locality; a month late. Hay—not half a crop and unless stored next day after cutting, useless as provender. General Observations—The great want of water is felt both for people and cattle. All pumps are dry or nearly so. Should copious showers fall the coming week, they would assist the situation and materially help the green crop.”

From The People February 21st 1894:–

“Mr Devereux Relieving Officer, reported that a case of typhus fever had occurred in Busherstown, Harristown Electoral Division, the afflicted person being John Chapman. He had been attended to by Dr Byrne and was removed to the fever hospital on Saturday night, February 10th. Clerk—The doctor recommended that the house should be properly disinfected and limewashed and the clothes burned. He 9the clerk) asked the doctor if it would be enough for the clothes to be brought into the house and be fumigated and put through the apparatus. The doctor said this would be sufficient and this means the quilts and other things were saved. The tick [mattress] had, however, been burned. The wife and children were put in the out-house. Mr Peacocke said the action of the doctor was very proper; it was a great saving not to have the clothes destroyed.”

From The Echo March 15th 1913:–

“On Sunday morning a ewe the property of Mr W. H. Lett, Balloughton House, Bannow, gave birth to a peculiar lamb. It had nine legs and two tails; its head was large and flat and the mouth crooked and over-shot. Curious to relate, the same ewe gave birth to a fine big lamb on Saturday morning at 10 am, which is alive and doing well.

According to a Parliamentary report the Established or Protestant Church Union of Kilkevan comprised:–

Kilkevan, rectory and Bannow, vicarage. They were contiguous and comprised 5,400 acres. “Rev. Ambrose Hickey, has care of souls; resides part of the year; remainder in the diocese of Cork.” The union was united episcopally in 1806.

At the meeting of the Wexford Poor Law Union Guardians in July 1866 the Clerk read this letter:–

“Bannow, Ross, July 4th 1866

Dear Sir, I received your letter stating that the Board of Guardians wished to me to inform them why I applied for admission into the Workhouse for Richard Kavanagh and I beg to say in reply that I was called to visit Richard Kavanagh last week and found him ill and very disturbed in his mind. After a very careful examination I came to the conclusion that he could not be admitted to the county gaol as a dangerous lunatic and, therefore, there was nothing left for me but either to send him to the Poorhouse infirmary as a sick person or leave him at home. When I saw the unprotected state he was in and was aware that I attended two years ago an inquest on a sister of his who had drowned herself and being reminded by his family that I had sent a man from the neighbourhood last summer with a similar ailment into the Poorhouse infirmary, knowing that the Board of Guardians would be able to procure a safe place for him in case he did not at once recover—I trust that the Guardians will take the same view of the case as I did—that his case was an exceptional one and one not likely to occur again and that if there was some irregularity in his admission, that it was better to have it so than have the man left in an unprotected state with the example of his sister before him.

I am, dear sir, yours very truly

Thomas Boyd.”

I may have told this story before but it is worth re-telling a thousand times!

From The Wexford Herald, February 10th 1817:–

“In our paper of the 26th ult., we stated the loss of the sloop Elizabeth laden with teas, sugar, etc, on one of Keroe Islands; a circumstance has since been imparted to us which we feel the utmost pleasure in recording. The cargo was insured but the vessel worth of £1,500 unhappily was not. She was the sole property of the captain and his father-in-law who, by this misfortune, have been reduced to beggary. Thomas Boyse (who risked his life in saving the lives of the crew) and the Rev. George Carr of Ross, put in their claims for salvage and having received the sum of £75 generously gave it to the two sufferers above mentioned. The sum, so humanely applied, would never have been sought for if they had not such an object in mind.” There is no need for me to explain the greatness of Tom Boyse to a Carrig-on-Bannow readership.

On Tuesday the 4th of November 1817 Elizabeth the widow of the late J. Goff of Horetown died in 78th year. She was mother of 22 children, 45 grand-children and 29 great grand-children, in all 96 children.

Daniel Ryan was game keeper to Francis Leigh of Rosegarland in 1820.