Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, ebullient, charismatic, charming, erudite, scholarly, innovative, logical, witty, decisive—paradoxically—humble and unassuming and above all else—witty. At the Parents Teachers meeting in the C. B. S. Enniscorthy back in 1970 Brother Delaney told my mother that the boy from Barrystown was a boyo, whatever that meant! Brother Delaney was a Kilkenny man with little time for Wexford hurling.

The Clonroche Historical Society have their annual outing on Saturday May 31st, leaving Clonroche at 9am and going to Huntingdon Castle and Russborough House. Anyone interested can phone me at 0872937960.

From The People July 22nd 1893:– “In the church of Carrig, which is close at hand [to the new national school], many improvements have, also, been made. There is a new choir gallery of pitch pine, which is approached from the tower. This is a nice specimen of local workmanship being built (as is the schools) by Mr William Rochford, Bannow, to whom no small credit is due for the manner in which he executed the work. The seats of the church have been renewed and are, also, made of pitch pine, ensuite with the other woodwork of the church. Besides, the church has been, within a recent period, painted and decorated by a firm of Dublin artists. The old altars have been replaced by new ones, which deserve a passing notice. The high altar is the gift of the Corish family of Coolhull and is a costly and magnificent work. One of the side altars is the gift of the late Mr John Furlong of Danescastle and the name of the donor of the second has not transpired. In one of the porches of the church stands an old font of stone, with elaborate engravings. This is the only relic of any note which has been handed down from the ill-fated city of Bannow….In the church of Carrig there are several monuments to the clergy who have been in charge of the parish within the past century. Amongst them I noticed names of the Rev. William Stafford of Blackhall who died in 1842, at the early age of 42 years; the Rev. James Barry who departed this life on the 7th of April 1875 and also the Rev. Alexander Kinsella, of whom the people of the parish were very fond and who died on the 5th of October 1886, at the age of 63 years. The following is the inscription on the tomb of one of the oldest priests, the Very Rev. Peter Corish, Chancellor of the diocese of Ferns, who died on the 16th of June, 1873, in the 88th year of his age and 61st of his priesthood and the 43rd of his pastoral charge, R. I. P.” Before concluding this notice of the improvements in Bannow I will notice shortly some which have been made of late in the pretty little convent of Grantstown, belonging to the Augustinians, and of which Very Rev. John Kehoe O. S. A., prior of Clonmines, is superior. A new belfry of cut stone and a new bell have been erected over the front gable of the church. Inside there new confessionals, pews, choir gallery and other church furniture, all of pitch pine and en suite, the style of the church and furniture being Roman and similar to the confessionals in the Franciscan Church, Wexford. They were all executed by Mr Rochford of Bannow and nothing more finished could be desired. The altars were made in Munich and are splendid specimens of art. A new sacristy has, also, been erected recently. The grounds surrounding the convent and church are most tastefully laid out and carefully tended.”

The People in its report of the Petty Sessions at Duncormack on April 29th 1899 noted:–

“Four children from Bannow, named —, whose father died recently leaving the poor children almost destitute, were sent to St Michael’s Industrial School, Wexford. The usual evidence was given as to their destitute condition, etc; the Chairman remarking to his own personal knowledge the poor children were in a wretchedly poor state. It is understood Major Boyse had been very good to them since their father’s death.” I presume that their mother must, also, have been dead as a widow woman with four children would be entitled to out-door relief. This is the first that I have read of the St Michael’s industrial school in Wexford. Major Boyse was Chairman of the Duncormack Petty Session at its meeting in April 1899. Even allowing for the era in which this occurred—a time of limited revenue to Governments—it still seems outrageous that children of the loss of a parents or parents should be effectively institutionalised. I hope that nobody maltreated them.

Fr Philip Doyle recalled his days at the old national school at Danescastle; included is this vignette of the older and roughly rudimentary form of hurling and, also, a reference to the master William Murphy in educational consultations on fair days. His autobiography is quoted from in Fr Thomas Butler’s history of the parish of Carrig-on-Bannow and I take this extract from Fr Doyle’s book as quoted by Fr Butler:–

“While we were in the old village school our playground was the street which, for a country village, is remarkably wide. Strangely enough the favourite game of the boys was hurling. Our camans were homemade and crude. The ball was heavy, seldom rising from the ground. There was never any complaint of a broken window. The girls kept to themselves above the school, playing “jacks” with pebble stones and “High-gates” for which they sang a rhyme:– “Around the grey gravel the grass grows green, Many fair ladies and one fair queen….” On the monthly fair-day, which was the first Thursday of the month, half-way through the morning there came a knock on the school door. The master, in eager expectation, always answered it and was seen shaking hands with a farmer who wanted a few words in some quiet place—“about education” in general. We knew well that they moved across to Barry’s pub or down to Murphy’s where there was, always, a “good drop” for the master and his friends.” According to Bassett there were two William Murphys in Carrig-on-Bannow at this time—one the school-master and another was a merchant. The school-master, late in his career, became postmaster in Carrig-on-Bannow village.

In September 1929 the Augustinian community at Grantstown celebrated their centenary of the chapel at Grantstown and during the course of it there was a specific and pronounced reference to the most famous student at the little seminary at Grantstown—James Warren Doyle who later became the famous bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, iconic J. K. L. (James of Kildare and Leighlin).

The National Schools established in the nineteenth century as things turned out were managed generally by Parish Priests, were not intended as places of faith formation—instruction in religious doctrine was—theoretically at least—given after the ordinary school hours, from 2.30 pm to 3pm. In some cases the Church of Ireland rector came in to instruct the Protestant children while the Master or mistress instructed the Catholic children. The Board of the Commissioners of National Education on the 1st of August 1855 directed “that the Manager [of Danescastle school] be informed it is contrary to the Rules of the Commissioners “that the teacher should leave the school daily at 12 o’clock and proceed “to ring the Angelus Bell from the tower of the Roman Catholic Chapel.” A second issue was that of children standing and saying a silent prayer in class during the time of religious instruction. It was all a long story but from the Commissioners’ records it was ordered in 1856 that “the school should be placed on Roll and grants restored as the Commissioners collect from his letter 940/56 that he will take the necessary steps to prevent any Religious Instruction or exercise taking place, except at the times, set apart for that purpose and by references to the Rules he will perceive that even a mental prayer if accompanied by an act of making the sign of the Cross comes within the meaning of a religious exercise. Should this practice be continued in the school whether by his direction or without them, the Board will be compelled by their rules to withdraw the grant.” The Catholic clergy were comparatively pleased with the National Schools—in particular as they saw it as a means of whittling away the residual feral impulses of socially subterranean strata of  their flocks. As Managers of the schools they had the power of determining who would be employed as teachers. The overall net effect of the National School system was to create a vast improvement in the lives of ordinary Catholic people. The British administrators had limited revenue and setting up separate schools for the Catholic and Protestant denominations was not feasible. The Protestant bishops and clergy opted to stay out of the National system—they felt that Protestant children would be out-numbered in these schools but there was, also, a massive theological issue. The Protestant Church believed in the reading of Sacred Scripture and interpretation of it based on one’s own conscience. The Catholic Church did not agree with this kind of study of Sacred Scripture.

From The People February 24 1886:–

“On Sunday last the Land League Cottage, Ballymitty, was the scene of an event of the most pleasing and gratifying character. The occasion was the presentation of an Address to the Rev. David O’Hanlon-Walsh and never before was it our pleasing duty to chronicle such a manifestation of a people’s love and esteem as that which was shown to Father Walsh by the large gathering which, without notice or pre-arrangement, assembled at the Land League Cottage on Sunday. No wonder it was that Father Walsh should have selected his own fireside where he should consent to accept the address and presentation; for within sight of the Cottage stands the old roof-tree where was enacted four years ago the cruel scene in which the Widow Walsh was cast out upon the roadside. Within sight of that old home today the people assembled to do honour to that son who has carved his name and memory on the heart of those in whose cause the sacrifice was made. The gathering on Sunday would have been considerably larger had the fact become more generally known that arrangements were in contemplation to present the address to Father Walsh. The contingents from Wexford and Castlebridge started from the Redmond monument shortly after twelve o’clock. The Wexford National League Band, with their splendid green flags, led the way, followed by a long line of heavily laden vehicles. Then followed the Castlebridge Band, after which came a long row of cars; the rere was brought up by the Johnstown Fife and Drum Band. Along the route to Ballymitty the processionists were enthusiastically cheered. At Taghmon a halt was made, the three bands playing some of their most spirited national airs in a manner that reflected the highest credit on their proficiency. Large crowds of the villagers accompanied the procession to the Land League Cottage, which was only a few miles distant. The procession passed by the old home of the Walsh family, now, tenantless, dark and dismal; but not so the Land League Cottage, just in view. Here all was life and animation. Large crowds had collected around it and cheer after cheer rang out on the air and as the procession approached the place, the bandsmen sent up their most martial strains. Everybody taking part in that demonstration seemed to feel how inadequate was any honour they could pay to Father Walsh in comparison with his services. They knew the man, they loved the true priest and they felt that sacrifice such as the family had made for the general good could not be sufficiently rewarded by any manifestation, no matter how magnificent.” The significant issue about the eviction of the Widow O’Hanlon Walsh was that she opted not to pay the rent on a point of principle; she had ample money but she would only pay in accord with Griffith’s Valuation. She made a huge sacrifice rather than betray the principles of the Land League—she and her son Nicholas O’Hanlon Walsh lost big over this act of defiance. The latter became a rate collector with the Board of Guardians of the Wexford Poor Law Union. He had no other livelihood. Fr Davey died before his time in the parish of Ballindaggin and is buried within one of the chapels there (I think). Fr Davey was intensely embittered about the loss of Knocktarton and in his long and slightly meandering reply he seemed to berate the men of Ballymitty for not fighting to ensure that the land would remain with his mother. It is not clear how they could have done that—the Land League was by its own rules not committed to violent or belligerent activity. I will give the text of his remarks at that gathering in the next blog. One of my readers recently asked me about evictions in the parish of Carrig-on-Bannow so in succeeding blogs I will outline the majority of them. In the nineteenth century the spectacular (in a perverse sense) evictions were carried out by the big landlords, those who held mega amounts of land in fee simple or full ownership but other people also evicted—farmers evicted sub-tenants and owners of houses and cabins evicted their tenants. Eviction was usually a threat more than a reality but evictions did occur: after 1860 an evicted person was entitled to accommodation in the Workhouse but very few of these people accepted that option. The fact that legislation provided such a remedy was more important in a polemical sense—it signified that the rulers of Great Britain were most disturbed by the evictions with Mr Gladstone the Liberal Prime Minister describing eviction as “death”. This distaste at evictions underlined the two Gladstone Land Acts and the Wyndham Land Act of 1903 which enabled the Land Commission to buy the estates from the Landlords and transfer them to the tenants in return for the payment of annuities.

Mr Charlton V. S., Portal Inspector at Wexford on a Monday in June 1890, stopped three sheep out of twenty owned by a well known farmer from Whitty’s Hill, Carrig-on-Bannow “as being affected with “scab”. The animals were presented for inspection prior to shipment and were afterwards handed over to Mr Malone V. S [Veterinary Surgeon].”

In the election for the Wexford District Council in April 1899 the result for the Bannow electoral division was:– Thomas Devereux, Danescastle, 142  John Keane Blackhall, Bannow, 137   Andrew Walsh, Danescastle, 33.   I think that Mr Walsh was the well known handballer that I wrote of in the last Blog.