Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming and charismatic, scholarly, erudite, historian supreme, an intelligence greater than Einstein; moves and talks with panache; blessed among women…if you like, a prophet of our age; the most devious and wily of them all—that wily boy from beside the mine pits. The relentless cold of this summer has meant a poor crop of dahlias in my garden.

From The People the 20th of September 1882:–

“Ordinations at Grantstown—The Most Rev. Dr Crane O. S. A., Bishop of Sandhurst, Australia, held ordinations in the Augustinian Convent at Grantstown on Sunday last. The young men ordained priests were—Rev. Denis M’Carthy and Rev. Patrick Kavanagh. His Lordship was assisted on the occasion by the Rev. Dr Fortune, All Hallows College; Rev. Canon Sheridan P. P. Bannow and Very Rev. J. Keogh. It is understood that the newly ordained priests will leave in a month on their mission to their diocese in Sandhurst.” Fr Kehoe was Prior at Grantstown, I am nearly sure.

I doubt if there was a seminary still operating at Grantstown at that late date. The ordinations took place at Grantstown presumably because Dr Crane, the Bishop of Sandhurst, was a native of Barrystown, close by to Grantstown and one of a famous family from which priests and nuns emerged in succeeding generations. I assume that Dr Crane used the Ordinations as an opportunity to visit his native place and family members.

From The People the 4th of March 1882:–

“On Thursday, the Rev. B.J. Ennis visited his brother, Mr J. A. Ennis in Kilmainham. Mr Ennis is now within a couple of days of being four months in jail, and his many friends will be happy to learn that imprisonment is not telling injuriously either on his health or spirits.” [Mr Ennis was a gentry farmer from Woodgraigue Carrig-on-Bannow].

From The People the 4th of November 1882:–


Nov. 2nd  at the George Hotel, Bristol, on his way to Torquay, James A. Ennis, Esq., Woodgraigue, aged 35 years.”

James A. Ennis of Woodgraigue in the Carrig-on-Bannow district was of the gentry type of farmer: the interesting question here is whether his sojourn in jail contributed to his demise. My impression is that the Land League “suspects” sort of enjoyed their stay in prison where they were treated as special inmates—which privilege they were given on the basis that they probably should never have been there.

The obituary for Mr Ennis in The People, on the 4th of November 1882, eloquently and elegantly focussed on his patriotic sojourn in Kilmainham Jail:–

“When Mr Forster got liberty from Government, and Parliament to apply Coercion to the most determined and influential opponents of landlord tyranny and greed, Mr Ennis was, of course, out as a victim. In this month of last year, he was arrested as a “suspect”, torn from his family and incarcerated in Kilmainham, where he was detained about seven months. He came out of that den with a shattered constitution. On Tuesday last, he left home to take the benefit of the air of Torquay, and on sailing from Waterford for Bristol, en route, he appeared in excellent spirits but, alas, he expired in Bristol on Wednesday morning shortly after his arrival.”

In that era of limited and risible medical expertise, it was assumed that a holiday in a pleasant clime might cure a dangerous illness.

The People reported on the 8th of November 1882:–

“On Saturday the remains of Mr James A. Ennis were interred, with every mark of profound respect, which it was possible for friends to pay, in the old Church of Kilcavan. Very few were aware up to that morning of the day or the hour fixed for his interment and considering this fact the large number who attended his funeral was sufficient to cause surprise but, had the arrangements for the funeral been generally known, the hundreds who attended would have been swelled into thousands. The long line of vehicles, filled with sorrowing friends, extended as far as the eye could reach, and upon every countenance was depicted an expression of pain which could not fail to strike the most unobservant. The funeral service was read by Rev. James Boggan C. C., assisted by Rev. B. J. Ennis and Rev. P. Corish O. S. F. while all who gathered around the grave joined with unwonted fervour in the response. On Monday the Office and High Mass for the repose of his soul were celebrated at the Church of Ballymitty and were attended by a very large number of priests, whilst the attendance of the laity was sufficient to fill the church.”

In that era, the relatives of the deceased person employed as many clergymen as possible (or that they could afford) to recite the High Office and Mass (or sing at it, I am not sure). This practice continued into the 1960s. The obituary of most people listed the number of priests present at this Mass: the more the higher the prestige for the family of the deceased.

From The People the 28th of October 1882:–

“John Barry, Esq., presented a petition in the House of Commons on Wednesday, from the parishioners of Carrig-on-Bannow, Davidstown and Cloughbawn, Co. Wexford to the effect that the power of judges to punish in contempt of court may be defined and limited by statute.”

Statute law was instigated by Thomas Cromwell, the high official in the reign of King Henry VIII: the essential character of statute law is that it is written in a law or statute, accessible to those who wish to read it. A court may only apply penalties by reference to the actual details and stipulations of statute law. A statute law applied uniformly to every citizen. The petition referred to probably was related in some way to the Land League agitation.

From The People the 1st of March 1882:–

“More Writs

Another shower of writs on the Bannow men! P. A. Boyse, landlord; Martin Huggard, solicitor; and printed at the “Liberty Press”, Wexford, by Fred Wood. This is only following up the false step already taken by the landlord, or his agents and cannot possible improve the situation—A correspondent.”

I conjecture that the correspondent was Nicholas Moore, the secretary of the local branch of the Land League.

From The Wexford on the 24th of April 1861:–

“Duncormack Petty Sessions

Magistrates in Attendance on Friday last—Jonas King, Esq., in the chair and Christian Wilson, Esq.

George Galvin for Mr Boyse, prosecuted John Roche, Martin Tierney and Laurence Devereux for trespassing on the Bannow strand and taking seaweed therefrom.

They were severally ordered to pay 5 shillings and 1 shilling 6 pence costs.”

Two of the names mentioned in the above suggest to me that this was a case of the Tintern men pinching the sea weed on the Bannow side of the Bay—an ancient feud and tradition.

From The People the 28th of October 1882:–

“We regret to have to announce the death of Very Rev. Dean Cleary P. P. Witless Bay, St John’s Newfoundland, which occurred on October 21st inst., after a long and truly apostolic life spent in the sacred ministry, full of days and merits. Father Cleary was a native of the parish of Carrig-on-Bannow, in this county. He was ordained in March 1829, in the Cathedral, Enniscorthy, shortly before Catholic Emancipation, by the late Most Rev. Dr Keating, and shortly afterwards proceeded to Newfoundland where he entered upon hismissionary labours with great zeal, which was blessed with extraordinary success in the winning of souls. He was appointed after some time P. P. of the Bay of Bulls and was subsequently transferred to Witless Bay. Dean Cleary though labouring in a far off mission, never allowed his love for his old country to grow cold, in proof of which we have only to point to the fact of his repeated and munificent contributions towards the erection of our two Parochial Churches [in Wexford town]. His first reply to an appeal from Canon Roche (who assisted at Dean Cleary’s ordination) for help, in the early stages of the erection of the churches, was a bank draft for the handsome sum of £50 and subsequently he sent other contributions, though not so large as the first, still very respectable such as twenty pounds and smaller sums reaching in all to £100. Dean Cleary was distinguished through life by his great zeal for the salvation of souls and wisdom in the administration of his parish. It is a remarkable fact that the death of Dean Cleary’s sister, Mrs Andrew Devereux, Ambrosetown, Duncormack occurred just upon the reception of the news of his death here. All to whom brother and sister were known will join fervently in the prayer, requiescant in pace.”

The above demonstrates once more that Dean Cleary was possessed of sizeable monies. In the weeks after his death, The People ran a series of long articles on the life of Dean Cleary, but they are short on biographical details of the priest.

From The People the 11th of November 1882:–

“Bannow Estate

The following notice has been served on the tenants:–

“The tenants of this estate will please take notice that I will attend in my office in Bannow yard, on Monday and Tuesday, the 13th and 14th instant, from ten till three o’clock, to receive the rents and arrears due to Captain Boyse on the 1st day of May 1882. In consequence of the rental being in many cases still unsettled, as, also, in consideration of the wet and late harvest, I am authorised by Captain Boyse to make the following abatements, viz.—On all rents more than 25 per cent over the Poor Law valuation, 4 shillings in the £; more than 10 per cent, 3 shillings in the £; not more than 10 per cent, 2 shillings in the £; or a reduction to Poor Law valuation at the option of the landlord. No reduction (except in special cases) will be given on rents which have been recently settled. Tenants who have not paid before the 15th of December will not be entitled to claim this allowance.

N. B.—All tenants will be expected to pay one year’s shore money in full of all demands up to May 1882.

J. T. Edwards

Bannow November 4th 1882.”

Was shore money another name for sea weed rent?

Was this notice a means of luring the tenants in to pay the rents? The next item leaves that sour suspicion!

From The People the 18th of November 1882:–

“Bannow Estate

To The Editor of The People

Dear Sir—As you have championed the tenants’ cause in your valuable journal, I will ask you to give me a small corner to ventilate a difference amounting to a distinction. Under the invitation to pay rent, a copy of which appeared in your journal of the 11 inst., I approached the “yard office” to pay at the reduction named. Assuming the correct copy, I took it for granted that I was entitled to the 2 shillings scale. But, strange to say, my interpretation was shivered to atoms when I read the receipt handed me by the agent. For the first time I found a 1 shilling 6 pence scale, introduced for my special benefit. I declined payment, as my rent was under 10 per cent and over Poor-law valuation—that it qualified me no such thing. I was told by the agent that it was optional with Captain Boyse to give me any reduction. However, this point I did not combat but offered my rent at the reduction of 2 shillings to the £. The agent declined to take it, unless on his own terms, to which I took exception and left the office, arranging to pay when he will see his way to take my rent at 11 shillings less, or 2 shillings in the £ reduction, instead of 7 shillings 6 pence offered.—Yours

A tenant.”

Bannow Nov 4th 1882”

I do not know if this story is true or not but it is a gripping story.

From The People on the 26th of August 1882:–

“Landlord’s Fears

On Monday the 14th inst., at 3.30pm as the Messrs Leigh of Rosegarland were returning from the eviction of a farmer named Hagan in the locality of Newbawn, when turning the corner of the road which leads to the main road to New Ross and Wellingtonbridge they suddenly came upon the men engaged in running telegraph wires, whose signal when the coil of wire was run out was simply to whistle and hold up their hands to the men ahead to cease pulling the wire. It was just as the coil was run out that the Messrs Leigh rounded the corner. The men gave the usual signal upon which the Messrs Leigh, mistaking it for a call to arms for an attack, immediately prepared for action, knelt one on each side of the car and presenting their Remington repeaters covered the two men at the same time exclaiming, “Hello! What’s this about? What’s this about?” Still covering one of the men each, they drove rapidly by, leaving the two men heartily enjoying the consternation of the gallant Leighs. The Constable in charge at Foulkesmills, on the men making their charge, passed it off as a capital joke. But had it been a reverse case, it would be very hard, indeed, to tell where it would end—A correspondent.”

I conclude this piece with this charming (if poignant) story:–

From The Wexford People, the 11th of April 1860:–

“Female National Teachers

To the Editor of the Independent

Sir—Quickly following each other, the Independent has announced the demise of two first class female national teachers. Both were natives of this county; under 30 years of age and married to men of the Celtic race—Cullen. Without derogating in the least from the merits of the other female National Teachers of Wexford, few of them will be found worthy to take up the mantle of these young women. Mrs Cullen, Clonroche, was daughter of the well known and gifted Hugh O’Neill, master of the celebrated Cloughbawn village school. Like her father she possessed all the talent and genius of her father and the hot and fiery blood of the race of Kenel Owen. Like her father she wielded a ready pen, for either poetry or prose, and under the signature of “A. C.” took part in the appeals made, through your columns last year, for an increase of salary to the National Teachers.

Mrs Cullen, Ballinkeele, was daughter of Mr William Ryan, present teacher in Ballymurrin National School. Her father was appointed to the Bannow (Carrig) National School in 1840 and being of a studious, unobtrusive turn, he devoted his spare hours to the education of his little daughter and she did not disappoint his hopes. When of sufficient age, she was appointed paid Monitress in her father’s school (a rather rare appointment) and when the great headmaster Kavanagh paid a flying visit to the School in 1852, that fastidious public educationalist felt surprised at the amount of mathematical knowledge acquired by Miss Ryan. In 1855, Miss Ryan and her father were appointed to the Ballymurrin Schools and I lately heard a trained National teacher say, that, to Miss Ryan he was indebted for his knowledge of Algebra and Geometry, for though he was a pupil of the Father, it was the daughter who taught him”

Kenel Owen is a jumbled up spelling of an Irish phrase which means the race or tribe of the Ui Neill of Tyrone.