Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, obliging, omniscient (who knows the meaning of that word?), innovative, eloquent, grandiloquent, adventurous, enigmatic, humble, self-effacing, considerate, a big hit with the girls, a right boyo and above all else wily—that wily boy from beside the mine pits—veritable proof that it is always gold and silver for the Barrystown childre (to use Mrs Hall’s coinage). If it is true, it ain’t bragging.

At the Wexford Spring Assizes starting on March 20th 1806 it was reported:–

“Margaret Walsh, for burgulary (sic) and felony, in the dwelling house of Walter Ennis, Arnestown, on the 4th of January last, found guilty and to be hanged on….[print indecipherable]”

I presume that the Arnestown is that near Ballymitty especially as the gentleman is named Ennis but I may be wrong. The woman, aged about 50 years, was hanged on April 6th 1806 near Wexford and showed no sign of repentance, according to the newspaper report.

The courts were generally conducted on strict rules of evidence but the sentences were barbaric, sadistic and gruesome.

I will now parse a short quotation from Father Mike by Anna Maria Hall:–

“it was an ill-built slated house, flanked by thatched offices, which formed a sort of triangle; at the smallest point of which, a wide gate stood, or rather hung, almost always open; to say the truth, it was only supported by one hinge, the other never having been repaired since the county member’s carriage frightened it to pieces, when he visited the worthy Priest, a month or two before the last general election; although Father Mike had a thousand times directed Martin to get it mended and Martin had as often replied,

“Yes, plase y’er Reverence, I’ll see about it.”

An outline of Father Mike’s [alias Father Edward Murphy] house and out-offices is sketched on the Cliffe map that is on-line. The anxiety of the County Member of Parliament to meet Father Mike is presumably an indirect means of indicating the prestige and influence of the Parish Priest in the society of that time. But the real purpose of this bit of narrative is to re-iterate a basic message of Mrs Hall to the Irish peasantry and labouring strata: her writings always sought to encourage self-improvement by the elimination of bad and destructive habits. The tendency of the Irish peasantry to postpone the doing of any task, of leaving essential things un-done, the failure to challenge slothful habits and traits dismayed her; in her works she is urging the peasantry to do the tasks that require completion, like Father Mike’s gate hinges. She often mimics the casual dissembling of the ordinary Irish person in regard to the doing of various jobs. The real lack of genuine motivation is concealed by pretence of a willingness to do whatever is required, perhaps sometime….John C. Tuomy accused Mrs Hall of  being a caricaturist of the Irish peasantry; there is undoubtedly a touch of caricature in the sketch of Martin (and others) in the passage quoted above but Tuomy may have missed the point: the touch of caricature is intended to stir the peasantry and labouring classes out of their lethargy and self-destructive inaction. This focus on procrastination is a leitmotif (as a homework exercise one may look up the meaning of that word in the dictionary where I found it!) of the short stories of Anna Maria Hall. Another bit of homework for my legions of readers is to look up the dwellings leased by John C. Tuomy in Taghmon as listed in Griffith’s Valuation now online.

From The Co. Wexford Independent May 12th 1906:–

In Memoriam

The Late Mrs Joseph Murphy, Bannow

(To the memory of Mrs Joseph Murphy, formerly Miss Sarah English, late schoolmistress of Danescastle, Bannow.)

Born beside the lordly Shannon, reared by Liffey’s storied tide.

Very fair she was and noble, with a truly Irish pride;

Mid the holy nuns, she studied till her time and course was done.

When her life with ours was blended and our friendship was begun,

I remember well the morning of that happy Sabbath day

When we saw her in the village church at Mass time kneel and pray;

I remember well the morning that she entered first the school,

How the master’s face grew tender and he hid the hated rule;

How the little girls gazed at her, with wide and wondering eyes,

While the taller and the older stood with joy and glad surprise;

How the little boys all shyly hushed their murmur and their play,

While the bigger and the braver smiled the words they fain would say.

Then her clear and gentle voice was heard, like music soft and sweet,

As with calm, successful patience her instructions she’d repeat;

While her face so fair and friendly, like an angels’ from above,

Made our young lives bright and happy and our labour all of love.

When the winter’s eve was fading, all the daily duties done,

Sweet it was to see her kneeling ‘mid the children, just as one,

And in summer’s balmy evenings holy hymns she made us sing

To our Virgin Mother Mary and to Heaven’s Infant King.

Well she knew the songs and music of our own dear native land,

And she taught our lips and hearts to breathe their spirit pure and grand.

She herself was like an image of our fair and holy isle—

Sunshine shared her soul with shadows, teardrops glistened through her smile.

Soon we saw her in the village church, a young and happy bride;

Then a mother with a pair of angel faces by her side;

Soon we saw her wear the widow’s weed, with head by sorrow bowed,

Till at last her own fair form was wrapped in death’s untimely shroud.

Yes, one day of direst sorrow, as an early autumn breeze,

Sang a requiem for the summer, ‘mid the sear and trembling trees,

As the golden corn was falling ‘neath the reaper’s blade so keen,

Fell from death’s unsparing sickle one that long mature had been.

Year to year has oft succeeded since that well remembered day,

Green the grass has grown and made a verdant mantle o’er her clay;

Oft the summer flowers have blossomed round the place where she  is laid—

Emblems of her soul, so sinless—and of beauty doomed to fade.

Still her name is not forgotten, still her influence is felt

In the school where long she taught us, in the church where oft she knelt;

Still her songs and music linger fresh and fondly round her hearts,

And recall us to that village from the farthest, strangest parts.

He who thus has sung her praises, he would but faintly tell

How upon his mind imprinted still her life and virtues dwell.

He would thank her for the lessons, by her kindly spirit given,

Making life so bright and happy, raising higher hopes of heaven.


Sarah English married Joseph the son of the famous Danescastle schoolmaster, William Murphy, who was a native of Davidstown parish, near Enniscorthy. William Murphy later became post-master in Carrig village.

I have little doubt that the pseudonym “Bannow” denotes Fr Philip Doyle O. S. A. of Maudlintown who wrote at length of Sarah English in his autobiography. Fr Thomas Butler in his history of Carrig-on-Bannow parish quoted Fr Doyle’s commentary on Sarah English. Fr Doyle was intensely religious. The poem is certainly written by an educated man but it may lack genuine creativity and poetic flair. The National Teachers of that era would have been firmly committed to the Catholic faith.

From The Forth and Bargy notes in the Free Press on August 2nd 1952:–

“Ringed Pigeon Found—While engaged fishing on the south coast Mr J. Anglim, Tullicanna, found a dead carrier which bore a rubber ring marked 590 and an aluminium ring with NURP50P7542….

Successful Athlete—Aidan Mc Cormack, Ballymitty promises to become a weight thrower of distinction. As a member of Horetown Athletic Club he won the 56 lb vent at Oylegate sports. His father was a noted weight thrower.

Carrig Cinema—On tomorrow (Sunday) Carrig cinema presents “The Roaring 20’s” which depicts the various phases endured by three American soldiers after their demob following World War I. On Wednesday “The 13th Letter” will be shown. It is an intriguing drama in which the poison pen letter plays a vital part.”

A man, writing from the United States of America, in a letter dated March 26th 1906 observed in a letter to Thomas Cogley, Killurin inter alia:–

“Another young man Thomas Donoghue, from Ballymitty, who is a credit to our little spot (he has the advantage of me) as he got married to a young lady from Camross, Miss Mary O’Gorman, a short time ago. He is chief engineer of the State Capital Bismarck, North Dakota, which is evidence of his progressive abilities during his six or seven years in the Land of Stars and Stripes. He is a first class electrician as well as a first class engineer. He has charge of the city railway, which runs from the plant under his charge. He studied through a course in the International Correspondence Schools of Chicago, Illinois and has taken out his certificate and worked under the able guidance of Matt Comerford who came from Foulksmills, another Wexfordman who showed the type of men the Rebel County can produce….”

The People reported on May 20 1907:–

“Proposed Sale of the Leigh Estate

There will be an important meeting of the Leigh tenants held to-morrow at three o’clock at Clongeen. Some time ago a number of the tenants asked Mr M. J. O’Connor to see if he could bring about a sale. For the last eight or ten years all efforts in that regard have been unavailing, as Mr Leigh has not made up his mind to sell. Owing, however, to negotiations which have passed between Mr M. J. O’Connor, acting for the tenants on the one part, and Mr J. R. Colfer, acting for the landlord, on the other part, an offer has been made by Mr Leigh to sell his estate to the tenants on conditions which will be considered at the meeting to-morrow.

Everybody is aware that nearly two-thirds of the county has been sold under the Land Purchase Acts and only one third still remains to be bought out. We hope that as a result on these negotiations Mr Leigh’s tenants will be enabled, without delay, to become the peasant proprietors of their farms under the Land Purchase Acts.

The Rev. William Hickey formerly rector of Bannow 1820-27 (approximately) wrote in his book “Notes and Gleanings relating to the County of Wexford” regarding the Keroe Islands (as he spells it) that Sam Boyse “built a hut on the larger of these two diminutive islands, in which he placed stores of potatoes, whiskey, wood, candles and matches, in case of any shipwrecked people arriving there at night. To the credit of the extreme honesty of the peasantry at that time, it gives us pleasure to record that nothing of those provisions was ever stolen, though it was notorious that they were there, in an open space, only half a mile distant from the shore.”

In an address to the Kilkenny Archaeological Society on September 4th 1850 the Rev. James Graves in reference to the process by which Bannow Island once “not only in name but in reality, an island of considerable size” became attached to the mainland cited this example of a similar development on the east coast of England:–

“The isle of Thanet in Kent, now, like Bannow Island, a portion of the main land, was within the historic period separated therefrom by a deep and navigable arm of the sea.” Bannow Island as depicted on the Down Survey map was a genuine Island, with an eastern channel comprising the Bannow harbour. The Rev. Graves asserted in feisty style:–

“It is impossible that this change could have taken place in consequence of the continued rising of the sands; for the town, or at least part of it, stood on a headland of considerable height, with a cliff of slate rock towards the sea and it is quite impossible that buildings of any size, remaining entire, could be concealed by the comparatively thin stratum of drift sand which has accumulated on its surface. The Quit-rent Rolls, however, preserved at Wexford, prove the town to have been of considerable importance. They mention, “amongst others, the following streets, viz.:–High Street, Weaver Street, St George Street, Upper Street, St Toolock’s Street, St Mary’s Street, St Ivory’s Street, Lady Street, Little Street, &c. Fair slated houses, horse mills, gardens and other indications of a prosperous place, are, also, mentioned as paying Quit-rent”—Dublin Penny Journal Vol. II, page 32.

The Rev. Graves observes or asserts a trifle enigmatically:–

“That the channel between Bannow Island and the site of the town, was navigable down to the comparatively late period of 1657 appears on the evidence of the map of the parish in the Down Survey, whereon Bannow Bay is laid down as entered by two deep channels: but the town must have lost its importance long before this period. Of the two channels marked on the Down Survey but one now exists. The eastern channel is now high and dry and a road running across the sand far above the high water mark connects the island with the main land. But even if no such record as the Down Survey existed, the very circumstances of an important town having sprung up on its shore would be a sufficient evidence that a deep and navigable arm of the sea once, and that at no very distant period, spread its waters over the space now occupied by firm land or drifting sand hills.”

This quotation from Rev. William Hickey may be useful to this discussion:–

“Neither tradition not historical record affords information respecting the disappearance of the town. There are faint indications of a street near the old churchyard, which, with the walls of the church, are on an elevation of about thirty feet above the sea-shore. The ruins of the church are unquestionably more modern than those in a field at no great distance which are probably, the remains of what was once a sacred edifice of much older date.”

The Free Press reported on Saturday July 26th 1952:–

“A Coronation Chair on the Saltees

Prince Michael Neale, Prince of the Saltees, who lives at Rathgar, Dublin, has had a stone coronation chair, weighing almost three tons, transported to the Great Saltee, where twelve Kilmore men are employed in planting it on the highest point of the island. A Dublin stonecutter went out to the island to cut an inscription on it.

Prince Neale was “in residence” on the island last week and his flag of blue, white and red, with six white stars, surrounded by a black star, was flown from a 30 foot mast. The chair on a specially made raft, was towed from Kilmore to the island by a motor boat.”

Michael Neale was a native of Ballingly.

Patent Roll 9 Richard II

3 October 1385

Commission by mainprize of Matthew Fitzhenry and William Boscher of Co. Wexford to Simon Nevell of custody of the manor and rents of Roscarloun, of which Philip Furlong died seised.

A manor denotes a large country house and an estate so does that indicate that the Rosegarland mansion was then built?

The Free Press reported on July 19th 1952:–

“While riding on an auto-cycle through Ballyowen, Wellingtonbridge, John Foley of Carrig-on-Bannow, ran over a dog and got a heavy toss. Mr P. Farrell brought him to Dr P. A. Doyle Medical Officer, Bridgetown, who attended to him and had him sent to the Co. Hospital. Mr Foley was formerly a popular county hurler and played with the Adamstown club.”

The iconic Tim Flood who won so much fame with the great Wexford teams of the 1950s repeatedly referred to John Foley as the most skilful hurler that he ever saw.