Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, heroic, valiant, a sheer genius, of astronomical intelligence, historian supreme, inspired and inspiring, a right boyo, blessed among the women, a prophet, a seer, humble, self-effacing, eloquent, uses big words (appropriately) and above all else, the most devious and wily of them all—that wily boy from beside the mine pits; as St Kevin of Kilkevan prophesised, it would always be gold and silver for the Barrystown childre (to use Anna Maria Hall’s word). If it is true it ain’t bragging. No native of the parish of Carrig-on-Bannow has any need to brag—that “pleasant domain”, to paraphrase Mc Cuetcheon’s words, has ever been the home of genius and heroism. The rest of the people of Ireland wish that they were natives of Carrig-on-Bannow parish.

If any of my millions of readers were ever at the Strawberry Fair in Enniscorthy from 1968 onwards do let me know about it, phone 0872937960 or Barrystownboy@gmail.com.

James Ryan, editor of The Wexford Conservative usually mocked Tom Boyse of Bannow, the patriot of Bannow as he dubbed him. Ryan, a gifted mathematician, accused Mr Boyse of undermining the residual Protestant ascendancy by his feisty, fiery and extravagant advocacy of the Catholic causes and his egalitarian principles; it would be difficult to disagree with Ryan and his biliously sectarian newspaper in their analysis of Tom Boyse’s speeches. There were touches of wit in Ryan’s visceral commentaries—on one occasion he told of Tom Boyse, the Bannow patriot, bursting his lungs as he spoke with his stentorian voice at Taghmon at a meeting to protest about the tithes (a major Catholic campaign) while the Catholic men from Tintern took advantage of his absence to row their boats across to Bannow and raided the stacks of sea weed that the Patriot (Ryan’s appellation) had gathered on his estate or foreshore. Ryan deemed Tom Boyse a lunatic at large, gulled by the applause of the crowds and unable to see the feral and savage designs of the subterranean Irish culture. Mr Ryan, shall we say, spoke with bits of exaggeration now and then, perhaps, took liberties with the truth!

In the issue of the 23rd of October 1841 James Ryan and the Wexford Conservative had a most unusual item, by their standards—­­ in praise of Mr Thomas Boyse of Bannow!

“Emigration From Bannow

Yesterday we witnessed the departure of a larger number (thirty-one adults and four children) of emigrants than has hitherto been known at anytime, from one district of this country.  Among the entire we did not see one individual above forty years of age, all of them healthy young men and women—and married with but few exceptions. They took passage on board the Eclipse steamer, for Liverpool, intending to sail early in the ensuing week for Australia—We have heard nothing but praise and thankfulness but praise to their friend Thomas Boyse Esq., our worthy high sheriff and landlord of these enterprising young people for his kindness and attention to them on their way to the land of their adoption. We sincerely hope he may long live to receive from them assurances and thanks for his exertions and instrumentality in laying the foundations of their comfort and happiness and in creating another “Bannow” in the southern hemisphere as happy as that “famed Bannow” they have left.”

James Ryan never doubted that Tom Boyse as a resident landlord had benefited his district: his criticism—of a visceral and stinging kind—was that Mr Boyse was infatuated with the promotion of the objectives of the Catholic community. The Wexford Conservative was the organ of the Orange Order in the County Wexford; it was rabidly sectarian. Tom Boyse detested the Orange Order and all symbols of Protestant ascendancy.

I am unsure how to respond to the policy of assisted emigration: there is poignancy in the scenes of people in that era departing from their native place, probably never to return, with minimal contact with their loved ones back home. Tom Boyse would have provided clothes and money to them to undertake the journey and of course pay their fare. Tom Boyse would continue to correspond with them long after their departure but I doubt if there were email then and certainly not broadband. In general terms, those going to Australia would prosper, certainly compared to home. Tom Boyse feared burgeoning demographics and from the time of the advent of the Boyses to Bannow they had used assisted emigration to curb population growth in Bannow. Tom Boyse was well acquainted with famine and believed that the Ireland of his time lived precariously close to it; Tom Boyse spent huge amounts of money in alleviating the victims of famine circa 1817 and others later. Anna Maria Hall had a similar pre-occupation; her story Lucy Hackett, prophesised the oncoming famine of 1845-48. My former teacher the late Professor Pat O’Farrell of Sydney wrote extensively on the Irish emigrants to Australia, with splashes of wit: among the excuses some of the Irish had for not attending a meeting of Irish emigrants was that the chairman of the proposed meeting came from Co. Cork! Professor O’Farrell depicted a scenario of mixed fortunes for the Irish in Australia but I thought that his work may have lacked an overall coherent theme.

From The Wexford Conservative  October 23rd 1841:–

“We have much pleasure in giving insertion to the following statement of the present conditions and future prospects of the Barrystown Lead Mine at Bannow. From the success which has attended the operations of the Mining Company of Ireland—directed as they appear to have been in almost every instance with skill and judgement—we should be disposed to augur favourably of the experiment now submitted to the consideration of the intelligent inhabitants of this county. As a means of affording extensive and profitable employment we should rejoice to see in operation and from the high character for probity, independence and practical experience of the parties engaged in the undertaking, we are warranted in hoping that if followed up it will prove not only a public benefit to the locality, but a source of ample profit to the shareholders.

We are authorised to state that Alexander M’Neale, Esq., will afford every information that may be required on the subject. Barrystown mine, situated at Bannow, in the County of Wexford, has been extensively worked some centuries ago, and is stated in several Historical Works upon Ireland, to have produced large quantities of Lead Ore exceedingly rich in Silver, indeed so rich as to induce the erection of a Mint, for the purpose of coining it in the adjoining ruins of a Castle or Monastery. (See “Lewis’s Typographical Dictionary” Vol. 2, page 372 and Frazer’s Survey of Wexford).

Eight Shafts were sunk in the Lode and from the extent of the underground working, it is probable several more will be discovered which have been filled up many years ago, or from the soft nature of the ground have closed or fallen in.

A lease of the mine for 31 years has been procured from the owner of the property (the Rev. Mr King) at a Royalty Rent of 1-16th Ton of the ores raised, delivered on the bank and a liberal grant of surface for the necessary operations has been obtained with an allowance of the first 12 Tons of Duty Ore, to assist in the cost of getting it open. The mine is most favourable situated, close to an arm of the Sea (Bannow Bay) and Vessels of sufficient Tonnage can load and discharge within half a mile of the Mine. It is well circumstanced as to roads and in a quiet, well peopled neighbourhood.

The present Adventurers have made great progress in clearing and opening the Mine, and have discovered the Lode bearing Lead and Silvery Lead Ore, in several places of shallow depth and have had ussays made of samples taken from different portions which have produced 85 per cent of Lead, in such as were not rich in Silver and in the Silvery Ore at the rate of 68 ounces to the Ton of Lead. Considerable difficulties have, however, been felt up to the present time in prosecuting the clearing of the Old Workings beyond the depth of 15 fathoms, owing to the state of decay the old timbers were found in, and the decomposed state of the walls of the Lode, which as the broken rubbish was removed fell in, in a large mass. They, therefore considered it advisable to desist from clearing the old workings until a new shaft should be brought down deep enough to communicate by a cross cut with the lodes in new ground, which has been effected at 21 fathoms deep, but they now find, after having expended near £1,100 in these operations and the purchase of pump-work, &c., that the water is so much increased that it will be requisite to erect a steam engine on moderate size and also prosecute some necessary sinkings and drivings with the completing of the clearing and timbering of the Old Works before the Mine can be fully developed and its value proved.

Having expended the above sum they are now disposed to extend the interest into shares to the extent of £4,000, say 100 shares of £40 each and now offer 50 shares at this rate, the purchase money of which shall be expended on the Mine in the following manner, or as near it, as the progress of the work shall render advisable. And from the various concurring data to be derived from history, from the specimens obtained on the spot, the accounts given by the inhabitants of the neighbourhood and the indications and extent of the Mine itself, they consider the concern one of considerable interest and value and well worthy a complete trial.

Proposed Additional Expenditure on Barrystown Mine

Purchase, Carriage, House and Erection of a 20 inch Cylinder, Steam Engine, (2nd Hand), about ………………………£800.

Various other necessary erections, including pumps, shears, capstan, &c., about…………………………………….£200.

For all the various operations, including all wages and expenses, while completely opening the Mines, about ……£1,000.

Total ………………………………………£2,000.

Note—It is probable before the above is expended that the Ore will be raised to a profit.”

It is clear from the above that the Rev. Richard King Rector of Duncormack and later of Tomhaggard owned Barrystown lands in fee simple that is full ownership. Jonas King was, in the initial years, at least, his tenant.

From The People April 13th 1968:–

“Bannow “By-Passed” By Water Scheme

A question as to when they might expect the South Regional Water Scheme to be extended to Carrig-on-Bannow Village and district was asked by Mr John J. Furlong at Wexford County Council on Monday. Mr Furlong said he thought the area had been by-passed. The supply had gone into other areas but the greater part of Carrig-on-Bannow was cut off. It looked to him as if Carrig-on-Bannow village and district were forgotten altogether.

Mr Ger. Forde, Assistant County Engineer, said it was proposed to put an extension into the Bannow area but it was not in the first three priorities and when it would be implemented was anybody’s guess. Mr Furlong asked if a group scheme started in that area could they get assistance from the Council, at all.

Mr Forde—Yes.”

The Enniscorthy Guardian reported on February 19th 1916:–

“Rev. John P. Crane O. S. A.

The Rev. J. P. Crane O. S. A., Ballyhaunis, has been transferred back to Grantstown Convent. He was for a number of years stationed at Grantstown and was transferred to Ballyhaunis last Autumn.”

Up to 1850, to select an arbitrary date, the secular clergy were often placed in parishes close to their families and cousins from whom they received financial support and other assistance—their flocks had little enough to give them. I do not know if a similar reasoning applied in the case of the regular clergy but a significant difference was that the regular clergy was members of religious communities, making it difficult to place them close to their families. My mother told me that priests with health problems or on vacation from foreign assignments came to Grantstown but I do know if that was correct. I could not discern any reason why Augustinian priests were at Grantstown: they seemed to have been largely a teaching Order but did not teach in Grantstown; there had been a seminary of sorts at Grantstown in times long past. Dr James Doyle, bishop of Kildare and Leighlin [J. K. L.] did some of his training at Grantstown.

From The People December 22nd 1972:–

“Tullycanna Pub To Be Extended

Patrick Joseph White, Tullycanna, publican applied for a licence in relation to extensions he is carrying out to the premises left to him under the will of his uncle. The matter was dealt with by Judge Sean MacD. Fawsitt, S. C. at the Circuit Court in Wexford on last Friday. Mr Niall Sheehy, instructed by Mr Des Mc Evoy, solicitor of Sinnott and Co., Solicitors, for the applicant said the applicant was extending the premises and was, also, providing toilets for ladies and gents. Mr James D. Coghlan, State Solicitor for the Attorney General said there was no objection.

Patrick Joseph White in evidence said the premises were formerly owned by Owen Nolan and the applicant got it under his uncle’s will. The public bar wasn’t big enough for the crowd coming to the premises now, said the applicant, who, also, confirmed the provision of the gents and ladies toilets. He added that the premises had been in the family for 89 years. Judge Fawsitt granted the necessary certificate.”

In very early May about 15 years ago, or more, I gave the first lecture to the Bannow Historical Society in a pub at Tullycanna but I do not know if the premises were those of Mr White. Although I had trained in the old university to lecture on history that night was the only the second time that I lectured on local history to such an audience; I previously had given a lecture in Clonroche. In my years involved in politics I experimented at public speaking but found it difficult to find a really exciting subject. Later when I promoted Irish music I experimented at reciting poetry.

My recollection of that May evening long ago, is of walking around the wider Tullycanna area, of a cousin stopping his car to talk to me and as I returned back to the public house, a beautiful young girl walking across the road spoke in a most friendly manner to me and called me by my name but I did not know her: I need not have described her as beautiful as all girls in the parish of Carrig-on-Bannow are beautiful, as Dan O’Connell, Tom Moore and even Tom Boyse all attested a long time ago. After my lecture in which I referred to Captain Arthur Hunt Boyse writing a direction to his tenants to get rid of their dogs (horrible thing to do) and have no under-tenants, one of my audience (correctly) pointed out that the Boyse family had done much good in Bannow. I would have known little of Bannow history at the time. At national school in Clonroche young Fr Jim Ryan of Old Boley, Taghmon (God rest his gentle and generous soul) remarked on my deep voice and suggested of all things that I become a baritone singer but at the C. B. S. secondary school in Enniscorthy Brother Tom Mc Donagh (whose hearing was diminished by age, anyway) complained that I read and spoke too lowly! He demanded that I go into a field and shout till I hear my echo coming back. Many years later I did that, more or less! I recited poems and speeches out in fields, always close to ditches. In those years I ran marathons and did virtual non-stop training for them—maybe the training expanded my lungs and associated muscles and caused me to speak louder but I am not certain of that!

From The Free Press, November 11, 1950:–

“The death occurred in the Co. Hospital on Monday of Mr George Galavan, Cullenstown, Bannow. Deceased was a highly popular and well known figure in the district and his death after only a week’s illness came as a great shock to all his friends and acquaintances. He was 71 years of age and until his retirement a few years ago he had been No 1 man of the Bar Lough Life Saving Station for over twenty-five years. He was a splendid seaman and won many prizes in sailing and rowing events at Regattas around the coast. In the early days of the steam threshers he was a well known figure all over the south of the county. To his wife and family the deepest sympathy of many friends in the area is extended. A large cortege followed the removal of the remains to St. Mary’s Church, Carrig-on-Bannow on Tuesday. The interment took place in Carrig cemetery on Wednesday. The chief mourners were:–William Galavan (brother); George and Timothy Galavan (nephews) and P. Galavan (cousin).”

From The Free Press January 7th 1950:–

“The premises of Miss Mary Walsh Carrig-on-Bannow took fire on Tuesday evening and but for the prompt action of Guards and civilian helpers it could have developed very seriously. About 6.30 smoke was seen rising in volume from chimney and roof and passers by raised the alarm. Mr Tom Dunphy took immediate action and a human chain was formed. Sergt Mullane with Guards O’Hare and Lennon soon arrived and directed operations. By now a large number of helpers had assembled and a stirrup pump brought into action. A big bath was placed upstairs and kept constantly filled while the stirrup pump was played on the flames which by now enveloped the roof. The adjoined licensed premises of Mrs Breen seemed to be in danger and steps were taken for evacuation but fortunately the trojan work of all present got the conflagration under control and this was unnecessary.”

I am sure that “Guards” is the wrong appellation or title—the writer was referring to members of An Garda Siochana; Garda or in the plural Gardai was the correct description. One of my ancestors had an obsession about the Gardai! They certainly have been a dedicated force.

From The People November 24 1953:–

“Annual Re-Union—Ballyfrory Social Club held their annual re-union on Wednesday night of last week. All enjoyed the supper served by Ladies Committee, under the supervision of Mr and Mrs Mc Dermott, after which a most enjoyable evening was spent in music and songs. Mr John Kenny Chairman, returning thanks to the members of the Club, paid tribute to their loyalty that have made the Club such a success. The following officers were elected for the coming year—Chairman, Mr John Kenny; Treasurer, Mr Phil Mc Dermott and Hon. Secretary, Mr M. Merriman.

Ballymitty Men’s’ Departure—Messrs Richard and Patrick Neville, two members of the Ballymitty football club have left for Dublin to take up employment in Messrs Powers distillery.”