Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, ebullient, always happy, a right boyo, historian supreme, a big hit with the girls, original, innovative, imaginative, humble, self-effacing, modest (if it is true it is not boasting), your favourite historian and everybody’s favourite historian. As St Kevin of Kilkaven prophesised gold and silver would always follow the Barrystown children.

Bernard Browne will give a lecture to the Clonroche Historical Society on Tuesday night April 21st at 8.30pm in the Clonroche Community Centre on the 1798 Rebellion with special reference to the General Tom Cloney of Moneyhore and Rev. James Gordon of Boro Lodge, Ballymackessy. Bernard Browne is a dedicated researcher and most fair in his interpretation.

That is the eve of the birthday of the Boy from Barrystown and that day should be declared a national holiday, blah, blah, blah….

The Rebellion of 1798 is one of the few things that the boy from Barrystown is not expert on! Maybe some of my readers will isolate something else that I am not expert on.

I am still waiting for some of my readers to bring me seaweed from the Bannow strand for my garden….blah, blah, blah….


Carrig-on-Bannow, November 4th 1863

Dear Sir—In order to test the properties of Goulding’s Super-Phosphate and Special Manure, purchased from you last Spring, I tried the manures mixed on a field of potatoes and found, when digging the potatoes, that the produce was 100 barrels per Irish acre. In the field adjoining, which was in better heart, I sowed potatoes, manuring them fully with best farm-yard dung and the produce was not more that one-third and was sown a month earlier.

Yours etc, John Barry.”

I presume that this was John Barry of Ballyfrory. I doubt that he wrote unprompted and spontaneously to Willy Rossiter of 63 Main Street Wexford in praise of “Goulding’s Celebrated Manures”. Mr Rossiter was agent for these manures. I presume that Mr Rossiter paid John Barry a few pounds for this expression of approval of the wonder new manures and likewise in the case of all the other people quoted making similar statements in the local newspapers. It is most unlikely that Mr Barry would be able to write in that eloquent mode. The converse of this matter is that the farmers of that era were excited by the productive, nigh miraculous, productive powers of the manures then coming onto the market: for men used to wading into several feet of cold spring sea water to harvest sea weed or to total dependence on sparse amounts of farm yard manure the new manures were, also, so convenient and accessible. Artificial fertilizer represented the advent of an agricultural revolution. They, also, obviated the rationale of conflict between the men of Bannow and Clonmines.

I hope that Richard Roche does not mind my quoting from an article by him in The People March 8th 1952, on the farm school, set up the Rector of Bannow, the Rev. William Hickey:–

“The school was opened in Spetember 1821 on a farm of forty acres given free by Mr Boyse. The school house, with classrooms below and dormitory on the first floor, became known as the “The Farmhouse”, a name which it bears to this day. It is now the comfortable dwelling of a progressive Bannow farmer who continues to uphold the fine farming traditions which are so much a part of this place.

During its first year in existence Bannow Farm School had nineteen pupils; most of these were the sons of neighbouring farmers and small holders, though several were from distant parts of the country. We are told that Sir John Newport M. P. personally sent a boy to the school for training.

The curriculum of the school is of special interest. The students rose at 6 am and spent an hour and a half at manual work until breakfast at 8 am, which consisted of porridge and milk. From nine to one, half the boys were at work outside and the other half in class inside. The mid-day meal was served at one o’clock and usually consisted of potatoes and milk, with an occasional treat of bread and soup and on Thursdays and Sundays, of meat and vegetables. Between two and six pm the students who had been at work outside went indoors for class and the others came out for their manual instruction. At six pm healthy appetites went to work on a supper of potatoes and milk, varied occasionally with bread and soup. Bed-time was usually about nine pm.

Modern dieticians might find fault with the food given to the students, but it has been said that “it was the strong wholesome diet of the generality of the Irish people at that time”. The students fees to attend the Farm School were four guineas per annum—later raised to six guineas—and the course lasted five years. The ages of the students varied between 13 and 19.

“The hours of study and labour vary according to season and weather”, said a London report on the School in 1823, “about four hours every day from the 25th of March of the 29th of September are allotted to study and six hours to work; in winter there are more hours for study and fewer for labour.” The School’s beneficent values must have begun to be widely appreciated by 1828, for in addition to the School’s twenty-five resident students, it is reported that “in winter the hours of school instruction are before breakfast and after sunset, when many of the neighbouring peasantry, free of charge, attend with anxious regularity.”

Amongst the many subjects taught were reading, writing, arithmetic, mensuration, surveying, “mechanical powers”, elements of chemistry as relating to agriculture; lectures on crop-rotation and gardening were, also, given and botany was added after the first year. The practical instruction was under the care of a Scottish farmer, who taught “ploughing, sowing, reaping and the various operations of the farm”. In 1813 it was reported that “of the boys at the Bannow Establishment six or seven are already good ploughmen.”

From a report of a meeting of the Board of Wexford Poor Law Guardians in February 1884:–

“James Kane, poor-rate collector, deposed that he knew the townland of Brandane and the sites on the cross roads [for building labourers’ cottages] were suitable; there was only one labouring man living on the townland and he worked at the Bay of Bannow.

The Clerk, in reply to the Chairman, said that he had served notice. He got a communication from tenants stating that they were prepared to give up their part of the land and he got a communication from Captain Boyse saying “I assent”. If every division had taken it up as well as Bannow we would have very little trouble. Certainly Captain Boyse showed real sympathy with the labourers.”

To Let

Colebrook Cottage, Wellingtonbridge, Co. Wexford, with four acres and garden, two reception rooms, four bedrooms, Bath (h. and c.); modern conveniences, servants’ apartments. Motor and stanling accommodation.

Apply—T. A. Colfer, New Ross Receiver.”

Mr Colfer was a solicitor in New Ross and was acting as Receiver, indicating bankruptcy, somewhere.

Taken from The Echo, June 6th 1931:–

“County Wexford Vocational Education Committee

Manual Instruction

Mr James Mc Nally, Manual Instructor, will open two classes for above at

Mr Murphy’s Garage, Carrig-on-Bannow

On Tuesday, 9th June 1931

Duration of Course, about 30 lessons for each class. Classes will be held on Days and at Hours to be fixed at time of enrolment. Fee for course: Afternoon Class students, 1 shilling; Evening Class Students, 2 shillings.

Pupils who intend joining should attend on Tuesday 9th June at Murphy’s Garage, Carrig-on-Bannow, to have their names enrolled. Juniors at 7 pm (old time) and Seniors at 8pm (old time).

Unless a sufficient number of Students attend, Classes will not be held.

N. J. Frizelle,

Temporary Chief Executive Officer, Wexford”

From the Echo June 13th 1931 :–

“Good Price For A Hunter

Mr Martin Morrissey, Askinvillar, sold a nice four-year old hunter for £190 to Mr P. White, Bannow.”

From The People December 17th 1949:–

“Mr A. A. Forest, Wellingtonbridge

The death of Andrew A. Forest, a native of Cork county, but who for many years was a resident in Wellingtonbridge district occurred on Friday. Mr Forest was appointed first Station Master in Wellingtonbridge in 1906 when the line was under the G. S. W. R. He was formerly owner of the extensive business of General Providers Ltd, Wellingtonbridge. He was of a kindly disposition and had endeared himself to a host of friends. There was a large attendance at the funeral to Ballylannon Cemetery on Sunday. Office and High Mass for the repose of his soul were offered in Carrig-on-Bannow Church on Sunday. Very Rev. M. Keating presiding; Rev. L. Kinsella C. C. celebrant; Rev. M. Byrne C. C. deacon; Rev. J. Murphy C. C. sub-deacon; Rev. J. Anglim C. C. master of ceremonies; Rev. J. Browne C. C. and the Rev. J. Doran C. C. chanters. In the Choir:–Very Rev. T. Canon Scallan P. P.; Rev. P. Brennan O. S. A.; Rev. M. Fitzhenry O. S. A.; Very Rev. G. Murphy P. P.; Rev. J. Carty C. C.; Rev. P. Doyle C. C.; Rev. T. Booker C. C.; Rev. M. Sinnott C. C.; Rev. T. Crowe C. C., Carrig-on-Bannow.”

I am ever puzzled how such crowds assembled at such events as funerals in that era: did they travel by bicycle, horse and cart, ass and cart, motor car, motor van, tractor, by hang glider, by helicopter, by airplane? It is equally puzzling how news spread of the decease of a particular person. They did not have email, mobile phones and house phones were rare. It was a matter of honour to have a large number of priests at the funeral services and that is why the newspapers published these long lists—to a modern reader interminable—of priests and often neglected to name the chief mourners—the latter are of more use to latter day research, especially on family trees.

A few of the priests named are familiar to me. Rev. Jeremiah Anglim was Catholic Curate at Courtnacuddy and diocesan religious inspector (in my time at National School). He (on the death of Fr John O’Brien) later became Parish Priest of Carrig-on-Bannow. At the opening of the new school at Courtnacuddy on the weekend of the All-Ireland senior hurling final in 1960 he performed the most elaborate rituals and ceremonies plus reciting endless prayers and blessing each room where he placed Crucifixes and holy statues. It was a different time and place and surely—a different disposition! The people then lived for the faith.

Rev. James Carty was a native of Donard, Clonroche and in later life retired from active ministry due to ill-health; he lived near enough to us at Ballymackessy and used to call in to see my father on his way to Enniscorthy; he travelled in his sister’s car and lived with her during his short retirement. All of my readers will know who Rev. L. Kinsella C. C. was: he was Curate at Ballymitty during the years of great footballing success for Bannow/Ballymitty teams, in particular “the mountains of men” who played in senior Co. Football Finals in 1947 and 1949. Fr Larry Kinsella became Parish Priest of Davidstown in 1956 and I remember Pat Walsh (who was married to Aunt Josie) and my father and myself going, on a Sunday evening, in Pat Walsh’s van to look at the village of Davidstown, perhaps in the summer of 1962. We met Fr Kinsella walking out in front of the Parochial House; he knew both Pat Walsh and my father well. I heard in Clonroche School of Fr Kinsella’s death on June 8th, 1965. He was a keen follower of boxing and wrote articles on that sport which were published in American magazines.

Fr M. Fitzhenry was, presumably, the Augustinian priest who died while

From the People August 21st 1894:–

“The 15th at Cullenstown—Sunday last, being the 15th August, was the “pattern” or “big day” at Cullenstown (Bannow). There was an enormous crowd present, possibly, the largest seen for many years. A pleasing feature of the day was the absence of anything bordering on drunkenness. In years gone by the 15th at Cullenstown was always marked with a certain amount of intemperance and on some occasions, disgraceful scenes were witnessed. Now, however, we have progressed and with the new order of things we cannot drift back to the old times. The Volunteers were present on Sunday and regulated the drink traffic. Many large excursions parties were present, all kinds of vehicles being used, from the donkey’s cart to the char-a-banc.”

I have no idea what the last mentioned mode of transport was; maybe some of my older readers could enlighten me.

The Temperance movement—at least the Catholic version of it—after 1860 identified the cause of fighting alcohol and alcoholism with the glorious mythology of Irish history; in particular with the rebels of 1798. The separatist nationalism or republicanism of Pearse reflected Catholic values and social aspirations and teachings. Alcohol was a scourge in nineteen century Ireland as young men went demented on it, especially on festive occasions when they spent the entire meagre savings on a binge of drinking. The Catholic clergy frequently patrolled public events to prevent drunkenness and resultant violence. In an era when pinching poverty was prevalent, the spending of money on alcohol was reckless and mothers and children were at serious risk of malnutrition if the father was alcoholic.

From The People December 17th 1949:–

“The Roads—Indignation is rife in Bannow and Rathangan areas over the present condition of the roads. Bannow parish with a population approaching two thousand and is one of the most intensively cultivated and the heaviest taxed in Co. Wexford. People experience mud-baths from the countless deep potholes in the winter months and clouds of choking dust in summer, while the trunk roads for the tourist and the townsfolk are real speedways.

Lecture—A most interesting lecture, illustrated by films, was given by Mr L. F. Harvey in St Mary’s Hall, Carrig, on Tuesday night. The lecture was listened to with rapt attention by a large and appreciative audience. Very Rev. M. Keating P. P. was unable to be present owing to indisposition.”