Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, scholarly, erudite, inspiring and inspired; historian supreme, blessed among the women, living in sheer adulation, a higher intelligence than Einstein, a visionary, innovative, creative, a trainor of hurling teams, marathon runner….One could go and on reciting the countless facets of the charmed and magical life of that wily boy, the most devious and wily of them all, from beside the mine pits.

“Corbett and Other Against Tottenham and Others

Pursuant to an order of His Majesty’s High Court of Chancery in Ireland, made in this case, bearing date 23rd day of March, I will on Saturday the at one o’clock in the afternoon, at my chambers, on the Inn Quay, Dublin, set up and let by public cant, to the highest and fairest bidder, for the minority of the defendant, Anthony Cliffe, now about nine years old, in such parcels as shall be agreed on, the following lands, part of the estate of said minor, situate in the Barony  of Bargy and county of Wexford, that is to say.

Part of Ambrosetown, now in the occupation of Philip Doyle, containing….14 acres plus

Part of do, in the occupation of R. and J. Purcell…85 acres plus

Part of Ballynaglough, in occupation of Patrick Butler and Partners….56 acres plus

Part of Carrig, in occupation of representatives of Michael and John Colfer…76 acres plus

Part of do in occupation of James Murphy….39 acres plus

Part of Newtown, in occupation of representatives of E. White and M. Roche….68 acres plus

Part of do in occupation of representatives of Matthew White….12 acres plus

Part of do, in occupation of the representatives of John and Nicholas White

Part of do, in occupation of Barth. Colfer…..91 acres plus

Part of Kilbreny, in occupation of Jonathon Sparrow….100 acres plus

Part of do, in occupation of Luke Doyle, Michael Connick, Patrick Casey and John Casey….106 acres plus

Part of Gragonbuoy,  in occupation of Andrew Colfer….10 acres plus.

Part of Bridgetown, in occupation of John Keelan….1 acre plus

Also, from the first day of May next, when the present tenants’ interest will expire, the townland of Maxboley, now in occupation of Stephen Cleary and his under-tenants, containing….126 acres

Dated this 28th day of March 1809

Steuart King

For particulars apply to Thomas Johnston, Plaintiff’s solicitor, No 28 Granville Street, Dublin.”

I think that these auctions were some sort of legal formality and certainly the Clearys were not evicted or sold out. A lot of the problem arose from the minor status, under-age of the proprietor Anthony Cliffe, a mere nine years old. He would have to be under some legal protection.

I have perused the list of members of the Ui Cinseallaigh Historical Society in 1920 and among them are:–

Mr J. Mc Cormack, Arnestown, Ballymitty; Mr John Breen National Teacher, Danescastle, Bannow; Miss M. E. Redmond National Teacher, Danescastle, Bannow; Rev. Paul F. Kehoe Parish Priest Cloughbawn [native of Moortown, Ballymitty]; Mr P. Crean, Barriestown (sic), Wellingtonbridge; Very Rev. Canon Sullivan Parish Priest, Bannow; Mr Richard Codd, Clomines Castle, Wellingtonbridge. The Society published “The Past”; it was dedicated to a paradigm of history that regarded it as a means of providing inspiration for ongoing endeavours to achieve Irish independence from Britain. The Past was intended an a journal of the history of the diocese of Ferns and, therefore, it sought to have accounts of the struggle of the Catholic faith in Ireland generally and especially in Co. Wexford.

“At Bannow, we believe, one of the first, if not the first of the agricultural schools of Ireland was established by the Rev. William Hickey, whose little practical works on husbandry, under the name of Martin Doyle, addressed more particularly to the humbler classes, are worth their weight in gold. Mr Hickey, in the process of time, left the district, and under the care of Mr James the school expanded into a general educational establishment for young gentlemen….”

I do not think that Anna Maria Hall is correct is regarding the Bannow Grammar School, operated by Mr James as a more sophisticated continuation of the Rev. William Hickey’s agricultural school. If Fr Philip Doyle O. S. A. of Maudlintown is correct, the agricultural school was in The Farm House, Bannow. Maybe some of my legions of devoted readers will help me in regard to this matter. At least, one other location is suggested for Mr James’s School but I will procure more material on the matter. My opinion is that the schools were driven by very different educational philosophies.

“Bannow Standing Stone, Co. Wexford. This “Long Stone” is on the hill, a little northward of Carrick-on-Bannow church and in old times before  this church was built was the principal land-mark for the mariners frequenting the coast. On the west and south faces, some small cups occur. Those on the south face are five in number, three of which nearly form an equilateral triangle, while above them, while above them to the left are two further cups. All of these cups, except the highest, are about two inches in diameter, the small one being less than an inch across. On the west face (see cup, p. 40) there are, also, five cups; they form a more regular pattern. Of these the centre one is very faint, while the two to the left hand are on a perpendicular groove, 15 inches long.”

I am quoting from queries and replied in The Journal of the Royal Historical and Archaeological Society of Ireland, 1884.

The first sentence of the above is confusing: does it refer to Carrig-on-Bannow village or is it the old church at Bannow that is cited. I expect the latter to be the case. The Bannow stone on this basis clearly resembles the one at Balloughton.

At a public meeting held by the Carrig-on-Bannow branch of the United Irish League, (and reported in The Echo on May 3rd 1907) Mr Peter Ffrench Member of Parliament and a native of Bannow told the crowd that his principal business at the meeting “was to ask them to stand by Mr John Redmond and the Irish Parliamentary Party who were rendering the country such effective service.” He would not “repeat everything that the Irish Party had done for the people of the country” as “they knew it all themselves” but he would refer to one or two services. He continued:–

“We brought the best Labourers’ Bill that has ever passed the legislature of any country. The housing of the labourers has been expedited and you have got cheap money for that purpose. For a long time we have been seeking to get money for the purpose of supplying the labourers with plots and cottages at the same rate of interest that farmers obtain it to purchase their farms and last year we succeeded. And now if all the labourers who require plots and homes don’t get them, it is not the fault of the Irish Parliamentary Party. Some people who are not in the Party try to persuade you that it was they who got the Labourers’ Bill passed but I can tell you that they had no more to do with it than you had. Mr Ffrench spoke proudly—maybe with a touch of maudlin— “of my own native parish of Bannow”.

I am unclear as to two aspects of this extract from Mr Ffrench’s address. The franchise or right to vote was linked to property ownership and accordingly most limited in 1907 so I am not convinced that Mr Ffrench’s exultation in the increased availability of labourers’ cottages was based on a cynical political calculation—the occupiers of these cottages would not have a vote at that moment in time (to paraphrase somebody or other); some have argued that the Sinn Fein victory at the 1918 General Election and consequent emasculation of the Irish Parliamentary Party arose as an outcome of the radical widening of the franchise or right to vote, that preceded that election. What I am saying in a roundabout manner, is that the commitment of the Irish Parliamentary Party to better housing for the farm labourers was a rudimentary idealism, a genuine desire to effect social improvement. The Irish Parliamentary Party had strongly supported the Land League in its various guises; it was significant that a Bannow Land League radical, Mr Nicholas Moore, acted as Secretary to this meeting. Other names mentioned were: John Kane the District Councillor, Mr Denis Crosbie and Robert Coleman. There was a socialist aspect in the rhetoric of the Land League—its co-founder Michael Davitt of Co. Mayo was an extreme left winger, who advocated the nationalisation of the land (in my opinion a disastrous course to follow) and the speeches made (or purportedly made) at branch meetings urged social reform and better conditions for labourers and artisans. These speeches may have been dictated by people higher up in the movement and attributed to speakers at local or parish branch meetings.

I may only hazard an informed conjecture as to what Mr Ffrench was tilting at in his reference to borrowing money to build labourers cottages. The legislation empowered the Poor Law Unions to build cottages, to certain specifications, with a half acre plot of land and to rent the house and plot to a labourer, (selected by a meeting of the Board of Guardians of an individual Poor Law Union). Post 1880, the Land League had a majority on these Boards; the other members were ex officio, local magistrates, generally. I presume that the Board of Guardians of any Poor Law Union would feel better suited to building more labourers’ cottages if cheap credit were available to them to do so: but Mr Ffrench is plainly wrong to depict borrowing to buy a farm as parallel to borrowing to building a labourer’s cottage! In that era, a farm usually returned a good dividend or profit but the tenants of the cottages were hugely challenged to pay the rent, for understandable reasons.

The People on the 7th of January 1899 carried proposals to be put before a Road Presenting Sessions; these parts are relevant to a study of Bannow history:–

“To keep in repair 1894 perches of the road between Ballytore and the Mill of Rags; and between Coolcull crossroads and Andrew’s Bridge; and between the bridge of the Pall and Brennan’s house in Kiltrea including the keeping in repair of 40 perches of protecting wall on the road side, not to exceed 5 pence per perch.

To keep in repair 545 perches of the road from White cross roads near Ballymitty to the cross-roads at the back of Mr Meyler’s house in Harristown and the cross-roads of John Maher’s at Tullicanna, not to exceed 5 pence per perch.

To keep in repair 840 perches of the road between the Bannow Glebe gate and Wellington Quay and between Robin Edward’s house and John White’s house in Newtown; and between Richard Colfer’s house in Graheenbeg and the cross roads of Deanscastle, not to exceed 4 and a half pence per perch.”

Graheenbeg was a name on the Cliffe estate adjoining Carrig village; by that time I assume that Tom Boyse had long since bought this estate.

The People on the 5th of January 1856 reported:–


On the 5th January, of disease of the heart, in the bloom of youth, to the deep sorrow of her family, Mary, the amiable and beloved child of Mr Stephen Colfer, Carrig, Bannow.”

From the Forth and Bargy notes in The People on 7th June 1952:

“HOME FROM AMERICA—MR John Miskella of Cleveland, Ohio, is paying a visit to his brother Mr Patrick Miskella, Johnstown, Duncormack. A  native of Barrystown, Wellingtonbridge, Mr Miskella emigrated to America nearly 25 years ago. He hopes to return for good to Ireland when he retires in a few years’ time.

DANCE IN CARRIG—The function in Carrig Hall on Sunday night organised by Ballymitty G. A. A. Club was splendidly patronised and a most enjoyable night was spent. Mr R. Dake was M. C.”

From The People the 24th of April 1917:–

“Having just had a field ploughed for me in a most satisfactory manner by Messrs Duff Bros., The Garage, Barrack Street, Wexford, Moontime Motor Tractor, I wish to recommend it and its courteous owner’s services to anyone who still have work to do. The tractor may still be seen at work in another of my fields and I hope all who are interested will come and see it at work and judge for themselves.

S. D. Deane

Longraigue, Foulksmills, Co. Wexford

April 18th, 1917.”

The Wexford Independent reported on the 27th of January 1858:–


We understand that a rather extensive and destructive fire took place on Friday last, at Coolebrook, the residence of Thomas Martin Esq., near Ballymitty. Carrying out the rapidly increasing system of house feeding Mr Martin had a stove or cooking apparatus of food for cattle set up in part of the extensive out offices and situate nearly central. On Friday as usual the man who had charge of the business lit the fire and put all going and then locked the door and went to attend to other duties—in the course of the afternoon the whole range was found to be on fire internally and soon the roofs fell in and the loss sustained is stated to be considerable. This should be a caution to all persons erecting stoves, particularly in old buildings where sufficient care is not taken generally in avoiding the near approach or insertion of timber beams and rafters to the flue. The origin of this incident is attributed to this cause.”

The Carrig-on-Bannow Land League met on Tuesday the 12th of July1881

The Wexford Independent on the 28th of February 1846 outlined some clerical changes:–

“The Rev. M. Moran, the esteemed and amiable Catholic Curate of Bannow has been appointed Parish Priest of Blackwater.

The Rev. Nicholas Codd C. C., Enniscorthy, has been removed to Bannow, vice Rev. Mr Moran….”

A row connected with the appointment of Fr Peter Corish at Pastor of Carrig-on-Bannow meant that Fr Corish resided at Ballymitty and that Fr Martin Moran resided at Carrig, where he celebrated the early Masses in the new chapel. Fr Nicholas Codd was opposed to the land agitation and did not favour the Tenants’ Right movement. Why, I am not sure. Fr Moran left a considerable estate on his death and some of his monies were by his direction given to the poor, including those of Carrig-on-Bannow.

From The Enniscorthy Guardian August 3rd 1918:–


Mrs Cloney, Ballybeg Co. Carlow, and friends wish to thank the fellow teachers of the late Mr P. Doyle N. T. Ballymitty, for the splendid monument they have placed over his grave in St Mullins; also for the kind letters of sympathy and beautiful floral tributes; and trust that this notice will be accepted as an acknowledgement by all, as it would be impossible to reply to each individually.”

From The People October 23rd 1875:–

“Accidental Death—On Friday evening at Cullenstown, Walter Furlong, servant at Mr Burnsides, received a kick from a pony in the abdomen, from the effects of which he died the following Monday.”

The Carrig-on-Bannow branch of the Land League met on Tuesday the 12th of July 1885. Messrs Thomas Flynn, Kiltra, John Gallagher, Kilcavan, and James White, Tullacanna (sic) were elected members by acclamation. The Chairperson, Mr J. A. Ennis Esq. V. P. told a strange story of the aftermath of the eviction of the widow O’Hanlon-Walsh of Knocktarton:–

“The locking of the house by Natty closed this portion of the proceedings. In trying to get possession of the land a remarkable incident occurred. The cattle were all removed with the exception of a mare and she instinctively held possession against all comers. It was something to look at to see the mare deploying on the approach of the besieging army and after a series of assaults and retreats they abandoned the hopeless task of getting the mare off the land and she is now mistress of the field after a bloodless battle and may she long enjoy her victory.”

The “boycott”, named after an unpleasant Co. Mayo landlord, involved social ostracising of individuals who took lands from which the tenants had been evicted or associated with such persons. In most cases shops refuses to serve such people and blacksmiths would not shoe their horses. Contractors would not enter their haggards to thresh their corn. The boycott of the “Hermit Byrne” of Coolroe, (who evicted his tenants) as depicted in his diary, was absolute and most troubling to him. This extract from the report of the Carrig-on-Bannow meeting is suggestive of the absolutism of the Boycott weapon:–

“Proposed by Mr Walsh, seconded by Mr Cullen and passed unanimously:–“That members of this branch who violate the spirit of the League by visiting and making a high-fellow-well-met with expelled members be censured; and should they continue to do so, that they be expelled, also. No countenance to back-sliders.”

The Land League not only contended with the Landlords; they, also, battled with tradition and Irish history: over time and generations, it had been customary for lands from which the tenant had been evicted to be taken by another person. The Land League adapted the trade union principle of solidarity, whereby all workers went on strike, to rectify a grievance: the Land League required each and every other person to refrain from taking any lands from which the tenant had been evicted.