Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, the most wily and devious of them all, a genius with intelligence greater than Einstein, erudite, eloquent, moves and talks with panache, scholarly, inspired and inspiring, historian supreme, a right boyo, a trainor of hurling teams, a marathon runner, blah, blah….One could write a thousand books, of a thousand pages each, and only be at the beginning of the challenge of describing my greatness. You could say the same about Tom Boyse, the two Toms etc as they shouted out when the Bard of Erin, Tom Moore, came to Bannow. Or is that three Toms or what?!

From The Echo, the 6th of May 1950:–

“New pastor of Bannow

Father John O’Brien

Most Rev. Dr Staunton, Bishop of Ferns, has appointed Rev. John O’Brien C. C., Gorey, to the pastoral charge of Bannow, vacant through the death of Very Rev. Matthew Keating.

Father O’Brien, a native of Poulpeasty, was educated at St Peter’s College, Wexford and the Irish College, Paris. He was raised to the priesthood at St Peter’s on May 14, 1916 and ministered zealously at Bunclody for 17 years and at Gorey for the last 17 years. He served as director of Plain Chant for Gorey deanery. He is brother of Very Rev. Andrew Canon O’Brien P. P., Marshalstown.”

Fr John O’Brien, as Parish Priest of Carrig-on-Bannow, baptized me. I have only vague memories of him and I am not sure if he visited the Danescastle National School as frequently as Canon Michael Murphy P. P. Cloughbawn and his Curate, young Fr Jim Ryan, came to Clonroche National School after I went to Ballymackessy. Fr Ryan, as a young man, may have felt that he could inspire a blazing enthusiasm for the Catholic faith in the school-children. It is the prerogative of young men and women to dream that never was and ask why not? Jack Kennedy told the Dail in June 1963 that some men dream the dream that always was and ask why? He (or the philosopher that he quoted) dreamed the dream that never was and asked why not? While his aphorism reflected a bourgeois confidence that permeated the thinking of that era and probably created the sophisticated societies of latter times, I am still not sure as the extent of truth in what he said. Those in the autumn of their lives have vast experience of the difficulty of achieving things.

From The People the 16th of May 1953:–

“Preliminary Notice

Cullenstown, Bannow

Auction sale of seven-day licensed premises

With living accommodation, standing on –I–RD

At An Early Date

By Directions of Mr Seamus Nolan

The property is held free of rent and carries a good summer trade, situated as it in the seaside resort of Cullenstown.

Full details and date of sale in next week’s issue.

Messrs John A. Sinnott & Co., Solicitors, Enniscorthy

Or—Raymond E. Corish M. I. A. A.,

Auctioneer Wexford.”

From The People the 17th of July 1909:–


Roche—July 8th 1909, at his residence, Ballygow, Bannow, Simon Roche, aged 70 years. Sacred Heart of Christ, have mercy on his soul.”

From The People the 19th of July 1952:–


Kilmore Quay presented an almost deserted appearance on Monday and Tuesday of last week, as most of the male population of the village had left for the Great Saltee Island where they were employed by Prince Michael Neale to transport a large stone chair from the mainland to the Island, where it is being erected on a high point. It is understood it will be used as a Coronation Chair on which future “Kings” of the Island will be crowned. The chair which weighs two and a half tons, was loaded on to a special raft and sailed out to the Island, close to the place on which it will be erected.

Prince Neale, accompanied by some friends, is, at present, on the Island, and will superintend the erection of the chair.”

It would seem that Prince Michael Neale wished to replicate the manner in the Kingship Ui Neill clan of Ulster was conferred.

From The People the 19th of July 1952:–

“Concert by School Pupils—At the closing of Danescastle School for annual summer holidays on Friday of last week, the pupils gave a very enjoyable concert. Songs and dances were contributed by the following:–C. Coady, M. Dunphy, M. White, M. Kelly, K. and E. Kearns. A short play followed entitled— “Murphy’s International Hotel” was staged by the pupils under the direction of their teacher, Miss Broderick. Miss Teresa Carthy was a capable stage manager.

Home From U. S. A.—Mr Laurence Murphy who emigrated to New York, twenty-five years ago, is on a visit to his parents, Mr and Mrs Thomas Murphy, Coolhull Castle.”

From The People the 15th of July 1893:–

“An Adventure in Bannow Bay

An adventure took place in Bannow Bay, when a couple of young ladies from a neighbouring townland and a couple of the sterner sex from Bannow were nearly drowned. The young men (one of whom was a Dubliner home on vacation) were pulling from Blackhall in the direction of the Keroe Islands, when they picked up the ladies in question, who wished to participate in the row across. The wind rose very high and the party were unable to get to the Islands, so they turned to pull back towards the mainland, when the dangerous incident occurred. The boat became unmanageable, owing simply to the inability of the gentlemen at the oars and their apparent ignorance of the principles which should weigh with persons trying to get out of a similar as they were in. The boat struck against some pieces of projecting rock, and the screams of the ladies for help were heard by a party of excursionists on shore, one of whom—a young man from Longraigue—got the girls on terra firma. The gentlemen who were in the boat seemed to have lost all presence of mind and they, too, had to be dragged ashore more dead than alive.”

From The People the 11th of July 1908:–

“A Popular Holiday Resort

The holiday resort that is fastly becoming the most popular in County Wexford in Cullinstown by the sea, near the buried city of Bannow. Hundreds of cyclists flock there every Sunday and the best of order prevails. The aspect here is a southern one and the sea bathing is very safe. It is no wonder that such crowds assemble there every Sunday. The restaurant and tea rooms established a few years ago are an immense addition to the place.”

From The Echo the 11th of May 1941:–

“Bannow Harbour

In the Dail, Mr Keating asked the Minister for Finance “whether he is aware that the harbour at Bannow, Co. Wexford, is still in a dangerous condition, whether any decisions have been taken on the report of the Board of Works engineer, who visited this harbour a year ago and whether in view of the special importance this year of the fishing industry to supplement food supplies, he will take immediate steps to have a wall erected and the harbour made safe for fishermen.”

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance (Mr Flinn) replied:–The condition of this harbour is unsatisfactory at certain stages of the tide for the shallow draught boats using it. Two proposals for using the harbour have been investigated and rejected as unsatisfactory. A further proposal is, at present, receiving consideration. The County Surveyor is to consult with local fishermen and examine the details of this latter proposal when a suitable spring tide offers, probably at the next low water tide of spring tide. When the County Surveyor’s report is received, it will be further examined.”

From The People the 12th of July 1913:–


“Doyle and Hayes—July 2nd, at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Tagoat, with Nuptial Mass, by Rev. Philip Doyle O. S. A., brother of bridegroom, assisted by Rev. Canon Doyle P. P. and Rev. W. Harpur, St Peter’s and Rev. Thomas Murphy O. S. A., cousin to bride, Patrick, son of Patrick Doyle, Maudlintown, Wellingtonbridge, to Anastatia Mary, sixth daughter of Nicholas Hayes District Councillor, Lough.”

From The People the 12th of July 1952:–

“Bannow And District Notes

Successful Student—Miss Kathleen Walsh, St Brendan’s, Bannow, now at present on the Head Office (Dublin) Staff of Messrs Esso Ltd, was one of the four ladies who obtained the Diploma in Public Administration in the recent examination at University College Dublin. She was a former Loreto Convent student having done her Secondary Course at Loreto Convent, Wexford and her Commercial Course at Loreto College, Crumlin, Dublin.

Muintir Na Tire—The monthly meeting of Carrig-on-Bannow Guild Muintir Na Tire was held in St Mary’s Hall, on Monday night; Mr M. Merriman presiding. Attention was drawn to the housing conditions of a family in the district and it was decided to communicate with the County Council to have the erection of a cottage expedited. It was, also, decided to give the forthcoming agricultural show at Littlegraigue every support….

Wheat Midge—Valiant efforts are being made throughout the area to conquer the wheat midge, millions of which have infested wheat fields in the district. Every type of sprayer has been pressed into use and farmers have co0operated very fully in their efforts to defeat this destructive pest.

Good Returns From Poultry—Good returns have been obtained throughout the district this season by poultry owners for spring chickens. The rush is on this week to get the last of them off by Saturday when prices will drop from the present high level. Best result recorded this week was from the Bannow district when a poultry owner received £5 5 shillings for thirty-six White Wyandotte Cockerels.”

From The Wexford Independent the 21st of May 1859 [re annual sale of cattle and sheep at Mr Leigh’s of Rosegarland]:–

“the business of the day commenced by Mr Walsh, the able and accomplished Auctioneer of the district, announcing from his rostrum that Mr Leigh had a few words to say, when that gentleman observed, that he had only to repeat  what he stated last year, that no reserve, whatsoever, should be associated with this sale. No one was authorised to bid a single farthing on his part. He placed himself unreservedly in Mr Walsh’s hands and trusted to fair, manly and honourable competition for the result. He had plenty of grass; and any person who becomes purchaser of sheep can leave them for a week or more to suit his own convenience in taking them away. His mangels not being run out, he would, also, keep the cattle for a few days for the convenience of buyers and only ask one half of the money to be paid in advance.

Mr Walsh observed that Mr Leigh occupied a better position now than even at the first sale; for he now can refer to facts to fortify his pledges. This time twelve months he introduced the system of annual Stock sales for the first time, and succeeded so well, as to attract the large assemblage that now surrounded him. He has mentioned one new feature in these sales—that the auctioneer would work without money. Government had lately abolished property qualifications for Members of Parliament and Mr Leigh abolished the Auctioneers Commission, so far as the purchaser is concerned, for he paid it himself—and those who paid would have only the price they actually bid to pay. After some further observations he proceeded with the sale of the sheep, amounting to 300, placed in pens of five each—which brought very good prices; and afterwards with the fat cattle, a score having been brought to the hammer, the gross proceeds of all amounting to upwards of one thousand pounds. Mr Benjamin Murphy, Mr Patrick Armstrong, and Mr Patrick Murphy were amongst the largest purchasers; and we would recommend connoisseurs in good living to visit the stall of the first named victualler this day, to see one of the finest heifers ever slaughtered.

Having disposed of the auction, we deem a passing notice of Mr Leigh’s exertions to promote an improved system of agriculture in his district—thereby affording a good example to our resident gentry and practical farmers—not out of place. Last year we mentioned that he farms about six hundred acres and when we recollect that the land is light and by no means of superior quality, the vast yield that his enterprise and industry extract therefrom should encourage every agriculturist to persevere against every obstacle and to rely on that determination of will, which always conquers. We have already described the feeding houses and the expeditious mode of supplying food by means of a tram running at the heads of the cattle; but we did not state that each animal has its number in the stall, (amounting to one hundred), which enables the herd or proprietor, by referring to the number in his book, to know the state of each beast and to price him and to price him for the purchaser, wherever he may meet him.

His [Francis A. Leigh, Rosegarland] steam engine and threshing machine were those which took the prize at Chester and had an admiring crowd about them at different parts of the day; and although they fully repaid the anxious curiosity—for they are splendid articles—they did not excite as much interest as a “Distributor of Artificial Manures”, the invention of Mr Leigh, himself, and for which he is going to take out a Patent. It was exhibited at the last Exhibition of the Royal Dublin Society, in Dublin and the general approbation. Mr Leigh kindly set it to work to show its operation; and Mr M’Intosh (Mr Le Hunte’s intelligent steward) and others  skilled in improved husbandry, pronounced it one of the most valuable inventions of modern times for the benefit of the farmer. It sows three rows of manure at twenty-eight inches apart, or any given width, as it may be adjusted; and by changing the troft, it can be re-used as a broadcast distributor. It can be drawn by one light horse and effect a saving of hand labour almost marvellous. We would advise our agricultural friends to go and see and judge for themselves; and we are sure that Mr Leigh will be most happy to demonstrate its utility and the mode of working it. We never had a richer treat in our lives than on Thursday—combining, as it did, the utile dulei; and if it were only to see the famous Portugal Laurels, of which topographers and tourists have already written and sung, a visit to Rosegarland would be a treat of no ordinary kind. These trees partake of the nature of the banyan of India, striking root from the top branches as they kiss the earth and forming beautiful natural arbours in their progress; but as time and space cry out against us, we must have done.”

Jonas King J. P., [Justice of the Peace] was at the Sale.

From The Wexford Independent the 3rd of July 1847:–

“To The Chairmen And Members of the


Of the division of

Taghmon, Killurin, Mulrankin, Ambrosetown and Bannow

Gentlemen—I beg to solicit the honour of your votes and influence in the election of a Medical Officer to the Fever Hospital about being established in the neighbourhood of Taghmon, according to the provisions of the Fever Bill. I do so, solely on the ground of qualification, and under the conviction of my ability to discharge with effect, the duties attached to such an institution.

Possessing the diploma of the Dublin College of Surgeons and also a medical degree, together with ten years practical experience in my profession, I am emboldened to seek your suffrages.

The appointment, I look upon, as one of extreme importance, which, though a temporary provision now, may become permanent and, therefore, requiring at your hands that due consideration, as to the merits of the candidates, moral and professional, which should guarantee success—and

I have the honour to be

Your very obedient servant

Richard Lett, Medical Doctor, L. R. C. S. L.

Physician to the Bannow Dispensary.”

I assume that Richard Lett was one of the Balloughton family and, also, the secretary to the Bannow Famine Relief Committee. His application is over stated, too pompous and exaggerated.

The purpose of the Fever Hospitals was to isolate people with infectious and lethal maladies from the rest of society; attempts would be made to cure them, also—although one would not have enormous confidence in the medical expertise of the doctors in the mid-nineteenth century. They would not have enormous confidence in their own ability, themselves!