Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown who like a meteor ascends the metaphorical skies of the historiographical universe and illuminates the past for evermore. I am best (and usually) described as charming, charismatic, scholarly, erudite, historian supreme, an intelligence much higher than that of Einstein, the most original thinker of our age; one who has ornamented everything that he has touched and I nearly forgot, blessed among the women and the most devious and wily of them—that wily boy from beside the mine pits. My equal will not walk this earth again.

On last Thursday the Uí Cinsealaigh Historical Society published Volume 32 of The Past—I could not (to my sincere regret) not be there as other essential business brought me to Waterford at that precise time of the day. I have always felt a special gratitude to the editor Canon Séamus De Vál, as many years ago, when unable to find an outlet for a large amount of research that I had done on the Clonroche district, the Canon published several articles from it in The Past. The Past was set up as a diocesan history, circa 1920. According to their preview, I have two articles in The Past this year. They are: an article on a controversy over a Mass Path in Caime circa 1862 and an account of the attack on the police barracks in Clonroche in April 1920

“On Sunday next, the Dedication Sermon will be preached in the beautiful church of Carrick (Bannow), by that eminently gifted pulpit orator, the very Rev. Dr Cahill—the proceeds to be appropriated to the completion of the Sacred Edifice. We have reason to believe that the attendance will be both numerous and respectable—but this does not surprise us, when we recollect the strong claims which the amiable and beloved Pastor of the parish—the Rev. Mr Corish—has on the whole district where he exercised spiritual control—added to the natural anxiety there exists to hear one of the most eloquent preachers that ever adorned the Irish Church.”

The People on the 2nd of April 1862 announced the coming of Dr Cahill to the Chapel of Carrig-on-Bannow to preach at its Dedication. There would have been an admission charge, graded according to the position one took in the Chapel during the sermon; there would certainly have been a different charge for those seated within the altar rails. This money would be used to complete the Chapel with a small portion of it going to remunerate the Rev. Dr Cahill. He travelled by train from Dublin to Wexford town.

The Wexford Independent reported on June 13 1860 on the meeting of the Board of the Wexford Poor Law Guardians, with this reference to Bannow persons:–

“….Mary Byrne, 60, Duncormack, on certificate of Dr Boyd, was allowed 2 shillings and six pence for one week.

The outdoor relief last week amounted to £2 13 shillings and 6 pence.

Mr Nicholas Corish, Guardian for Bannow, objected to a man named White, chargeable to Bannow, now two years, and to whom, in his opinion, it ought never to have been given, as he was owner of cows and sheep. As to the Mary Byrne just named, she was walking about and could come into the House.

Mr Howlin asked the Relieving Officer what he knew about White?

The Relieving Officer knew nothing of him, as it was on the doctor’s certificate he was allowed relief.

Dr Waddy moved the thanks of the Board to Mr Corish for enlightening them so far and hoped others would do the same where necessary—and that relief be suspended to the parties.”

The intricacies of the outdoor relief legislation need to be explicated. Outdoor relief was intended as an alternative to people having to enter the Work-house—this applied to sick persons who were too ill to be moved to the Work-house; they were give a paltry allowance of money each week. Widows with four or more children qualified automatically for outdoor relief. The problem of the Poor Law legislation was that unless people seeking relief were required to live in the Workhouse, the vast majority of the ordinary people would opt for relief. Having to reside in the Work-house was a punitive requirement of the legislation. If one had any sizable assets, one could not claim relief of any kind. However, it is hard to see how this man named White, presumably getting outdoor relief on the basis of sickness, could provide for himself on the basis of having cows and cattle. Maybe he could sell them to tide himself over his illness. The ratepayers in each electoral division had, through their rates, to support those persons from that electoral division on relief, either in the Workhouse or outdoor relief: hence the concern of Mr Corish of persons in his electoral district obtaining relief fraudently.

From The People, 25th of July 1959:–

“Plot Presented to Guild

The monthly meeting of the Carrig-on-Bannow Guild of Muintir Na Tire was held on last Monday night. Large number of members were present, including Mr Mervyn Boyse formerly of Bannow House.

The principal reason for Mr Boyse’s presence at the meeting was to present the recently planted plot at Carrig to the guild.

The Chairman thanked Mr Boyse for his kindness and Mr Boyse, in his reply, wished the guild every success and hoped the trees would grow well. He said it was a splendid plantation and in a few short years would add very much to the beauty of the village.

The very enthusiastic ladies committee are making preparations for a sale of work and jumble sale.”

From the report of the meeting of the Board of Wexford Poor Law Guardians:–

“Rosegarland, New Ross,

5th March 1875

Sir—With reference to notice, dated 27th February, served on me respecting a labourer’s cottage in Ballylannon, I beg to state that in consequence of a previous notice, all the manure was removed but I cannot remove the water, which flows in from the ditch of the road, without getting permission to make a gully across the road. I have spoken to Mr Doyle, the road inspector on the subject. The heap of manure I had removed previous to the issuing the notice of the 27th February.

Yours obedient

F. A. Leigh.

To George Carr Esq., Executive Sanitary Officer

Bannow Starch Works, Graigue

March 4th 1875.

Sir—It was only yesterday evening your memorandum of the 27th February was handed to me in reference to a nuisance complained of as existing in a back drain at Tinnahinch. In reply I beg to say that Dr Carey inspected the drain a few days ago and it is his opinion as well as mine, that the nuisance is caused by matter flowing from the house in Tinnahinch into this drain, and that the constant flow is interrupted by an insufficient grating inserted in the drain and for which I am not in any way accountable as neither drain nor grating is my property. I expected this matter had been represented to the Board by Dr Carey after his inspection.

John Kelly

It was ordered that Dr Biggs report again respecting the best measures of securing the well from pollution….”

I am not sure if I know what all of the above referred to and I wonder what the Bannow Starch Works were.

From the Bargy notes in The People July 22nd 1911:–

“New Ball Alley For Cullenstown

Mr H. T. Boyse J. P., Bannow House, has presented a site and a liberal subscription for the erection of a ball alley in Cullenstown. This is only one of the many kind acts members of the Boyse family have done for their tenants in late years. The boys have expressed their sincere thanks to their kind donor and intend opening a subscription list to help to defray the expenses of erecting an alley, which is certain to meet with warm support. The alley will add greatly to the popularity of Cullenstown as a seaside resort and bring an increased number of visitors. Messrs T. White, Mat Colfer and Patrick Bowe are the guiding stars in the movement. May they fully succeed in their laudable undertaking is the heartfelt wish of one and all.”

The People on the 17th of August, 1912 in a report on the Wexford District Council meeting, related:–

“Unprotected Shafts

Sergeant O’Keeffe, R. I. C., Wellingtonbridge, reported that there were six mine shafts on the lands of Mr W. H. Lett, Balloughton, Bannow which should be enclosed by fencing; also, two other shafts in use recently required to be more securely faced.”

Mr Lett had a lot of land in Barrystown where, I am almost certain, these mine-pits were.

I hope that Nicky Furlong won’t reprimand me (I expect he won’t) for quoting from his beautiful feature on Carrig-on-Bannow parish in The People on the 13th of February 1987:–

“The Church of Ireland parish is in the townland of Balloughton. It was built in 1822 on land donated by Mr Richard Lett. It is, therefore, one of the few Church of Ireland churches not to be found on an ancient Christian site. The Rector is the very well known Rev. Ernest Brandon.

The Church is in pretty surrounds with an old sundial in front and it has a pleasantly curious amalgam of styles, a possible suggestion of Pugin which was later shelved. It contains richly coloured stained glass. However, the church precincts are more famous in that they are placed near a sit of some forgotten ceremonial of 2,500 years ago.

Balloughton’s Megalithic monument in the nearby field is most impressive and for all I know, unique in Co. Wexford. Known as “The Long Stone” in Scanlon’s land, it is five feet in girth and nine feet high. Whatever its function, ceremonial or otherwise, there are small cupped holes on the west and south sides. There are five on the south face, three forming a triangle with two fainter cups above. On the west side there are, also, five cup marks.  T. C. Butler suggests that one function was for sick people to blow, as it were, their diseases into the cup marks to obtain a sort of supernatural strength by traditional ritual. Stones such as this are found, also, wherever the genius of Neolithic man is found, used for various invocations, for example to increase fertility or prolong life. Professor Mac Alastair of U. C. D. was able to find traces of a Celtic cross engraved on it and, also, the faint outlines of Ogham writing indicating the tomb of a Gaelic aristocrat.”

“Tag or seaweed is a species of manure to which farmers on the sea coast have access and which has the peculiar quality of being applicable to every kind of soil, as often as it can be got and with the greatest imaginable benefit. After a storm from the south or south-west, this weed is drifted down the channel in vast heaps and is watched for by the people with the most anxious solicitude: you would imagine their very existence depended on their exertions; all the hands that can be collected, men, women and children, press forward to the beach, and rush knee deep into the sea, and some up to the middle, with prongs and pitchforks in their hands, struggling to save and carry off on cars, what the tide has wafted in; this labour is renewed night and day, between the ebb and flow of tides, as long as a morsel of the weed remains on the beach; besides there is a quantity of sea sand and gravel used; these they mix with the weed, which form a rich compost and, sometimes with mould or, as is very often the case, they lay it out by itself on heavy grounds, with great success.”

The Rector of Tacumshane writing in William Shaw-Mason’s Statistical Account in 1814 gave the above graphic and gripping account of the harvesting of seaweed along the south Wexford coast-line.

The People on February 11, 1871 reported:–


On Saturday 21st January at Philadelphia, Rev. Mark Crane O. S. A., pastor of St. Augustine’s Church, to the deep regret of all who knew him. The reverend deceased, who was born on August 10, 1831, in the parish of Bannow, was one of a family counting six of its members devoted to the service of Almighty God, four of his brothers being in the priesthood and his only sister a nun. The death of this truly just and good man leaves a void which time itself scarce can fill; poignant then is the grief that pierces the hearts of all that knew him as pastor, father and friend. May he rest in peace—Catholic Standard.”

I am sure that the deceased Fr Mark Crane was born in Barrystown. High attainment is as natural to the natives of that townland as breathing the fresh air. His life was short enough.

The People on January 22 1921 reported:–

“Vernegly and Danescastle

On Tuesday Messrs John J. Kehoe and Sons put up for sale at the schoolhouse, Carrig-on-Bannow, by directions of the administrator of the late Mr James Walsh, Danescastle the following property in two lots—Lot 1. The farm of Vernegly, containing 30 acres, 2 roods and 16 perches, statute measure, held under a lease for 32 years 1st May 1893, at a rent of £25. There are a dwelling house and out-offices on this holding. Mr James Farrar, Milltown, Carlow was the purchase of this lot for £1, 295. Lot 2 consists of premises at Danescastle or Carrig, held under a lease for 139 years from 29th September 1787, at the yearly rent of £7 4 shillings and 1 penny. The premises comprise the dwelling house, land and garden, all containing about 2 roods, held by Canon O’Sullivan at the yearly rent of £2 2 shillings; the constabulary barracks and yard and garden under a yearly rent of £25; the licenses premises of Mrs Devereux, with a rent of £15; a house and joining, also, held by Mrs Devereux under yearly tenancy at rent of £3; the house in which the late Mr Walsh lived, with yard and store, paddock and small garden attached of an estimated letting value of £20; two small houses held by Mr Hayes at a rent of £2 10 shillings per year; a farm containing about 9 statute acres, with an estimated letting value of, at least, £30; the additional premises taken by the Constabulary with an estimated annual rent of £10. The estimated gross profit rent on these premises when Board of Works charge shall be paid off is £100 7shillings and 11 pence. Mr Thomas Morris, Newtown, Bannow was the purchaser of this lot at £1, 810 in trust for the late owner’s brother Mr Robert Walsh. Both sales were very largely attended and competition was very keen. Messrs M. J. O’Connor and Co. had carriage of the sales.”

The intricacy of nineteenth and eighteenth century land law is well illustrated in the above. The Walshes had taken a lease of these lands and then in turn leased parts of the lease to different sub-tenants of their own.

The Wexford Independent reported on October 1st 1837:–

“Fatal Accident by Fire Arms

It is our very painful duty to record another of those fatal accidents which have been a frequent occurrence of late, from the incautious use of fire arms. On Saturday last, the body of a young man was found beside Kiltra and Carrig on the road side, with  a large shot gun wound in his left breast and a double barrel lying by his side. On examination it was found to be the body of Doctor Carr, son of the Rev. George Carr of Ross. It appeared by the evidence at the inquest, which was held on the  following day, before R. C. Browne and John Richards Esqrs., that deceased left the house of a friend on Friday evening about eight o’clock for Balloughton where he had been on  a visit, carrying a loaded doubled barrel  percussion gun on his shoulder with the muzzle forward as was his custom; and it is supposed that he stumbled over a hillock which was at the spot where the body was found and that he put the breech of the gun to the ground to prevent him from falling, when it exploded from the repercussion. The verdict was accidental death. We unaffectedly sympathise (as will every member of the community who hears of this sad catastrophe) with the parents of this lamented gentleman, thus cut off in the flower of his youth, whose conciliating and amiable disposition endeared him to every one who had the pleasure of his acquaintance.”

The account in the Wexford Conservative noted that Dutton White found the dead man at Barrystown but my query is—who was Dutton White and was he connected to other Whites in the district?