Hi,it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, outgoing, egregious, moves and talks with panache, historian supreme, blessed among women, honoured and revered, a right boyo, a genius, an intelligence greater than Einstein, erudite, scholarly, and the most devious and wily of them of all, that wily boy from beside the mine pits. My lilies are exquisite, pure beauty and admired by all who travel along that road; the heavenly fragrance wafts across the road. It was said of a famous Irish poet that he touched nothing that he did not adorn: the boy from Barrystown surely adorns everything that he touches. My humility is astounding given the avalanche of adulation that pursues me every waking day. Adulation may be defined as uncritical admiration or intense admiration not necessarily fully attained.

-:Dr Grattan-Flood wrote in The People on the 27th of August 1910

“Any account of Bannow would be incomplete without reference to the “Long Stone”. This huge boulder of granite has scorings on it which have furnished much copy for amateur archaeologists. As to the stone itself, it was probably a Gallan of Standing stone of a pre-invasion epoch, or else it was a boundary mark. A theory has been put forward that the stone was analogous to the “Stevm” in Dublin and was of Scandinavian provenance. Reference is made to it in a historical document of the year 1569, which makes it probable that is served to define certain bounds. The name Brandon is still a reminder of St Brendan’s Church but Dane’s Castle has no reference to the Danes.”

I have no idea as to how correct the above is.

The People, circa the mid 1880’s,  reported what it called “A Deplorable Case” as recounted and discussed at a meeting of the Board of Guardians of Wexford  Poor Law Union. The report is not exactly a specimen of clarity but it seems that the Guardians had before them an account of a meeting of the Bannow Dispensary Committee; the Guardians then discussed the issue involved of the death of a mother after child-birth. To modern sensibility, it seems an atrocious and grotesque and tragic event but in that era, the death of mothers and children in or after birth was frequent—the medical response was limited by the lack of extensive medical expertise such as now exists but the outrage at what happened was genuine.

“A meeting of the Bannow Dispensary Committee was held on November 19th for the purpose of inquiring into the death, in child birth, of Mrs James C—, Ballyfrory on October 20th. There were present—Messrs A. Keating (in the chair), G. Rossiter, Thomas Culleton, Martin Ffrench, Patrick Wade, Andrew Cullin, James Breen and Denis Crosbie.

Statement of James C–, husband of the deceased Johanna C–—On Monday, at 7 o’clock October 29th, I left my home to go for the midwife (Mrs Murphy, Kiltra) and  not finding her at home, I went to Ballymadder, where she was engaged; midwife sent me word she could not leave; I then returned home and arrived about 10 o’clock same night; Mrs Nangle, a neighbouring woman, called in while I went for the midwife; some time after the child was born and my wife going on fairly, but Mrs Nangle told me to go for the doctor, as I could not get the midwife; I went to the doctor and stated my case; he again sent me off for the midwife to meet him there; the doctor was leaving when I was going off to Ballymadder; got delayed about two hours, after which the midwife came with me and arrived home between seven and eight o’clock on Tuesday morning and found my wife dead.

Thomas Murphy stated he accompanied C– to Kiltra and Ballymadder; the midwife sent them word that she could not leave, as the case was a most critical one and the woman in great danger.

Mary Nangle, who was called by C–, stated she was called at 7 o’clock and asked to stay with his wife while he went for the midwife; she remained with the wife until he returned at 11 ‘’clock p.m. without the midwife; she then requested him to go at once for the doctor; it was, at least, three hours after before he went; meanwhile the child was born and two hours after the woman was sinking into weakness; when the doctor arrived at 4.20 a. m. (Tuesday) the woman was dead; the midwife arrived the same morning between 7 and 8 o’clock.

Mary Murphy, midwife, stated that she was engaged on a premature birth and the patient in a most critical state; in fact, her life was in great danger, and did not go with James Cullin; this was at 11 o’clock p.m.; the second call, 5.30, Tuesday she left Ballymadder and when she arrived the woman was dead.

Dr Boyd said that, at 3 o’clock a. m., he was called by C– and sent him for the midwife and left, himself, at once. On arriving at C–’s house, the child was born and the woman dead.

[the discussion by the Board of Guardians here commences]

The Clerk—It appears from that you could hardly find blame with anyone; the poor man, himself, was more careless than anyone.

The Chairman—The Dispensary Committee made no remark on the matter themselves?

The Clerk—They have not.

Mr M. Sinnott considered that the midwife should have gone with the man and let those parties who could afford it, pay for the doctor.

The Clerk—She was not bound to go there; the man had no ticket.

The Chairman considered that she was bound to go in a case like this, even without a ticket. He could not hold the woman excused, because she was paid for attending the poor people. To go and attend wealthy farmers in the neighbourhood and neglect the poor, I do not think it should be permitted at all.
Mr Browne said there were three mid-wives paid in the district, but each of these had sub-districts and they would not go out of it to attend cases. He did not think the woman or the doctor were to blame.

The Clerk—The woman told the man to go for the doctor immediately and he did not go for three hours afterwards.

Mr Peacocke—I would like to have the opinion of the Dispensary Committee regarding it.

Mr Browne—They are of the opinion that the matter should be condoned.

Mr Peacocke—It appears that the dispensary district is divided into parts and that one woman will not leave her district to go into another. I think something should be done in order to protect life and I should like to have the opinion of the dispensary committee as to what they will do in the future to check such a thing occurring again.

The Chairman—In the absence of any report from the dispensary committee, we could not say much. There is something wrong in the arrangements. Where there are three, if one is engaged, another should be sent.

It was then referred to the dispensary committee.”

My own opinion is that it would be difficult to blame either the mid-wife or the doctor: essentially the situation called for an available second mid-wife. The division of the dispensary district into three parts, with a mid-wife attending exclusively to each of the three parts and each of the three mid-wives prohibited from attending any case in either of the other two parts. It looks an insane bureaucracy. I am not sure what the doctor or the midwife could have done to prevent the woman dying. There would be a professional onus on the midwife to attend a poor patient if there was a choice between attending that patient and a woman of ample means or married to somebody of obvious prosperity. Essentially the midwife was employed by the Board of Guardians but, in the present instance, there are two rival considerations: even if the woman attended by the midwife was a prosperous person, it would be difficult for the midwife to leave her on that night if her life was in peril and secondly we have no indication of the financial status of the woman attended by Midwife Mary Murphy. I am unsure how these people travelled these relatively long distances.

This advertisement was carried in The People on the 27th of October 1866:–

“Irish Literature


Or the Buried City of Bannow

With Another Short Tale, Just Published

Price 5 shillings

A few copiesj of the above-named work, can be obtained by Non-Subscribers, on application to P. R. Hanrahan, School Street; or to Mr W. Hally, Bookseller, Main-Street, Wexford.

September 24th, 1866.”

From The People, the 22nd of October 1890:–

“The Cullenstown Road Again

To The Editor of The People

Dear Sir—Through  the columns of your widely circulating journal, we beg to remind the associated cesspayers of the Barony of Bargy, that we intend to again bring forward the above road leading to the strand of Cullenstown for presentment and repairs at the next Presentment Sessions to be held at Duncormack on Thursday, the 6th of November next, and solicit their support. We will do our best to call personally on all we can in the interval.

Yours truly

Moses Colfer, Ballygow

Walter Harpur, Busherstown.

October 17”

Essentially this was an opening shot in another episode of the sea weed wars, which went to the Higher Courts.

The Wexford Conservative, the organ of the Orange Order, constantly engaged in habitually biliously sectarian journalese. It probably leavened the narrative of its stories with exaggeration but at this remove, it is difficult to be sure of that, in all cases. The issue of the 11th of March 1837 had one such story:–

“On Monday last, some malicious incendiary or incendiaries, with a determination, no doubt, to destroy the property and burn the inmates, set fire to a lodge or out-office near the dwelling house of Mr John Byron of Ballone, in the vicinity of Rosegarland, in this county. The lodge is about five yards distant from the dwelling house and out offices, all of which must have been consumed but for the exertion of the inmates, who most providentially were awakened by the smell and suffocating effects of the smoke—They were two young men, Protestants in the service of Mr Byron and so determined were these midnight assassins and incendiaries on their destruction, that they set fire to the lodge in eight different places; happily, however, without effecting their diabolical object, owing, as we have stated, to the timely and praiseworthy exertions of the inmates. Mr Byron is a gentleman of inoffensive and unobtrusive habits, never meddling in politics, not interfering with the business of his neighbours—but, he is a Protestant!…

We have been told that such is Mr Byron’s disgust at this and other bad treatment since he went to reside in that neighbourhood, that he is determined to dispose of his property and leave that part of the country.”

The Wexford Conservative on the 18th of March 1837 confirms that Mr Byron was indeed fixed on departing “that part of the country.”

“To Be Sold

The Interest in the lease of part of the lands”


Adjoining Rosegarland

Containing 37 acres of good land with dwelling house and offices in tenantable repair, garden, orchard, &c, it is situate about 8 miles from Ross and 10 from Wexford and only two miles from a splendid bathing place. A constant supply of sea manure is washed up on part of said lands.

Application to be made to John Byron, Esq., Rosegarland (if by letter post paid).

The tenant can have the stock and crop at Valuation, if required.”

The indication of the last line of the above advertisement indicates that Mr Byron was prepared to leave Ballone (presumably Ballyowen) immediately as signified by his willingness to sell the stock and crop. This is suggestive of some recent trauma to him and his family.

From The Wexford Independent the 1st of August 1840:–

“Mrs Devereux (Presentation Convent, Enniscorthy) thankfully acknowledges the receipt of twenty pounds from the Countess of Shrewsbury and five pounds from Thomas Boyse, Esq., towards the liquidation of the debt due for the erection of the new Convent and School of that town.”

From The Wexford Independent the 20th of June 20th 1892:–

“A Runaway—On Monday a horse and jaunting car, the property of Mr Murphy of Balloughton House, Bannow, was being driven home by two men, both of whom stopped at a wayside public-house for refreshments. While they were inside the horse took fright and galloped off along the road at a fearful pace. His career was checked by a drove of cows, with one of which the car collided, killing it on the spot. The horse was eventually pulled up by some persons on the road.”

The Rev. Henry Newland who succeeded the Rev. William Hickey as Rector of Bannow did a most unusual thing—for a clergyman of the Established or Protestant Church—in favouring the National Education system. The Established Church sought a denominational system under the control of the Protestant clergy, with Scripture taught as they directed. In a country with an overwhelming Catholic majority this was utterly impractical and deeply divisive—the British authorities opted for a secular system in which clergymen of all denominations were permitted to teach religious doctrine to children from their own congregations after the official school hours ended, usually at 3 0’clock. The stand taken by Rev. Newland on the national schools was calamitous for his career, which should have been attended by glittering success; James Godkin in his “Ireland and her Churches”, published in 1867, wrote sharply on the matter:–
“His publication on the education question were valuable, sound in argument and vigorously written but they brought him nothing save discredit and aversion from the great body of the clergy while they failed to obtain for him the expected mitre from the Government. The later years of his life, therefore, were clouded with disappointment and rendered unhappy by broken health and a load of debt in which he is said to have been involved like many other clergymen by the extravagance of his sons. His living was sequestered for years and he died in the midst of his difficulties, branded by his brethren as a “castle dean”, though he had talents, learning and virtue, which might have made him one of the brightest ornaments of the Episcopal bench.”

Sequestration meant the seizure or freezing of assets until one’s debts were discharged. The Rev. Newland may have favoured the national school system—as is hinted above—to curry favour with the Government in the hope that they would reward him with an appointment as Bishop of some diocese. It is also possible that as the great proprietor of his parish—Tom Boyse—would have favoured the national school system that Rev. Newland was loath to take a contrary view. The less cynical interpretation is that Rev. Henry Newland may have seen the national school system for what it really it was—a practical and workable compromise. The National School system was intended to expand basic education to all children and (despite its bias to Imperial values) effected a huge improvement in the condition of the ordinary Irish people—literacy and numeracy are requisites of any civilised society.

In The People on the 11th of May 1912, Dr Grattan Flood wrote of the parish of Ballymitty:–

“Name—The name of the parish is not of ecclesiastical origin, but taken from that of the townland, which was probably derived from the name of a family but I have no records to throw light on it. There is in the townland of Ballymitty, a spot of ground planted with white thorns, on which the people say there was formerly a church. It is called the church field and part of the foundation of the old church is traceable. In the same field, about 200 yards to the West, is St Peter’s well, a good spring. Speaking in full, the people call this spot Ballymitty Old Church Field. There was a “pattern” held here about 40 years ago on St Peter’s Day, 29th June. In the townland of Hilltown, about half a mile to the south of the old Church, there is an old castle called Hilltown Castle. Attached to the main body of the Castle¸ to the south, is a long court, which is at present¸ used as a dwelling place. The castle measures 27 feet by 14 feet on the outside. It is about 42 feet high and appears to have had four floors