Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, challenging, charming, original, kind, a genius, scholarly, erudite, charismatic, historian supreme, a big hit with the girls, a right boyo, obliging, modest, self-effacing, humble, weary of adulation, inspired and inspiring, once a trainer of hurling teams, a marathon runner, a florist and above all else—wily, that wily boy from beside the mine pits. I presume that all my readers have read the long feature on Rich Howlin in the People newspapers. While referring to his position as President of Bannow Historical Society, it did not refer otherwise to his wonderful work for the Society and history in general during his time as Chairperson of the Society. He was inspired and inspiring as Chairperson of the Bannow Historical Society.

The Wexford Independent on the 13th of January 1864 carried a long list of people admitted to the Wexford Workhouse; it included—

James Codd aged 70 from Bannow; Eliza White aged 22 from Bannow and Margaret Dunn aged 20 from Ballymitty.

From The Wexford Independent July 3rd 1841:–

“Bathing Lodge at Bannow

Mr Elly

Would set for the season his cottage at Bannow. Two sitting rooms, three bed chambers, kitchen, coach house, stabling &c, all fully furnished.

The situation  and neighbourhood requires no comment. Milk, butter, grass for horses and other accommodation can be had if required.

Apply to Mr John Walsh, Coach Office, Wexford, or at the Cottage in Bannow.

May 20, 1841.”

An obvious query arising from the above is where did Mr Elly reside during the summer? My reasoned conjecture is that he resided in the area during the autumn, winter and spring as he worked as an agent for Lloyd’s Shipping Insurance firm. It may have been assumed that shipwrecks would not occur in the summer months. He dated the notice May 20 1841 and would have inserted it on an ongoing basis over several weeks; this would suggest that he had a paucity of interested parties but against that it might be conjectured that holiday makers might only take the house for a week or two. The sea side had a powerful attraction for people in that era: they may not have had facilities in their homes to take baths so swimming became a means of taking a bath. They may, also, have felt that the sea water was therapeutic.

On Sunday July 15th, 1884 the Catholic Young Men’s Society went on their annual excursion to Bannow; an extensive report was published in The People on July 16 1884 and I quote this extract from it:–

“As we passed the ruin where honest Stephen Roche once tended the whirring, busy mill, whither thronged the neighbours with their bursting sacks of plump and floury grain, a joyous shout saluted us at the Cross of the Moor, where, from the residence of Mr Denis Crosbie, stretched a splendid arch of evergreens with many a pretty device, including “Welcome to Bannow”, “God Save Ireland”, “Parnell for Ever”. Having returned the salute at the Moor we passed under a similar decoration at the Cross of Blackhall, stretching from Mr John Boyse’s, where a group of pleasant faces wished us welcome. Pass we on by the Beny Bridge, Haggard, Vernigly, till at Mr Stephen Dake’s another splendid arch bids us “Welcome” and “Safe Home”.

They had a picnic beside the ball alley, near the old church and there followed a sports, of running, egg and spoon, frog races (whatever they are) and cricket. The excursionists were accompanied from Wexford by the Spiritual Directors of the Society, Rev. Luke Doyle C. C. and Rev. N. T. Sheridan C. C. Wexford and were met at Bannow by Rev. N. Lambert C. C. Clongeen, Rev. J. Boggan C. C. Ballymitty and Rev. J. Kehoe O. S. A. Grantstown—the priests stayed until the close of the sports.

This event is proof of the intense attachment of the people of that era to the Catholic faith and of the popular identification of Ireland with their faith—and Parnell. This is another conundrum: Parnell was of the Protestant faith, but was described as the uncrowned King of Ireland. His love affair with Mrs Kitty O’Shea undermined his political career: Captain O’Shea sued for divorce and cited Charles Stuart Parnell as his wife’s lover. The Catholic Bishops were outraged by his adultery but Mr Gladstone as Prime Minister of Great Britain also came under pressure non-conformist Christian communities in Wales, especially and he indicated that he could not continue the Liberal alliance with Parnell’s Irish Party if Parnell remained as leader. Archbishop Croke of Thurles wrote to a fellow bishop that he taken the bust of Parnell from his hallway and thrown it out.

From The People December 20th 1862:–

“Tenant Right—The Moor of Bannow

To the Editor of the People

Sir—Many years have elapsed since I last trespassed on your space; indeed, I had thought of spending the remainder of my life in peaceful seclusion but, latterly, many acts of landlord oppression, deserving public exposure, coming under my notice, I felt I should be neglecting an important duty by remaining silent longer. One of these, however, will be sufficient for the present occasion. In order to convey an inadequate idea of this grievance, it will be necessary to give a slight typographical description of the place it occurred. The townland of the Moor is situated near the lower extremity of Bannow, adjoining Graigue. It consists of an extensive plain, which might probably contain 120 statute acres. The inhabitants are generally small farmers, whose holdings vary from one to ten acres. They are a peaceful, industrious class and possess a good deal of original simplicity of manners. Viewing them about fifty years ago, when the seeds of the present evils were sown, a happier or more contented people could not be found. They had, then, nothing to fear—their houses and premises though rude, were their own—they were not under the lash of landlordism—they knew of it but by name—their farms for generations had been free, but alas! cunning and subtlety were brought to act upon them and the unhappy results arising there will be presently shown. These are the facts. Previous to the commencement of my narrative, the Boyse family settled in the neighbourhood and purchased from time to time several townlands in the immediate vicinity. The townland of the Moor being in close proximity to these purchases, Mr Boyse anxiously wished to have a claim on it and with that intention, ingratiated himself into the favour of the tenantry, be performing many specious acts of kindness towards them. Shortly afterwards he entertained them at a public fete and acted most honourably by sitting down at the head of the festive board, at which he made himself quite agreeable, and seemed to take such warm interest in their welfare, that the poor simple people were quite delighted. It was evident that the festival was not given without a motive—hence Mr Boyse thought this a very fitting opportunity to address his friends. He represented to them, that they could materially add to their respectability—that they could have free votes, &c, (this was the time of the forty-shilling freeholders), with immense privileges, if they would only consent to pay him a nominal rent for their holdings—that they might have any length of lease they chose and these renewable forever. This did not appear a great sacrifice and some to oblige the great man, who had treated them with such courtesy, availed themselves of this offer immediately, and after awhile, nearly all had acquiesced to his wishes and were satisfied to accept a lease of fifty years, or three lives, at the small rent of 2 shillings, 6 pence an acre. But there were a few who still kept aloof, amongst them, whom one Larry Moore, the schoolmaster stood foremost in the ranks—he, poor man, foresaw the evil likely to arise, lowering in the distance and struggled nobly against it. Gentle persuasions were tried but in vain—still he would not succumb. Example was powerful, however, and Larry’s sons being employed at the big house—his wife represented to him it would be to their ruin, so at length, he consented, though contrary to his judgement, and to make matters worse, both his sons were sent home in a few days. But pardon me, sir, for my digression. The lease of the Moor has expired within the past few months and the tenants trusting to Mr Boyse’s word of honour, were quite content, thinking all they had to do was to get a renewal of their leases, at the usual rate, but in this they were disappointed. The agent now appeared and gave notices that the rents were to be raised; the townland was surveyed and the valuation computed, so that on average they are obliged to pay a guinea an acre and to be satisfied with the short term of twenty one years, for future leases should they feel inclined to procure them. The Rev. Mr Boyse, the present possessor, however, has not broken his brother’s faith with the tenants, as the leases are renewable for ever, but at a rent they had very little expected. Now, sir, were you to see this land about half a century ago it was, literally, as its name implies, a moor—marshy, wet and quite unfit for cultivation; but owing to the industry of the tenants, who drained, manured and fenced in their holdings, the aspect of the place is altogether changed. In most cases, also, the tenants have built substantial farmhouses and out-offices, which is the cause of additional murmuring, seeing they have only served to increase their valuation. Surely this is a melancholy example of tenant right in the nineteenth century. And yet for the perpetrators of this very deed, a contemporary of yours recommends the erection of a monument! Is it to commemorate this vile proceeding? If such be the case, I can assure him there will be no occasion—as tradition will cause his name to be handed down, in connexion with the Moor, to succeeding generations, so that centuries henceforth this transaction will be remembered and spoken of as quite as familiarly as at the present time. But fearing I have already trespassed too much on your valuable space, I conclude, and remain, Sir, very truly yours.

An Ex-Bannow Man.”

The Editor of the Wexford Conservative wrote in his paper on August 1, 1849:–

“The Wheat Crop

We have had some distressing rumours about this valuable crop; that the head was diseased, some of the grains blasted as if by atmospheric influence, others eaten by an insect, &c, all of which we believe to be unfounded or greatly exaggerated. The following letter which we have just received from an intelligent and observant friend of ours, written from Bannow, where he is residing for the bathing season, is quite satisfactory and calculated to repel the rumours, to which we have alluded:–

“Carrig, Bannow, 28th July 1849

There have been so many evil reports, respecting the wheat crop, so industriously circulated, for what motive I know not, I was induced to examine most minutely several fields of wheat in this neighbourhood and in the Hook; and from that examination I conclude that those reports are vastly exaggerated, and that the ravages of this mighty worm does not amount to one-fiftieth part of the crop. Knowing that you would be anxious to hear the cheering intelligence, I have hastily scribbled this note which you are at liberty to make use of.”

I do not know how this man got around; perhaps on horseback. The identity of the writer is not clear but it may have been John C. Tuomy, as he was a schoolmaster in Taghmon National School; the school holidays were usually timed to coincide with the harvest season.

From The People July 1, 1885:–

“The Pump at Bannow

Dr Boyd wrote that some parties object to the site of the pump at Carrig, owing to its proximity to the graveyard. It was ten feet to the west and fifty feet to the south of the wall. The graveyard is formed of shingly stuff but he is informed that a distance of six feet there is rock. He wrote that the Guardians might refer the matter to their consulting sanitary officer.

The matter was referred to the committee appointed to select a site.”

A tender by William Rochford to build a labourer’s cottage at Barrystown for £79 was accepted by the Guardians at their meeting in late June 1885.

From The People October 29th 1949:–

“Boy Injured—A rather serious accident happened during the week in Bannow to the son of Mr Morrissey, shopkeeper. It appears that the boy rushed out from behind a stationary tractor in the path of an on-coming van receiving injuries which necessitated his removal to hospital. From latest reports it is learned that the boy is making fairly satisfactorily progress towards recovery.

Storm—The district was visited on Monday night by one of the severest rainstorms in living memory. Assisted by a violent gale the rain fell in torrents, ripping up roads and flooding low lying districts. Residents in several districts woke up to find the lower store of their dwellings flooded.

Apples—There was a bumper crop of apples in the district this Autumn. As there is no market for the fruit, farmers are compelled to use them for animal feeding. Those farmers who presented sacks of apples to the schools in the neighbourhood are to be commended for their kindly thought.

Tournament Final—The ’98 tournament final created great enthusiasm amongst followers  of the Gaelic code. Bannow sent a contingent to Croke Park to cheer on the county team and every wireless set in the district was surrounded by enthusiasts. The failure of Wexford was a great disappointment but the district is proud of its representative on the team—“Spider” Kelly—who played the game of his life.

On Holiday—Rev. Brother Andrew Kenny, a member of the Holy Ghost Order, is at present spending a recuperative holiday with friends in Carrick. His many friends in the district wish him a speedy recovery.” I presume that Brother Kenny was brother of Aidan Kenny of Barrystown and Carrig village.