Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming and charismatic, erudite, scholarly, historian supreme, superb florist, an intelligence greater by far than Einstein, marathon runner, a right boyo, blessed among the women,  and above,  all else, the most devious and wily of them all—that wily boy from beside the mine pits. In a previous Blog, I wrote that my former teacher Professor Patrick O’Farrell of Sydney wrote that nobody preached against railways; I think that he referred to the Irish situation but the observation if applied to a wider context than that, was not absolutely correct. Pope Gregory XVI (1831—1846), a most conservative minded Churchman, banned all railways from the Papal States; I presume that his successor reversed this eccentric rule. One could still confidently assert that the Catholic Church leaders were not opposed to the advent of the railways.

From The People October 26, 1864:–

“Bannow—The Irish Herculaneum

Sir—On a former occasion, when writing under the above heading, I found that a stone-slab, bearing inscription and date, had been found, while making excavations outside the old burial ground in Bannow; but not having seen it at the time, I was unable to give further particulars regarding it. Being aware that a good deal of information is attached to all matters capable of throwing additional light on this interesting subject, the following will serve to confirm the opinion, now so general, namely—that there existed in Bannow at some prior date, if not a city, at least, a town of respectable size and importance. Referring, however, to this slab (portion only of which was found), it contains, in relief, the builder’s name, in old Roman characters, together with the date 1398, in which year the house was built. It appears that there is some diversity of opinion, regarding this date—from the lower portion of the 3 being removed. Some persons assent it is a 5, but as the upper portion is evidently that of a 3, I cannot see any just cause for this assertion. A photograph of this stone has been forwarded to the “Kilkenny Archaeological Society” and the lovers of antiquity may inspect the same at Captain Boyse’s, Bannow House, where it now remains. Though these excavations are of a superficial character, yet, enough has been brought to light to convince the most sceptical of the existence of a buried or submerged town and also to encourage the proprietor of the soil to have these excavations continued. Now, on referring to old records, for further aid, it appears that a charter was granted to “Banna Towne” by King John, in the 13th century, and that the following streets were contained therein, viz:–High Street, Little-Street, Weaver-Street, Lady-Street, St. Mary’s-Street, George’s-Street, Upper-Street, St Ivory-Street, St Toolock-Street, and Back-Street. It is evident, also, that “Banna Towne” existed previous to the foundation of the Seven Churches at Clonmines, which lie in an adjacent locality; but though we know the date when the latter were demolished, the extinction of the former lies altogether in oblivion. Trusting to resume this subject at an early date—I am Sir, your’s &c, &c…


I believe that Antiquarian was James Ahern, the Land League activist who devoted so much of his life to a study of the olden and ancient history of South-West Wexford. He was a farmer, as far as I can gauge: he was an excellent scholar and a writer of power, as the above letter attests. He died tragically, well before his time, after he was thrown from a horse drawn cart, onto the roadway. He avidly sought out the exact details of any subject that he tackled.

When the slab of stone, referred to above, was found, it was initially believed that the date on it was 1598: if this was correct, then Bannow town was still there, at least, up and well beyond 1600; a most exciting proposition. However, closer examination inclined observers to the view that the 5 was a 3, leaving a date of 1358.

From The People the 6th of August 1904:–

“The annual athletic and cycling sports were brought off successfully on Tuesday on the picturesque strand at Cullenstown. The weather was that all that could be desired and the interesting programme was greatly enjoyed by the huge attendance. The handicapping was in the hands of Mr Hanrahan and everything worked out in the most admirable order. The strand, however, was not in its usually good condition and as a consequence, the going in the cycle races, as well as in the sprint events, was not entirely satisfactory to the competitors who, especially the back markers, found it difficult to move in anything like their best form. O’Rourke won the two mile bicycle after a grand race, riding with great spirit from start to finish; and when it became known that he was disqualified for a technical offence, he had the sympathy of the spectators. The pedestrian events hardly call for any comments as the soft, unsatisfactory state of the track made matters disagreeable for the scratch men and back markers. The St Mary’s Band attended in the afternoon and under the conductorship of Mr P. A. M’Namara, discoursed the following excellent programme—March, “Searchlight”; march, “Island of the Free”; valse, “Sweet Spring Time”; march, “Wearing of the Green”; vaise, (sic), “Over the Waters”; march; “Now or Never”; selection, Irish airs; polka, “Trip in on the Green”; March,  “Emerald Isle”; schottische, “May Queen”; march, “Let Erin Remember”; finale, “God Save Ireland” and “Boys of Wexford”.


100 yards flat, open handicap. First heat—Wm Corcoran, Wexford, 10 yards,1. A. Pigott, Taghmon, 8 and a half yards, 2. Second heat—B. Hickey, Ambrosetown, Wexford, 7 and a half yards, 1. J. M’Carthy-Fitzgerald, Taghmon, 9 yards, 2. Final heat—Corcoran, 1; Hickey, 2; Pigott, 3.

200 yards flat, for boys under 16 years of age—J. Hickey, 1.

220 yards flat, confined to parish of Bannow—M. Martin, Tullicanna, 3 yards, 1; J. M’Cormack, 10 yards, 2. Won by inches.

Two miles bicycle, open handicap—M. O’Rourke, Wexford, 310 yards, 1; J. Doran, Rathgarogue, 280 yards, 2; P. Murphy, Nash, 340 yards, 3. Also competed—S. Fox, Craanford, 250 yards; L. Doyle, Camross, 310 yards; M. M’Cabe, Ballagh, 330 yards. O’Rourke was subsequently disqualified for not having filled in the entry form and entered in time.

220 yards, open handicap—Wm Corcoran, Wexford, 20 yards, 1; J. M’Carthy-Fitzgerald, Taghmon, 18 yards, 2; Pigott, who were well in the race, fell.

Slinging the 56 lbs, unlimited run and follow—P. M’Cormack, scr., 1; N. Byrne, Adamstown, 3 feet, 2. Also competed—J. Doyle, Breezemount, 3 feet; J. Murphy, Kilkevan, 1 foot, 3 inches and P. Scallan, Ballymitty, 1 foot. Distance, M’Cormack, 26 feet; Byrne, 25 feet.

Three miles bicycle open handicap—J. Doran, 360 , 1.; yards, 1.; M. O’Rourke, 330 yards, 2; P. Murphy, 420 yards, 3.

440 yards flat, open handicap—J. Murphy, New Ross, 6 yards, 1; T. Franklyn, 20 yards, 2. Eight competed.

High jump, open handicap—A. Pigott, 9 in., 1; J. M’Carthy-Fitzgerald, 8 in., 2; Height, 4 feet, 9 inches.

Long jump, open handicap—A. Pigott, Taghmon, 2 feet, 6 inches, 1; P. Rowe, 2 feet, 6 inches, 2. Distance, 17 feet, 4 inches.

Five miles bicycle, open handicap—L. Doyle, 530 yards, 1; S. Fox, Craanford, 440 yards, 2; J. Doran, 430 yards, 3.”

Half-mile flat, open handicap—F. Franklyn, 40 yards, 1; P. Rowe, 55 yards, 2. Half a dozen competed.

From The People the 25th of May 1952:–

“Will the person who sent Postal order, issued at Foulkesmills, 18th March and posted at Wellingtonbridge, 8th April, please send full particulars, including name and address to The Manager “The People” Newspapers Ltd, Wexford.”

The People reported on the 10th of July 1948 that the iconic Mr P. D. Breen had retired as Principal of Castlebridge [National] Boys School after a term of 44 years “and on the occasion was presented with an address from the pupils and his co-teachers at the school. Jimmy Bennett, one of the pupils, read the address. There in no need to remind a Carrig-on-Bannow readership that P. D. Breen was a native of Carrig-on-Bannow and that his brother Jack Breen was Principal at Danescastle, Carrig-on-Bannow National School.

P. D. Breen was not only an All—Ireland hurler and footballer but served as President of the Gaelic Athletic Association.

Captain Robert Quinn, from North County Wexford, on the 8th of April 1830 testified to the Parliamentary Committee at Westminster on “The State of the Poor in Ireland”:–

“Are you acquainted with that part of the county to the southward, in which the parish of Bannow is situate?—I have once seen the parish of Bannow and it is well worth any person’s visiting.

Will you describe the state of the people and the state of the agriculture?—I have it not, in my power, to state that with very great accuracy, because I merely went there as a visitor and was there but one day; but in that one day I could not help observing the very superior appearance of the dwelling houses and the very great number of them, also, and the high state of the cultivation of the lands, particularly with reference to the fences, to the neatness of their gates and their gardens immediately surrounding the houses; that I was given to understand and have every reason to believe, was mainly to be ascribed to the exertions of Mr Boyse.

Is Mr Boyse a resident proprietor?—He is a resident proprietor of that neighbourhood; I believe he is the principal proprietor of that parish but I am not certain of that.

Are you aware of any means which Mr Boyse has adopted to produce so satisfactory a result?—He has himself afforded premiums very much to his tenantry, to encourage that improvement in the appearance of the cottages, and in their style of architecture; he was, also, I believe, the principal means of the establishment of the Southern Agricultural Society, of which he is the Secretary, and, also, looking to the same object of improvement he was, I believe, the principal means of forming and one of the principal supporters of an agricultural school, which for some years was held in that neighbourhood, of which the Reverend Mr Hickey was the principal manager; Mr Hickey has since left the neighbourhood and come to reside in the district of the farming society which I am Secretary of; shortly after coming into that country, the school at Bannow was transferred to his immediate neighbourhood in our district; our agricultural society assisted it as far as our means would admit of, consistently with the other objects they had in mind; and since that, within the last two years, the establishment has fallen to the ground; Mr Hickey has now taken it up on a much smaller scale at his own gate-house, at his own expense.”

There were later suggestions that differences over politics damaged the South County Wexford Agricultural Society.

From The Freeman’s Journal the 2nd of August 1828:–

“On Sunday a Catholic Aggregate Meeting, such as has seldom before been seen in that town, took place in the great chapel of Wexford. There could not have been less than four thousand persons present, comprising not only the Catholic but a vast portion of Protestant wealth and respectability of the town and country. Immediately after last Mass, the crowds flocked in numbers, and although the proceedings did not commence till three o’clock, the whole edifice was filled to excess, long before two. The galleries, which were reserved for females exclusively, presented all that the town of Wexford could boast of—beauty and the windows were choaked with anxious spectators. At three o’clock the Gentlemen, composing the Committee, came into the Chapel, and shortly after the Chair was taken by Sir Thomas Esmonde, Bart.

Mr Thomas Boyse, a Protestant gentleman, was the first who addressed the meeting. He took a view of the present system of monopoly that is exercised on the Catholics, and after an able review of the Penal Code, said that it required one more thing to render it still more perfect, to condemn the Catholics to walk on all fours!!!

Mr Boyse, senior, followed.

Mr Sheil next addressed the meeting. Mr Sheil congratulated the meeting on the presence of Protestant gentlemen but, at the same time, said the cause was as much theirs. He dwelt on the union and organisation of the people; alluded to Clare as an illustration of it [O’Connell won the bye-election there in 1828); recommended subordination; said they were too wise to rebel; it was in the House of Commons, for the future, with the Minister that the battle was to be fought; he said he knew none combining so many qualifications so worthy to be the representative of Wexford as Mr Boyse….”

Tom Boyse constantly alluded to the Biblical identity of the Beast with the devil: his reference to the Catholics crawling like animals is a proof of his incandescent hostility to the Penal Laws against the Catholics.

For some obscure reason, Tom Boyse disdained all endeavours to have him elected to the Westminster Parliament or indeed accept an offer to become a Member of the House of Lords (for which he had the requisite wealth). Maybe his health was a factor in the matter or maybe he thought that becoming a Member of Parliament or a Peer in the House of Lords would leave him open to taunts of vanity.

From the Free Press, the 31st of May 1924:–

“On Wednesday, Messrs Mc Carthy and Codd, auctioneers, Wexford, sold by directions of Mr Mark Wallace, his interest in the Atlantic Hotel, Cullenstown (licensed) with 1 acre, 1 rood of land attached, held at a yearly rent of £5 per year, to Mrs A. F. Yorks, Liverpool for £615. Messrs M. J. O’Connor had carriage of sale.”

From The People, the 25th of January 1913:–

“Mr James Colfer, Bannow

The death occurred on Friday of last week of Mr James Colfer, at his residence, Haggard, Bannow, at the ripe old age of 80 years. He was second son of the late Mr Bartholomew Colfer, Newtown, Carrig-on-Bannow and was well and favourably known in the locality. He had been ailing for about a month previous to his demise, during which time he was assiduously attended by the Rev. M. O’Sullivan P. P., who ministered to him all the consolations of Holy Church. The funeral took place to Carrig cemetery on Sunday last and was very large and representative.”

From The Bannow and District notes on the 25th of May 1952:–

“Wounded Swan—While walking on the beach at Ballymadder last Monday morning, Mr John Doyle observed a swan resting on the beach. Approaching the bird he found it had a broken wing and was badly smeared with oil which he cleansed from its feathers. He then placed it in the sea and it swiftly swam off in the direction of Keeragh Islands….

Legion of Mary—The annual meeting of the Legion of Mary was held in Carrig-on-Bannow Church last Sunday afternoon. Rev. W. J. Gaul, Saint Peter’s College delivered a lengthy sermon of the good done spiritually and temporally by Legionaries. After recitation of the Rosary, Benediction was imparted by Very Rev. J. O’Brien P. P.

Wellingtonbridge Fair—Held on Monday. Small amount of stock on offer due no doubt to the busy season. A large number of buyers attended. Good conditioned cattle met a ready sale, recent prices being well maintained. Yearlings making from £20 to £25; two year olds up to £40. Small pigs were scarce and sold well at from £5 to £6 10 shillings each. Sheep met a dragging trade.”

The People on the 25th of July 1896 reported that Jonas King and J. O’Adair sued, at the Duncormack Petty Sessions, “William Stafford, Carrig-on-Bannow for trespass on [their] lands….It seems Stafford had been evicted out of this farm and plaintiffs allege he sometimes grazed it. Defendant did not deny the trespass but contended he was not legally evicted. Mr Roche—When were you served with the summons? Defendant—On Tuesday. Mr Roche—Then you had time enough to engage a solicitor to defend the case if you believe you had not been legally evicted. Defendant—My cattle were not turned off the land. Mr King proved they were turned out on a public lane the day of his eviction. Chairman—We will fine you 5 shillings and ordinary costs but if brought up again we would have to deal more seriously with the matter. Mr Toye applied for professional costs but the magistrates considered the defendant a poor man who could not pay professional costs and refused to grant them¸ remarking the estate was good for the amount asked by Mr Toye.”

From the report of the Duncormack Petty Sessions as reported in The People on the 25th of July 1908:–

“Transfer of License

Mrs Curran, Wellingtonbridge, applied for transfer of license from her late husband’s name to that of her own. Mr Gethin (sic) of Ross examined Mrs Curran who proved that under her late husband’s will she has a life interest in the premises.

Permission to sell was granted until licensing sessions when transfer will be applied for.”

From The Wexford Independent the 28th of March 1849:–

“To Be Let

On such terms as may be agreed on

The House Farm of Ballinglee

Containing about 66 acres of Prime land, with a good dwelling house and out-offices.

The situation and natural fertility of this place needs no comment—having every facility of manure from limestone and sand being had from the Quay on the land, with liberty for Bog-stuff and turf

For particulars, apply to Dr Young, Ballinglee, Taghmon; or to Mr J. Sheppard¸ Hilltown, Taghmon.

March 27, 1849.”

I have no idea why but in that era, farmers used sand to improve their soil.