Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, obliging, a pure genius, eloquent, grandiloquent, innovative, stately, scholarly, erudite, modest, self-effacing, a right boyo, a historian supreme, blessed among the women, like Jack Kennedy, Dan O’Connell and the poet Tom Moore, and wily, that wily boy from beside the mine pits, a place of silver and was it not always gold and silver for the Barrystown childre, blah, blah, blah….Professor Robin Dudley Edwards said one night in the old university that mediaeval historians had long pondered on why Hugh O’Neill turned to rebellion against Queen Elizabeth; he jested that he was sure that the boy from Wexford would in time explain why; he would agree with that explanation and he knew that it would be something to do with a woman….

From The Graphic and Historical Illustrator by Edward W. Brayley, published April 21st 1834, page 245:–

“In the parish of Bannow no murder has occurred for a century; nor is there a even a floating tradition of one handed down from times remote; unless, indeed, as I remember in the days of my boyhood, some twenty years since, when the old people were wont to tell of a petty “robber chief” who dwelt, years ago, in the old castle, or tower of Barristown [Barrystown] and dispatched his victims, by hurling them down a perpendicular sort of shaft, still called “the murdering hole”, into a small vaulted apartment, long since converted by the present hospitable Lord of the Castle into a receptacle for sundry good things pertaining to the social board. In this parish, there has been only one pauper wholly supported by alms for years and that pauper is blind: others, indeed, require occasional aid; and such, if deserving, never fail to receive it from their more affluent neighbours.”

In a footnote to the above we are told:–

“The tenants of Samuel Boyse, Esq., whose farms on an average, do not exceed twelve of fifteen acres, had, some time since, two thousand pounds deposited in the Waterford Savings Banks and the active young men, who can find no employment at home, being annually provided, to the number of ten or twelve, with funds to convey them to America, by their landlord, the property is thus drained of an redundant and idle population. These circumstances may appear trivial to the English reader but are rather peculiar in Ireland, where, as very few landlords indeed, by comparison, ever make any abatement in their demands, however, bad the season, or depressed the market, the tenant generally pursues his cheerless toil, pressed down by the dead weight of old arrears. The rents on Mr Boyse’s estates are not low; but, through the indefatigable exertions of his eldest son, Thomas Boyse, Esq., aided by the co-operation of a sober, industrious people, a system of agriculture has been introduced, enabling the holder to till his few acres with the greatest profit. Mr King of Barristown who has resided among the people during a long life, with the exception of one excursion to England, although not in the commission of the peace [not a Justice of the Peace] has, for the last forty years, settled half the disputed in the parish—such are the advantages of a resident gentry, when kind and benevolent to those around them.”

From The People June 20th 1891:–

“The Wellingtonbridge Hotel

I am happy to announce the amicable and final settlement of the dispute of Wellingtonbridge house and hotel, through the influence and presevering energy of Father Sheridan, Father Meehan and P. Codd, Littlegraigue. This long standing dispute for this boycotted house has been finally arranged on terms agreed on by Mrs Murphy, her daughter, and Mr Curran. This is a matter that will give the surrounding districts and country at large the very utmost satisfaction and great thanks are due to those who took part in finally setting at rest this very troublesome affair.


Amicable Settlement at Wellingtonbridge

To The Editor

Dear Sir—I have negotiated for a settlement and I am proud to say that Mr Curran has considered me in a generous spirit. My claim is now fully satisfied and I wish him every success in his business at WellingtonBridge. My only regret is that I did not solicit this settlement years ago. Kindly give full publicity to this in The People and in The New Ross Standard and you will greatly oblige.

Signed:–Margaret Murphy

Date: June 17th, 1891.”

The clear impression is that Mrs Murphy’s missive was sent as part of her settlement with Mr Curran; it was vital to his prospects of business success in the Hotel that Mrs Murphy should give him her blessing in his future undertakings. I do not doubt that he was a reasonable man but I am not sure if Mrs Murphy could have got the matter solved years before. The controversy made the Hotel a liability rather than a profitable operation so it was in Mr Curran’s interest to settle with Mrs Murphy; it is to Mr Curran’s credit that he took the road of settlement with Mrs Murphy.

Mrs Murphy and her husband built the hotel and public house at Wellingtonbridge; it was situated in a hollow which they filled before proceeding to build. Mr Murphy died before his time and later his widow was evicted by Leigh of Rosegarland. Mrs Murphy was traumatised by the eviction and sat daily at the bridge observing those who went into the hotel and pub; she took their names and these were published by the Carrig-on-Bannow branch of the Land League in The People. The controversy aggravated an ancient row over the sea weed at Bannow between the men of Clonmines and Bannow. I think that Mrs Murphy stayed so regularly and with so determination at the bridge not only to observe those going in and breaking the boycott but, also, to assuage her grief at losing the Hotel, her home. Evicted people sometimes kept returning to the place from which they were evicted: an outcome of grief and trauma. Mrs Murphy was grievously wronged and it is good to read that some compensation was paid to her. Somebody should write the story of Mrs Murphy and her eviction from the Hotel at Wellingtonbridge. Why not in the next Journal of the Bannow Historical Society?

The Presentment Sessions for the Barony of Bargy in January 1837:

No 1—To make –perches of the new road from the manure bank of Barrystown, Maudlintown and Kiltrea to the high road from Duncormack and Carrigg (sic) by Wellingtonbridge to New Ross between the manure landing place of Barrystown and the crossroads of Barrystown….

No 5. To repair 114 perches from Duncormack to Taghmon between John Murphy’s gate in Kilcavan and the crossroads of Killcavan (sic).”

From The People April 30th 1910:–

“Tullicanna New School

The Tullicanna new school is at last nearing completion and when finished will be one of the finest in the county and bound to stand out pre-eminently as being constructed with all the latest and up-to-date improvements. This new building was much needed in the district and the manager (Rev. T. Scallan C. C., Ballymitty) has been untiring to see the work carried through properly. The progress of the work was impeded some months ago but fortunately these obstacles have been surmounted and the work proceeds apace once more. When the work will have been completed a short description of the inner apartments should prove highly interesting.”

The People in its “Bargy Notes” on August 6th 1910 updated progress on the new school construction work or rather its completion:–

“Tullicanna New School

Owing to a few small details in the construction of Tullicanna new school being still wanting, the building is as yet unoccupied, but there is hope that in a very short time—at least before the winter sets in—all will be completed and the undoubted comforts which it offers to both teacher and children fully enjoyed. It will be a vast improvement, indeed, on the old structure hard by, which did duty as village schoolhouse for the past 28 years. This was formerly a barrack but the sub-district not offering much beyond enjoyment and idleness to the peace officers stationed therein, they were withdrawn and the station closed. The late Mr Murphy, Carrig, together with some of the leading men of Tullicanna, with a most praiseworthy zeal in the cause of education, had the house and premises, reconstructed at a NationalSchool. The convenience to the people of the immediate locality is at once more apparent and has been of infinitely more benefit than the erstwhile barrack, which shows clearly enough that the “pen is mightier the sword.”

On a point of historical fact while I do not doubt the law abiding character of the people of Tullicanna and all other parts of the parish of Carrig-on-Bannow, the police presence at Tullicanna was discontinued because of the expense of maintaining a large number of barracks in the Co. Wexford and the resultant burden of charges on landowners and other propertied persons. The magistrates of the county met at Enniscorthy and it was eventually determined to end the police presence at Tullicanna and, also, at Galbally, near Bree. The fear was not of local criminals—to speak of local criminals in the parish of Carrig-on-Bannow would be an oxymoron (that is a self-contradiction)—but of outsiders, the White Feet, coming down from the Blackstairs Mountains, especially from the White Mountain, with their lethal mix of agrarian terrorism and vile criminality plus their barbarous vengeance on their victims. I say vengeance with a degree of irony: the White Feet (to use the title of one of Anna Maria Hall’s novels) employed the wild justice of revenge—they claimed to terrify those who took lands from which others had been evicted.  I wrote on them in the Journal of the Wexford Historical Society some years ago: they were young men, of low disposition, levying charges on farmers, dealing in base coinage, stealing and often maiming and killing families alleged to have taken evicted lands. Their logic was that the evicted people had no legal redress against their evictions; the White Feet claimed to act on their behalf and provide deterrents to people taking evicted lands.

The question then arose as to what to do with the old school of Tullicanna? The piece in the People addressed that issue:–

“A Village Hall

Regarding this old village now, a very good and it is hoped a very practical suggestion has been made. That is to furnish it up as a village hall. That such is needed in Tullicanna must be evident to anyone who sees the poor accommodation there is for the young men of the locality in the evenings. The cross roads in the chief recourse and the opportunities which exist there for intellectual and moral improvement are rather of a negative character. It is, no doubt, the very best place to train up a certain class of genius, but not the ideal one. It is the same almost everywhere.”

The People on January 14th 1911 reported the coming opening of the new school:–

“Tullicanna New School

The new school at Tullicanna, though a long time in hands, owing to circumstances which could not be helped, is now complete and will be open, for the admission of the children early this year. That it will be a great blessing, both from an educational and sanitary point of view, is undeniable. The construction is well ahead of anything hitherto erected by the Board of Works. Though nominally it is the National Board that erects school-houses, yet it is really the Board of Works which, perhaps, to many acquainted with the easy going methods of this body, may seem sufficient explanation of the delay already referred to in connection with this matter.”

If they took longer to build a school than was taken in Tullicanna then it must have been a very slow process to build a school. My reading of the files on the building of national schools, in that era, left me with an impression of tedious bureaucracy over tiny details.

The report moved onto a related issue:–

“Reading Room

The question of what is best to turn the old schoolhouse to is one occupying the attention of many in this division of the parish. Many favour the idea of a local hall or reading room, and surely this should take on, because during the long winter nights, no doubt, many would be attracted thither and thus escape falling into places that might not be for their spiritual or temporal welfare. It is then to be hoped that all concerned will unanimously decide in favour of the hall or reading room.”

On September 10th 1842 the Board of Wexford Poor Law Guardians heard a poignant and distressing story (sadly a most true one, also):–

“Mary S—appeared with a male child claiming admission [to the Workhouse]. The child was called John Wall, under which name a Grand Jury presentment had been for two years granted to sustain it, as a deserted child. William M—was another name by which the same child was known. Mr N. Lett of Balloughton, on whose lands the child had been abandoned by its unfortunate mother, called the child Wall and had much exerted his humanity and interest towards it since. He was before the Board and explained the finding of the infant in some old walls—hence the name.

The Rev. D. Thompson, Rector of the parish, expressed a desire to administer baptism to it when found and then about a month old. Mrs Lett remonstrated and said, on enquiry, she heard the child was born in Fethard and baptised by the rector, the Rev. Mr Alcock. Mr Lett had no bigotry about him and he, after this explanation, would leave to the Guardians in what religion the child should be brought up in.

Mr Hawkshaw observed that if the child was baptised by the Rev. Mr Alcock, the registry of the parish should show it.

Mr Furlong wished to know how Mr Lett could know that it was the same?

Mr Lett said, that from the time and description, he surmised it was the same—Mr Lett on being asked how he could account for the withdrawal of the Grand Jury grant, said he had signed resolutions at Rathangan for the reduction of Grand Jury cess and he supposed the Grand Jury thought well to begin with his application.

M—S—stated that she left Sheastown to go to see her sister near Templetown. On the third day after, a strange woman was delivered of this child nigh to the place and she went with another woman and had the child baptised by the Rev. Mr Dunn, in the name William. About a month after, the mother called to her (M—S—s) house in Sheastown and the child was then with her. It was morning and the woman took some boiled potatoes and went towards Mr Lett’s. When the child was found two potatoes were laid along with it. She had never heard of the mother since.

The Guardians looked on the coincidence of the applicant, accidentally attending the delivery and baptism at such a distance from home and afterwards becoming the nurse to the infant of a perfect stranger as singular and declined receiving the child.”

The Guardians, in other words, believed that M—S—was telling lies and that she, herself, was the mother of the child and that she simply wished to have the Workhouse take care of it. The Workhouse would accede to a request for the admission of both herself and the child—the mother obviously did not want to come into the Workhouse. One will not find a much sadder story.

From The People April 13th 1898:–

Bannow and Ballymitty Pay The Members And Evicted Tenants Fund

In accordance with the resolution of the County Convention, the usual collection of 2 pence in the £ on the Valuation of each holding for the payments of our County Members and the making of grants to the local evicted tenants will be made at the Chapel Gates of the parish (with the consent of the clergy) on Low Sunday, April 17th. The usual collectors will attend.”

The Members of Parliament in that era did not have a salary: the Land League made collections to provide an income to the members from the Co. Wexford who represented the interest of the tenants and farmers in the Westminster Parliament in London.

From The Free Press the 11th of November 1960:–


Good Barley Yield—Seven acres of Proctor barley grown on the farm of Mr John Byrne, Yoletown, yielded 29 barrels to the acre.

Talent Contest—The final of the local talent competition was held on Saturday night at the premises of Mr Jerry Murphy, Cullenstown. Mr Ned Wheeler, Wexford, won first prize and was presented with a silver cup. Mr Paddy Cleary, Duncormack, was second. The adjudicator was Mr Tommy Murphy, Wexford.”

Are we talking here of the famous hurler, Ned Wheeler of Wexford town? 1960 was a busy year for the iconic Faythe Harriers hurler as he played at midfield on the Wexford team in their shock win over Tipperary in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final and his club beat Oylegate-Glenbrien in the Co. Senior Hurling Final.

From The People 23rd of April 1898:–

“Bannow and Ballymitty—The collection for “Pay the Members and Evicted Tenants Fund” was made in Bannow and Ballymitty and Grantstown on Sunday last and so far was fairly successful. But from some oversight on the part of those expected to attend, no collection was made at first Mass in Carrig. The collectors will attend at first Mass on to-morrow, the 24th instant. All who have not yet paid should do so on Sunday week so that the money can be lodged during the coming week. Bannow men should lead the way in the collection in support of our worthy member for South Wexford, a native of their parish, as it is of the utmost importance to his constituents that he should be constantly at his post in the House of Commons.”

I presume that the native of Carrig-on-Bannow parish was Mr Ffrench; he was defeated in the 1918 election by Dr James Ryan, the Sinn Fein candidate, from Tomcoole, Taghmon.

From The Leinster Journal December 9 1821:–


In Dublin on the 30th ult., by special licence, Caesar Colclough of Tintern Abbey, Esq., one of the representatives in the Imperial Parliament for the county of Wexford to Jane, eldest daughter of John Kirwan, of Leeson Street, Dublin, King’s Counsel.”

A King’s Counsel would be the highest rank of lawyer; out equivalent is Senior Counsel [S. C.]. The significance of the above is that Jane Kirwan later became the widow Colclough; in that latter situation, she was re-married to Tom Boyse. The marriage lasted about five months; maybe it shows how modern Boyse was—to have such a short lived marriage, “in the best modern way”, to paraphrase the poet Yeats.

From The Journal of the Kilkenny and South-East of Ireland Archaeological Society:–

“By Mr J. Ennis Mayler, Ballymitty, county of Wexford, a stone mould for casting a small equal armed cross-crosslet, found at Mooretown, county of Wexford, about the year 1790 by the late Mr Richard Cullen, who died about forty years since and who always stated that he had picked it up in the sand by the margin of a steam. This mould differed from others of a similar character, in having an orifice in the back, whereby the molten metal passed into the mould at the centre of the cross, in place of at the edge, as usual.

At the Duncormack Petty Sessions in April 1899, Acting Sergeant Currid had Robert Morris, Bannow, up on a charge of an unmuzzled dog. Fined 1 shilling and costs.

It was reported from the same Petty Sessions:–

“Four children from Bannow, named D–, whose father died recently, leaving the poor children, almost destitute, were sent to St. Michael’s School, Wexford. The usual evidence for committal was given as to their destitute condition, etc, the Chairman [Lieut. Colonel Boyse] remarking to his own personal knowledge, the poor children were in a wretchedly poor state. It is understood that Major Boyse had been very good to them since their father’s death.”

From The People August 31, 1912:–

“Death of a Nonogenarian

During the week, a very old and much respected man passed away in the district, in the person of William Parle, Barrystown, Bannow. He had attained the fine old age of ninety years and up to a short time ago enjoyed the best of health. He was, also, in receipt of an old age pension. It is seldom that such an old age has to be recorded. The funeral to Carrig-on-Bannow Cemetery on Wednesday last was large and representative.