Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, ebullient, a pure genius, of astronomical intelligence, a marathon runner, a trainor of hurling teams, with a gift of prophecy, a right boyo, uses big words (appropriately), blessed among the women, historian supreme, inspired and inspiring, humble and self-effacing and the most devious and most wily of them all, the boy from beside the mine pits. If it is true it ain’t bragging and no native of the parish of Carrig-on-Bannow ever brags or tell lies. Yeats exclaimed that the fisherman depicted in his poem could not exist; could only be an imagined man as a paragon cannot be actual but the boy from Barrystown does exist and is actual; not just imagined but real, absolutely real.

I am considering writing a book on the Strawberry Fair in Enniscorthy and if any of my millions of readers have memories of these fairs please let me know. My website is barrystownboy.wix.com

I was gratified by the animated and hugely interested responses of those on the tour: all were clearly enthralled and had a wonderful experience.

I am quoting from a ballad written by Canon Paul Kehoe Pastor of Cloughbawn on his native place (I also take this opportunity to acknowledge the wonderful work done by Paddy Berry in collecting numerous ballads):–

“Oh, coming back to Tullycanna’s mighty good astore…..

Sure every Sunday afternoon ‘twas we had the fun

No doubt the boys pretended they had finer in Taghmon,

But if we polled the country from the bridge of Scar to Ross

I’m sure they every mother’s son would plump for Cullen’s Cross;

Where Larry Pender or Lar Kelly exercised the drum

And made the rusty wheels of life revolve with merry hum,

And where we saw Pat Whitty, all his skilfulness display,

While from the flute a “Home Sweet Home” would sob and die away.

I loved to hear the old band play.

We climbed the bridge near George’s well by which the river flowed

While Jack the Smith was regulating races on the road,

Admired the riders’ colours, varied as a rainbow sky,

Or watched the mountain boys and girls to Cullenstown go by.

We shared the reckless glee that circled round the children’s swing,

Which like the flowers would rise each year at whisper of the spring,

I own that everyone of these brought comfort to my soul

But all my ears were listening still to catch the music roll

‘Tis true I’m no musician but somehow anyway

I liked to hear the old band play.

But sure we loved old Ireland too I know her flag of green,

Ne’er fluttered over true hearts than ours than ours had ever been

Long since ‘twas Cullen of Knockbine that proved we’ed ne’er endure

The tyrant’s hand to desecrate the dwellings of the poor.

For in Ballymitty church we often heard the glad command

Be steadfast in your holy faith and love for your fatherland,

And Fr John would joy to see us merry without sin

They tell me he’s now Parish Priest away beyant in Glynn

But his teaching like his memory we will never forget

So faith and love of country here burn vigorously yet

But would the Sunday afternoons were still as bright and gay

As when we heard the old band play.”

I am unable to determine where the old band originated but in the nineteenth century people were intoxicated with music—bands were formed not only in parishes but even in Curacies or half parishes. They certainly had a band in Ballymitty and may have had one in Tullicanna. I am uncertain as to who Fr John was—or whether Fr Kehoe has taken liberties with the facts; artistic license if you like. Fr Paul Kehoe was born at Moortown, Ballymitty on the 2nd of March 1858—according to Canon Gahan. Fr John Parker was Curate at Ballymitty/Tullicanna from sometime in 1858 to September 1869—the first eleven years of Fr Kehoe’s life but he did not become Parish Priest of Glynn but Parish Priest of Ferns. He (Fr Parker) spent time as a Curate in Barntown. Fr Kehoe was the son of Paul Kehoe and Elizabeth Kehoe, nee O’Leary. If so, the poem recalls Tullicanna circa 1860 to 1869 and scenes recollected by Father (later Canon) Kehoe of his childhood in Tullicanna; my disappointment is at the dearth of local detail in the poem. The obvious deficiency in the poem is that Fr Kehoe has to twist words and phrases into syntactical knots to keep the poem moving and even, then, it does work satisfactorily. The boy from Barrystown studied poetry under the erudite scholar Fr Michael Paul Gallagher S. J. in the old university for a year but was not a whiz at it and subsequently studied history and Irish history. I only ever wanted to study history and to write and teach it. History is the highest form of knowledge.

Fr Kehoe is certainly taking liberties with the truth when he ascribes to Fr Parker an advocacy of an aggressive nationalism. The Catholic priests were certainly nationalist but hardly as radical and militantly nationalist as Fr Kehoe was. According to Canon John V. Gahan’s excellent study of the secular clergy of the Diocese of Ferns Paul Kehoe while a student at St Peter’s College Seminary, wrote a “strong letter” to the “People” in favour of the Land  League. The College authorities were incensed and gave him the option of going home or of going to a College which prepared priests for the foreign missions. He was ordained there for the diocese of Columbus, Ohio on 24th June 1885 by Cardinal Mc Cabe. The obituary for Father Kehoe in the People newspaper stated that he was born in 1856 and that in the Echo gave March 1857 as the time of his birth but I am inclined to believe Canon Gahan’s date of the 2nd of March 1858. In that event he was aged 27 years, when ordained. If born in 1856 he would be 29 at his ordination which seems comparatively old.

He supported Parnell through the controversy over his romance with and marriage to the divorced Mrs Kitty O’Shea; the bishops and Catholic clergy generally opposed Parnell’s continued leadership of the Irish Party after news of his liaison with Kitty O’Shea broke. In September 1917 he wrote to a meeting in Clonroche to establish a branch of Sinn Fein—“If I were again to take a prominent part in anything savouring of politics—and nothing is more unlikely—I would join the party of Sinn Fein, with many planks of whose platform I am in cordial sympathy.” Later in the letter he wrote:–“Forty years ago I supported Parnell and loyally adhered to his policy until death claimed the greatest leader Ireland produced since the days of Hugh O’Neill.” During the War of Independence the Parochial House at Cloughbawn was raided by the security forces but to no effect. Sinn Fein identified with the Easter Rebellion of 1916 but was somewhat ambiguous about the use of physical force to end British rule in Ireland. To a considerable extent the I. R. B., under Michael Collins (although some such activity was spontaneous), waged the war against British rule in the War of Independence. I am not sure of Fr Kehoe’s attitude to republican military activity but I am sure that his nationalist views were far more radical that anything that Fr John Parker C. C. Ballymitty/Tullicanna would have preached back in the era 1858 to 1869!

Fr Kehoe’s successor as Pastor of Cloughbawn Canon Michael Murphy P. P. told the Bureau of Military History circa 1953 that at least twelve priests in the diocese of Ferns had strongly supported the Easter Rebellion 1916. I have no doubt that Fr Paul Kehoe had supported the Easter Rebellion of 1916.

On October 13th 1920 The People carries this extraordinary report, at least to latter day minds:–

“On Wednesday afternoon of last week raids were carried out by the military at Cloughbawn, Clonroche. A party of 14 soldiers, who arrived in two lorries, first raided Rev. Paul F. Kehoe’s residence at Cloughbawn. A guard was placed on the door of the residence and no one was allowed to enter or leave the house while the search was in progress. The military carefully went through every nook and corner and made a most exhaustive search inside and outside the house. They took possession of a pack of Irish playing cards which they found in searching the rooms. Father Kehoe was at home when the military arrived and naturally was indignant when he heard of their intention. At their request he accompanied them in their search and was greatly amused at the large and formidable display of military and the task they were engaged in.

Rev. Andrew O’Brien C. C. New Ross, who arrived from New Ross while the search was in progress, to call on Father Kehoe, was held up by the military and was not allowed to enter the house until the military had left.”

The chief mourners at Canon Paul Kehoe’s funeral were: — Mr John F. Kehoe, Deputy County Surveyor (brother), Misses M. and J. Kehoe (sisters); Mr and Mrs Parle, Clovervalley, Taghmon, Messrs and Misses Parle, Clovervalley; Mr and Misses Rowe, Cornwall; Mr M. Kehoe, auctioneer, Wexford; Mr James Kehoe, Aughfad, Taghmon; Mr John Shortle, Castlebridge; Misses M., B., and N., Rowe, Grageen and Mr J. R. Cullen, Taghmon, (cousins). The exasperating thing about this list is that it does not specify where Grageen was. Near Carrig village? The Chairman of the Wexford County Council in a long and eloquent tribute to Fr Kehoe sympathise “with their officer, Mr John Kehoe (deputy surveyor)—their oldest officer, in fact—and also with his sister in their great bereavement.” I am unable to determine who is correct—did Fr Kehoe have one or two sisters? Fr Kehoe disagreed with the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1922. His eldest brother James Kehoe, Moortown, died after an operation in a Dublin hospital on Saturday August 22nd 1908; he was for many years a member of the Board of Wexford Poor Law Guardians.

In that era tributes to Catholic priests and religious were inevitably adulatory, to pour excessive praises on the departed soul. The obituary in The Echo described Fr Kehoe as “an authority of botany and astronomy and was an expert gardener….In engineering he took a practical and useful interest. He was an expert in this subject and successfully coached at least three men for their degree in engineering.” When T. D. Sullivan published a book of poems by Irish priests the poem “Farewell to Wexford Town” was the first in the book (according to Canon Gahan).

Fr Kehoe’s bearded visage gave him the appearance of a patriarchal figure from Scripture. Like all natives of the parish of Carrig-on-Bannow he ever remembered and revered his native place:–

“On Bannow’s lonely shore the waves shall break

The nodding morning flowers on Forth awake

From Carrig’s Church shall toll the vesper bell

When I am far from scenes I love so well.”

When we came to Ballymackessy in May 1960 (May 3rd to be exact!), the local people still talked about Canon Paul Kehoe, 29 years after his demise. An Irish Country-women’s competition, in (I think) 1961, on the writing of an essay on the man one most admired was won by a local woman who took Canon Paul Kehoe as her subject.

In early December 1885, a Co. Donegal newspaper reported that James Tennyson Edwards, agent to Major Boyse, of Bannow, Co. Wexford had committed suicide on November 30th 1885, by shooting himself. Such would be a dramatic occurrence and one requiring—I would have thought—much coverage in the Co. Wexford newspapers, perhaps, enough material to fill an entire blog. The puzzle is that the newspapers of Co. Wexford do not seem to have been aware of this suicide—indeed there is only one succinct, metaphorically telegraphed account of his death in the Wexford Independent,

stating simply that he died at Bannow House on November 30 1885:–


November 30th at Bannow, James Tennyson Edwards, Esq., J. P., youngest son of the late James Ryanaston Edwards, Esq., J. P. of Oldcourt, County Wicklow, Major in the Wicklow Militia, deeply lamented.”

I am not really sure that the tenants on the Boyse estate deeply lamented him: this was at the height of the Land League agitation, with decrees for eviction, usually not implemented but productive of envenomed feelings. The stress of responding to such issues would suffice to make any feeling man think the awful thoughts of one’s self-destruction. But if he did commit suicide the law required that an inquest be held; a jury put in place and the proceedings usually reported in the local newspapers. Given Mr Edwards’ position in society, his death, certainly if suicidal, should have led to a widely reported inquest. It is possible that his family may have wanted to suppress such news if indeed it was true: however, I do not believe that they could prevent an inquest as such was legally almost automatic. The People newspaper, a pro Land League publication, would have no reason to appease the family of an estate agent. Mr Edwards from a background like his would have been familiar with guns but that is not proof that he committed suicide. My own conclusion is that he could not have committed suicide and that the report in the Donegal newspaper has mixed up matters somewhat!

By April Jonas King of Barrystown was edging close to his demise; clearly struggling with the demon drink but, perhaps, some serious disease. The Land League had demented him and he was reported to have gone about Taghmon seeking land leaguers with vague threats to shoot them, probably meaningless. On the first Wednesday of April 1881, the Petty Sessions at Wexford heard some pathetic and comic things:–

“In the case in which Thomas J. Lyons was plaintiff and Jonas King, Barrystown, defendant, Mr Huggard, on the case being called, said he appeared for Mr Lyons, but he should mention that he had a letter from Mr King on yesterday morning saying he would be down by the 1.30 train and asking that the case be adjourned until then. Mr King had left some papers for him (Mr Huggard) in his office and was under the impression he was acting for him. Therefore, he told Mr Lyons that he would not press the case under the circumstances. The case was adjourned to this day week.

The Affray on St Patrick’s Day

Mr Cooper—I will ask your worships to allow me to mention the case of Breen v Jonas King, tried recently in your court. On that day I applied for a warrant to have Mr King arrested, and pursuant to that warrant, I understand he was arrested—

Mr Ryan [Resident Magistrate, and on the Bench]—I can give you an answer more directly than the Chairman. The summons prayed to have bound to keep the peace and a warrant was issued to that effect.

Mr Cooper—The summons was, also, for assault.

Mr Ryan—When Mr King was arrested it was two or three days before the sessions and he appeared before me with competent bail. Therefore, I was not in a position and neither would I be justified in keeping him in custody until the sessions day, when he did what you prayed to have done—procured solvent security to be of good behaviour. I took the case out of sessions and accepted the security and discharged Mr King.

Mr Cooper—The only question I wish to raise is with regard to the expense the plaintiff was put to. Of course, your Worships had power to fine for the assault. I would not apply for costs.

Mr Ryan—There was no order for costs made at the sitting of the court and, therefore, it is a doubtful point if you can get costs. The mater did not occur to me. Of course, you were expecting that the case would have been brought before the court and, then, it might have been in the power of the court to have given costs.

Mr Taylor—Perhaps, you will allow me to say that it is not in the power of the magistrates to give an order for bail and impose a fine at the same time.

Mr Cooper—I do think there was any application to fine. It is not in reference to a fine I am now applying. Of course it would be one and the same order to give costs along with an order for bail.”

There were Sheriff’s sales of farms, decreed to be sold for arrears of rent, at the courthouse in Wexford in early February 1882. I will quote one of these sales or attempted sales:–

“Captain Henry A. H. Bose, plaintiff; John Breen, defendant.

All the defendant’s right, title and interest (if anything he has), in and to all that and those, that part of the lands of Danescastle, as now in his possession, with the houses and buildings thereon, containing 9 acres, plantation measure, be the same more or less, situate in the parish of Bannow, barony of Bargy, held under lease dated 11th February 1845, made between Thomas Boyse of the one part and Thomas White of the other part, for the term of 46 years, from 25th March 1844, at the yearly rent of £9 13 shillings. Also, part of the lands of Cullenstown, containing 5 acres, 2 roods, 25 perches, plantation measure, or thereabouts, be the same more or less, situate in the same parish and barony, held under lease, dated 23rd day of August 1880 for the term of 35 years from the 1st May, 1880, at the yearly rent of £11.

Amount due–£27 15 shillings and 6 pence.

Mr Hayes asked Mr Edwards [agent to the Boyse estates] if he was prepared to give any reduction in this case, as the tenant was a very poor man?

The agent said not now.

Mr Hayes—Don knock off the law expenses and he will pay the rent. Take the matter, sir, into your consideration and don’t put any more burden than the back can bear.

Mr Edwards—He was told what would be allowed before proceedings were taken. He would not reduce six pence now.

Mr Hayes—That is very encouraging to the tenant.

The tenant then stepped up to the desk, pulled out his check book and handed in a check for the full amount.”

I am at a loss to understand this aspect of the Land League strategy: Mr Breen finished up paying all the arrears of his rent plus legal expenses. Why not pay the rent arrears without the all this costly legal codology?

From The People the 6th of April 1881:–

“Mr Jonas King and His Tenantry

To The Editor of The People

Macken’s Hotel, Dublin, 5th April 1881

Dear Sir—I have issued writs against several of my tenants. I would have not have done so only I saw by a report in your paper that the Land League was to bear the expenses, as I don’t want to injure my tenants but I want my rents—Yours truly,

Jonas King”

“A National Teacher of experience who has matriculated at the Royal University and who is, also, a successful science and art teacher, requires a situation as a tutor in a Gentleman’s family. Terms moderate. Apply J. R. Doyle, Carrig-on-Bannow.

April 20th 1886”

From The Free Press July 5th 1924:–

“Atlantic Hotel, Cullenstown


Mrs York begs to announce that having purchased the Atlantic Hotel, Cullenstown, she intends re-opening it on June 26th.

The Hotel is beautifully situated on the south-coast overlooking the Atlantic.

Visitors and parties specially catered for. Dinner and teas at shortest notice. Every comfort. Hotel fully licensed.

For terms, etc., apply—

Mrs York Proprietress.”

From The Enniscorthy Guardian March 9th 1912:–


Barry—January 13th, at Melbourne, Australia, Kate, the beloved wife of Patrick Barry, formerly of Bannow and third daughter of the late Nicholas Furlong, Tagunnan; aged 69 years. R. I. P.”

From The People July 20th 1895:–

“Carrig-on-Bannow Labour Federation

Met on Sunday, 7th instant. Mr John Byrne in the chair. There was a good attendance of members and handed in their subscriptions. Next meeting on the first Sunday in August at Carrig Cottage, at 2 o’clock sharp…”

From The People August 26th 1950:–

“New Football Club—There are signs that a new football club will be organised at Ballyfrory, Carrig-on-Bannow. The game has been finding much favour in this locality for some time past and there is a team in the 9-a-side league now in progress in the area, in which they have given a good account of themselves. Those responsible are looking forward to organising a full team in the near future and entering a hurling and football team for next year’s championship. There are some very prominent players in this locality, notably the Neville brothers, who have given some grand displays on Ballymitty teams.”

From The Wexford Conservative January 10 1835:–

“Seven fine sheep, the property of Mr John Byron of Ballone, near Rosegarland, were stolen off the above lands on the night of the 20th ult. The gentry and respectable farmers of the neighbourhood have offered a reward of £40 for the apprehension of the thief or thieves.” I am not sure if it was professional thieves that took these sheep as there was enormous controversy about this farm and an eviction on it. Mr Byron later left it, if I recollect correctly. I will return to it in another blog.