Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, charming, charismatic, ebullient, scholarly, erudite, modest kind, self-effacing, witty, modest, humble, a right boyo, a historian supreme, and—wily. One of the early Irish saints—perhaps St Kevin of Kilkaven—once prophesised that gold and silver would always follow the Barrystown children. Muhammad Ali, the braggart but wonderful boxer, used to that if it is true “it ain’t bragging.” It is indeed a phoney humility to conceal one’s greatness. The boy from Barrystown is certainly not bragging as he expounds his greatness, with an I. Q. higher than anybody that you could think of, blah, blah.
In The Universal Traveller in 1779 it was written:–
“In a district near Dublin but, particularly, in the baronies of Forth and Bargy in the County of Wexford, the Saxon tongue is spoken without any mixture of the Irish and the people have many customs which distinguish them from their neighbours.” I studied a small bit of Anglo-Saxon in the old university. That is what they spoke in the baronies of Forth and Bargy but I project their speaking of it to a time well before 1800—there is no trace of it in Anna Maria Hall’s novels, which reflect Bannow and associated places in the time of her childhood, pre 1815.
“9 Brighton Avenue, Rathgar, Dublin
8th January 1881
Dear Mrs Carew,
If you don’t send me bank order for the rent I must take immediate proceedings against you, which I would be very sorry to do as the costs would be very heavy and which from the great regard I have had for poor Pat, and your family, would cause me great regret, but I cannot help it. No one shall know anything of our transaction.
Carew is another form of Carey. It is very possible that Jonas did regret making this threat: he may have been simply short of money! His tenants in Barrystown and elsewhere had offered to pay the rents if allowed a 20 per cent reduction. By that stage rents in reality mattered little to Jonas as he was fated to leave this world, that August. They found him dead near Balloughton Church.
According to the report of the April 1881 meeting of the Carrig-on-Bannow branch of the Land League “the district was free from fresh writs with the exception of one from Mrs Heaton, through her agent on a tenants, named Martin, living at Tullicanna.”
The July 1885 meeting of the Carrig-on-Bannow branch of the Land League tendered “a vote of condolence to Mrs Murphy, late of Wellingtonbridge, on the early demise of her much loved husband Mr Michael Murphy and to her children on the loss of a fond father.” I did not realise that Michael Murphy died as late as that. He had built the hotel at Wellingtonbridge but Leigh evicted him from it. The Currans later reached an amicable agreement with Mrs Murphy.
From The People June 9, 1866:–
“Carrig-on-Bannow Fair—The fair which was held here on Thursday, 7th inst., was merely nominal; there being very few cattle, sheep, pigs, &c, presented for sale. I understand the fair is about being transferred to Wellingtonbridge—this would be much better as it is more central and would be far more accommodating to the public in general. Since its establishment in Carrig, very little business has been done, in fact, the people did not try to support it as they ought, for in many cases, they would sell their cattle to buyers, who visited their houses for that purpose or otherwise wait for the Taghmon fair, thus depriving that fair which was established solely for their advantage, from all necessary support. The people of Carrig will be only rejoiced at its removal, as it has given rise to much rowdyism and quarrelling on fair evenings, things hitherto unknown in this locality.”
I concur with the above, although a correspondent in a subsequent issue of the People vehemently disagreed. The fair day in Carrig was, on occasions, beset with ugly rows between local people, excited by the drink in the pubs. The farmers in the Carrig and Bannow localities did not want to trade at the Carrig fair, a matter that enraged Captain Arthur Hunt Boyse. The coming of rail transport and the railway station at Wellingtonbridge made it logical to have the fair there.
At the Winter Assizes in Wexford in January Hannah Mary Murphy was charged with stealing a watch, the property of Thomas Colfer of Dungulph. Mr R. W. Ryan was for the prosecution and Mr G. Ryan and Mr Taylor for the prisoner.
Thomas Colfer said that he was in Carrig on the 2nd of October 1879 and that he stopped at Mrs Johnson’s; he continued—“I went to bed there at nine o’clock; there was no bed in the room I slept in but the one. I had my watch and I going to bed; a man came into the bedroom and slept with me and another came afterwards and wanted to get in but I would not let him, as I engaged the bed for myself; he got chairs alongside the bed and slept on them; in the morning four or five cattle dealers came into the room and washed themselves with the water left for me; when they were done they went out; after the men left the room I got up, counted my money and saw my watch all right on the table; it was a quarter to seven. I went back again to bed; the girl there afterwards came in and I asked her what she wanted; she mentioned something but I did not know what it was; a few minutes after this I missed the watch; it had a chain. I made no noise about it in the house; I said I would go to the police if I did not get it; I knew they would find it. I did not see it afterwards until the middle of November, when I saw it with the sergeant at Wellingtonbridge; I had the watch for four or five years; one of the hands was broken.
To Mr Taylor—My hearing is not the best, but good enough; my sight is not the best, either. I don’t know how many girls were in the house; I don’t know whether she was whether she was a niece of Mrs Johnson or not.
Mr King, sworn and examined by Mr R. W. Ryan—I know Mrs Johnson’s house at Carrig; I know the prisoner; I swopped a watch with her; I gave her mine and she gave me the one produced in place of it; I kept it until the Constable spoke to me about it; I got a new hand on it in New Ross.
To G. O’B Ryan—I did know the prisoner; she was living at Mr Greene’s hotel on the quay; I was in gaol; Mr Greene supplied me with my meals; the prisoner never brought them; she never came to see me there; I cannot tell whether she washed for me or not at that time; it was the day before she went to Captain St George’s that we exchanged watches; I am no silversmith and so cannot tell which of the watches was the most valuable; I did not lodge with prisoner’s aunt; she is a handsome woman; I do not owe her any money; my father paid her what I owed her; she summoned me to Duncormack Session for murdering her gander; she summoned me twice for breaking her windows; I was fined 1 shilling; Mrs Johnson never said anything to me about the watch until after I gave it to the police.
Constable Feeny sworn and examined by Mr Ryan—I am stationed at Wellingtonbridge; from information I received I went to Mr King and got the watch; I saw the prisoner at Duncormack Petty Sessions; Mr King was there; she stated then that she got the watch in a luggage box in her aunt’s house.
Mr Taylor objected to this evidence the girl not being cautioned.
The witness—She was not in custody at the time; she was summoned only to the court.
The court considered she was in charge at the time and ruled that the statement could not be received. Mr Ryan contended that it could and produced the warrant from the Sessions Court, on which was written, the prisoner being cautioned, said she found the watch in a luggage box, in the house and that she gave it to Mr King, to give to her aunt, with directions for her to send it to Mr Colfer.
Witness (to Mr Taylor)—I know the house is a well conducted one; it is there the police stop; Mrs Johnson did give me the information about the loss of the watch; there was a search made for it.
Mrs Johnson examined by Mr G. O’B Ryan—The prisoner is my niece; she lived with me after leaving Waterford; Mr King owes me £14 18 shillings; I repeatedly mentioned to Mr King the state I was in about the loss of that watch; nothing ever occurred in my house before and I was greatly put about by it; he never told me all the time that he had made the swop.
Mr Richard Greene examined by Mr Taylor—The prisoner lived with me; she had everything in my house under her; I believe her to be strictly honest; she had my cash-box and everything else.
The court summed up and the jury returned a verdict of guilty, with a recommendation to mercy, when she sentenced to one month’s imprisonment.”
This case in the Wexford Assizes gives us some previously unknown information: who ever heard of a Mrs Johnson keeping a lodging house in the village of Carrig? The room that Mr Colfer was in had only one bed and a seemingly strange man came in and got into the bed with him (am I right on that?). Then another man seeks to get into the bed. He then slept on the chairs: I presume that he was not covered by a blanket or indeed did not have an electric blanket so he must have been quite cold. Four or five cattle dealers came into the room in the morning and used the water left out for Mr Colfer. Cattle dealers would, often, have come a long distance and have to seek lodgings for the night. The police lodged with Mrs Johnson. I am puzzled as to why Mr King was not charged with receiving stolen property.
The Wexford Independent reported in the 3rd of June 1889:–
“The Cottage at Ballymitty
The Clerk—Mr Dillon, attended at Ballymitty on Tuesday and got possession from Connor. We had to throw out all the furniture as the tenant gave all the opposition he could. I gave Mr Dillon directions to nail down the windows and to lock the door and put the padlock on it. I suppose we will advertise for a tenant at once.”
The above resembles a landlord evicting a tenant but the case involved the eviction of a man and presumably his family from a labourer’s cottage, for non-payment of rent. Most labourers in the cottages built by the Poor Law Unions experienced awful difficulties in paying their rents but the Poor Law Unions did not normally opt for evictions.
The People on the 2nd of February 1918 advertised a few cures for cattle from Bells of Waterford. As a child at Barrystown I read the Bell book of cures. One of the advertised cures was “Tungo. One of the greatest cures ever produced for timber tongue in cattle, swelling in the throat and dribbling, in bottles 4 shillings and six pence, smaller size 2 shillings and six pence; post 6 pence.
Wasterite, a tonic powder, restores wasters or piners, it makes them thrive. If you suspect liver disease give them the wasterite liquid first to purify the system. The liquid or powder is 3 shillings and six pence each; smaller size 2 shillings each, postage 4 pence.”
I have no idea if these remedies worked. Bells remedies were widely used in the time of my childhood.
The agents for Bells of Waterford were listed:–
Among them were:–N. Breen, Carrig-on-Bannow, Representatives of Mrs K. Colfer and Mr N. Furlong Bros. Ballymitty, Mr Forrest, Wellingtonbridge and James Walsh, Carrig-on-Bannow.
It was reported in April 1918 that:–
Mr John Keane, Blackhall, who was co-opted at the last meeting to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Mr John White, Bannow [on the Wexford District Council] wrote returning thanks for the honour paid him and regretting that he was unable to accept the position. It was decided that the vacancies for Bannow and Harriestown divisions be filled at the next meeting.”
In The People on May 8th 1918 was this advertisement:–
“Wanted, general farm man (married) to attend cattle, sheep, milk; wife, poultry; send testimonials to J. B. Boyd, Kiltra, Wellingtonbridge, Co. Wexford.”
Such an advertisement might break some modern legislation: what if a man was living with his partner? Would he be discriminated against?
From The People in April 1907; a report of the Board of Wexford Poor Law Guardians:–
“Brigid Howlin, late midwife at Ballymitty, wrote requesting the Guardians to act generously in regard to the question of her superannuation.
The following was, also, read—
Dear Sir—Your letter to hand of the 16th bringing under my notice the result of the meeting of the Board on Saturday the 12th, calling on me to resign my position. If I be compelled to do so I do not see how I am to live. I have no possible means of support unless the Board allow me something. I have filled the position for 34 years for a mere trifle. I agreed in 1896 that when Mrs Howlin would vacate her position, I would do it but was with the view of being amply provided for in my old age and now I respectfully ask…
Johanna Siggins, mid-wife, Bannow district.”
The Board decided to consider the cases of both women with a view to giving them financial support on their retirement. I am not sure if these women were spinsters or widows; if they were married it would be assumed that their husbands should support them although I am at a loss to understand how old men could support anybody!