Hi, it is the boy from Barrystown, in fine fettle, charming, charismatic, scholarly, erudite, obliging, ebullient, humble, self-effacing, inspirational and—wily; a right boyo, a historian supreme—the boy from beside the mine pits.

Correction—I wrote in the last blog that Rochestown bog was cleared in 1857—that should have read 1957!

Young Jim Daly died, of a short but painful illness, at Whitty’s Hill, in the seventeenth year of his life, in March 1860. He was the son of Mr Nicholas Daly.

In January of 1860 Martin Cleary of Macksboley (Maxboley) died; he was aged 90 years and had fought in five battles during the insurrection of 1798.

In August 1814 Edward Connor of Taylorstown died aged 122 years; he vaguely spoke of spending his life selling things.

Mrs Carr, wife of George Carr, died in July 1814 at Graigue House.

The Forth and Bargy notes in the Free Press on February 9th 1935 had a more unusual and dare I say it, more comical obituary:–

“An Old Cow—From the Wellingtonbridge locality comes the story of a very old cow. According to report this cow died at the venerable age of 41 years and locally known as the oldest cow in Ireland. She was of the Kerry breed, having been purchased and brought there when about two years old.”

The Earl of Anglesey, under the Acts of Settlement and Explanation in the reign of Charles II was granted, inter alia—The tree of Kilkevan, the mill of Kilkevan and Coolbrooke and Kilderry. I have no idea what is meant by the tree of Kilkevan!

From The Free Press July 22nd 1966:–

“Amongst those ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Mc Quaid at Holy Cross College, Clonliffe on Sunday was Fr Dominick Michael Brady O. P., son of Dr and Mrs Brady, Graigue House, Wellingtonbridge. On the following morning Father Brady celebrated Mass at Muckross Abbey, Dublin and on Tuesday morning a large congregation participated in the new priest’s first Mass in his native parish, at the Church of the Immaculate Conception and St Joseph’s Carrig-on-Bannow and received his blessing.

Fr Dominic is a past pupil of Danescastle National School and of Newbridge College. He studied for the priesthood at St Mary’s Priory, Pope’s Quay, Cork and Dominican House of Studies, Tallaght, Dublin. He will continue his studies at Tallaght next year.

The people of Bannow parish extend to Dr and Mrs Brady their sincere congratulations and to Fr Dominic the assurance of their prayers for the fruitfulness of his sacred ministry.”

I was in the Christian Brothers School in Enniscorthy in 1966—actually in July at home on the summer holidays. In September of that year the Cork hurlers won the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final—two of the team, Michael Waters at midfield and the gifted Seanie Barry at wing forward were clerical students, intended for the mission fields. The generation of young men born in the 1940ies had their formative years in an Ireland still certain of its Catholic character and convictions. A comparatively high minority of these men went onto the priesthood. They were about ten years (or even less) older that myself. Those who were with me at school and in the old university were not inspired by the same urge to join the priesthood: we were the first generation of youngsters to be anguished by religious uncertainty. While I was a whiz at Latin Brother Mc Donagh had no expectation that I would manifest a vocation to the priesthood.

“Bannow Dispensary,


December 22nd 1857

Sir—I duly received your letter respecting the boy Gaynor, who was so severely burned at Graigue—and will not fail to inform the Guardians whenever I think whenever I think he is fit to be removed to hospital. At present he is nearly a continuous sore from his mouth to his thighs and on his arms.

I am sir,

James Boyd Medical Doctor.”

Dr Boyd was writing to the Board of Guardians of the Poor Law Union of Wexford. The peculiar procedure was that of waiting until the patient improved before removing him to hospital—the journey in a horse drawn car on stoned roads was most daunting, to put it mildly! Dr Boyd lived at Kiltra.



Co. Wexford

26th September 1949

Sir—Some weeks ago in the Independent a map appeared showing the All-Ireland Footballers and Handballers since the G. A. A. was started. They gave Wexford five All-Irelands, in football when we should have six. I have a cutting from an old paper here and here are the words of it. The All-Ireland Football Final—The Blues and Whites travelled to Dublin on Sunday December 14th 1889 to play Middleton Co. Cork in the All-Ireland Final. The Wexford team led by their captain, Mr P. Keating took the field at the appointed time but the Cork team failed to put in an appearance. The referee Mr Tobin of the Co. Dublin Committee awarded the game to Wexford and declared the Blue and Whites Champion Footballers of Ireland. Wexford had already travelled twice to Dublin to meet Middleton but they failed to turn up. How is it that Cork got the game when according to the rules once a referee gives a decision it can’t be altered under any circumstances?

Yours sincerely

Thomas Colfer.”

Maybe some of my readers would have known of Thomas Colfer but 1949 is a long time ago. Actually Tom Colfer, himself, may be mistaken. I believe that Wexford won four All-Ireland Senior Football titles in a row in the years 1915—18. I am on good authority here with this quote on a famous native of Carrig-on-Bannow village—Paddy Breen, from the Free Press January 24th 1953:–“In later years a severe injury he met when playing with Bray Emmets [as a trainee national teacher in Drumcondra, Dublin] against Tipperary reasserted itself and it thwarted his ambition of assisting Wexford in the glorious years of 1915—18.”

I think that Tom Colfer counted five titles in a row in the glorious years of 1915—18; something not arithmetically possible! If one counts the four in a row then if one adds in a title for 1889 the count is five All-Ireland Senior Football titles.

This charming account of the atmosphere in Enniscorthy on the day of the senior football Co. final on Sunday September 18th 1949, between Ballymitty and The Volunteers, Wexford appeared in the next issue of the Free Press:–

“Long before the game was due to start the streets of Enniscorthy were crammed with early arrivals who travelled by all manner of vehicle. The rival colours of the green and white of the Volunteers and blue and white of Ballymitty were sported in abundance.

At Bellefield the sideline seating was taxed to overflowing and in the closing stages of the game when spectators began to move towards the sidelines only rare glimpses of the play were visible to those who remained in their seats.

The day was favoured with brilliant sunshine, cooled by a light easterly wind and the freshly mown pitch looked like a picture as the teams marched around the arena accompanied the Wexford St Bridget’s Fife and Drum Band and the Clohamon Band.

It was an inspiring scene as the teams and the spectators stood to attention while the National Anthem was played in the shadow of renowned Vinegar Hill.”

The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem used to sing “Brennan on the Moor” back in the early 1960s and my mother said that nobody could sing like the Clancys. Bob Dylan said that nobody could sing a ballad like Liam Clancy. I was not sure what a Moor was then but there were a good few of them in Ireland. There was, also, one in Bannow and in the 1860s a controversy arose in Bannow as to whether the Moor was a commons to which those living on it had full authority minus any control of it by the Boyses, Sam and Tom. I am unable at this remove to determine who was right or wrong so I will quote the several letters written on the controversy, sometimes at inordinate length. I will allow my readers to make up their own minds on the issue—a form of do it yourself history. I presume that the person signing such letters had the local schoolmaster script them. They must have had the electricity in the house to write these letters as they were so long, of such convoluted sentence construction and obscurantist diction that if written by lamp-light the writer would surely strain his eyes! The inescapable deduction is that there was electricity in Carrig-on-Bannow in the nineteenth century, blah, blah.

“The Moor of Bannow

To the Editor of the People

Sir—Some time ago a letter headed “Tenant Right—The Moor of Bannow”—of which I in common with my neighbours, the resident men of Bannow, did not, nor do not approve, although purporting to be written by “An Ex-Bannow Man”—and I now,  in consequence of still later remarks from the same writer, in reply, possibly, to objections cunningly made by himself for the purpose of showing his dexterity in demolishing them, take this opportunity of denying all. The writer having left Bannow, as his name implies, seems full of zeal for those he left behind—and equally not full of a very amiable feeling—a desire to asperse the memory of the dead without the prospect of doing any good to the living. Having made a sweeping charge and freed his bosom of the sense “of duty, by remaining silent no longer”—he comes plump to the charge that about fifty years ago the Boyse family wished to have a charge over it and by various cunning means and promises induced the holders to consent to pay him a nominal rent—“that they might have any length of lease they chose and these renewable for ever” He proceeds that the holders accepted consented to accept leases of fifty years or three lives at the small rent of 2 shillings and 6 pence an acre—but the leases have expired within the past few months—faith has been broken and on average they are obliged to pay a guinea an acre and be satisfied with the short term of twenty-one acres. Such, sir, is the sweeping and serious charge—were it true. More substantial things than mere promises were given to the holders of the Moor—else they would not be now be what the “Ex-Bannow Man” describes them—but they would be no better, if not actually worse than they originally were. “The land (say the writer) about half a century ago, 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.” Who, may I ask, sir, is the change owing to? Is it not to the money, to the grinding advice and countenance of the very man whose name is now slandered—for were it not for his aid the Moor of Bannow would still not bear a harvest of golden grain, but coarse moor-land grass, and the houses, instead of being as they are, neat and comfortable, would still be wretched huts and cabins. When the soil was the property of the holders, they were poor and wretched, could do nothing and would have remained so to this day, had it not been for the money, aid and advice of Mr Boyse—and now see his reward from the pen of the “Ex-Bannow Man”. Why were they not then as they are now? Let the writer’s own admission by the answer. I also, find that they were as anxious for the change as the late Mr Boyse, himself, with the one exception of Larry Moore—and I also find that the general impression prevailed at the time that they had bettered their condition by the change, as they would never expect to be little better than paupers. Your correspondent will, I think, admit this to be true—at least he must [admit] that previous to the change there was nothing to be seen on the Moor but goats and asses—whilst today he will see horses and cows and a comfortable people. He further says that the Moor tenants thought they were sure to get the land at the same rent as before. That is all moonshine—they were never so promised—nor expected it. Whether the rent now is too high is quite another question—but this is certain that the present Reverend proprietor [Tom Boyse’s brother the Rev. Richard Boyse] is very far indeed from being a harsh landlord. He is, in reality, remarkably kind and charitable to the poor, who are but few on his estate and his agent Mr Dobbyn bears justly a very high name in Waterford, where he is well known and a native. Your correspondent speaks sarcastically of the erection of a monument to the memory of the late Mr Boyse—but the matter is far from being unpopular and I and many others would willingly join towards it. But should such never be erected, there is a deathless monument to his memory in the spacious and splendid chapel of Carrig which owes mainly its existence to him and it will keep his name in general remembrance as long as a stone of it shall remain.

A Bannow Man

February 1863.”

The Enniscorthy Guardian reported on March 6th 1926 that Andy Walsh, the noted handballer, Carrig-on-Bannow passed to his eternal reward. “A well known handballer in years gone by himself and J. Broaders were a great combination. A great supporter of the Carrig handballers, his sound advice and keen judgement in sporting matters will be sorely missed by them.”

A correspondent to The People in February 1863 recalled that there were many applicants for the job of Postmaster at Carrig-on-Bannow “all possessing talent, education, and a variety of accomplishments, though the salary was only three pounds per annum; and that so vehement was the desire to become the successful candidate, that both the humble voter’s interests, as well as the great M. P.’s patronage were canvassed to obtain it.” William Murphy the schoolmaster at Carrig got the job and later retired from the teaching work. It may be a coincidence but the Postmaster in Kilmore village was, also, the Principal of the local National School; my expectation is that teachers at that time were among the very few people able to operate a post office.