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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Tom MacDonald. Tom Sadly passed away  yesterday on 25th September.
He was a colourful character who could be seen everyday in and around Clonroche Village chatting and debateing about politics and history and anything else that had grabbed his attention.
He will be missed by his family and many friends. Many stories of Tom and his interactions with people far and near will be told around firesides and local establishments for many a year to come.
A member of Clonroche Historical Society and former President of Clonroche Comhaltas and past member of Cloughbawn GAA. Tom enjoyed it all and took on all roles with his usual enthusiasm.
Below is a link to a video of Tom in full flight receiting two poems in Coolaught Gardens in 2013.
 May he Rest in Peace.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Wexford Newspapers Re Clonroche 1865-1925

From a report of the meeting of the Board of Guardians of Enniscorthy Poor Law Union as published in The People on the 12th of January 1865:--
“Ordinary Proceedings
Mr Lett as Secreatary to the Sanitary Committee of Clonroche, submitted a resolution, entered into at a meeting in Clonroche, on the 31st ult., for the purpose of ascertaining the sanitary state of that village, which set forth the condition in which it was found to be, after a careful house to house search by the Committee.
Ordered—That the Committee be empowered to purchase lime, whitewash brushes, and buckets and to hire a competent person to cleanse and purify the cabins of those who are not able to afford to do so themselves; that they call the attention of the police to their duties under the act—and that those who refuse to remove all nuisance who can afford to do so, be summoned before the magistrates. That in the first instance, £3 be allowed for the purchase of lime, brushes and buckets.”
From The Wexford Independent the 14th of January 1894:--
“Strange Freak of a Sick Man at Tominearly
On Tuesday evening last word reached the Enniscorthy Union Workhouse that a van was required to bring in a man, named Power, a servant at Mr David Doran’s , who was seriously ill. It was found impossible to send the van for  the man that night but on the following morning when it arrived at Tominearly, it was found that the unfortunate man, who is said to be suffering from erysipelas, had broken out of the house during the night, and that he could not be found. The driver of the van, at once, turned his horse’s head towards Enniscorthy, and came back with an empty vehicle. In the meantime a strict search was made for the missing man and he was found on Wednesday in the neighbourhood of Palace in quite an exhausted state. He was too weak to have him removed to the infirmary.”
From The Wexford Independent the 28th of September 1866:--
“Potato Manure, Turnip Manure, Mangold Manure
I beg to inform the Nobiliy, Gentry and farmers of the County of Wexford that I have been appointed sole agent in this county for the sale of Superphosphate,
Manufactured by the Liverpool and Ramsey Oil and Chemical Manure Company Limited.
Having been favoured with the agency last year, also, I appeal with confidence to the testimony of all who used this manure; and from the splendid crops of Turnips produced by it on my own land near Castleboro, I unhesitingly recommend it to all who desire a large yield of Potatoes, Turnips or Mangolds.
The manure has been analysed by Professor Cameron, Dublin, who declares that it contains 30 per cent of phosphate lime, and a higher proportion of ammonia than is found for all green crops, highly suitable for barley, rape, &c. A sprinkling of salt along with it helps to develop more effectively its fertilising properties.
Sold on very moderate terms
Sole agent for County Wexford
T. H. Rowe
Wexford March, 1866
To be had, also, from Mr John D. Rowe, Castleboro Mills”
From The Free Press the 28th of March 1925:--
“Castleboro Saw Mills
Enquiries solicited for boards, scantlings, roofings, box board in best quality native fir, posts, fencing, stakes in oak, at cheap prices. Larch shafts for binders and carts, all sizes in stock. Bone dry fish felloes and oak spokes, elm stocks. Full descriptions of native timber quoted at keen prices.
Coppen, Castleboro Saw Mils,
From the report of Clonroche Petty Sessions in The People the 15th of August 1896:--
“Non-Registration of births
Patrick Connors, Clonroche and John Kavanagh, Rossdroit, were summoned for failing to register the births of children. The summonses were brought in the name of Mrs Keating, assistant registrar of births and marriages for Clonroche district. Mr O’Dempsey appeared on behalf of Mrs Keating and Mr White for one of the defendants, Patrick Connors.
The case against Connors was first taken up. He was summoned for not registering the birth of his daughter on the 24th of August ’94. Mr O’Dempsey said that owing to the absence of Dr Keating, the summons was brought in the name of Mrs Keating. Mr White said that he did not require that Mrs Keating would be examined, and proved to the non-registration.
Connors said that his wife had brought the child to be registered.
Mr White asked to have the defendant’s wife examined but Mr O’Dempsey objected and contended that, under the statute, the offence being a penal one, the wife could not be examined. It was the same as in a murder case, where the wife could not be examined to prove an alibi.
A fine of 1 penny was imposed and an order was made that the registration be carried out.
Mr White pleaded guilty in the case of John Kavanagh, who was summoned for not registering the child Edward. A fine of 1 penny was imposed.”
From The People the 5th of April 1862:--
“Inquest—On Monday, M. J. Cartan, Esq., Coroner, held an inquest at Killegney, near Clonroche, on the body of Catherine Hanna. It appeared from the evidence that the morning previous while preparing to go to Chapel she died suddenly—Verdict—“Died from disease of the heart.”
From report of Board of Guardians of Enniscorthy Poor Law union meeting, published in The people, the 5th of August 1893:--
“Clonroche National School
The following letter was read:--
“Office of National Education
Sir—Referring to the action taken by the sanitary officer of the Enniscorthy Poor-Law Union in regard to the proximity of the privies attached to the Clonroche National Schools to the school building. I am directed by the Commissioners of National Education to inform you that on the recommendation of the Board of Works, they have granted the sum of £21 6 shillings and 8 pence on a total expenditure of £32, for the erection of two new privies at a distance of fifty feet from the back of the schoolhouse.—Yours obedient servant,
J. C. Taylor”
From The Enniscorthy Guardian the 8th of January 1949:--
“Miss Bridget Redmond, whose death took place at the Co. Hospital, Wexford, on Sunday, was over for over thirty-two years housekeeper for Very Rev. Michael Murphy P. P. Cloughbawn. Up to late on Saturday she was in her usual good health, but becoming suddenly ill, Fr Murphy administered the Last Sacraments and summoned medical aid. She was removed to the Co. Hospital where despite every care and attention she passed away peacefully on Sunday evening. The remains were removed to Carnagh where interment took place in the family burial ground. Requiem Mass Office and High Mass were held in Cloughbawn Church on Wednesday—R. I. P.” 
From The Enniscorthy Guardian, the 30th of June 1894:--
“Dr Cardiff, Coroner for South Wexford, held an inquest on Wednesday on the body of a man named Peter Nolan (Coolaught) who expired suddenly in the public-house of Mr John Cullen on Tuesday evening. The testimony showed that death was due to the effects of excessive tobacco smoking and that it had taken place with awful suddenness.
Mrs Rebecca Cullen was the first witness examined. She proved that the deceased had entered the house on Tuesday evening and had called for some beer with which he had been supplied.
Sylvester Hore Raheen, (farmer) deposed that he knew the deceased. On Tuesday evening witness was in one of the rooms of Mrs Cullen’s house when Catherine Maher, a servant of Mrs Cullen’s called him and said she thought there was a “weakness” over Peter Nolan. Before this he was unaware of the presence of the deceased in the house. He got up at once and entered the room in which Nolan was. Nolan’s head was resting on his breast, he was in a sitting posture on the form and his hat had fallen off. Witness spoke to him and he did not reply. In the meantime, Mrs Cullen’s girl and Maggie Hendrick came in and with the assistance of these two he removed Nolan to the yard. After deceased’s removal to the yard, he showed no signs of life; he did not stir and witness did not hear him breathing. Some person in the yard, however, said he was breathing. In a few minutes they found he was dead, and carried him into the house again.
Luke Nolan, brother of the deceased, stated that he lived in the same house as Peter Nolan and always considered the latter generally healthy. He never knew him to be ailing, save with a cold. He never knew him to have suffered from rheumatism or rheumatic fever, or any pains, but twenty years ago, deceased suffered from a pain in his back. Deceased never appeared distressed after exertion and he never had a cough, nor was he eating bad.
In reply to Dr Keating, the witness said that Peter had a good appetite. He was a very heavy smoker and smoked 2 or 3 ounces in the week. Witness did not know that his brother had been taking medicine four or five months in succession but knew that he had been drinking cod liver oil some time ago. He never heard him complain of palpitation of the heart.
Dr M. E. Keating stated that he had been attending deceased last Autumn for about four months. He (deceased) was suffering from cough, profuse perspiration and loss of appetite—all brought on by excessive smoking of tobacco. At one timed deceased used to smoke six ounces of tobacco in the week but he reduced that amount. Syncope and failure of the heart’s action were the causes of death.

A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was returned.”

Sunday, 5 March 2017


From The Clonroche Notes in The Echo on the 3rd of April, 1909:--
The books of the Sinn Fein library have been in circulation for some time past and are greatly appreciated by the members. The branch will have the benefit of reading some good books…..
St Patrick’s Day
St Patrick’s Day was properly observed by the people of this parish. The public-houses remained closed throughout the day, a fact that reflected great credit on the proprietors. In the parish church prayers were recited in the evening and for the first time in the memory of the present generation, the Rosary was recited in Irish. The number that answered the Rosary in the language of Ireland’s patron saint was creditable, indeed, considering the short time the language is being taught in the district.”
From The Echo the 4th of January 1913:--
On Wednesday evening last week a very pleasing function took place in Clonroche School, viz.,--the presentation of an illuminated address,  a purse of sovereigns and an album containing the names of all subscribers, by the past pupils and friends of Mr Lambert on the occasion of his retirement from the position of school teacher; a large crowd of his admirers and friends being present. Rev. P. F. Kehoe P. P. who made the presentation called on Mr Doyle to read the address. In making the presentation, Fr Kehoe said nothing could give him greater pleasure than to be the medium of conveying this very beautiful address and substantial gift from the friends and past pupils of Mr Lambert and by his presence to bear personal testimony to his worth. Any good work that was ever started in the parish always found Mr Lambert at his post, but what he admired him most for (in the village that is shown up in the public Press as one of the black spots in the county) the example he set his pupils as a life long total abstainer and worker in the temperance cause. He was, he declared, proud of him for it. Mr Lambert, in reply, said he feared all the good things Fr Kehoe said were prompted by his own kindly and generous heart, more so than any little good he (Mr Lambert) might have accomplished or desired. From his own heart, he thanked the generous people of Cloughbawn for the valuable and beautiful gifts. He said he owed his present position to the goodness of two men, one of them long dead—Fr William Gate P. P. of Rathangan; but he was glad to see a nephew of his present. The other—Mr Long of Bannow and he hoped that the news that he fulfilled his trust as his successor and pupil would give Mr Long some consolation in his old age. Naturally after so many years teaching he could not leave off without feeling sorry; yet this sorrow is compensated for by the fact, that, he was now free to take his place in any movement, political or otherwise, that was working for the good of the country. At the conclusion, a programme of dancing, singing, and music was gone through. The address was printed and illuminated at “The Echo” Office, Enniscorthy and framed  by Mr Pat O’Brien, Clonroche with oak; both framing and address being much admired.”
From The Clonroche Notes in The Echo, the 12th of June 1906:--
“Successes at the Feis
On Sunday and Monday week Clonroche and district were practically deserted for the Feis. By train, bike and car went the people to take part in the great Gaelic revival. Although only about seven months in existence the local branch of the Gaelic League sent three classes to compete whilst—there were several others competing individually. The following is the list of the prizes obtained—Miss Ellen Parle obtained first prize in the costume competition; Mr Nicholas Cullen obtained first prize in the whistling competition; Mr Thomas O’Brien second in the jigging competition; Miss Essie Cullen obtained thirds prize for best home made shirt. In the language competition, first year’s course, the class secured second place. The following were the successful members—Messrs M. Cullen, G. Flood, E. Buckley, J. Ryan, J. Cullen, T. Foley and John Flood. In the jigging competition, J. Nolan obtained a third prize. In all six prizes, not a bad record for seven months’ work.”
Miss Ellen Parle, a native of Wexford town, was a Junior Assistant Schoolmistress in Clonroche National Female School. She was involved in the Gaelic League and actively promoted it in Clonroche and was, also, involved  in Cumann Na mBan. She married the famous freedom fighter and War of Independence Volunteer, Sean Sinnott.
From a report of the Clonroche Petty Sessions in The Wexford Independent on the 9th of January 1864; a prosecution by John O’Neill Schoolmaster, Clonroche against Mrs Judith Cogley; Lord Carew was in the Chair and amount sought was nine shillings:--
“Mr [Laurence] Sweetman considered it a great hardship that this poor woman should be charged such an enormous sum for the education of her children, and, also, the plaintiff had a salary of £32 a year from the Board of Education.
Plaintiff—My scale of fees are sanctioned by the Commissioners and Inspector. The Commissioners will not grant aid to a school where a certain amount of local fees are not secured to the teacher.
Mr Cookman to Plaintiff—Are the poor to get a free education in your school?
Plaintiff—Certainly not; the Manager is supposed to pay for them.
Chairman—Did you acquaint the defendant of the amount you would charge at the time the children commenced?
Plaintiff—No, my Lord. It was her business to ask me.
Chairman [Lord Carew]—I think it better to postpone this case and I will communicate with the Commissioners [of the Board of National Education].
Postponed until next court day.”
The interpretation of Mr John O’Neill of the Rules of the National Schools was idiosyncratic and hugely mistaken: the National School system was expressly set up to provide an elementary education for the poor children of the country. The Commissioners sought to have one-third of the cost of establishing a National School collected locally but a schoolmaster was certainly not required to extract fees from all the pupils!

Sunday, 15 January 2017


Dr Freddie Stock and threats
On September 6th 1883 under the nome de plume Heel Metal a man wrote a vitriolic attack on a fellow local man in the Clonroche area; the latter has to be Henry Hugh O’Neill. The most astounding part of the attack relates to a scurrilous mini newspaper circulated about the area:
“The sensational items appearing in a little sheet, having a limited circulation in the townland of Clonroche, are always taken et cum grano solis when it is known that the author is a man, who piqued at his own nothingness, assails the character of people, who were once his best friends and who put him in the way of making a good thing of his patriotism. He attacks these people because they, like himself, have not fallen so low as to be beneath contempt. Such a man would be more dangerous in a locality than a canine rabbie, if it were not for the fact that no nome de plume is able to conceal his identity. No person, not even the worthy parish priest, would be safe from his treachery and vindictiveness. He would be a Poor Law Guardian if he could.”
The writer then added this visceral but informative P.S.:
“The Land League, Labour League and all the other Leagues are now to be about set aside at Clonroche and in their stead a League for legalising marriage with a deceased brother’s wife is about to be established.  Such a League would be certain to receive some support, as there is no good reason why we should not have the same laws here that already exist and work most satisfactorily in Pittsburgh and other cities of the great Western world.”
Henry Hugh O’Neill’s brother Dan had been a newspaper editor and public representative in Pittsburgh.
Henry Hugh did actually get elected as the Clonroche Electoral District to the Enniscorthy Board of Guardians later on.
The writer of this missive was exasperated by the publication of letters from Enniscorthy Watchman of letters from Henry Hugh. I presume that the letters referred to were those signed Pro Bono Publico in which the writer stated that the pump in the village was out of order for over two months; the people depended on a spout “which contains sewerage and other deleterious matter.” Then he had a crack at Euseby Robinson the opulent farmer and landlord living in Clonroche House: this man had a splendid well on his farm “whose acres are broad and scarcely inhabited by man or beast and yet like the dog in the manger ‘he will neither use it himself nor allow others to use it’”
Henry Hugh’s hostility to certain locals echoes the remarks made by Dan O’Neill in the Wexford Guardian circa 1854.
At the petty Sessions in Clonroche in July 1876 “Henry Hugh O’Neill, shopkeeper and John Kehoe, farmer were charged by the police with having been concerned in May last in the writing and posting of a threatening letter to Frederick Stock M.D. of Coolaught. Dr Stock is the medical officer of the district and the letter contained the following passages:
“What will you do when the tyrant is gone how is it the poor people allowed you to go on so long, one of the greatest Orangemen in Ireland, I wonder you have not poisoned lots lots of Catholics, by all accounts you have done so with a good many of them. Your career is nearly at an end and there will be peace and ease when you are gone.”
Dr Freddie Stock was a most dedicated doctor and these charges are ludicrous but then Dr Stock reacted calmly to this notice.
The case was dismissed and O’Neill then embarked on a libel case against the police Sub-Inspector Irwin and caused great amusement by his proceedings. Pender who lived in a little house at Colaught was told by Jack Sinnott, the blacksmith and publican in Clonroche that O’Neill and Kehoe of Tomfarney wrote the note. Pender told Dr Stock who went to both men. Kehoe merely denied the accusation but as one would expect Henry Hugh “received the news in a violent manner and used very impolite language.” Dr Stock told both men that he did not believe that either O’Neill or Kehoe had written this missive. Dr Freddie Stock in his letter to the Resident Magistrate Mr Ryan stated that he was not sure if Mr Ryan would think it worthwhile to take any further action in the matter.
A threatening notice was placed on Lord Carew’s gate about the same time.
In October 1876 at the Assizes, presumably at New Ross, Henry Hugh O’Neill sued Dr Freddie Stock of Colaught, near Clonroche for forty pounds damages due to libel by the latter on him. O’Neill’s complaint was that Dr Stock had written to the Resident Magistrate outlining the facts, as he saw them, regarding the placing of threatening notices on Dr Stock’s gate. As pointed out above, Pender who lived in Colaught had heard Jack Sinnott who had a forge and pub in Clonroche say that O’Neill and John Kehoe of Tomfarney had put the notices there. Pender told Dr Stock of this conversation and Dr Stock went to both men but indicated that he did not believe that either of them had anything to do with it.
In his letter to Mr Ryan Dr Stock doubted if he would deem it worthwhile to proceed any further with the matter. My impression all through is that Dr Stock, a most unflappable man under pressure, wished to minimise the import of the threatening notices. As a member of a minority (if ruling community) he may have deeded it imprudent to escalate such a matter; despite his conscientious discharge of his duties and his passionate commitment to ensuring that the sick poor (as he called them) got their meagre pittances from the Poor Law Guardians he was often subject to spurious complaints of negligence in his medical work. After his death in 1886 a member of the Enniscorthy Board of Guardians described him as a good and faithful servant.
It was most unbecoming of O’Neill to have taken this libel action.
The rest of the case is a matter of who to believe. Mr Ryan wrote (then in Lisdoonvarna, in Co. Kerry) to the Sub-Inspector of the Royal Irish Constabulary, Mr Irwin and enclosed Dr Stock’s letter. Henry Hugh’s case was that he and Kehoe were—as a consequence of Dr Stock’s missive to Mr Ryan—brought before the Petty Sessions in Clonroche on the charge of writing the threatening letters. The case was dismissed.
Sub-Inspector Irwin told the Assizes that he “had given instructions to the Police at Clonroche to bring the case forward and that he never had communication with Dr Stock on the subject whatever though he had endeavoured to see him frequently—and further that his instructions had been given, and informations sworn in the case, before he had received Mr Ryan’s letter enclosing Dr Stock’s.”
The Justice advised the Jury “that if they believed Mr Irwin’s evidence they must find for the defendant which the accordingly did.”
The confounding issue here is: if Mr Irwin had given his instructions to Constable M’Hugh in Clonroche before he got Mr Ryan’s letter then on what basis were O’Neill and Kehoe brought before the Petty Sessions in Clonroche?  The only basis for taking such an action was Jack Sinnott’s conversation with Pender.
When Henry Hugh applied for the post of registrar of births, deaths and marriages for the Clonroche Dispensary area in June 1869 he produced testimonials from the Rector the Rev. Mr E. Bailey, Rev. John M. Furlong, Cloughbawn –and Dr Freddie Stock. He got the job but lost it after he turned up drunk at the offices of the Enniscorthy Board of Guardians. On the 15th of February of 1873 the Enniscorthy Watchman reported:
“That Mr Henry Hugh O’Neill came to the office yesterday to register a birth—that he was under the influence of drink and was so unruly that the clerk was obliged to order up the reporter to remove him.
Ordered—That report to be sent to the Registrar-General”.