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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Unusual facts I learned from Bannow Historical Society's new journal

Published 30/07/2013 | 05:42

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The cover of the journal of the Bannow Historical Society

QWho was the author of 'The Buried City of Bannow', published in 1866?

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A PR Hanrahan. (The book derived from local folklore about a town, perhaps even a city, which had been lost beneath sand. The idea was treated with scorn by learned scholars but the notion of an Irish version of Pompeii went down well with ordinary readers.)

QIn what year did the first train run from Waterford to Rosslare?

A1907. (In July of that year, a goods and livestock service was initiated with the Taghmon cattle and sheep fair in mind. Passenger trains followed the next month. The plug was finally pulled on the South Wexford line 103 years later, in September 2010.)

QWhat was the prize for the winner of the faggot cutting competition held at Coolcliffe in Ballymitty in January 1936?

AOne pound sterling. (Competitors were allowed an hour to cut 15 faggots, each one 42 inches in circumference. The field was kindly given by a man called Gannon. There is no explanation given of what the word 'faggot' means in this context.)

QWhat does the surname Bennett mean?

ABlessed. (And Cheevers means goat; Hore means white haired; Curtis means courteous; and Sinnott means bold in victory.)

QWhich family owned the big house at Coolcliffe in 1838?

AThe Cox family. (The remnants of the impressive old building may still be seen on the banks of the Corock River upstream from Wellingtonbridge. In the year in question, the man in charge was Colonel Sir William Cox, former governor of Almeida in Portugal.)

QAn outbreak of which disease prompted the establishment of the 'Taghmon Relief fund' in 1833?

ACholera.

QWhat was 'booleying'?

AThe custom of bringing cattle to summer pastures. (The practice stemmed in part from the need to keep the hungry livestock away from crops. The people minding the cattle stayed, of course, in booley houses.)

QWhere did William Edward Cox, black sheep of the family, die?

AAt Cawnpore in India. (The luckless, not to say feckless, William Edward had the misfortune to be caught up in the Indian mutiny of the year in question. He was just 22 years old when he was assigned to the grandly named 1st European Regiment in Cawnpore. He lost both legs and died of his injuries when a shell landed in the trench where he was sheltering from the bombardment of the mutineers.)

QWho was elected King of Leinster in 1327?

ADonal MacMurrough-Kavanagh. (He celebrated by laying waste to much of Co. Wexford – the way you do.)

QWho wrote 'Sketches of Irish Characters', published in 1829?

A Anna Maria Hall. (The author (1800-1881) was not only prolific but also commercially successful in her day. She resided for part of her long life at Graigue House in Bannow. The Irish characters in the book mentioned included smuggler Jack Shrimp and sweet Lily O'Brien.)

QWhat are or were lighters, cots and colliers?

ABoats. (Lighters and cots delivered cargos to small quays around Bannow Bay. Colliers, as the name suggests, carried coal.)

QWhat family name is probably derived from the Welsh village of Keeston?

AKeating. (Keeston is six kilometres north west of Haverfordwest. The Keatings first arrived in Wexford in Wexford in the 12th century.)

QWhat were the White Feet?

AA band of agrarian terrorists. (Apparently, the White Feet were notorious for their savagery.)

QWho held the post of editor at the 'Wexford Independent' in 1838?

A Edmund Hore. (The 'Independent' at that time was engaged in a circulation battle with the Protestant controlled 'Wexford Conservative'.)

QWhere was 'Irish Press' managing director Robert Brennan (1881-1964) born?

AAt St John's Street Gate in Wexford town.

These questions are derived from articles in the journal contributed by Bernard Browne, Fr Séamas de Vál, Nicky Furlong, Máirín Kenny, Dermot McCarthy, Tom McDonald, Jack O'Leary, Richard Roche, Ernie Shepherd, Billy Sweetman and Greg Walsh. To learn the full story, grab hold of a copy ASAP.

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