Intriguing Farm Histories

element: Life / DATE: 23/01/2018

Our curiosity with the provenance of our barley is profound. But it also extends beyond how and where a crop is grown today.

The farms themselves provide points of intrigue and colour that stretch long into the past. Families, the growers who care for the land, have often worked on the same fields for many generations. The histories associated with their location – both exact and nearby – often yield unusual stories, many of which are of national and international significance.
We have set out below many of the historical details that are associated with each of our farmers’ families, the farms themselves and their villages.

In this way, we are able to build an even greater picture of the land on which our barley is grown, and believe that there is merit in cataloguing this in addition to our scientific data.

DAVID KELLY
BALLYBAR, CO. CARLOW

Ballybar – or Baile Uí Bhairr, meaning the townland above – was home to the Ballybar Races, one of the most significant events on the Irish racing calendar from at least the 1760s through until the early 20th century. After the Great Southern and Western Railway arrived in 1846, special trains were laid on to carry both spectators and horses to the racecourse. The Castle Field is named after a castle and enclosure once owned by Peter Carew, Baron of Idrone, of which there are still some archaeological remains. Peter Carew’s cousin, George Carew, was captain of Henry VIII’s ill-fated war-ship, the Mary Rose.

DAVID POWER 
PARK, CO. CARLOW

Tiny Park was the venue for the first polo match ever played in Ireland, in which County Carlow thrashed the 8th Hussars by seven goals to nil. The young Duke of Clarence, one-time heir to the British throne, played polo at Tiny Park in September 1891 – but he died of influenza four months later.

EVAN McDONNELL 
MORTARSTOWN, CO. CARLOW

Mortarstown’s name reflects its proximity to the stately River Barrow. In Irish it is ‘Baile Mhoirtéil’, the townland of soft, yielding earth. Among its past owners was Jack Bunbury, the reputed inspiration for ‘Bunbury’ in Oscar Wilde’s play, ‘The Importance of Being Earnest.’ Cloughgrenan Castle was built by the Butler family, Earls of Ormonds, during the 15th century, ‘to defend a pass between the river and an extensive wood called Grenan.’ The last Baron Cloughgrenan succeeded as de jure Duke of Ormonde when his older brother was stripped of his titles for supporting the Jacobites in 1715.

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JIMMY WALSHE
PARK HOUSE, CO. CARLOW

Park House was home to the Keogh family who also owned Orchard, near Leighlin. The house was once home to Tom Keogh whose brother Myles knew both the house and land well. Myles Keogh was Colonel Custer’s second-in-command at the battle of Little Big Horn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand. Popular legend holds that Myles’ horse Comanche was the sole survivor of the 7th Cavalry Regiment when Sitting Bill’s forces left the field of battle. Myles is among the Keogh family members recalled on a stained-glass window in nearby Tinryland Church.

COLONEL CUSTER

 

MYLES KEOGH

JOHN SMITH 
BALLINABOLEY, CARLOW

Ballinaboley, or ‘Baile na Buaile’ in Irish, means the townland of the cattle-fold, or summer-pasture, and it is hard not to imagine the clan chieftain’s highly prized cattle grazing here in the distant days when the ancient Royal Court at nearby Maudlin was in its ascendance. The Smith family are thought to have moved to the area in 1866 and bought the farm at Ballinaboley from Samuel Haughton, a celebrated science fiction writer. Samuel’s father, James Haughton, was an active philanthropist, vegetarian and vocal opponent of slavery.

BRIAN KENNY 
KILLERAGH, BANAGHER, CO. GALWAY

The Kennys of Killeragh have been familiar faces at the Banagher Fair since at least the 1870s when Thomas Kenny of ‘Kelleragh’ held almost 200 acres. Famed for their cattle, ewes and wethers, the Kenny farm backs onto Kilnaborris Bog, a natural heritage area which has been harvested for peat by locals for many long millennia. The farm lies along the Beara-Briefne Way, along which Donal O’Sullivan Beara lead a thousand of his followers in 1603.

TREVOR HARRIS 
COOLTRIM, CO. KILDARE

Located in townland of Ballycanon, or Ballycannon, Cooltrim takes its name Cluain Troim from the Irish for meadow (cluain) and elderflowers (troim). This land formerly belonged to the Aylmers, one of the most prominent land-owning families in Ireland during the Tudor Age. Richard Aylmer was awarded the lucrative manor house of Donadea for his help in suppressing Silken Thomas Fitzgerald’s rebellion against Henry VIII.

11 Silken Thomas Fitzgerald

SILKEN THOMAS FITZGERALD

KENNETH ASHMORE 
KNOCKROE, CO. KILDARE

Knockroe is on the Bo Choill Road east of Maganey, running towards the old Norman town of Castledermot. The history of this area stretches back to the Bronze Age; a polygonal stone cist found at Maganey Lower contained the cremated bones of a mother and child. Private James Caulfield of Knockroe was among the young Irish soldiers who went to the Congo during the United Nations intervention in the Katanga conflict of 1960. The Irish experience in the Congo forms the basis of the award-winning 2016 Netflix film, ‘The Siege of Jadotville’, which has now been viewed by over 180 million people.

 

LEONARD ASHMORE 
BLACKCASTLE, CO. KILDARE

Located on the eastern bank of the River Greese, Leonard Ashmore’s farm occupies land that has been farmed for many millennia, according to the evidence of crop archaeology around Blackcastle. The nearby church at Dunmanoge (Dún Mosheanóg) was an early monastic site, said to have been founded by Saint Finnian of Clonard on land granted by the King of Leinster. Although little remains of the church and its enclosure, archaeologists believe this was once an ecclesiastical centre of considerable scale and complexity. The Ashmores have farmed here since at least the 19th century.

GER BYRNE 
FENNISCOURT, CO. CARLOW

The Byrnes have been farming at Fenniscourt since at least 1870, and also mastered the art of fishing locally. Prior to them, the property belonged to the Lyons family whose ranks included Bessie Lyons, the woman who paid for the construction of the Convent of St Brigid in Goresbridge in 1866. Bessie’s brother Lieutenant James Lyons served with the Fighting 69th (aka the 69th Regiment of the New York State Militia) in the Irish Brigade of the Union Army during the US Civil War but was taken ill and died on 26 April 1862. An earth and stone barrow at Fenniscourt boasts some particularly fine Bronze Age rock art.

 

 

Matthew Brady, photograph, depicting Father Thomas H. Mooney, the first chaplain of the 69th, presiding over mass at Fort Corcoran, Washington D.C. on 1 June 1861.

PADDY TOBIN 
MAIN STREET, CO KILKENNY

The Tobin farm lies in a village originally known as Cúirt an Phúca, meaning ‘Foulks Court’, referring to a 14th century castle built by Sir Fulk de la Freyne, a knight who served alongside Edward III when the English king captured Calais in 1347. An Augustinian monastery stood by the nearby Fertagh round tower and well. In the early 1700s the castle and church passed to the Hely family who laid out the village of Johnstown (or Baile Sheáin). Sir John Hely, who died in 1701, was Chief Justice of the Irish Common Pleas, and married the wealthy heiress, Meliora Gorges.

PHIL O’BRIEN 
HILLVIEW, CO. KILKENNY

Sheestown takes its name from the Shees, a family from Kerry who settled in Kilkenny during the 15th century and became loyal supporters of the House of Butler, earls of Ormonde. Sir Richard Shee was deputy to the Lord Treasurer of Ireland during Queen Elizabeth’s reign but his descendant, Marcus Shee, was outlawed as a Jacobite in 1691 and fled to France. One of Marcus Shee’s descendants was the charismatic Duke of Feltre, who served as Napoleon Bonaparte’s Minister of War.

ANDREW BERGIN 
GRATTANSBROOK, CO. KILDARE

Located just south of the market town of Athy, the Bergins have been farming the land at Grattansbrook for many generations. In 1931, they hosted the first national ploughing match in Ireland, the brainchild of Andrew’s grandfather, John James Bergin, and Denis Allen. JJ Bergin was a remarkable man: farmer, musician, playwright, boxer, balladeer, broadcaster and inventor. In 1955, he invented the ‘Farmerette Class’ under which women competed at the National Ploughing Championships for the title, ‘Queen of the Plough.’

DAVID WALSH-KEMMIS 
BALLYKILCAVAN, STRADBALLY

Ballykilcavan, originally Balymcgylkewan, derives from the Irish ‘Baile Mhic Giolla Chaomháin’, meaning ‘the homestead of the son of the Servant of Chaomháin’. Given that Caomháin is Irish for Kevin, the townland is thus associated with St Kevin of Glendalough. David’s ancestors have been here since 1639 when Oliver Walsh acquired the lands from Robert Hartpole of Shrule Castle. Among those born and raised at Ballykilcavan were Mary Stratford (grandmother of the 1st Earl of Aldbrorough), General Hunt Walsh (who commanded the 28th Foot at the Siege of Quebec) and Sir Hunt Johnson-Walsh (who served in expeditions to Manipur, India, and Chin Hills, Burma, in the early 1890s).

JASON STANLEY 
CASTLEFLEMING, CO. LAOIS

The Stanley’s lease of Castlefleming began in 1825. The family strenuously objected when the Great Southern and Western Railway began cutting through their farm in 1847, as the line was extended south to Templemore. When their objections became physical, they were obliged to stand trial. The farm is not without its dark past. In 1824, Richard Pearson, a Protestant from Castlefleming who worked for the Church of Ireland vicar at Rathdowney, was ‘most barbarously murdered’. In 1862 a row between John Stanley and his nephew ended badly when the latter hurled a stone with such force that he killed his uncle. Jason Stanley has been impressing people with his engineering skills since at least 1999 when, aged only seventeen, his mobile shearing trailer won second prize in the National Farm Equipment Awards at the Tullamore Show.

RICHARD CARTER 
TIMOGUE, CO. LAOIS

Located on River Straid, the Carter farm at Timogue takes its name from Tigh Maodhóg, meaning the House of Saint Mogue, or Saint Máedóc, the miracle-wielding bishop of Ferns, County Wexford. While studying under St David in Wales as a boy, legend holds that young Mogue was carrying a jug of ale over to some fellow monks when he accidentally dropped it. Not missing a beat, he made the sign of the cross over the shattered jug which swiftly repaired itself. To the astonishment of onlookers, he then refilled it with ale and carried on as normal. The late Georgian house at Timogue was once the centrepiece of the 1000-acre Budds estate. The house was built in about 1820 by Thomas Budds, who was County Coroner for the Queen’s County (now Laois) until his premature death in 1852.

SAINT MÁEDÓC

JOHN KEHOE 
CLONLEIGH, ENNISCORTHY

Clonleigh and nearby Palace (An Phailís) was the base of the hereditary learned class for southern Leinster between 1450 and 1600. At this time, it was the residence of the O’Doran’s, one of the Seven Septs of Laois, who were regarded as the greatest Brehon law family in Leinster. For many centuries, they were also custodians of one of the three manuscript copies of the ‘Tripartite Life of St Patrick.’

Palace was known as Phailís MacKeough, the fort of the MacKeoghs, after a family of well-known philosopher poets (filid). Both families were broken up by the Penal Laws and, by 1837, Clonleigh was home to a hedge school for just ten children .

FRANCIS KEHOE 
LACKEN, CO. WEXFORD

During the United Irishmen’s rebellion of 1798, the land on which Francis Kehoe’s farm now stands served as a camp for the rebels. From the slopes of Lacken – or ‘An Leacain’, meaning hillside, in Irish – the survivors retreated to the Three Rocks near Wexford town.

SEAMUS DUGGAN 
LAKEFIELD, CO. LAOIS

Armagh Railway Disaster

During the 19th century, the upland farm and meadows of Lakefield were run by Thomas Switzer who lived at nearby Edmondsbury. His ancestors were Protestant farmers from the German Palatinate where they excelled at making wine; they fled religious persecution and settled in Ireland in the early 1700s. One of Lakefield’s owners was Dr Joseph Mansergh Palmer, resident surgeon of Armagh from 1876 until his death in 1924. He was in charge of the Infirmary at the time of the Armagh Railway Disaster in 1889, in which 80 people were killed in a dreadful train crash. Dr Palmer’s three sons were all decorated heroes of the Great War.

In 2016 eight-year-old Emily Duggan of Lakefield was honoured at the Irish Safety National Awards for saving her brother Justin when he fell into a disused septic tank. She held out a hurl for him to grab and brought him to safety.

EDWARD HARPUR 
BANNOW ISLAND, CO. WEXFORD

The isthmus on which the Harpur farm stands is thought by some to have been named for Banba, a legendary goddess who was apparently the first person to set foot in Ireland before the Great Flood. It’s a fitting location as Bannow is certainly where the vanguard of the Cambro-Norman army stayed before they embarked on the conquest of Ireland in the late 12th century. The initial force at Bannow consisted of just 30 knights, 60 men-at-arms and 300 archers under the command of Robert Fitz-Stephen, a son of the Welsh Princess Nesta.

Bannow was known as ‘Baannough’ in the now extinct Yola dialect used by the Norman families throughout the Forth and Bargy up until the 19th century. The Norman’s legacy survives in the 13th century Romanesque church of St Mary but the town of Bannow, which included nine streets, disappeared beneath the sands in the 16th century when silt in Bannow Bay swept over the island. The chimney of the town hall was still visible at low tide in the early 1800s but the area is now better known as an internationally recognised world wetland site, where migratory birds flock to the salt marsh and mud-flats.

JOHN N COUSINS 
BALLYHARTY, CO. WEXFORD

In 1666, Ballyharty was granted to the Rowe family from England by Charles II; Rowe Street in Wexford Town is named for the same family. Among those to live at Ballyharty House was Richard Rowe who lost a significant chunk of his property when the Court of Exchequer found against him in 1805; he had waited 36 years to hear their judgment! Ebenezer Radford Rowe of Ballyharty was a brother-in-law of Cornelius Grogan, MP for Enniscorthy, who was executed for treason on Wexford Bridge. Shortly after Ebenezer’s death in 1820, his widow Elizabeth married Samuel Green, a young lieutenant in the 22nd Foot. He threw himself into running the farm and, in 1833, he reaped three acres of White Dantzic oats. According to the Wexford Independent, this was ‘the finest grain we have ever seen, which is mainly attributable to the superior system of husbandry pursued by this gentleman.’

ALAN JACKSON 
INGFIELD, CO. TIPPERARY

Wingfield is in the townland of Skehannagh, or An Sceachánach, meaning ‘the place of hawthorns bushes’. The house belonged to John Shortt in the mid-8th century. His widow Frances married Jonathan Doolan in 1768 and their son Thomas had it from at least 1814. At the height of the Great Famine, Thomas Doolan was one of the coroner’s jurors at the trial of Dr Charles Langley who stood accused of murdering his wife by subjecting her to utter mistreatment – a reduced diet, the confiscation of her clothes, expelling her into cholera-riddled lodgings. The jury found the doctor guilty as charged, as relayed in Andrew Tierney’s 2017 book, ‘The Doctor’s Wife Is Dead.’

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JOHN P SOMERS 
MONROE, CO. WEXFORD

Monroe, or An Mhóin Rua, means the red bog but the land has been fertile for a long time. In 1915, for instance, John Somers of Glenbrien was one of the principal prize-winners for his shorthorn cattle at the Co. Wexford United Agricultural Society in 1915. In 1964 Glenbrien schoolmaster Joe McManus turned on his new television set and was stunned to see a Mass on screen which was being televised live from Rome; newspapers put it down to “freak television.”

JOHN ROWE 
HILLTOWN, CO. WEXFORD

The Rowe family have been at Hilltown (or Baile an Chnoic) since at least 1866. It seems likely they bought the land from the barrister Francis Charles Armstrong. The posthumous son of a Peninsula War veteran, Armstrong became something of a household name in the early 1880s when he pursued a court case against his young nephew Philip James May, an Oxford student, who arrived with his wife at the Armstrong’s house, and promptly eloped to America, via Paris, with the barrister’s 16-year-old stepdaughter. May was duly found guilty of ‘seduction’ and Armstrong was awarded £250. This terrain is hunted by the Killinick Harriers, which has strong ties with the Genesee Valley Hunt in upstate New York.

PETER KEHOE 
HEATHPARK, CO. WEXFORD

During the 18th century, Heathpark (Páirc an Fhraoigh) belonged to the Whitneys of Merton, of which family Thomas Whitney was killed in action near Enniscorthy in 1798 and John Whitney served as a lieutenant in the Highland Light Infantry at the battle of Waterloo. In the 1870s it appears to have belonged to Sir Benjamin Whitney, legal adviser to the Earls of Lucan, who was knighted in 1897.

There is a 5000-year-old dolmen or Druid’s Altar at nearby Collopswell but it has sadly fallen asunder. Newbawn, or ‘An Bábhun Nua’, refers to a new (‘nua’) walled enclosure (‘bábhun’), originally built by the Devereux family in the wake of the Cambro-Norman conquest. In 1669, Newbawn formed part of the ‘Manor of Colpe’ granted to Robert Leigh of Rosegarland, Co. Wexford.

In 2012, Peter Kehoe and David O’Dwyer co-hosted the National Ploughing Championships at Heathpark for over 180,000 people in 2012.

THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO

WILLIAM & PAT DOYLE 
COOLADINE, CO. WEXFORD

The lands at Cooladine near Drumgoold were farmed for several generations by the Quaker family of Chamberlain. Their stone-walled meeting house in Cooladine, since demolished, was built in about 1700 and later included a stable block, a horse paddock. The Quakers, or Society of Friends, also had a burial ground at Cooladine, which began in 1799 when Eliza Chamberlain, a noted diarist, leased a plot of ‘one rood and 20 perches in extent.’ Over one hundred burials have taken place there since 1811 for Quaker families such as Thompson, Bobeare, Webb, McQuillan and Martin.

THOMAS KEHOE 
BALLYWILLIAM, CO. WEXFORD

High amid the gorse-speckled countryside of northeast Wexford, the Kehoe farm is located on the Ordovician rocks that form part of the once massive estate of the Carew family of Castleboro House. Castleboro House, now a ruin, was built in 1770 by Robert Shapland Carew, the descendant of an Anglo-Saxon family from Devonshire. The forests of Forestwood (An Fhoraois) and nearby Ballywilliam (or Baile Liam, meaning ‘Liam’s settlement’) were planted by the Carews.

The farm lies just east of Ballinvegga, the site of a fierce battle during the Confederate Wars of 1643, in which a vastly outnumbered English army commanded by the Earl of Ormond inflicted a surprise defeat on General Preston’s Irish Confederate army, with the aid of six canons that, as Ormonde charmingly put it, left “what Godlie men and horses lay there all torn, and their gutts lying on the ground, armes cast away and strewed over the fields.”

TODDY McCARTHY 
GRANGE, CO. WEXFORD

The McCarthy farm is located next to one of the oldest graveyards in Ireland wherein can be seen a fabulously preserved marble monument, erected in the mid-17th century, in memory of Sir Walter Whitty, of Ballyteige Castle, complete with the Whitty coat of arms.


A lion depicted on the arms inspired the legend that Sir Walter was killed by a cat in vengeance for the seduction and drowning of a beautiful woman; the cat was apparently the woman’s mother, a dexterous witch, in disguise. Also recalled here are the Devereux family of Balmagyr Castle, whose offspring included Walter Devereux who, in 1634, assassinated Albrecht Wallenstein, supreme commander of the Hapsburg armies in Europe.

36-Albrecht-Wallenstein

ALBRECHT WALLENSTEIN

THOMAS CLEARY 
GARRYDUFF, CAMPILE, CO. WEXFORD

Garryduff, or ‘An Garraí Dubh’, appears to mean ‘dark garden’ or ‘black court’. A hint of the old-world can be found in a large triple-basin Bullaun Stone; local lore holds that the rainwater collected in these hollows has magical healing properties.

The Goodisson family was at Garryduff from at least the early 18th century to 1875, by which time several of them had relocated to Australia. Samuel Goodisson of Garryduff was immortalised in Mark Chartres’ poem ‘Vinegar Hill’ (1803) as a victim of ‘the false hand of friendship’s smooth disguise.’ Samuel apparently went to shake the hand of a neighbour, only for the neighbour to run him through with a blade.

Kathleen Hurley (27) from Garryduff was one of three women killed when a German Heinkel bombed the Campile creamery in broad daylight at the height of the Battle of Britain in 1940.

MARY, JOAN & CARMEL SUTTON 
WHEELAGOWER, CO. WEXFORD

High amid the gorse-speckled countryside of northeast Wexford, the Kehoe farm is located on the Ordovician rocks that form part of the once massive estate of the Carew family of Castleboro House. Castleboro House, now a ruin, was built in 1770 by Robert Shapland Carew, the descendant of an Anglo-Saxon family from Devonshire. The forests of Forestwood (An Fhoraois) and nearby Ballywilliam (or Baile Liam, meaning ‘Liam’s settlement’) were planted by the Carews.

The farm lies just east of Ballinvegga, the site of a fierce battle during the Confederate Wars of 1643, in which a vastly outnumbered English army commanded by the Earl of Ormond inflicted a surprise defeat on General Preston’s Irish Confederate army, with the aid of six canons that, as Ormonde charmingly put it, left “what Godlie men and horses lay there all torn, and their gutts lying on the ground, armes cast away and strewed over the fields.”

TED CALDBECK 
JENKINSTOWN, CO. KILKENNY

George ‘Punch’ Bryan of Jenkinstown narrowly avoided being guillotined during the French Revolution and married Maria-Louisa, Comtesse de Rutaut, a lady-in-waiting to Marie Antoinette. (His wife’s sister was guillotined). Punch was a prominent supporter of Daniel O’Connell’s Catholic Emancipation campaign and, in 1830, he became the first Catholic to serve as high sheriff of Kilkenny since 1690. He also established a racecourse and grandstand at Jenkinstown. Punch’s grandson George Leopold-Bryan was a godson of the king of the Belgians and married a daughter of George IV’s mistress, Lady Conyngham.

The poet Tom Moore – a friend of Byron and Shelley – wrote ‘The Last Rose of Summer’ while staying at Jenkinstown House in 1805. The old house is gone but remnants of the Victorian parkland survive, including rare Chinese Necklace Poplars.

Marie-Antoinette

W. L. O’HANLON 
ROCHESTOWN, CO WEXFORD

Located just west of the River Owenduff, the townland of Rochestown is thought to be named for Adam Roche, the scion of the Anglo-Norman family of de la Roche. He held two carucates at Trilloc on the manor of Old Ross in 1307; a carucate was a medieval unit of land area approximating the land a plough team of eight oxen could till in a single annual season. A moated site, visible today, probably represents Adam Roche’s farmstead and it is thought that Trilloc became Rochestown.

M & J BROWNE 
BROOMLANDS CO. WEXFORD

The Brown farm lies in a lee of the River Urrin, just north of Monart Spa and south of Castle Ellis Church. The Browne family home at Broomlands is a fine two-storey 18th century farmhouse.

In 1855, Broomlands was hailed as ‘a highly productive and beautifully situated farm’ by the Dublin Daily Express. A recent family member was John Browne (d. 2005), who served as a radio officer with the Merchant Navy for seven years and went on to explore the jungles of South America, as well as extensive travels in the Sahara, Egypt, China and India.

JOHN CROWLEY 
TINNASHRULE, FERNS, CO. WEXFORD

The name Tinashrule, or Tinnashrule, probably derives from the crossroads (‘shrule’) by the holly trees (‘tinna’) although locals hold that it simply meant ‘the house by the stream’. A monument overlooking the Crowley farm recalls the battle of Kilthomas Hill. This was the first battle fought in Wexford during the 1798 Rebellion. John Crowley’s uncle, George Crowley, served as a gunner with the Royal Air Force during the Second World War; the 20-year-old was killed, alongside his pilot, when their Hawker Henley airplane hit a gun embankment and crashed into the sea during a training flight at Anglesea Island in Wales in 1942.

 

 

HAWKER HENLEY

PETER CUMMINS 
BALLYKELLY, CO. WEXFORD

The farm at Ballykelly lies some 3km east of the River Barrow, close to the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Arboretum, in the townland of Ballykelly (Baile Uí Cheallaigh). Anthony Forristal of Ballykelly was a well-known baker in Wexford during the Victorian age; his nephew Walter Forristal was his heir and he also left money to many charities, as well as to paint the chapel in Ballykelly and install a new railing.

M & T CODD 
KILIIANE, CO. WEXFORD

The Codd farm at Orristown (Baile Órthaí) is just south of Killiane Castle, which is thought to have been one of the £10 castles built in Henry VIII’s reign although there are indications that it may be as old as 1470. The tower was later extended into a manor house in the 17th century.

The pro-Catholic Cheevers family owned Killiane from the 1540s until the Cromwellian Plantations when it was confiscated and granted to Colonel John Bunbury, an officer in Cromwell’s army in 1656 in lieu of pay. This estate was later taken over by the Harveys while Orritsown was farmed by the Sinnott family, notably the Sinnott family historian Walter Sinnott (1830-1913).

LESLIE HENDY 
THE COUNTY HOUSE, CO. KILDARE

The Hendy family have been a prominent farming family in County House since at least the early 19th century. Their farm lies just off the old avenue to the new demolished Belan House, once among the largest houses in Ireland and home to the earls of Aldborough. The fourth earl blew the fortune gambling; he mortgaged Belan House, and allowed it to fall into disrepair. All that now remains are the roofless stables and some scattered follies – a domed temple and some obelisks  The Hendy home is just 600 metres from the celebrated Moone High Cross, one of the world’s best-preserved examples of these beautifully carved early medieval sculptures.

GERARD KELLY 
WILKINSTOWN, CO. WEXFORD

During the 1830s and 1840s, a popular steeplechase was run at Wilkinstown. At the time, Wikinstown was home to the charismatic Thomas Sheean, who notified readers of the Wexford Independent in 1841 that he had an excellent track record in ‘administering the most efficacious prescriptions and remedies to those who applied to him to cure the following diseases, viz., Cancers, Evils, and other Infirmities.’

A small motte at Wilkinstown is thought to have been abandoned in favour of an adjacent moated site. There is also a natural spring at Lady’s Well, while a rectangular granite font and graveyard are all that survive of the ancient church of Whitechurchglynn.

COOLAMURRAY FARMS 
ENNISCORTHY, CO. WEXFORD

Coolamurray (Cúil Uí Mhuirithe) is thought to mean Murray’s Corner (or nook). In 1648 Coolmurry was the site of a fight during the Confederate Wars, in which Sir Thomas Esmonde, a favourite of Charles I, led an inconclusive cavalry charge.

In 1915 George Franklin, a farmer from Coolmurry [sic], passed away at the astonishing age of 110. Mr Franklin, who would have been a ten-year-old boy when Napoleon lost at Waterloo, was ‘scarcely ever a day sick’ and ‘a familiar figure at the markets in Enniscorthy’ until a few years before his death.

Coolamurry Stud is home to the Aga Khan’s stallion Ashkalani. It is also where the late Moscow Flyer was prepared for the 1998 Derby Sale; he went on to become one of the best-loved icons of the Cheltenham Racing Festival.

JOHN MALLICK 
GARRYHOE, CO. WEXFORD

A hundred years ago, one of the most celebrated racehorses in Ireland was John Mallick’s much admired filly Garryhoe. Perhaps Mr Mallick was hoping to emulate the success of his neighbour Earl Fitzwilliam whose greyhound, also called Garryhoe, won top prize at the Royal Dublin Society’s Dog Show in 1896. In any event, having already won the coveted 100 sovereign Howth Plate at Baldoyle, the horse went to Epsom Downs in 1912 to contest the Egmont Plate. She was beaten into second place but still won a useful 15 sovereigns and she went on to further acclaim at Ascot the following year.

Among those who would have followed Garryhoe’s success was Garryhoe resident Patrick Byrne, a private in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, who was killed at the Somme in the autumn of 1916. Garryhoe takes its name from the Irish, Gharraí Mhic Eochú, meaning ‘the son of Eochu’s garden’ and it is notable that there is a Bronze Age ringfort on the Mallicks organic farm, which occupies the high slopes above Tinahely, close to the Wicklow Way.

1915 – 7th Battalion Royal DublinFusiliers leave the Royal Barracks ( Now Collins Barracks)

TUBRITT AGRI LTD 
SALTMILLS, CO. WEXFORD

Tintern Abbey was founded for Cistercian monks in 1203 by William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the abbey later passed to Anthony Colclough whose descendant, the memorably named Caesar Colclough demolished the old village at Tintern in 1814 to establish the present village of Saltmills which, by 1831, contained 29 houses and cottages, ‘all neatly white-washed, and several of them painted and ornamented in front with small gardens.’

Caesar Colclough went to France in 1792. In 1804 his brother John persuaded him to come home to stand for election but, as he prepared to depart France, he was arrested on Napoleon’s orders. He remained a prisoner until 1814. His brother John stood for election in his place and was shot dead in a duel by the opposing candidate.

HENRY YEATS 
COOLAGH HOUSE, CO. KILDARE

In the 19th century, Coolagh was farmed by Joseph Stronge, an industrious farmer. Other families associated with Coolagh include Carter and Boland, of whom Fr Joseph Boland was parish priest of Rosenallis from 1941-1949.  Coolagh Bog formed part of the estate of the Aylmer estate purchased by the Land Commission in the 1920s; it is now home to the annual Muck Savage Challenge.

PAT BOOTH 
KILLONE, CO. LAOIS

A Bronze Age trackway once powered beneath the conical hill of Killone on its way to the nearby Magh Rechet, or Great Heath. The track, later used by Celtic charioteers, was part of the ‘Slige Dala Meic Umhoir’, an ancient road network that led out from the Hill of Tara. Tradition holds that a cave on the north side of Killone Hill connects to an underground passage leading to old Killone House.

In the 1650s it was bought by Daniel Byrne, a clothier and tailor who is said to have employed forty tailors to make the uniforms for Oliver Cromwell’s 40,000-strong army. He bought a huge quantity of white cloth in Dublin and dyed it red. His trick was that he did not submit an invoice until every uniform was finished; when the cash arrived from Cromwell’s Treasury, he purchased his vast estate. Killone was sold to the Marquess of Lansdowne, Prime Minister of Britain in 1782–83 (coinciding with the end of the American War of Independence). Joseph Dunne, who leased Killone in the Victorian Age, served in the French army and was said to be one of the largest and tallest men in Europe.

OLIVER CROMWELL

MARTIN FOLEY 
BALLYHACK, CO. WEXFORD

Ballyhack derives its name from ‘Baile Hac’ in Irish. One intriguing interpretation of is that it means Hackett’s Homestead, a possible reference to a Norman knight, Sir Hackett de Riddlesford. His father Sir Walter de Riddlesford was first Grand Master of the famous Knights Templar who built the square stone keep of Ballyhack Castle. The Knights Templar owned the substantial Kilcloggan estate at nearby Templetown. Ballyhack afforded them a perfect, deep, natural harbour to land their ships along this otherwise wild stretch of coastline. The Nook field runs alongside this bay. In the 15th century, the harbour and castle passed to the Knights Hospitallers of St John who ran four chapels here until the Protestant Reformation got underway.

A gravestone in Ballyhack marks the final resting place of Laurence Power, who supposedly died in 1836 at the advanced age of 170.

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