Remembering Patsy Sheehan

Patsy Sheehan was from Monastery, Enniskerry. She worked at the Wayside Cafe for Mrs Windsor for many years. Patsy was fostered from St Patrick’s Mother and Baby Home with Frances Patterson at an early age by Bride Rafferty and they lived at 3 Shamrock Cottage in Monastery, Enniskerry. Patsy passed away on 15 July 2014 aged 81, and her daughter Anita recounts some of her memories, below.

Patsy Sheehan who worked at the Wayside Cafe this photo was taken at the back of the cafe, I think it is with Joan Byrne but not sure who the other person you know?

Patsy Sheehan who worked at the Wayside Cafe this photo was taken at the back of the cafe, I think it is with Joan Byrne but not sure who the other person is…do you know?

Mum loved to sit and chat with me every Sunday about her life in what was then a very rural place.

Patsy helped Bride by snaring rabbits which were sold to John Magee the village butcher for 1’6, she also pickled blackberries which were picked and sold, the money was always given to Bride.

It may surprise many to know that Patsy had a criminal record! At the age of 10 she had to go to court for chopping down trees in the Bog Meadow. She screamed the place down as she thought she was going to jail… she said that everyone did it as there was a war on and also the coal truck wouldn’t deliver up the hill where they lived!

Patsy loved talking about all the people who she knew and loved whilst growing up in this small Irish village. She attended St Mary & St Joseph’s School when Mr and Mrs Corcoran and Miss Smithers were the teachers and then she went on to the technical college in Bray. During the first year the headmaster asked if Patsy would like to work for a couple who lived next to the college as the wife had had an accident and needed help… she never went back to college. She was offered a summer job at the Wayside Cafe, she said it was a job with great perks… all you could eat and she got to stay over if she was on an early shift!

Patsy and Frances made many friends whilst growing up some of which were the Sutton Family, the Doran Family, Rosie McDonnell, Michael Kelly, the Barry Family.

At age 17 she was working full time in the cafe. She was also a help to many families in the village. She helped with Mrs McNulty’s children who’s husband was a barber in Bray, Garda McGrath’s wife, and she also helped the lady who ran the post office (she couldn’t remember her name). She also helped Mrs Dodd whose husband had a building yard in Bray and they apparently put the first cross on Bray Head! The most significant family was the Kirwan family. Michael, Vincent, Eugene, Collette and Rita all became Patsy’s close family and are still that today.

In the summer 1950 she met Hugh Patrick Gillen from Belfast who was on holiday in Enniskerry and they both shared a love of dancing. They courted for 2 years but then broke up. So in 1953 Patsy decided to go to England with her friend Tessy O’Neill and they lodged in Kingsland Crescent, Norris Green. She got a job in the Mecano and then went on to work in Plesseys. Hugh followed Patsy to England in 1954. They married in 1956 and lodged with Mrs Ashton in Brookside Avenue and in 1958 their first Son Paul Anthony Gillen was born.

In 1959 they bought their family home at Max Road. Following Paul’s birth Patsy and Hugh went on to have Moya Theresa, Kevin Gerard, Anita Rose, Eamonn John and Catherine Ann. Hugh worked at Lucas Aerospace Bowring Park, Liverpool for many years whilst raising their family and Pat had many local jobs. Sadly Hugh passed away suddenly at the age of 55 leaving Patsy and her children heartbroken. Both Patsy and Hugh worked hard all their life to provide a loving home, annual holidays back to Enniskerry when we all stayed with Michael Rafferty and to many caravan parks in North Wales and although they had 6 children of their own there was always more room for friends or family.

Patsy Sheehan 1

In 1992 Patsy met Billy Fitzpatrick and this led to a partnership that was to last for 22 years. Patsy and Billy visited Enniskerry many times to visit old friends and family.

My Mum never ever forgot where she was from and when we had our Sunday chats her passion for Enniskerry was obvious, this is why I would like to share her memories with you on your site.

Her wish was for her ashes to be brought back to Enniskerry and we will be doing this on 6th & 7th September 2014. Mum will be mentioned at the 7pm mass in the village on 6th September and we would be happy for anyone who knew her to join us at mass to celebrate her life.

An Irish composer and World War I

Ina Boyle (1889-1967)

Ina Boyle (1889-1967)

The current commemoration of the First World War brings the composers of the time and music that was inspired by the war into focus. When the war started the Irish composer Ina Boyle (1889-1967) was 25 years of age. Some of the works that she composed between 1914 and 1918 reflect the influence of events in Europe.

By Dr Ita Beausang

Musical Education

Ina Boyle had showed musical talent from an early age together with a determination to compose. Living in Bushey Park, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, she was home-schooled and given violin and cello lessons with her sister by their governess. From the age of eleven she studied theory and harmony privately with Samuel Spencer Myerscough (1854-1940), an English organist who founded the Leinster School of Music in 1904.

She also took correspondence lessons with a relative by marriage, Dr Charles Wood (1866-1926). Wood was a lecturer in harmony and counterpoint at Cambridge University, where he later succeeded Charles Villiers Stanford as professor of music, and he also taught in the Royal College of Music. He was married to Boyle’s cousin, Charlotte Wills-Sandford, and took a keen interest in Boyle’s musical progress.

Charles Wood (1866-1926)

Charles Wood (1866-1926)

In 1910 Boyle began lessons with Dr Percy Buck (1871-1947) who had just been appointed professor of music at Trinity College Dublin. Her early compositions preserved in TCD Manuscripts Library, with copious corrections by her teachers, consist mainly of songs with added parts for violin and violoncello.

By 1913 Boyle had yet another teacher, Dr C.H. Kitson, an Oxford graduate, who came to Dublin as organist and choirmaster of Christ Church Cathedral and was later appointed professor of music at University College Dublin. She began to concentrate seriously on composition and was awarded  first and second prizes in the composers’ competition at Sligo Feis Ceoil in 1913 with Elegie for cello and orchestra and a setting of ‘The last Invocation’ by Walt Whitman, whose poetry was a popular choice for many composers at that time.

The War Years

Only a few months after the outbreak of the war its impact was felt in Enniskerry when on 21 October 1914 Captain Henry Stanley Monck of the Coldstream Guards, son of Viscount Monck of Charleville House, was killed in action in St. Julien. There are two plaques in St. Patrick’s Church, Enniskerry – where Boyle’s father, Rev. William Foster Boyle was curate – a Monck Memorial and a Great War Memorial to commemorate ten members of the parish who lost their lives in the war. In addition a brass communion rail and chancel, designed by Lord Powerscourt, was inaugurated in their memory on Easter Sunday 1919. [1]

Captain Grenville Fortescue

Captain Grenville Fortescue (1887 – 1915)

Like many other local families the Boyle family were directly affected by the war.  On 4 September 1915 Captain Grenville Fortescue, 11th Battalian, husband of their cousin Adelaide Jephson and father of two children, was killed in action in France at the age of twenty-eight. [2]

Another cousin, Lieutenant Patrick Bryan Sandford Wood, R.A.F., aged nineteen, eldest son of Charles and Charlotte Wood, was killed on 24 May 1918 in an aeroplane accident on active service in Italy, where he is buried in Taranto Town Cemetery. [3]

Anthems (1915)

It is likely that the connection with Christ Church cathedral through her teacher C.H. Kitson encouraged Boyle to compose two anthems, which she paid to have published in 1915. The Funeral Anthem, ‘He will swallow up death with victory’ (Isaah XXV 8,9) for solo soprano, choir and organ, was published by Stainer & Bell. In her Memoranda notebook she notes

‘Dr Kitson said he would do it at Christ Church cathedral but afterwards said he did not like it so well on second thoughts, so it was never sung. Sent a copy to Charles Wood who said he liked it.’ [4]

The other anthem, ‘Wilt not Thou O God go forth with our Hosts’ (Psalms 108, 33) for choir and organ, a War Anthem dedicated to the Ulster Division, was published by Novello. According to her Memoranda ‘This was to have been sung by the choir of Derry Cathedral but so many of the men went to the war that it could not be given.’[5] It is hoped to have the anthems performed in Dublin and Derry during the 2014 commemoration of WW1.

‘Have you news of my boy Jack?’ (1916)

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Among Boyle’s ‘Early Compositions’ in TCD Manuscripts Library there is a setting for voice and piano, dated December 1916, of Rudyard Kipling’s poignant poem ‘My boy Jack?’

“HAVE you news of my boy Jack?”

Not this tide.
“When d’you think that he’ll come back?”
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Has any one else had word of him?”
Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?”
None this tide,
Nor any tide,
Except he did not shame his kind—
Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

Then hold your head up all the more,
This tide,
And every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide
. [6]

There are conflicting opinions on whether the poem refers to Kipling’s son John, who went missing in the battle of Loos in October 1915, or to generic victims of the war. In any case it was widely disseminated at the time and was set to music in 1917 by Edward German and recorded in that year by Clara Butt. Boyle’s setting in December 1916 predates this but she does not include the song in her Memoranda. It is a less dramatic interpretation of the text and is well worth revival.

‘Soldiers at peace’ (1916)

Captain Herbert Asquith

Captain Herbert Asquith (1881-1947)

The most ambitious work composed by Boyle during the war is ‘Soldiers at peace’ (1916), a setting for choir and orchestra of a sonnet by Captain Herbert Asquith, second son of the British Prime Minister. She paid £11.7.0 to have the vocal score published by Novello and in 1918 her first review was published in The Musical Times:

 Soldiers at peace’ (Novello) is a poem by Herbert Asquith set for chorus and orchestra by I. Boyle. The words have a pathos that is sympathetically reflected in the music. A certain striking ‘motif’ comes about twenty times in the instrumental part, and in a way binds the beginning to the end. The vocal part-writing is smooth and singable. The piece is a very suitable one for a choral performance in which the programme should have the war note on its pathetic side. It takes about four or five minutes to perform. [7]

A brief notice in a survey of New Vocal Music in The Times was less complimentary:

There are those who do not know when they are putting their hand on the ark. Ina Boyle has set for chorus Herbert Asquith’s ‘Soldiers at Peace’ without understanding. [8]

In 1917 Boyle entered the work for the first competition of the Carnegie Trust. There were 136 entrants, including Stanford and Vaughan Williams. She was gratified when her entry was commended, and placed on the list of ‘Works of Special Merit’ for the information of conductors. [9]

In 1920 ‘Soldiers at peace’ was performed at Woodbrook, Bray by Bray Choral Society, conducted by Thomas Weaving, then organist at ChristChurch cathedral. Turner Huggard, assistant organist at St. Patrick’s cathedral, played the wind parts on the organ and the strings were played by local amateurs, including Boyle’s sister and their governess. The performance was reviewed in The Irish Times the following day:

When one reads the noble words of Captain Asquith’s sonnet one rather feared the temerity of the young Irish composer, Miss I. Boyle. There was no need. Miss I. Boyle has more than promise. Her handling of the orchestral effects as a background to the chorus was what we have grown to call ‘masterly’. The writing is always clever and original, especially the violin parts, used to heighten the suggestion of ideals of youth. To the cello is left the picture-touches – very effectively The choir entered displaying mobility and oneness of movement and a fine tone-equality throughout, the final line rather wavered, and hardly suggested the poet’s or, one would think, Miss Boyle’s idea. The work was enthusiastically received, Miss I Boyle having to come from the body of the hall to acknowledge the ovation. One can easily predict for this talented young Irish girl, the daughter of Rev. W.F. Boyle of Enniskerry, a brilliant future if she develops as one would expect. [10]

Boyle’s future would include her travels to London for lessons  with Ralph Vaughan Williams from 1923 until the outbreak of the Second World War, performances in England of her most successful work, the orchestral rhapsody ‘The Magic Harp’, and a lifetime of devotion to composition, which was foreshadowed by the works which she composed during the First World War.


Works composed by Ina Boyle 1914-1918:

  • 1914 ‘The joy of earth’ (AE George Russell), voice and piano (TCD MS 4119)
  • 1914 ‘Ireland’ (Walt Whitman), baritone, SATB chorus, orchestra ( TCD MS 4054-4054c)
  • 1915 Funeral Anthem ‘He will swallow up death in victory’ (publ. Stainer & Bell 1915; TCD MS 4162)
  • 1915 War Anthem ‘Wilt not Thou O God go Forth with our Hosts’   (publ. Novello 1915; TCD MS 4162, BL)
  • 1916 ‘Have you news of my boy Jack?’ (Rudyard Kipling) voice and piano  (TCD MS 4050)
  • 1916 ‘Soldiers at peace’ (Herbert Asquith) SATB chorus, orchestra (publ. Novello 1917; TCD MS 4055-4055c BL)
  • 1917-18 ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’ (Julia Ward Howe), soprano solo, SATB, orchestra (TCD MS 4056-4056b)
  • 1918 Phantasy for viola and piano (TCD MS 4120)
  • 1918-19 ‘A Sea Poem’, Theme, variations and finale for orchestra (TCD MS 4057-4157a)

[1] Irish Times 24 April 1919.

[4] Ina Boyle Memoranda, 3.

[5] Ibid.

[7] The Musical Times, lix, 900, 69.

[8] The Times, 23 Feb. 1918.

[9] Ina Boyle, Memoranda. 4.

[10] The Irish Times, 7 Feb. 1920.

Larry’s Apprenticeship: An Enniskerry story from 1872

 With thanks to Úna Wogan, who found this in the County Observer and Monmouthshire Central Advertiser – a Welsh newspaper – from 21 Dec 1872. Úna says that she “found the index to the authors that contributed to the annual and “Larry’s Apprenticeship” was written by Isabella Banks or her pen name, Mrs G Linnaeus Banks. Although it’s a piece of fiction I’m wondering was she actually inspired by a servant called Margaret McCann. She must have had some knowledge of the village and surrounds and the Quinn/McCann names are very appropriate.”

Make a cup of tea and enjoy! Thank you Úna! 

“Larry’s Apprenticeship”: An Irish Fairy Legend


AH, sure, an’ did I ever tell ye how the M’Canns came to be carpenters?’ This query was put by Margaret M’Cann (an old, valuable, faithful, and warm-hearted Irish servant of my mother’s) to myself and youngest brother, who were seated-myself on the kitchen fender, and he on a low stool–listening to her true stories of Banshees and Leprechauns, in both of which she was a stout believer. She had just told us of the wailing banshee she had herself seen and heard on the river bank, and of a leprechaun in his red cap and miniature suit of green; and she had borne with perfect good-humour our ridicule and banter over her credulity, when she put the sudden question,

“Did ye know, then, how the M’Canns came to be carpenters?” “I never knew they were carpenters” said I, with a light laugh. ‘”Why, Margaret, I thought all your family were farmers” cried Fred, with an assumption of prior information. ‘Them’s the Quins, Master Fred. They are all farmers to this blessed day; an’ the M’Canns were farmers too, an’ had a fine holdin’ amongst the Wicklow mountains, just a trifle beyan Enniskerry, till Larry M’Cann (my grandfather that was) met with an adventure amongst the Good People.’ Here Margaret, being a devout Catholic, crossed herself. ‘Good People!  0, I suppose you mean fairies,’ was my amendment. Sure, an’ I do: but we never speak of them but as the Good People. It’s unlucky.’ ‘0, that’s only in Ireland,’ suggested Fred, with a droll wink at me. In England, you may call them anything you like, and they won’t mind it one bit.’ ‘Are ye sure now, Master Fred?’ Certain. But, Margaret, what had the fairies to do with Larry M’Cann’s carpentering?’ Well, I’ll tell ye, of course as it wor towld to me, when I was a slip of a colleen no bigger than yez.’

And -Margaret settled herself on her chair with all the importance of an old story-teller. Ye must know that Larry was as fine an’ strapping a lad as ever stepped over the daisies. It was he that could handle a flail or a plough, or dig praties, or stack the hay in the haggard, And when he went to chapel on a Sunday in his best frieze coat, with the ends of his handkercher flying loose, an’ his caubeen cocked rakishly on one side, sure an’ weren’t all the girls in Enniskerry in love with his blue eyes and yellow hair, and weren’t half of them dying to have him for a bachelor? I presumed we listeners looked mystified, with the word bachelor so applied, for Margaret explained, that’s what you call a sweetheart, miss.’ But Larry, though not conceited, laughed with one girl, an joked with another; an’ whenever he went to Dublin, or Phoenix Park, or the Strawberry-beds, could take the floor with the best, and have the purtiest girl for a partner-an’ troth it’s he that could dance a jig- but he never thought of takin’ a partner for life, or of ofterin himself as a bachelor, till he met with Kitty Quin, an’ her black eyes made a hole in his heart at wanst. He was nigh six-an’-twenty when he met her. It was at a pattern at the Seven Churches of Glendalough, an’ sorra a bit could he mind his prayers for looking at her as she towld her beads so piously, without seem in to think of the bachelors or her own pretty face at all. Well, I heard grandfather say that, though he was as bowld and impident in his way with the lasses as any lad in Enniskerry, his knees fairly knocked together, an his heart went all in a flutter before he could bless himself, when Michael Quin tuk her by the hand an’ comin towards him, said, Here’s our Kitty come back from aunt Riley’s; an’ when Larry wor too dazed to speak, went on, Have yez got a drop in your eye. man that yez cannot see the colleen, or has Dublin made her so strange ye don’t know her again ? What Larry said he never remembered, but he felt as if lie hadn’t a bit of heart left, an’ his words tumbled over each other like stones rolled down hill. He knew he had blundered out somethin’ for Kitty’s cheeks went red as the roses on her gown. She put out her soft little hand with a smile that showed two rows of teeth as white an’ fresh as hailstones; and she said modestly as a nun, I’m glad to see any of my owld friends again, Misther M’Cann.” He had sense enough left, to take howld of the hand she offered: an’ sure he must have given it a hearty grip for the roses grew on her forehead to match her cheeks’ and she drew it back hastily. Larry, however, kept close to the brother an’ sister- an; when the prayers were over, an’ the people began to enjoy themselves, an’ the dudeens an’ the whiskey went round to warm the hearts an’ the toes, then Larry plucked up his courage an’ asked Kitty to take the floor with him. Now Kitty was either shy, or her Dublin manners made her too proud to dance at a pattern, so she made excuses. Michael, who had kissed the whiskey-jar very lovingly, would not have his friend said no “to; and so to keep Mike in a good humour, she consented to dance a jig with Larry. Sure, an’ it was then he must have won her heart; for they all went back to Enniskerry together, she let Larry put his arm around her waist, just to howld her on the car, because of the bad roads, an’ stale a kiss when he lifted her down at Farmer Quin’s garden gate. And from that out Larry followed Kitty like her sliadder. But Peter Quin farmed more than two hundred acres, all’ Larry’s father only he]d a hundred an’ twenty an’ that’s a good differ, Master Fred. Then Mike an’ Kitty work all the chitder Peter had, whilst Larry’s brothers- God be praised !—were as thick on the time as rabbits in a run: wherever ye turned yez might tumble over a pig or a gossoon. ° Troth, an’ it wasn’t’ long afore the neighbours began to call on Larry as Kitty’s bachelor, an’ one deceitful ould fellow, who had himself an eye to Kitty’s bit of money, gave Peter a hint that Larry was coortin’ the lass for the love of her fortune. Peter had a temper that was always on the simmer, an’ it boiled over at once.

By some ill-luck Larry showed his face at the Quin’s door before it had time to cool, so Peter treated him to a thrifle of his blackguard. “Div ye think Kitty, the elligant darlng, is for such a poor spalpeen as yez ?” he said, “She that’s been educated in Dublin, an’ liez book-larnin’, let alone manners, an’ a fortun’ to the fore.  But it’s the fortun’ I’m thinking, yez lookin’ for wid one eye, an’ the girl wid the other, Misther Lawrence M’Cann,” he said, with a sneer an’ a turn up of his ugly nose. It’s well for yez, Mr. Pether Quin, that yez Kitty’s father, or, by jabers, an’ I’s showin’ yez the taste of this blackthorn I’d be,” said Larry on the instant, keeping his passion down with an effort. Yez may keep your dirty money, bad cess to them as put the black thought of me into yer heart, if ye’ll only put Kitty’s sweet little hand into mine wid a blessin’ ‘

“You may be sure, miss, as they did not whisper; an’ hearin’ a row, Mike ran from the barn into the slip of garden forenent the house to join in the fun. He was jist in time to hear his father repate his insult, an’ accusing Larry of wanting Kitty’s hundred pounds; an’ then Mike fired up, an’ took his friend’s part like a Trojan,’ And what’s a Trojan, Margaret ? asked Fred, demurely, with another sly blink at me. Whisht, Masther Fred, an’ don’t be after interruptin,’ or we’ll never get to the Good People at all,’ said Margaret, ignoring the question. Rightly admonished, Master Fred allowed the story to proceed. But Mike could not bring his father to reason, even though he offered him a draw of his pipe. More by token, he himself was unwilling to let his sister marry a man who had neither house nor furniture of his own. It’s not for the likes of her to lay her head under a father-in-law’s roof, an have her childer running over a floor that is not her own,” said Mike. I’d say nothin’ agin the match, Larry, if ye had but a farm or a house of yer own, or even the bits of things to make a house dacent for the lass.”

Larry went away with a very sore heart, miss, you may be sure, for he’d set his very sowl upon Kitty Quin.  An’ sure an’ that was the black morning for Larry jumpin’ a corner of a quickset hedge on his way home, who should he come across but Kitty, with a basket of ripe strawberries on her arm, an’ she lookin’ more temptin’ than the fruit. Kitty had a tender drop in her heart, and seeing that he was sad, she set herself to discover what it was about; and didn’t she regret her curiosity in another minit ? for he poured out all his love and his sorrow like a great gushin stream, and held her hand as if he was drowni’n, an’ only that could keep him from sinking quite. Taken by surprise, Kitty dropped her basket, an’ would have fainted outright, had not Larry put out his arm an’ caught her, and that brought her to her seven senses. Poor Larry mistook her faintness for a sign of her affection, an’ in his joy kissed her sweet lips over an’ over again. But Kitty soon told him the differ. She said she had only fainted from the heat. She was sorry he had mistaken her friendship for a warmer feeling; but though she was ashamed her father should have suspected him of a mercenary motive, she could not encourage his hopes. She should never marry without her father s consent; an’ besides, her bringing-up had made her unfit for a farmer’s wife, an’ so she had determined—yes, determined was the word-never to marry any man who had not a good trade in his hands that would be a livin’ either in country or town. Every word that Kitty said fell like ice on Larry’s hot heart, an’ he reeled home as if he had had lashins of whisky; an’ when he got there, he took the whisky to drown his sorrow till he wor drunk in arnest.

There was nobody to tell him of the battle in Kitty’s breast between love and pride nor how she had crept into the house by the back way, an’ shut herself up, all alone, in her room, to shed tears like a February cloud over the very mischief she had done, and the pain in her own breast. Sure, all the fun an’ the frolic in Larry’s nature was curtailed that black mornin’. He went about the farm without a smile on his lip or a sunbeam in his eye, an’ his mother would have it the boy was bewitched. Even Father Maguire noticed his altered looks, an’ his careless dress when he went to mass on the Sundays, and the good priest did his best to set matters straight’ but all to no use, miss. Peter Quinn was sorry when his temper was off, but —small blame to him he still thought she might do better than go to the M’Cann’ to be under a mother-in- law, an’ work like a slave for all Larry’s younger brothers.

As for Kitty, before the feel of Larry’s kiss had gone from her lips the colleen was angry that he had taken her at her word; but she fed her courage with pride, and put a calm face on, though her heart was all in a tempest of throuble. An’ sure, miss, there’s many and many a girl does that, although you are too young to know it, and I hope never will.’ Here Margaret looked at me soberly, as if giving a leaf out of the book of her own experience.

One fine June morning, when the roses were in full dress, an’ the air had the smell of flowers an’ new- mown hay, Larry went to St. Patrick’s Market to sell a cow that had gone dry. Three weeks before, an’ that same Larry would have sung or whistled every foot of the road, barrin’ he met a traveller and stopped to give him the time o’ day. or exchange a joke. But now he kept his hands in his pockets, his chin hung on his chest, an’ his mouth was as close as a miser’s purse. He had a sup of whiskey before he left home, to keep his heart up, but; fur all that he looked as melancholy as the cow he wor drivin’. He had barely got a couple of miles beyant Peter Quin’s farm, which lay in his way to Dublin, when he heard a thin weak voice callin’ to him, like the wind through a keyhole.

The top o’ the mornin’ to you, Larry The same to you, misther, answered Larry, slowly lifting his eyes, an’ then rubbin’ them to clear the cob- webs away; for straight across the road was a gate where never a gate had been before, an’ sittin’ cross- legged on the topmost bar was the queerest little old man Larry had ever seen. He was no bigger than a two-year child, but his face was as wizen an’ wrinkled as if he was four hundred. He was dressed in an old-fashioned coat an’ breeches as green as the grass, had shining buckles in his shoes, and on his head a bright red cap. By all them tokens Larry knew that the little old man was a leprechaun, an’ his mouth began to wather for some of the gold he knew the old gintleman must have hid in the ground some- where about, an’ his heart began to thump. But Larry was not the boy to be afraid, so he put a bould face on when the leprechaun, with his head cocked on one side and a knowing twinkle in his eye, said to him, That’s a fine baste yez drivin’, Larry!” Troth, yer honour, an’ ye may say that same,” replied Larry, doffin his caubeen an’ scrapin’ his foot, for he thought it best to be civil. An’ so your drivin’ the cow to market because she’s lost her milk, an ye mane to askin’ pound ten for her said the leprechaun with a comical chuckle. Begod, an’ I am!” exclaimed Larry, opening his eyes and slapping his thigh in amazement, an’ sure, it’s the knowin’ old gintleman yer honour is ” Thrue for you,” said the leprechaun; “an’ maybe I know, besides, that Larry M’Cann’s goin’ to the bad for love of the purtiest girl in Wicklow. But pluck up a spirit, Larry, don’t be cast down. It’s I that owe Peter Quinn a grudge this many a long day, for his meaness in cheatin’ the fairies of their due. Never a fairies’ drop’ (milk left as a propitiatory offering to the Good People) is to be found in Peter’s cow-house or dairy; and never a turf or a pratie or a cast-off coat has he for a poor shivering begger or omadhaun’ (idiot), ‘bad cess to him An’ so, Larry, I mean to befriend yez for it’s yez thet have the warm heart and open hand’ an’ we’ll back thim against the cowld heart ,.nd the tight fist any day an’ the leprechaun plucked off his red cap and swung it over his head, as if in high glee.

Larry, with another scrape of his foot, thanked the green-coated old gentleman, an’ asked him if he meant to show him where to find a pot of goold. Ay, an’ that I do; but, Larry,” an’ here he looked slyer than ever, the fortun’s in your own right hand, man, an’ it’s I that meane to teache ye to find it there.” Larry opened his great brown hand, an’ turned it over, an’ looked in the broad palm. Divil a bit I see of a fortin’ there,” says he. Whisht says the leprechaun. Go on wid yer beast, an’ when ye meet a man wid his breeches knees untied, an’ his coat-tails down to his heels, an’ a wisp of straw in his shoes to keep his toes warm where they peep out of his stockin’s, an’ a caubeen witout a brim, thin ye’ll know the man that’ll bid for yer cow, an’ give ye nine goolden guineas for her, not dirty notes. Nine guineas begod, an’ that’s more than-” Larry stopped short. The leprechaun was gone, an’ the gate was gone, an’ the poor cow walked on as if she had never been stayed.

“Perhaps she never had,’ suggested Fred ‘Now, Masther Fred,’ said Margaret ”if ye interrupt me agin wid yer roguish doubts, I shall stop, an ye’ll never hear how it all ended.’ Go on, Margaret,’ urged I, and Margaret obeyed.

– 0 – 0 – 0 –


LARRY’S surprise an’ the leprechaun’s promises drove the thoughts of Kitty out of his head, an’ he stepped toward Dublin with something of his ould lightsomeness; when just as he crossed the canal bridge lie saw Kitty Quin standin’ on her aunt Riley’s doorstep in Clanbrassil street, dressed as elligantlv as a lady, an’ lookin’ as grand an’ as proud as a queen. Well, Kitty’s face went crimson, an’ Larry’s heart gave a great leap; but she just made him a stiff kind of curtsey, an the door bein’ opened, went in without a word. Thim’s Dublin manners, I suppose,” thought Larrv, his heart aching worse than ever; while Kitty, watchin him from behind the window- blind as tar as she could see, felt the tears rowl over her burnin’ cheeks, an’ then wiped them off angrily, as if ashamed of her natural feelin’s an’ blamed herself for being silly.

Larry hardly knew how he got to the market, but sure enough there he met that same identical man the leprechaun had towld him of. An’ more, by token he made Larry a bid for the cow. He bid eight pound ten, but Larry, heartened beforehand, stuck out tor nine guineas; and sure he took Larry into a public-house that stood convanient, and took out of his breeches-pocket an ow!d rag tied round wid string to sarve as a purse, and there an’ thin counted down the nine goolden guineas. Then he asked Larry to have a dhrop an’ a dhraw” to seal the bargain. Lairy s customer called for the whisky, an’ offered Larry his own pipe. So the boy had both the dhrop an the dhraw, an’ then they had another dhrop an’ a dhraw; an Larry remembered no more till he found himself lyin on the grass, wid the stars shining out in honour of Midsummer-eve, an’ a rushin’ in his ears as of a great sea. ‘Then he heard a rustle as of leaves, an’ a mighty wbisperin, an lifted himself on his elbow to look about hiin, and there he saw hundreds of little people no more than a span high, dressed in all sorts of queer out- landish fashions. All the little men had coats of green velvet, and leaves of green shamrock in their hands; whilst the ladies had scarves of green gauze as fine as cobwebs, an shamrock was wreathed round their heads, which shone like goold in the moonlight. “They were all in commotion, running hither an thither, howlding long discourses, and appeared to be in some sort of trouble or difficulty.

Presently he saw in their midst the loveliest little creature the light of his eyes ever flashed on. She was sitting in a silver-lily of a car, and drawn by seven-and- twenty grasshoppers, three abreast. She had a wand in her hand, on which a crystal dew-drop twinkled like a star, an Larry knew at wanst that they were all fairies, an she was their queen. Then, miss, as they drew nigher to him, Larry heard that one of the owd fairies lay dead, an that they wanted a coffin for the berrin. But not a coffin could they get, for fairy coffins must be made by mortals, or the dead fairies never lie at rest. An that was what the council an the confusion was about. Soon Larry heard the fairy queen say in a voice for all the world like the chirp of a cricket, -‘But who shall make thee coffin?” All of a sudden at least fifty’ of the Good People laid howld of him, and cried out like so many bees humming, Here’s Larry M’Cann, here’s Larry M’Cann it’s he will make the coffin.” But he never handled a saw or a plane in his life; he cannot make a pig-trough, an how will he finish a coffin fit for an elf ? said one of the Good People. Sure, thin, an it’s we that must teache him,” answered another.

With that the fairy queen touched him on the fore- head, as lightly as if a leaf had dropped there, with her shining wand, an it flashed before his eyes till they seemed to flash fire; an before he could cry out, or ask a saint to purtect him, he felt himself goin down, down, down, down into the very earth itself; an it’s lost he thought be was for evermore. Troth was Dublin Castle’s but a mud cabin in comparison with the palace Larry was in when he came to his senses. The walls were brighter than sunshine or rainbows, an goold, an silver, an prechus jewels were as plentiful as praties. There were gardens with trees all flowers, the likes of which were never seen in all Ireland an the birds were all crimson an green an lylack, and sang sweeter than thrush or nightingale. He seemed to see all this at once, and many a curious thing beside, which I disremember, and amongst it all the Good People were as busy as bees in a hive. Almost the first thing he saw was the dead-fairy lying on a bed of Indian moss, under a delicate silken quilt, with a tiny wreath of lilies of the valley on his head, and forget-me-nots all about him. There was a fine bird of paradise singing over him so soft an sweet, it charmed the very sowl of Larry. There were fairies watchin the corpse, but every wan of them was sobbin or cryin, an sure that same bothered him. It was not long he was left to stare about him. One of the Good People put an inch rule into his band an set him to measure the corpse, an sure that same came as natural to him as hoeing the cabbages. He was taken to a fine fairy workshop, where everything was as neat an orderly as if it had just been cleaned. There was piles of wood of all sorts, an one owld brownie told Larry their names, and there was lots of bright tools, an another wee owld fellow towld him their names; and then two or three showed him how to use them.

Then they gave him the wood. an the tools, an he made an eligant little coffin as aisily as if he had been at the trade all his life. The dead corpse was lifted in by the mourners as never mourned, an Larry fastened down the lid as cleverly as any undertaker in Leinster. As the funeral percession, with the coffin in the midst, moved away to the fairies’ cemetry, the owld brownie who first took notice of Larry said, “very nately put together, Larry M’Cann; sure, an ye’re a credit to your teachers. Take your wages, man, an go.” Larry put out his hand and stooped for the glitterin purse that wor held out to him, an—whisht! He was lyin on his back, with his curly head on a hard stone, undher a big tree, wid the morning sun shinin full in his face, Powerscourt falls tumbling in foam down the great high rocks, that frowned above him, leapin over big bowlders, an rushin away with a roar under a little wooden bridge just beyant.

Larry rubbed his eyes, sat up, an rubbed them again, and sure the more he looked about him, the more he was bothered. “Begorra, an ‘this is a quare thrick to be plavin’ a man,” says he, as he scrambled on his feet, wid his bones as stiff an sore as if he had been beaten with a shillaly. “Is it myself I am, or somebody else? an whare have I been ? an’ by the powers, how did I come here at all, at ll ? Is it drunk, or dreaming, or asleep I am at this blessed minit? Be jabers, the Good People-” Larry stopped, an crossed himself, and bethought of his wages, and all that was in his grip was dead leaves. ‘But he gave a great jump, an cried out, “Plane laves, begad; an it wur fairy goold, an that never turns to laves, An it’s a plane tree I’m lyin undher! Musha, but that’s a rare joke! In another minute his heart sank, and ‘he thremb’ed with fear lest he had been paid for the cow in fairy goold too, an should find only yellow leaves in his pocket.

But, faith, the nine bright goolden guineas-not dirty one-pound notes-were solid and safe. The sun was dancin brightly on the waters, as Larry hastened along the narrow footpath by the stream, an turnin sharp off before he reached the foaming waters of the Dargle, mounted the crooked an dangerous way up the steep banks to the high road, wondering why the Good People couldn’t have laid him down under a road side hedge, or in a green field, instead of carrying him out of his way intirely to Powerscourt falls. It was all a mystery an a dream to him, an as he went. “All night’ cried the old M’Cann, as the broth of a boy put his bright curly head in at the door. All night, father, all night, did ye say cried Larry, bewildered; for ye see, Master Fred, he thought he had been a week with the Good People. “Yes all night; for isn’t the sun shinin on this blessed Midsummer-day, ye spalpeen? Is it drunk ye are before the dew is off the daises ? Ah, Larry, Larry me lad, it’s the wrong way yez going since Kitty Quin showed ye the cowld shoulder; bad cess to the whole lot of them But where’s the price of the baste ? If ye were drunk, sure ye’d sins a left to take care of that?”

Ay, an sure when he found be had not been more than a night with the fairies, he had sense enough left to keep his own secret. His mother said a mighty change had come over Larry, but not a guess had she where it came from. He put his potheen aside when it came his way, an took to the farm so kindly; he went about his work whistling, and did as much in one day as he had ever done in two. Then he went an around to Dublin with the car, an brought back a lot of carpenters tools, an some -dale boards. He put them in an old shed that was tumbling down, unknownst to any one but his brother Pat. Then he put a door on the pigsty, to keep the pigs out of the house, and persuaded his father to have the holes in the mud floor of the kitchen filled up; an conthrived somehow to make the farm dacent an comfortable, with odd bits of improvement here an there. Amongst it all, he an Pat got the crooked walls of the shed to stand upright, and mended the thatch, an put the door again on its two hinges, an put a lock on the door, widout a word to father or mother. An then sure, he conthrived to put up some sort of a carpenter’s bench, after the patthern in the fairies’ workshop. More wood was got, an truth, one mornin, to her surprise, Mrs. M’Cann found a new dale table, an a dresser, an’ an easy chair in her kitchen, the like of which wasn’t to be found in all Enniskerry. Sure an it’s idigant, it’s fairy work said all the neighbours. True for yon, it is the fairies’ work,” said Larry, with a sly wink at Pat; an Pat, knowin what he had seen, an nothin of the fairies, burst into a loud laugh, an let out that Larry was the workman. No neighbour was more astonished than Larry’s own father and mother. They knew nothin of Larry’s friend the leprechaun, nor his fairy teachers; they said the blessed Saint Joseph must have put the knowledge in his head, an called the boy a rale born genius. • Other farmers’ wives envied Mrs. M’Cann her fine dresser, on which a. set of new wooden patters and bickers were ranged, with here an there a bright-coloured crock for show; an they came beggin’ of Larry to make the copy of it for them.

So, sure, an it came about that soon Larry had so much of his new work he was forced to teach two of his brothers the trade, an build a proper workshop; and Farmer M’Cann had to set the gossoons to work on the farm instead of lounging about an propping up door-posts all the day. ‘But never a bit did Larry go near Kitty all this time, though many a longing look did he cast that way when he passed Peter Quin’s gate. If they met at mass, he just gave her the time o day, as any other friend might do; but though his very heart was bursting with love, he kept it, like his other secrets, to himself.

As for Kitty, there were plenty of bachelors after her, either for herself or her fortun’ but she never got the feel of Larry’s kisses off her lips, an cared more for a glance of his blue eye than for all the bachelors in Wicklow: Kitty, so the story ends, was married to Larry, after she had been punished for her pride a short time by his distant conduct to her, and all ended happily. Margaret, the narrator of the tale, was as firm a believer in fairies to her dying day as when she told the story of Larry’s Apprenticeship, and the fortune he found in his own right hand.—


-Belgravia Annual

Banks, Isabella [Mrs G Linnaeus Banks]. ‘Larry’s Apprenticeship.’ A (1872): 48-57.)


50th Anniversary and 3rd Birthday

Stokes Parish of Powerscourt A Centenary LectureDecember 2013 marks the 3rd anniversary of this website and to celebrate, I have a treat.

2013 is the 50th anniversary of Canon Stokes’ wonderful lecture “The Parish of Powerscourt“. I have transcribed this lecture to make it available to a new audience. In addition, I have included further reading and notes on the material covered by Stokes. You can access the file by clicking on the link below.


The Parish of Powerscourt: A Centenary Lecture


This lecture was delivered by Canon Stokes in 1963 as part of the centenary celebrations of the completion of the new church at Powerscourt Gate. The purpose of re-issuing it is both to celebrate the 50th anniversary of that lecture and to make it available to a new audience.

It is a hallmark of the work that must have gone into preparing this lecture that the content still informs today, five decades later. Its breadth is impressive; the history of the locality is surveyed from pre-Christian tims to the early twentieth century. In order to complement the material presented by Stokes, I have included some additional footnotes that highlight what material he may have had available to inform him at the time, and add any new information that may have come to light since. The purpose of these notes is to provide those interested in pursuing the history of our area further with some useful leads to begin their work.

The publication of the reprinted lecture is set to coincide with the third anniversary of the website:, where more information is deposited and where interested readers can continue the conversation on the many topics initiated by Canon Stokes.

Michael Seery

December 2013

PDF File can be downloaded here.

Talk: Tales from a Country Churchyard

St Patrick's Church, Enniskerry

St Patrick’s Church, Enniskerry

A must-see talk is coming up at Kilmacanogue History Society on Tuesday December 3rd. Judy Cameron has done an enormous amount of work documenting the lives of those buried at St Patrick’s Church, Enniskerry. She has previously created a graveyard tour, and if that is anything to go by, this talk is not to be missed!


Tales from a Country Churchyard: the interesting lives of some Dargle Valley residents, by Judy Cameron.

December 3rd, GLENVIEW HOTEL, Glen of the Downs, at 8.30PM
Entry donation €3 (members €2), and all are welcome.

Enniskerry Petty Sessions, Dec 1912

James Scannell writes about some law and order records from 1912.

In 1913 the enforcement of law and order was very different to that of today. Society expected the police to enforce the law, no matter how trivial the offence, nobility and gentry excepted  as this was still a class divided society where everyone was expected to know their place and give due respect to their social superiors, with the result the local Petty Sessions [District Courts] had their time taken up with trivial cases that today would merit a caution from a member of An Garda Síochána or fixed penalty notice.

In 1913 policing in County Wicklow was carried out by the Royal Irish Constabulary operating from local police stations, one of which was located in Enniskerry. At that time communities were smaller in size so the local police always had a fair amount of knowledge on who was moving in and around Enniskerry and who the regular local law breakers were.

AOH Hall EnniskerryThe Enniskerry Petty Sessions were held in the former A.O.H. Hall and it was here  on Saturday  29th December 1912 that the first post Christmas  sitting  took place with  Sir. Robert Hudson, Bart, presiding.  Hearing the cases with him were Mr. Frederick St. Clair Ruthven and Mr. A. Chatterton.

The  first  two cases  concerned the abuse of the ‘bona fide’ traveller rule  which allowed genuine travellers to avail of refreshment outside licensing hours  but was often abused  by regular drinkers  who travelled long distances to other public houses  to obtain refreshments when their local public houses  were closed by claiming that they were genuine travellers.

District Inspector Molony summoned James Brady, Killegar, for “ being on the premises of Mr. W. J. Johnson, Enniskerry,  on December 15th, not being a bona fide traveller.” The District Inspector said that the defendant lived just barely outside the three mile limit and was found regularly in this public house on Sundays. The District Inspector reminded the bench that all he had to prove was that the defendant was on that  premises  on a certain Sunday and that it was up to the  defendant  to prove that he was a  bona fide traveller He added that it was his view only reason the defendant came to the village was to visit the public house.

Sergeant Duffy who arrested the defendant testified –

At 12.45 on Sunday December 15th I found James Brady on the licensed premises of Mr. Johnson.  I asked him his reasons for being on the premises and he made a statement that he was going to Roundwood.  I subsequently found that this statement was not correct. Brady was only a short time in the district but was in the village every Sunday.

Mr. Chatterton to Sergeant Duffy: “ Does he [Brady] go to chapel  here ?” Sergeant Duffy replied: “ I  could not say.  I asked him what he was doing there and he said   that he was going to Roundwood.”

District Inspector Molony to the Bench:

It does not matter if the man came nine miles if he came for the purpose of getting drink. They have them in Bray coming from Dublin and Kingstown Sunday after Sunday.  It is open to the bench in the absence of any rebutting evidence showing that the man was bone fide to act on the assumption that he went there for the purpose of getting drink. It does not matter if he travelled forty miles if that was his purpose.

James Brady to the Bench: “It was not for the purpose of getting drink I came.  This is the first time I was ever summoned for anything in my life.” Sergeant Duffy replied: There is nothing [recorded] against him. He comes from Roundwood, I believe.”

The bench found the defendant guilty and in imposing sentence, Sir Robert Hudson said – “As this is your first conviction, we will fine you only 2s.6d. You are getting off very lightly.”

District Inspector Molony also summoned Charles Neill, Killegar, for “being on the licensed premises of Mr. Johnson on December 15th, not being a bone fide traveller. “ Sergeant Duffy testified – “When I found Charles Neill on the premises he had a drink before him, and on being asked to account for his presence, he said he came on pleasure and that he lived over the three mile limit.

Mr Ruthven to Sergeant Duffy: “What was he doing?” Sergeant Duffy replied: “He was standing at the counter with a drink of porter before him. 

However the bench found him guilty of the offence with the Sir Robert Hudson imposing a fine of 2s. 6d. and costs as this was the first time that the defendant had appeared in court.


On 1 January 1908 the Lighting of Vehicles, Act, 1907, came into operation, requiring vehicles to compulsorily display front and rear lighting between the hours of sunset and sunrise  with the final four cases heard relating to breaches of this legislation.

John Stephens, Ballybawn, was summoned by Constable Winter for  “using  a cart without a light after lighting up time on December 13th.” The constable said that the defendant had stated that he had forgotten to light the lamp – fined 6d. and costs.

Thomas Kavanagh of Ballybawn, was summoned by the same constable for  “having  no light on his cart at 5.20 p.m. on the evening  of December 13th.”  The defendant did not appear in court and the constable confirmed to the bench that the lamp was not lighting when he stopped the defendant and but had ensured that it was lighting before he let him go – fined 6d. and costs.

Thomas Reilly was summoned by Sergeant Duffy for “having no light on his cart on the night of December 19thand  “for being in such a situation whilst in charge of a horse  and cart on the public road that he could have not proper control over the animal.”  The sergeant said –

On  the night in question I  encountered Thomas Reilly  at  8.20 [p.m.]  driving a horse and cart without a light. When I encountered the cart I could not see anyone and stopped it. A minute or two later the defendant rose up from the back of the cart where he was apparently asleep.

The Chairman remarked that it was very dangerous thing to do with the sergeant stating the defendant was not drunk at the time and was coming from the Bray direction. The sergeant concluded his evidence by stating that that the defendant lived in Glencree.  The Chairman imposed a fine 6d. for the first offence  and 2s. 6d. for the second one.

The final case heard was one brought by Sergeant Woulfe, Delgany, who summoned  David Kelly, Kilpeddar, for “using  a cart without a light after lighting up time  on the 4th December.”  John Reilly and William, employed by Kelly, were also summoned by the same sergeant for using carts without lights on the same occasion. Sergeant Woulfe testified that the night in question was a very dark one  and that the parties were returning home from Bray. The road to Kilpeddar was very a bad one to use  a cart on at night without a light. The three carts were following each other. He added that Reilly was leading the convoy and only lit the lamp of his cart when he appeared. In questioning it subsequently emerged that the carts were entering the Glen of the Downs and that that it was pitch black at the  time. Each defendant was fined 6d. with 3s. 6d. costs.


Card, Peter W., Early Vehicle Lighting, Princes Risborough, 2004.

Montogomery, Bob, Early Motoring in Ireland, Garristown, 1999.

Montgomery, Bob, The Irish Gordon Bennett Race 1903, Garristown, 1999.

Wolfe, Gail, (Ed), Ballsbridge, Donnybrook & Sandymount Historical Society Annual Record 2009.

White, Brian, The County Wicklow Database 432AD  to  2006AD, Dublin 2006.


“Past Imperfect” column by Bob Montgomery in the Irish Times.

The Wicklow Newsletter – Saturday 5 January 1913.

The Wicklow People – Saturday 5 January 1913.


James Scannell is a local historian. You can find out more about Enniskerry Petty Sessions along with their use as a genealogical resource in Úna Wogan’s article, Petty Sessions at Enniskerry Courthouse.

Did you ever hear of Mooneystown in Glencree?

Chris Corlett writes about changing land ownership around Curtlestown. This article was originally posted on his website, where you can read more of his writing on a variety of topics relating to history and antiquities.

A FEW YEARS AGO I came across an interesting story recorded in the Schools Manuscripts held in the National Folklore Collection in UCD. It was recorded in the late 1930s at Annacarter School near Roundwood:

There was a partial clearance about 70 years ago of 70 families out of part of Glencree now known as Mooneystown from the number of persons of that name (Mooney). They were squatters on the mountainside. Having built rude edifices of clay, wood and bracken and reclaimed small patches on the bleak mountainside, they were beginning to enjoy small comforts when they were unexpectedly visited by the Lord Powerscourt agent who demanded rent for their little holdings. The women were terrified under threat of eviction and entreated their husbands and brothers to comply with the agent’s demands, which seemed most moderate, only a few pence a week being at first demanded. This was to establish the land lord’s title to the holdings. When this had been secured English law was soon put into operation. The sheriff soon appeared and all were evicted. The night following the evictions the infuriated heads of families assembled and burned the old shacks to the ground. (NFC 917/253).

For a long time I was perplexed by the named Mooneystown – easily confused with the better known Moneystown near Roundwood. But the account in the Schools Manuscripts was clear that Mooneystown was in Glencree. Some initial enquiries in the area also turned up no results. And then I remembered the Powerscourt Estate maps from 1816, copies of which are held in the Irish Architectural Archive. Sure enough, there were three families of Mooney’s in the townlands of Curtlestown Upper and the adjoining part of Curtlestown Lower, on the northern side of the Glencree valley. The map reproduced here shows both townlands and is based on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey maps from 1838, but I have transferred the information on the 1816 Powerscourt Estate map here for convenience. This information includes who held what land, and what that land was used for.

Curtlestown Upper and Curtlestown Lower in 1816

Curtlestown Upper and Curtlestown Lower in 1816. (The location of the Chapel will help orientate.)

The largest holding shown is Bethel Burton’s farm (No 2) in Curtlestown Lower. However, what are relevant to this discussion are all the eleven tiny holdings to the north-west, mostly in Curtlestown Upper, but also in the adjoining part of Curtlestown Lower. The largest of these holdings are:

  • No 5 – John Smith,
  • No 6 – James & William Cox,
  • No 7 – Edward Mooney,
  • No 8 – John & James Mooney (all in Curtlestown Upper), and
  • No 3 – Laurence Mooney (Curtlestown Lower)

Notably, several of the plots of arable and pasture lands were held jointly by families with different names – perhaps indicating that they were related through marriage.

The settlement pattern shown on the 1816 map of Curtlestown Upper and Curtlestown Lower is very interesting, with small clusters of two or three houses, generally with arable and meadow lands nearby, suggestive of crop rotation. The pasture lands are mostly situated further from the farmsteads. Of particular interest is the large undivided field in Curtlestown Lower which is shown as ‘rundale’; this must have been a large arable field that was cultivated collectively by all eleven small tenant farmers.

So, the identification of Mooneystown appears to have been solved, and there seems no doubt that it equates with the townland known today at Curtlestown Upper – though the 11 families living here in 1816 falls well short of the alleged 70 families mentioned in the story above.

But what about that part of the story which describes the large-scale evictions of the families living in so-called Mooneystown? If we take Curtlestown Upper, we don’t know the population living there in 1816, but we can say that there were at least 8, possibly 9 inhabited houses in the townland. In 1841 we know from the census that the population living in Curtlestown Upper was 19, living in 5 houses. So the population appears to have declined between 1816 and 1841, but this hardly equates with a large-scale clearance. Interestingly, in 1851 the population was actually 20, again living in 5 houses. So the population in the townland was surprisingly very stable during this period that saw the Great Famine. However, within a couple of years, and certainly by the time of Griffith’s Valuation in the mid-1850s, all the inhabitants of Curtlestown Upper had been removed. The entire townland of Curtlestown Upper was held by Thomas Walker (the main tenant in Curtlestown Lower), and the only house – described as a herd’s house – was uninhabited at the time of the valuation’s survey. Therefore, between 1851 and 1855 there must have been a large-scale clearance of all the families that had been living in Curtlestown Upper. This then supports the story in the Schools Manuscripts.

In any good story there is always a twist. By the time of the 1901 census the Walker family continued to hold much of Curtlestown Upper. However, what is more interesting is that only two people lived in the entire townland; Brigit Gallagher, a 16 year old apprentice from Leitrim, who lived with none other than one Catherine Mooney (aged 66), described as a widow and labourer.

The map of Curtlestown Upper and Curtlestown Lower reproduced here shows the ownership and landuse in 1816 (based on the Powerscourt estate map of Curtlestown, held in the Irish Architectural Archive).


My thanks the National Folklore Collection in UCD for access to the Schools Manuscripts, and to the Irish Architectural Archive for access to the 1816 Powerscourt Estate Maps.

You can read lots more at Chris’ website:

For text searching purposes, the names associated with the holdings on the map are: 2: Bethel Burton; 3: Laurence Mooney; 4: Pat McArdle; 5: John Smith; 6: James and William Cox; 7: Edward Mooney; 8: John and James Mooney; 9: Thomas Whelan; 10: Philip McAneney; 11: James Kiernan; 12: James McArdle; 13: Laurence McArdle.

Searching for Seven and Finding More

boston collegeThanks to Úna Wogan for finding this gem.

A Boston College project has made available advertisements taken out by Irish immigrants looking for Irish people in America. The advertisements were placed in the Boston Pilot. Seven names from the Parish of Powerscourt appear. They are listed in the table below.

You can broaden the search, and in searching my own surname I came across a husband and wife duo of Michael and Ellen Seery being sought by Ellen’s mother. They were listed as being from Dublin, which would usually lead to no further thought, except that Ellen’s mother was named Jane Grimes. There is a Seery-Grimes connection in Enniskerry. John Grimes married Winifrid Seery in 1833, and was best man to Winifrid’s brother, Daniel Seery in the same year. Is it too much to hope that Michael and Ellen Seery were from Enniskerry, and ended up in Boston in 1848?  I’ve always liked Boston…

You can search the Boston College “Information Wanted” project at

First Name Townland Travel Date Seeker’s Name Date of Ad
Peter Burns Cloon 1848 James Greegan (Brother in law) Feb 1868
Thomas Costlar (Powerscourt Parish) 1851 Alice Costlar (Wife) Dec 1854
Michael Gallagher Ballybrew 1855 Charles Gallagher (Brother) Aug 1858
Owen Magurk Aurora 1853 James Magurk (Brother) Nov 1865
Patrick McEnerney (Powerscourt Parish) Catherine Cullen Oct 1856
Owen Magurk (Powerscourt Parish) 1851/2 Margaret Magurk (wife) May 1856
Catherine Nicholson (Powerscourt Parish) Jane Heyden (sister) Apr 1857

Enniskerry Victorian News

Enniskerry Victorian Festival runs again this year on Sept 15th, and details of the event are at the Festival homepage. A couple of years ago I made a newspaper highlighting some news that might have been reported during Victorian times. You can read it all about it, below.

Enniskerry & Powerscourt Gazette | Sept 1861

Price: 2d

More Delay For New Church


Click for original PDF of Gazette

As the row over the spire of the new Church at Powerscourt gate continues, the parishioners of Powerscourt may have to wait sometime yet before they can permanently worship there. Given the darkness of Powerscourt avenue, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners granted a licence for evening worship, but day and Sunday services must continue at the old Church next to the house.

A recent exchange between the Commissioners and Viscount Powerscourt’s mother, Marchioness Londonderry prompted an angry letter from Henry Sandys, agent, asking the Commissioners to withdraw their unreasonable demand that her Ladyship be responsible for the guaranteeing of all work to be done for ten years if the slate spire is retained.

The delay is all the more apparent given the completion and consecration of the Roman Catholic church at Knocksink, whose site was approved after Powerscourt’s own church. The material in the spire is one in a long list of problems for the new Church, beset from the beginning by problems of cost, and disagreement with the nature of the design.

The original plans, heralded by an accompanying picture in the Illustrated London News have been much reduced and the architect has withdrawn from being associated with the project in protest of the insistance of copper being used.
Lord Powerscourt, through his agent, is attempting to expedite the process, as he is keen for the parishioners to be able to worship in their new building, as well as to close the existing Church and graveyard beside the house to give more tranquillity to that place’s setting, which can be quite noisy and cause great disturbance after worship hours and during funerals.

New Plans for Bray to Enniskerry Railway On Track

Railway mania is set to arrive to the village again with reports that there are moves afoot to begin plans for a new railway to Enniskerry. Those disappointed with the last plans for a railway from Dublin in 1846 will be pleased to hear that supporters, including Lord Powerscourt himself, are quite confident that the plans for a new Bray to Enniskerry line have much hope of successful passage through Parliament.

A person close to the proceedings informed this paper that the Enniskerry terminus will be adjacent to the schoolhouse in the village, and follow the new road along the Cookstown river. It is hoped that the coming of the railway will greatly increase the number of Tourists coming to the village as well as reduce the cost of coal and other goods for businesses.
But Mr. Shirley the cab driver said he did not see a day when the railway would be built as the costs were too high and could not be recuperated from the numbers that visit the village, in his experience.

Preliminary Results from Census of Ireland

The CENSUS OF IRELAND is just completed and some preliminary results have been reported to Parliament on foot of the work completed by Messrs. Donnelly and Wilde. The population, having been counted on 7th April this year has again substantially reduced over the decade. In our fair county of Wicklow, the population of the county has reduced by 11% through emigration alone, 5,800 men and boys, 5,300 women and girls. The Census indicates that there are 381 persons in the Village and 1904 persons in the rural parts of the parish, a total of 2,285 souls. The numbers in the rural parts have reduced dramatically since the last count.

As a result in the decline in the population, the quality of the houses of the parish has improved. The number of peasants in fourth-class housing has very much reduced to almost nil.

This was the first Census to record the Religion of the people. There were 597 persons affiliated with the Established Church and 1,673 affiliated with the Roman Catholic church, and a small number with other churches.
It is expected that this Census will subsequently report on other details such as the employment of the People, the population of townlands and the education of all classes. This most effective and impressive Census yet taken in these Isles is sure to yield lots to converse about for long to come.

Reports from the School-houses at Curtlestown, Enniskerry, &c

The National Board of Education’s school at Curtlestown continues to do well. Latest figures from the Inspectors at the Board indicate that there are now 56 boys and 64 girls in attendance with some 55 boys attending an evening school. The evening school, so long desired to educate the young boys who spend their days working as labourers and turf-cutters, promises to be a great success in achieving the said goal. The schoolmaster Mr. John Byrne recently retired after 24 years service to the school and the new master, Mr. Michael Cunningham, was appointed in July of this year. He is reported as being attentive, competent and wholly efficient in his manner of conduct and it is expected that the school numbers will continue to increase. Miss Dowling continues as workmistress.

Lord Powerscourt’s school at Enniskerry continues under the care of Mr. John Cranston. His Lordship is known to have conversed with Rev’d McDonagh on the possibility of the school being taken into connexion with the Board of Education, but a decision on the matter does not appeared to have been made at this stage. It is considered among those close to the discussion that Mr Cranston is opposed to the suggestion.

At Annacrivey, the school is Doing Well but the reduced numbers of children in the surrounding areas have reduced the numbers in attendance.

New School
The decision on whether to establish a new school at Enniskerry for the Roman Catholic children is still no closer. The situation is considered by all concerned as unacceptable, but no resolution seems apparent.

Petty Session Reports from the Court House at Enniskerry

Patrick Doyle, Enniskerry, charged by Matthew Foley with maliciously breaking a window of the complainant’s house. Sir George Hodson, Bart, presiding fined Doyle 5s, this being his second offence and cautioned him against appearing again in the court.

Const. Joseph Richards, with witnesses Col. Edward Kenny and John Keogh Williams, charged James Townsend and associate Falkner with unlawfully and wilfully breaking down part of a wall on the side of the Public Road at Ballyornan, 16th June, it being the property of Col. Kenny. Lord Monck, presiding, ordered that each pay 10s with costs or spend two weeks in gaol.

Bridget Kenna, with witness Esther Lamb, charged Mary Gormley with assault, occurring at Kilmacanogue. The defendant was ordered to pay 2s 6d being costs with 1s fine.
Const. Richards charged Edward Sutton with being drunk and disorderly at Enniskerry on 19th inst. The defendant was ordered to pay 2s costs and 1s fine.

Another case from Const. Richards was that of John Hyland, Dublin, also charged with being drunk at Enniskerry, resulting in a similar fine.

Neither Daniel Kavanagh nor James Morrison, both charged with trespass appeared. The case was deferred to the next session.

Const. Richards charged several members of the public for allowing their animals to trespass on the Public Road, among these being William Hicks, Kilmolin, for his two pigs and George Long, for his ass. Usual fine (1s) and cost.

Sub-const. Thomas Winkles charged Edward Kearney and John Windsor for hurling on the road at Monastery. Both men charged 1s fine and 1s costs by Sir George Hodson Bart, J. P.
Thomas Halpin charged Julia Reilly, Killegar, of stealing a quantity of turnips from his lands at Monastery. The defendant was imprisoned for fourteen days.

Thomas Quinn charged Mary Flynn, Jane Flynn and Michael Byrne, accused of cutting and carrying away two young trees the property of Visct. Monck on lands of Newtown. The case was dismissed.

Presentation to Rev’d Mc Donagh

A great evening’s entertainment was had at the behest of Mr. Lewis Wingfield, Esq., brother of Lord Powerscourt. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of a beautiful album of albumen print photographs, which feature several vistas from the Estate of Powerscourt and Village of Enniskerry. The generous bearer of this beautiful gift is a known supporter of the arts and himself a keen practitioner of photography. He wished to capture these scenes and present them to his friend.

The album included the inscription in gold lettering on the front cover which read:

Powerscourt Immortalized by Lewis Wingfield, 1863

Inside is signed the note: ‘Rev. Charles MacDonogh from this sincere friend L. Wingfield’. The album was generously shared for others at the occasion to view, and included several familiar scenes. Those from the estate itself included Powerscourt House and Waterfall as well as the densely planted tree-lined avenue. The Gothic folly at Luggala and a pretty vista of the village at Enniskerry also featured.

Reverend McDonagh thanked his friend for the beautiful gift which he promised to guard with custodial care granted to him by the generous benefactor, preserving it for future parishioners, so that they may share in the beauty of Lord Powerscourt’s estate and his good friend’s taste. He welcomed parishioners to view the Album at leisure at the Cottage.

Concerns Raised at Glencree Reformatory

The report from the Inspector of Reformatory Schools is due to be presented to Parliament, after he visited the School recently. While the efforts of the school manager, Reverend Mr. Lynch and his colleagues are commended, it is felt that they are operating in extremely difficult circumstances. On the day of his visit, the Inspector recorded 239 boys under detention. Some were employed at various trades; shoe-making, cabinet making, and tailoring, the rest working on reclaiming the adjoining land. A new dormitory is complete, which the inspector would have preferred to have been arranged in compartments.
The state of the buildings is very unsound with no heating system available. The quality of the land, leased with the reformatory from Lord Powerscourt, is very poor and will require much work to improve so as to be useful for cultivation. The inspector intends to make several recommendations, most importantly that the numbers do not increase and offers support to the manager in his efforts. It is hoped that the cost of coal supply for the reformatory will be much lower in future with the coming of the railway to Enniskerry.

The Orphan Refuge

The cause of this valuable society which now maintains 186 orphans of mixed marriages, will be pleaded this month by the Reverend F. F. Carmichael, in Powerscourt, Enniskerry.

A New Bridge

The village is soon to be provided with a new bridge, with a possibility of a second in consideration. The iron bridge adjacent to the Powerscourt Arms Hotel is to be removed and replaced by a stone bridge. Plans by Mr Brett, Co. Surveyor are for a single-arch span and show handsome balustrades on either side which should make for a pretty entrance way into our village.

…or Two?

There is talk of replacing the bridge at the new road at Knocksink – plans from Mr Louch, estate architect could be resurrected to build a bridge at this difficult site, high above the narrow river gorge below.
Lord Powerscourt himself is said to be involved with the new bridge at Enniskerry, providing the cost of erection. The plans include a new hotel at the bridge. Mr Buckley, proprietor at the Powerscourt Arms Hotel told this reporter that he had not enough business for two hotels in the village, and this would be nothing more than a folly to excessive development.

Agricultural News and Matters of Importance

The ANNUAL FAIR was held last Tuesday, and was considered fairly by many in attendance to be the best the local Agricultural Society has held since its inception fourteen years ago. The horses and cattle were of first-class quality and the pigs, poultry, butter, &c could not be excelled. A large dinner in which one-hundred and fifty patrons were seated was enjoyed by all.

The monthly fair day was held at Enniskerry with a moderate supply of stock. The prices on the day were comparatively low given a low number of buyers.

Some discussions are being held over the use of flax to a greater extent. A scutching mill can be purchased for £100 and in Wicklow, mountainous areas can be used to cultivate flax without displacing other crops. Reports on the growth and subsequent profit of flax will be reported to Society members to see if it is a useful measure to proceed with.

Right of Way Dispute Continues

The CONTINUING SAGA of the right of way at Enniskerry may be brought to some conclusion. At the Court of Queen’s Bench, before Mr. Justice Fitzgerald, there was an application on behalf of Mrs. Crooke, for an exceptional order for a certiorari, directed to the Justices of the Peace of the county of Wicklow, under the following circumstances: –

In 1857 the applicant’s husband became tenant of Lord Powerscourt of lands near Cookstown. Previous to this tenancy there had existed an ancient pathway along one side of a field in the occupation of applicant, which pathway was improperly closed. In consequence she and her husband made a new pathway along the other side of the field. In the end of 1857, her husband being dead, she took a lease of the premises and brought an action against the person who closed up the ancient pathway. She effected an opening of it, and stopped up the new one. Lord Powerscourt objected to her doing so, on the ground that the way was dedicated to the public. She would not re-open the new pathway; and she was summoned before the magistrates at Enniskerry for having wilfully and illegally erected a wall upon part of his property and for interfering with the public right of way.

The magistrates fined the defendant 1s for obstructing the right of way. She did not remove the trespass and was summoned again, at the suit of Lord Powerscourt, when the magistrates notwithstanding her protest on the ground that a question of title was involved, fined her £2. In regard to the obstruction of the right of way, the case was referred into the Queen’s Bench. Mrs. Crooke claims that her lease, issued in 1860 by Lord Powerscourt’s agent, makes clear her grounds for defence. The Court gave counsel the option of taking a conditional order for a certiorari.

Rathdown Workhouse

Latest details of numbers are as follows: 322 present last board-day. Admitted since: 71. Born: 1. Discharged: 85. Died: 3. Remaining 306. The following were the numbers in the house, chargeable to electoral districts: Bray 85; Blackrock 14; Dundrum 4; Delgany 6, Glencullen 10; Kingstown 45; Killiney 10; Powerscourt 8; Rathmichael 12; Stillorgan 11.

Fashionable Intelligence

Lord Powerscourt has arrived back at his Wicklow seat having travelled in India engaged on a hunting expedition. The Chief Secretary, The Right Hon. E Cardwell and Mrs Cardwell arrived in Kingstown and proceeded to Lord Monck’s residence at Charleville where they will be staying. The Right Hon. Mr Justice Keogh, Mrs. Keogh and family have left Bushy Park for Scotland.

Notices, Situations, &c. in the Locality

HOUSEMAID or Thorough Servant in a small family where the washing is given out – A respectable girl (20), desires a situation as above. Willing and obliging and will be well recommended. Address EM, Post Office Enniskerry.

WANTED immediately Three Good Milk Goats; are between 2 and 3. Apply by letter stating price &c to A. B., Post Office, Enniskerry.

COACHMAN of long experience; understands his business in all its branches; married with no incumbrance: wife could take charge of lodge; both can be well recommended. Address E. B. C., Enniskerry Post Office.

ASSISTANT to the General Drapery business Wanted by a young Person who has considerable experience a situation as above. Please address AB, Post Office, Enniskerry.

SCHOOLMASTER wanted for Glencree Reformatory a well qualified (Certified) Schoolmaster; liberal salary. Apply by letter to the Manager, Glencree, Enniskerry, enclosing testimonials, &c.

Linen, Hoisery, Haberdashery J. & C. Leckie GROCERY, & PROVISION STORE, Enniskerry Drugs, Oils, and Colours *New Spools in Stock*

McCullagh & McCullagh MUSIC SELLERS & PUBLISHERS Suppliers to Schools and Important Private Clients at Enniskerry 108 Grafton St and 22 Suffolk St, DUBLIN Strangers hiring Pianofortes, a reference is respectfully requested – Removals and Tunings to be paid for when order is left.

BOOTS & SHOES Michael Wogan respectfully calls attention to his stock of boots and shoes at his shop in Enniskerry Repairs neatly and promptly executed   Well-trained apprentices

Hydropathic & General Medical Establishment Open for Patients & Visitors Russian Baths on the premises: Low Temperature; Shampooing Dispensed With. E. Haughton MD MRSCE AB TCD &c Glenbrook, Enniskerry

Bray and Enniskerry OMNIBUS Departs daily on arrival of following trains from Dublin: 8 am 10 am 12 noon 8 pm & return from Enniskerry 8.15 am 10.15 am 12.15 am 8.15 pm Fare 6d. each Robert Darlington, Enniskerry

Notice to Subscribers of this Eminent & Respectable Gazette

The Gazette is meant for informative purposes only. Some tongue in cheek is required.

Details of sources:
Page 1: Church Plans: Picture is from Illustrated London News. Railway Plans drawn from “The Bray to Enniskerry Railway”, by Liam Clare. Omnibus and Hydropathic baths advertisements adapted from Irish Times (with thanks to Úna Wogan for sourcing); Michael Wogan advertisement is fictional. Wogan was a bootmaker in the village at this time. Advertisement is based on one that appears for Wynne’s Boot and Shoe Emporium, Grafton St. June 1859;

Page 2: Census reports drawn from Parliamentary report on 1861 census. McCullagh advertisement based on receipt at Powerscourt school. Reports from school-houses are drawn from Board of Education reports or manuscript data; the section regarding Annacrivey is fictitional as there is no known data until 1886. Petty Session Reports are taken from the National Archives of Ireland; many of these are transcribed and available at:

Page 3: Presentation to Reverend McDonagh, is a fictional account based around the existence of an album in National Library of Ireland, probably 1863, with an inscription from Wingfield to McDonagh. Bridge: report in Dublin Builder magazine describing the actual construction in 1865, along with plans for hotel. Buckley’s response is fictional, but I can’t imagine he would have been too pleased. Glencree Reformatory details are from annual reports of Inspectorate. The advertisement for The Orphan Refuge appeared in the Irish Times in October 1861. Leckies were a grocery store and advertisement draws from an 1846 receipt from there in the National Library of Ireland. Notices consists of advertisements that have appeared in The Irish Times, throughout the 1870s.

Page 4: Agricultural matters: The annual fair is fictitious, based on an account of a fair in Carlow at this time. The report on the Fair day at Enniskerry is adapted from the Irish Times, as is the report on the growth of flax. The land dispute is taken from The Irish Times and a reference to a lease to Crooke in the Powerscourt Papers, National Library of Ireland. Fashionable Intelligence is derived from Irish Times reports of the period. Rathdown figures were reported in the Irish Times 1861.
Written by Michael Seery, 2011.

A search for my Enniskerry pedigree

Úna Wogan writes about her impressive work on researching her family history:

The first rule of genealogy is to start with the living, gather the knowledge of the family from those that are still here. So this is what we knew; Michael Wogan, who we knew to be a boot maker, was featured as an elderly man in the 1901 photo of the Wingfields and tenants in the Powerscourt Arms. An old photo held in the National Library which showed a shop front showing the Wogan name (the shop was situated in front of the house to the left of Windsor’s or what’s now known as Spar). We knew that Michael had two sons, Bob, also a boot maker and Michael a slater/builder. Bob lived in “Lawn View” on Church Hill and was married to Bridget Mulligan, from Killogue. Bob and Bridget had three children, Nan, Marie and Mully. We knew Nan as children as she lived in Lawn View up until her death in 1985. Bob’s brother Michael lived in Church Hill House, number 6 Church Hill,  two doors down from Lawn View.



Michael married Sarah who ran a guest house from the family home. Sarah’s surname was McRoe and she was from Fermanagh and she and Michael had five children; Josephine (Aunty Josie to us. She died in 1981), Greta (Margaret) (Greta we knew from a little copper plaque on one of St Mary’s church pews), Molly (Mary) who married a Tallon and ran Tallon’s grocery shop in the village, Michael Jr (the famous Terry’s father) and my grandfather Patrick or Paddy. We also had a strange little drawing of a girl called Elizabeth who “had died when she was little”. There was also a story about a Scottish “cousin” Willie Halkett who “ran away” with Nan Wogan’s young housekeeper.

So the questions to be answered were; where did the 1901 Michael Wogan come from? (Wogan isn’t exactly a surname common to the village) Who was his wife, the mother to Bob and Michael? Was cousin Willie related to the Wogan side and if so how? Who was Elizabeth in the drawing?

First step was off to the National Archives to check the 1901 and 1902 Census returns (fortunately they are now available free on-line, and searchable) and as the Powerscourt Arms photo was dated 1901 I was hoping the census returns of the same year would have the elder Michael in it and also the households showing his two sons and their families. What I found were two Wogan households in the village.

1901 Census Enniskerry Wogan

1901 Census Enniskerry Wogan

So I had some answers. Michael was aged 75 in 1901 and hailed from “County Dublin”. So the Wogans were confirmed as blow-ins! His wife’s name was Elizabeth and she was from “Wicklow”. Their son Robert or Bob still lived with them aged 30 years and they also had an Anne Botts, listed as a “General Servant”, living with them. The other Wogan household return confirmed Michael and Elizabeth’s other son Michael living with wife Sarah and their five children, with their youngest son Michael Jr only 21 days old at the time of the census.

The 1911 Census threw out some additional information. By 1911 the elder Michael had died, his wife Elizabeth was now listed as a Widow. But also interestingly the Anne Botts that was listed as a General Servant in the 1901 census, still living with Elizabeth, was now listed as a “Cousin”. Elizabeth’s son Bob now had his own household. He along with wife Bridget were living with their three children and as the 1911 census also recorded “Children born” and “Children still living” columns I could see that Elizabeth’s other son Michael and his wife Sarah had lost a child; their census return showed there were six children born to them but only five now living.

So all the information contained in the Census returns for the village confirmed what we knew of the Enniskerry Wogans. Michael (from the 1901 photo) had two sons, Bob and Michael and their subsequent families. I now had his wife’s name, Elizabeth, and also the fact that we may have cousins to the Wogans or at least to Elizabeth, with the surname Botts. I decided my next visit would be to the National Library to look at St Mary’s church records to see if Michael and Elizabeth married in the village, if so I might have Elizabeth’s surname.

The first Wogan entry I found was for a Michael Wogan and wife Ann Bayle/Boyle for the christening of their daughter Anne Wogan in 1854 ( Michael Seery later kindly discovered and shared with me records from the Powerscourt Estate Board of Guardians showing Michael Wogan first applying for the lease of a house in Enniskerry in 1853). I’ve never been able to find further information or further mention of Ann or daughter Anne. My theory is that both wife and child died in the next six years as the next mention of Michael Wogan in the church records are of his marriage to an Elizabeth Kelly in 1860. The records that followed on from the date of marriage provided the biggest surprise of all! Looking through the baptismal records for Michael and Elizabeth’s children after their marriage in 1860 produced the following;

  • Joanne baptised 26 May 1861 (sponsors Joanne Darcy and Rosanna Black)
  • Marianne baptised 14 Sept 1862 (sponsors Joanne Kelly and Maria Troy)
  • Michael baptised 27 Mar 1864 (sponsors Dionysio Troy and Sarah Murray)
  • Patrick Joseph baptised 24 Mar 1867 (sponsors William Black and Mary Anne Kelly)
  • Bridget baptised 07 Feb 1869 (sponsors William Kelly and Bridget Gaskin)
  • Robert baptised 21 Jun 1871 (sponsors Sigmund Marhner and Joanne Cullen)
  • William baptised 28 Sept 1873 (sponsors Albert Miley and Helen Miley)
  • Thomas baptised 26 Sept 1875 (sponsors Richard Coogan and Maria Doyle)
  • Mary Elizabeth baptised 21 May 1878 (sponsors Joseph Wogan and Bridget Kelly)
  • Teresa Maria baptised 16 May 1880 (sponsor Anna Wiley)
  • Richard Francis baptised 9 Feb 1882

I went from knowing the two sons of Michael and Elizabeth to finding they actually had eleven children born and baptised in the village. So the next obvious question was where did they all go? Further visits to the church records in the National Library gave me the answers for two more of Michael and Elizabeth’s children;

  • Marianne Wogan married a Daniel O’Brien (a grocer) of Clonmel, Co Tipperary on 14th January 1890 at 28th years of age. Witnesses to the wedding were Bridget Wogan and Pat Keating.
  • Bridget Wogan married William Hackett of Clydebank, Scotland in Enniskerry on 29th September 1903 aged 33 years. Witnesses to the wedding were Robert and Annie B Hackett.

I was subsequently able to find Marianne (her name became Marian) in the 1901 and 1911 census living in Irishtown, Clonmel. By 1901 she was widowed and had five daughters living with her.

Mary Josephine aged 10                Bessie aged 8                Annie aged 7            Gertrude aged 4             Angela aged 2

An additional bonus was that in 1901 her brother Thomas Wogan was in the household at the time of the census. Marion was running a Drapery shop and Thomas was listed as a Drapery Clerk. Perhaps he was sent to help her with the business as Marian’s husband Daniel had passed away in 1900. Tragically Daniel died from his own hand, his cause of death as written on his death cert quite gruesomely reads “Wound to the throat, self inflicted while insane”. In an old newspaper clipping I found one of Marion’s children, Gertrude, died aged 14, at home in Clonmel. I’m still working on identifying her other children and hopefully some descendants.

Bridget’s marriage to William Hackett of Scotland gave a clue as to who “Cousin Willie” was. I wondered how Bridget met Scottish William and where she was during the 1901 Irish census. The provided some answers. I found Bridget Wogan in the returns for the 1901 Scottish census living at St Elizabeth’s Private Nursing Home, Glasgow. Her profession was given as “trainee nurse”. On the same web site I found that Bridget and William (their surname had by now changed from Hackett to Halkett) had given birth to two children, Bridget Mary Winifred born 3rd March 1906 and William Patrick born 12th August 1909. Below is an extract from the 1911 Scottish census showing Bridget and family. Also in the house is her niece Mary Josephine O’Brien aged 20, her sister Marian’s child on a visit from Clonmel.


Halkett family, Scottish Census 1911

Bridget (Wogan) Halkett born in Enniskerry in 1869

Bridget (Wogan) Halkett born in Enniskerry in 1869

Could William junior be Cousin Willie that ran off to England with the young housekeeper? Searching British birth records on-line I identified possible matches for a Mr. and Mrs. William Halkett, Mrs. Halkett’s maiden name matched that of the young housekeeper. Two or three years ago using one of the British online phone books I found a Mrs Halkett’s address. With no idea if this one Mrs Halkett was anything to do with the Halkett family I was tracing I sent her a letter explaining who I was looking for. To my delight I hit the jackpot. This indeed was the wife of Cousin Willie, son of Bridget Wogan Halkett. Willie’s widow was very generous in the information she gave me all about Willie’s family and his mother Bridget. She very kindly made copies of photos she had of Willie’s parents including this one of Bridget.

Bridget lived to the ripe old age of 91. She died in 1960 and one of her grandchildren is now in possession of her wedding ring inscribed with her wedding date 29/09/1903 from her marriage in St Mary’s church Enniskerry.

Another great discovery on the Scottish web site was the younger Wogan sibling Mary Elizabeth who was a novice nun with St Mary’s Covent of Mercy, Glasgow in the 1901 Census. Contact with the convent confirmed that Sister Marie Anthony, who went on to become a teacher in the convent school, was indeed Elizabeth Wogan born 1878, daughter of Michael and Elizabeth Wogan of Enniskerry.  Poor Elizabeth’s life ended suddenly in 1939 at the age of 61. Her death record (also found on the Scottish web site) shows she died of “concussion” fourteen days after she took a fall on a visit to Wemyss Bay in Scotland.

Out of Michael and Elizabeth’s eleven children I now had information and relevant records about Marianne, Bridget, Elizabeth and Thomas in addition to Michael and Bob who seemed to be the only two of the eleven that stayed in the village. From the time I discovered there were eleven original Wogan children born in the village I had been checking various genealogy message boards on-line. I was delighted when I came across a message which read:

“Grandfather Thomas Wogan was born in Enniskerry in 1875. Looking for any information about further family members or descendants” Joanne

Thomas Wogan (born in Enniskerry 1875) with son Thomas born in 1909 in Pennsylvania, US

Thomas Wogan (born in Enniskerry 1875) with son Thomas born in 1909 in Pennsylvania, US

On making contact with Joanne I learned all about Thomas and his life after leaving the village. Thomas had married in England and he and his wife (Annie McGarigle) had traveled to the United States in 1908. Thomas had one son also named Thomas (Joanne’s father) born in 1909 and today there’s a whole extended family descended from the Enniskerry Wogans in the US.

On the off-chance that another of the Wogans may have traveled to the US I began searching various US records and discovered that Patrick Joseph also emigrated. Initially traveling to the US in 1892 Patrick, also a boot maker, settled in New York City. A marriage record for the city showed that in 1904 he married a Catherine McArdle. Although he was now in the US Patrick (now using the name Joseph) didn’t travel far from home when choosing a wife. Catherine was also from Enniskerry. Her parents were listed on the certificate as Lawrence McArdle and Rebecca Murphy. St Mary’s church records contain Laurence and Rebecca’s marriage in 1843 and baptismal dates for at least six children. The New York census of 1905 and 1910 show Patrick and Catherine living in Manhattan.

Joseph (Patrick) Wogan’s census return for New York 1905

Joseph (Patrick) Wogan’s census return for New York 1905

Curiously the household is also home to a “nephew” William O’Brien born in the US and aged 13 in 1905. I have no idea who William belongs to! I have since found a death certificate for Catherine, only ten years after their marriage, dated 1914.  Despite many hours searching I have yet to find any records relating to Patrick after the death of his wife.

Several years ago I had come across and obituary for Michael and Sarah Wogan’s daughter Greta who died in 1920. Mentioned as one of the chief mourners was an “Uncle Bill” so I had a good clue indicating that William also lived until adulthood. Once the Irish Census became available on-line I found him in 1901 living in Dublin City working as a “coach maker” and in the 1911 he and wife Elizabeth were living in Maynooth and he was working as a Coach Builder. A record from showed he married an Elizabeth Dempsey in Bray, Co Wicklow on 23rd September 1905.  Neither Census recorded any children of Bill and Elizabeth Wogan.  I found Elizabeth’s death notice from 1955 saying she was removed to Kilmaconogue graveyard. As of yet haven’t found William’s death record.

I have never found any other record of Michael and Elizabeth’s first born Joanne. Unfortunately their youngest daughter Teresa Maria born in 1880 died at five years of age and the youngest Richard born 1882 died soon after he was born.

Michael and Sarah Wogan

Michael and Sarah Wogan

So my original questions; where did Michael Wogan of the 1901 photograph come from? According to the census he was born in 1827 in “County Dublin”, so far I’ve found one birth record for a Michael Wogan from Dublin City born to a Michael Wogan and Ann Holmes that matches his year of birth. Who was Elizabeth, his wife? Well here’s where my Enniskerry pedigree comes from. Elizabeth Kelly was born in Enniskerry in 1839 to Mary Ann and John Kelly. The Kelly’s had at least eight other children, Robert, Catherine, Mary Ann, Margaret, Martha, James, Thomas and William. So please anyone out there with an Enniskerry Kelly background let me know! Mrs Mary Ann Kelly was born Mary Ann Botts in Enniskerry in 1808 (hence Elizabeth Wogan’s “cousin” living with her in the 1911 census). Mary Ann Botts was born to John and Elizabeth Botts who had at least four other children, Thomas, Eleanor, Eliza and John. The father, Mr John Botts, was born in Enniskerry in 1775 to Thomas and Margaret Botts who had at least three other children, Jane, Elinor, and Ann. Thomas was born in Rathdrum in 1739 to John and Eleanor Botts. So any Botts descendants out there?

I of course found “Cousin Willie” and the odd little drawing of Elizabeth turned out to be the first born of my great grandparents Michael and Sarah Wogan. Elizabeth was born on 27th August 1992. The 1911 census showed “six born, five living”, little Elizabeth died aged three in 1895.

Are all my questions answered? The original ones yes. But where did all the Kelly’s, McArdles, and Botts go? I’m still searching.

 Submissions are invited for articles to the 2013 Journal of Enniskerry and Powerscourt Local History. The theme this year is “Gathering our Genealogies“. See here fore more details

Mr and Mrs Reilly revisited

One of the first photos sent in to the website was this one of Mr and Mrs Reilly. All we knew was that it was possibly someone on the Powerscourt Estate, as it came from an old Wingfield album.

"Mr and Mrs Reilly"

“Mr and Mrs Reilly”

20130602-161605.jpgThanks to James Byrne, who called in last week to the Gathering Weekend, we now know a bit more. He reckons this house was in Kilmalin, on Blackhouse Lane, about half way up. He says the house was the extent of the portion shown in the picture, and was thatched. The woods opposite the house are known as Reilly’s woods, which were owned by Powerscourt and sold to O’Tooles. The Reillys are buried in Curtlestown Cemetery, towards the top of the graveyard.

As luck would have it, the couple appear in the 1901 Census. Thomas Reilly (76) lived with his wife Jane (53), his brother James (73), brother-in-law James McAnneny (60), and farm servant William Ryder (40). I think it is apparent from the photograph that husband is a lot older than wife.

reillyIncredibly, Thomas is alive in 1911 too, although has only aged 6 of the intervening 10 years! His wife Jane records her age as 57, and they are living with two farm servants, Willie Timmons (50) and John Byrne (72). There are lots of Reillys on the estate in the 1901 Census, at Aurora, Kilmalin and Cloon.


School Days

(L-R): Catriona Monaghan, Cormac Mac Raois, Angela O'Neill, Kay Smithers, Una Davis, Pauline Slevin, Tom Slevin, Mairead Gregory, John Clarke

After an incredible 45 years in service, Kay Smithers retired in 1982. She taught at least two if not three generations of Enniskerry children. Her career began before the “new” school was built beside St Mary’s Church.

Here is a photo of the teachers in Enniskerry National School at the time of her retirement (thanks Mervyn Tyndall). (L-R): Catriona Monaghan, Cormac Mac Raois, Angela O’Neill, Kay Smithers, Una Davis, Pauline Slevin, Tom Slevin, Mairead Gregory, John Clarke.

Mr and Mrs Corcoran school roomI just love this image of Mr Corcoran in a classroom with some school children at the time (thanks to Noel Corcoran). They look like they are on their best behaviour. Mr Corcoran and his wife taught in Enniskerry from I think 1936 and 1940 respectively.

Miss Sweeney retired 1968The last of the teachers is Miss Sweeney, who retired in 1968.




Next, a series of images of Holy Communions. The first shows Mrs Corcoran, school teacher and includes Pauline Tuite. The 2nd and 3rd show the class with Fr Delaney and Fr Mullaney (1965).

communion day

Corcoran 8

This is probably a good place to repost school group photos (thanks to Dick Seery). In the first photo, the girl looking down in the middle of the centre row identified herself last weekend as Eithne Kane née Doran. Click to enlarge:

School3 School1 School2

 Another photo from the early 50s (I’m sorry, I have forgotten the contributor):



A Procession to the Town Clock

These two photos were part of the haul at the Gathering Weekend. The car registration ID 4735 suggests a Cavan car registered prior to 1958. Mr Corcoran, school teacher is at the front of the queue in the first image. Thanks to his son, Noel, for the images.

procession 1 web

Click on these thumbnails if you want to zoom in:

procession 1a web procession 1b web

And now the proud mammies:

Procession 2 web

Wicklow Hills Bus Company

Wicklow Hills Bus Company fleet outside Powerscourt Arms Hotel

Wicklow Hills Bus Company fleet outside Powerscourt Arms Hotel

Several photographs of Enniskerry exist showing a fleet of buses outside the Powerscourt Arms Hotel. These belonged to the Wicklow Hills Bus Company, the penultimate independent bus company to operate between Dublin and Wicklow before nationalisation brought all buses under one of a handful of national companies in the 1930s. The only exception was St Kevin’s bus service, still in operation.

Wicklow Hills was started by Thomas Fitzpatrick, a business man from Mullingar, who lived in Palermo in Bray. In his essay on public transport, James Scannell mentions that it was previously called the Residents Bus Company – certainly there was a long tradition in Enniskerry of bus transport between Bray and Enniskerry, operated by, among others, the Darlington family. Wicklow Hills ran from 1926 to 1936. The depot was located opposite the Bog Meadow, now site of “The Courtyard” houses.

The bus ran a service from St Stephen’s Green to Enniskerry (now Dublin Bus route 44) and from D’Olier St to Greystones (now Dublin Bus route 84). Some destinations on the buses can just about be made out from the photograph of the fleet. These include the Scalp, Kilcoole, Stephen’s Green and possibly Delgany. There was a fleet of 10 buses: one Ford, one Leyland Lion and seven Associated Daimler Company as well as another unnamed make (source).

Staff of the Wicklow Hills Bus Company. L to R back row; Tommy Gubbins, Parkie White, Fred Ollie, Paddy Donoghue. L to R middle row; Mick Windsor, Charlie Kelly, Paddy Savage, Duke Sheevers, Jim Byrne, ? Donoghue, unknown. L to R front row; Mutt Maguire, Paddy Mooney, unknown, Mr Fitzpatrick, Mrs Fitzpatrick, unknown, Paddy Nolan, unknown

L to R back row; Tommy Gubbins, Christopher White, Fred Olley, Paddy Donohoe. L to R middle row; Michael Windsor, Charlie Kelly, Paddy Savage, Duke Stephenson, Jim Byrne, Joseph Donohue , unknown. L to R front row; William “Mutt” Maguire, Paddy Mooney, unknown, Mr Fitzpatrick, Mrs Fitzpatrick, unknown, Paddy Nolan, unknown

A list of staff exists, along with a photograph of the staff with the owner, Thomas Fitzpatrick and his wife, taken at the Town Clock. These include seven drivers, five conductors, and four garage men: a body builder, a mechanic and assistant, and a greaser who doubled as a driver. Two of the staff: Charles F Olley (Enniskerry) and James Kelly (2, Rockboard, Greystones) are recorded as being on the staff since 1924, so perhaps they worked the the predecessor, the Residents Bus Company mentioned by Scannell.

Enniskerry men among the staff were Olley, James Rafferty, Patrick Nolan, Charles Kelly, Laurence Byrne, Patrick Mooney, Michael Windsor, Christopher White and James Synnott. The remaining staff came from Bray (Duke Stephenson, mechanic, James Kelly), and Greystones/Delgany, perhaps reflecting the destinations of the buses. These latter men were Patrick Donohoe, William McGuire, Joseph Donohoe and Thomas Gubbins. Salaries ranged from £1 per week for Christopher White (subsequently raised to £2 per week) up to £5 per week for the mechanic.

By 1936, the company was purchased compulsorily by the Dublin United Tramway Company using the powers given to it by the 1933 Road Transport Act. We can only hope that the staff were able to continue their jobs in the new company. This company would ultimately become Dublin Bus. So while you are stuck in traffic on the 44  bus, it can be a prompt to recall the history of this service!



Thanks to Mervyn Tyndall, Brian White for sharing photos and expertise, and the article by James Scannell for background context (“From Horse Drawn Trams to LUAS: A Look at Public Transport in Dublin from the 1870’s to the Present Time”, James Scannell, 2006, Dublin Historical Record, 59(1), 5-18.

Moving East

Richard and Bridget Seery

Dick and Birdie Seery

My granny married a man from the village. I wonder how they met. Maybe they met at a local dance, or on the steps at the town clock. They probably went to the same school. It’s one of the many things I regret not asking her.

She lived at Kilmalin, the eldest child in a family of three. Her parents Patrick and Maggie were just two years married in 1911, and Bridget was only one year old in 1911. Her younger sister Maureen and brother Sean weren’t born at that stage. Maureen never married, and Sean moved away to England, bringing the McNulty name with him. The young family had settled in the labourer’s cottages built by Lord Powerscourt. Patrick, originally from Glaskenny, was a carpenter on the estate.

Richard Seery was my grandfather. The youngest child in 1911, aged just two, he lived with his six brothers and sister, Lizzie, in the houses at the bottom of Kilgarran Hill, the one next to the old Fever Hospital. His parents Patrick and Mary were married 18 years by then, and with eight children, it must have been quite a squeeze in that little cottage. There was a big field out the back, with a hill down by the side of the house. My uncle tells me they would sled down the hill in the snow, out onto the road. You could do that in those days, he said. There were no cars. Patrick, my great-grandfather, was a bus driver, probably doing a good trade on the Enniskerry to Bray route with his horse-drawn people carrier. Maybe he brought people to view the waterfall at Powerscourt. Family legend says he is the bus man in one of the Lawrence photographs of the village.

So the carpenter’s daughter and the bus man’s son met and married and had their own family. They moved first to Church Hill. Their house is now called Ceres Cottage. My granny had a tea room there in the front room. Whoever bought it apparently asked her if they could name the house after them, but she said no. She probably didn’t want the attention. But they named it anyway, just with a different spelling. They moved to Monastery, where I used to visit my granny. Walking from Kilgarran, I’d walk up the Dublin road, and cross over the pass to the Monastery road up to the house at Monastery. The kettle was always warm. I never knew my grandfather. But when I think of him and his brothers, I imagine they were similar to my dad and his brothers. We certainly all look alike. I like to project back their personalities, back through the generations. We all stand in a particular way.

Great grandfather Patrick’s father was also Patrick, living in Kilmalin at the time of his son’s marriage in 1893. He was as a labourer at Powerscourt. Patrick Junior’s bride, Mary Rourke, three months older than he, was the daughter of James, a carman. James probably helped his new son-in-law get into the bus trade. Joseph Windsor and Ellen Rourke were the witnesses. The newly-weds must have moved to the little cottage on Kilgarran soon after, and they had their first son, Patrick a year later. He was my grandfather’s brother.

Great-great grandfather Patrick married Mary Cassidy and they had at least three girls and two boys, living in their family home at Kilmalin. He was a labourer, born in the 1830s, long before the town clock was built. Seery’s don’t appear on Griffith’s Valuation. They were likely one of a large class of under-tenants that didn’t register on national records. I curse their good behaviour now. An odd drink on the street or a wandering animal would have put them in the local court records. But I do know what great-great-grandfather Patrick did every day of his life for several years, as he is recorded in the Powerscourt Estate workmen’s account books, earning 8 shillings a week. On 7 August 1855, he took Lord Powerscourt’s luggage to Dublin. It must have been a great day away from raking hay and drawing stones. His Lordship was probably on his way to India.

The Workmen’s account books also list a Dan Seery. He was higher on the list, meaning he was there longer. Second on the list after James McCue. Patrick didn’t have a brother Daniel that I can find, but his father was Daniel. It’s likely then the Dan and Pat listed in the Powerscourt records were father and son. So now I can say I know what great-great-great-grandfather Dan did every day of his life for several years too. Like his son, his wasn’t an easy life; six days a week with just a few days off a year – but the steady income must have been useful to Dan’s wife, Elizabeth Sanders.

They married in 1833 and had five children, including Patrick, born in 1834. They lived at Blackhouse, a name that lives only in local memory now, but not registered in the Ordnance Survey. They Ordnance men came to the area when Dan’s son Patrick was just five. Blackhouse was on all of the old maps but the map men must have decided it wasn’t a townland, and the name was dropped. Dan’s best man was John Grimes, who had recently married Dan’s sister, Winifred. As Dan’s children grew up and moved out, they moved east, to Kilmalin, and then the next generation to the village. The lands at Kilmalin and Glencree were being cleared and amalgamated into larger farms. People moved to the village or away altogether. Great aunt Maureen lived in my granny’s family home at Kilmalin. She saw the shift. How’d you get to know them up there, she’d ask, as gate-keeper between the village and the valley. What would she make of it all now?

The mystery of the Seerys of Enniskerry is where they came from and where they went. Most Irish Seerys come from the midlands. Dan and Winifred were from a family of five. While no records exist for their parents, it seems safe to assume that they too lived locally. Perhaps Dan and Winifred’s parents moved here at the turn of the 1800s. There was a lot of new work to be had in building the new village. With so many brothers in each generation, it’s strange to think that there’s not more there now. After the current generation, the Seery name, like many Enniskerry names from previous centuries – Buckley and Miller, Grimes and McGuirk – will disappear. We enjoyed our stay.

Contribute your family’s story by September 1st to be included in this year’s Journal, which will be published in November.

seery family tree

Petty Sessions at Enniskerry Courthouse

Úna Wogan writes about Enniskerry Courthouse and the genealogical resource hidden in its archives. [A PDF of this article is here]. 

Enniskerry Courthouse (links to Buildings of Ireland entry)

Enniskerry Courthouse (links to Buildings of Ireland entry)

A fascinating, often overlooked, source of information about the residents of Enniskerry and the surrounding areas, and the way of life in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries can be found in the records of the Petty Sessions Court of the village.

The Petty Sessions was the lowest rung of the judicial structure practised in Ireland during this period and it served largely to adjudicate on what were considered misdemeanours and common or civil law matters.
With the Act of Union in 1800, Ireland’s judicial and legislative practices – already influenced by England – became totally dominated by the now central government at Westminster. The structure of the system, and much of the legislation enacted in England, found its way into the legal system here. The High Court, based in Dublin, was the most superior court. Next was the Court of Assize which heard serious crimes such as murder and treason and sat twice a year on circuit. The lower court, the Court of Quarterly Sessions was held four times a year and were based in most counties.

Cases presented to the Quarterly Sessions were presided over by Justices of the Peace and a sworn-in jury. The office of Justice of Peace evolved from a centuries old custom whereby the King of England swore in ‘Keeper’s of the Peace’, officers ensuring peace was upheld by his subjects throughout the kingdom. Initially they were granted power to bind a person to the peace, and over the years various laws were enacted to extend their powers to the point at which they were given the authority, within their own county, to summon and judge those who were deemed to have broken the law. The office was an unpaid one and very much seen as a duty as subjects to the crown, and the office-holders were “men of ample fortunes who administered the communities in which they resided.”

These were men who didn’t necessarily have a legal background. They had to be landowners with a certain level of income and so in Ireland they were for the most part members of the gentry, the (usually) Protestant landowners. In addition the Constabulary Act (Ire) 1836 established the office of Irish Residential Magistrates (Irish RMs) and these officers also presided over the Quarterly Sessions.
In the early 1800’s Justices began to hold more frequent court sessions within their own local districts – the cases overseen were viewed as too ‘petty’ for even the Quarterly Sessions. The first of these Petty Sessions was held in Cork in the 1820s and the idea was quickly adopted in other parts of the country in subsequent years. It had a distinctly rural aspect with local magistrates and justices presiding over cases involving people living in districts in which justices themselves owned the majority of the land. Over the years from 1827 onwards various pieces of legislation shaped the workings of the lower court; the Petty Sessions (Ire) Act of 1851 saw the consolidation of these earlier laws and statutes.
As a rural area with a high number of residing gentry living in the county, Wicklow was divided into fourteen Petty Session regions. An extract from ‘An Illustrated Hand Book to the County of Wicklow’ written by George O’Malley Irwin in 1844 is given below which lists the Petty Session courts in the county, the day they were held, and the name of the court clerk for each.

Schedule of Petty Sessions and their clerks

Schedule of Petty Sessions and their clerks

The sessions were held fortnightly in each division and were presided over by two or more justices or magistrates. Most villages holding Petty Sessions had a purpose -built court house to accommodate proceedings and Enniskerry was no exception. According to the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, the court house in the village, now the Pandan Court Restaurant, has been dated between 1815 and 1825.
As dictated by legislation, cases before the Petty Sessions were recorded and retained and it is these records – surviving copies from 1859 up until 1916 are now held in the National Archives of Ireland – which offer a wonderful insight into life in the village for this period of history. The Court Clerk would record the date, the complainant and/or witnesses, the defendant, the charge and the verdict. Not only do the cases heard provide a fascinating glimpse into the lives of those living in the area at the time but the laws themselves illustrate a way of life and attitudes of the day. The national and local newspapers also reported court room events giving further glimpses of the villagers’ daily lives, often with a more insightful record in their descriptions of the demeanour of those taking part in proceedings than the proceedings themselves.

The Resident Magistrates and Justices of the Peace mentioned in various directories and newspapers as presiding over the Enniskerry sessions, particularly in the later years of 1800s and early 1900s, include:

  • Sir George Hodson Bart, Hollybrook
  • Henry Sandys Esq, Dargle Cottage
  • Charles D Fox Esq
  • Lord Powerscourt
  • QJ Brownrigg Esq
  • Sir Robert Hodson Bart
  • Lord Monck, Charleville
  • A Chatterton JP, Kilgarron
  • Mr Barrington RM
  • A Meldon RM
  • Robert Hodson Bart 
  • Hon. Captain Harry de Vere Pery RM
  • Mr R St Clair Ruthven 
  • Mr O Sullivan RM

As in other parts of the country many of the magistrates and justices living and practicing in Enniskerry had absolutely no background in law. Captain Harry de Vere Pery, for example, who practiced as a justice in Ireland from 1885 up until 1914 had a career in the Navy and as an ‘’Instructor of Musketry’’ with the Royal Munster Fusiliers, Mr A. Chatterton was an engineer. Their appointment was simply that their status in life that was considered to give them the credentials to judge the cases before them in the courtroom.
Because of the lack of experience and knowledge regarding the laws being practiced, there were various guides produced for the courtrooms to help identify legislation and relevant punishments, including Justice of the Peace for Ireland by Edward Parkyns Levinge, Barrister of Law, in 1860 and and a similarly named book by Henry Humphreys. These were extensive works, effectively an ‘A to Z’ of every conceivable crime that might be presented to the court. A review of the second edition of Levinge’s book (1867) by the Dublin Evening Mail stated that:

The new edition, recently published, contains a compendium of the entire law, as at present in force in Ireland, affecting the powers and duties of Justices of the Peace.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Henry Humphrey’s book is a large volume that today might be labelled “The Law for Dummies”. It is a wonderful resource, giving great insight into the laws of that time and punishments faced by those coming before the courts. The extract shown (from the third edition, 1867) shows a typical page which lists the offence, the statutes covering the offence and the “Extent of Jurisdiction” – the punishment for said offence. The right hand column gives the maximum punishment to be meted out if found guilty including fines and imprisonment, with or without hard labour (HL). It also tells the court whether one or two justices must be present to hear the case, 1J or 2J.

This particular extract deals with the question of apprentices, their behaviour and the treatment of them by their master. An entry in the Enniskerry Petty Session record book in April 1861 shows that my own great-great-grandfather Michael Wogan, Bootmaker, was summoned to appear in court due to an accusation made by his apprentice Pat Gorman. The charge:

That you assaulted the complainant and refused to keep him in your employment on the 21st March 1861 he being your indentured apprentice at the time.

Luckily for Michael his apprentice didn’t turn up in court and the case was dismissed, if found guilty he could have been given a hefty five pound fine.

Although Humphreys’ compendium provides instruction for the crimes that are dealt with by statute and legislation there was a range of offences that came under what was termed Common Law. Humphreys helpfully explains;

The laws of England are of two kinds: the Statute or written Law, and the Common and unwritten Law. The Statute Law depends on the will of the Legislation of the Kingdom. Common Law is a rule of justice throughout the Kingdom and is constituted of the Laws of nature, of nations, and of religion… They have grown to use and have acquired their binding force and power by immemorial usage and general reception.

In Common Law defendants were charged with a breach of their civil duty. The victim or injured party could summon the accused to court and a tort or compensation could be awarded. The fact that you could be monetarily rewarded may have played a part in the enormous number of cases heard for trespass of animals on the property of neighbours in the petty session’s record books. It was your neighbour, not the authorities, prosecuting the case when your animals strayed onto their land. The national newspapers generally found these cases too petty to bother reporting but there were some that made it to print. One case, in the Freeman’s Journal in 1908 involved Mrs Elizabeth Burton of Kilmolin who summoned her neighbour Mr Kiely for allowing his goats to trespass on her land and Mrs Kiely for using abusive language and throwing holy water on Mrs Burton’s daughter. In her defence Mrs Kiely claimed:

“Mrs Burton’s daughter’s language to her was so abominable that she thought the only thing for it was some holy water.”

The resulting verdict was that the Kielys were fined three shillings and six pence for the trespass with the abusive language charge dismissed. In November 1908 what was reported as an “Amusing Case at Enniskerry” in the same publication involved Henry Sutton summoning a Thomas Bain for the trespass of an ass and two goats on his land. The newspaper account reported much “laughter” in the court room as Mr Meldon and Mr Chatterton, Justices of the Peace, questioned Mr Bain to try and determine who in fact owned the animals. Thomas Bain claimed that although he used the donkey it belonged to a Pat Doyle who also lived in his house. Mr Meldon JP stated it was sufficient to say the ass belonged to the house itself and therefore Mr Bain. The defendant replied:

Is it sufficient that I should be fined for the ill deeds of another man’s donkey? If it is, the law is a bigger ass than the donkey.

On ruling that that all three animals did in fact belong to Mr Bain, he was fined a total of one shilling and six pence. Another case from 1911 saw farmer James M’Guirk summon William Hicks for permitting nineteen sheep at Cloon to trespass on his new meadow land:Mr M’Guirk said that the sheep belonged to a women named Burton and were grazing on Hicks land. As Hicks was responsible for the sheep and also for the keeping of the fences, the court imposed compensation of three shillings and two pence and ordered the fences to be repaired. Awarding compensation where damage to crops or vegetables occurred is understandable – however in most cases there was no consequence other than the animals being present on the land. It certainly didn’t encourage good neighbourly relations. It must have been very tempting to seek a few shillings in this way, particularly if you weren’t too fond of the next-door neighbours.

For safety reasons there was a whole range of statutes that came under the heading of “Nuisances on Public Roads, and Streets” and looking through the Petty Session records you’d be forgiven for thinking the village and surrounding areas were overrun with cows, asses, pigs and dogs. There were numerous such cases. In court on 6th August 1859 Frederick Gibbons, Mary Hicks, Richard Coogan and James White, all at Kilmolin, were each charged with allowing their asses to wander on a public road on 29th July. The complainant in all four cases was Constable Joseph Richards. At the next session of the court on the 19th August Robert Harper of Ballinagee, Patrick Clarke of Annacrevy, and Thomas Flynn of Ballybrew were charged, again by Constable Richards, with allowing a mule, a cow, and an ass on a public road. The cases maybe give us an indication as to the nature of Constable Richards, furiously darting around trying to spot loose animals, than the carelessness of the local residents.

A large number of cases throughout the country before the Petty Session court pertained to drink and drunkenness. As far back as the 1600s the British government had at various times tried to tackle the problem of drunkenness. The 1605 “Act to Repress the Odious Loathsome Sin of Drunkenness” introduced the first fines for being drunk in public. By the time of the emergence of the Temperance movement in the 1800s there was strong political pressure for laws to tackle what many people saw as the sin of drunkenness. The nineteenth century saw the introduction of several pieces of legislation to Parliament that attempted to moderate the consumption of alcohol by the masses. The Beerhouse Act of 1830 saw the introduction of licenses for the sale of alcohol. The Refreshment Houses Act of 1860 extended licenses to those selling wine and also spelled out the punishment to be administered to those found drunk.

…every person found drunk in any street or public thoroughfare, and who is guilty of any riotous of indecent behaviour, shall upon summary conviction before two Justices, to be liable to a penalty of not more that forty shillings for every such offence, or may be committed, if the Justices or Magistrate before whom he is convicted think fit, instead of inflicting on him any pecuniary penalty, to the House of Correction for any time not more than seven days.

The very first entry in the surviving Petty Sessions book for the Enniskerry court dated 13th May 1859 lists the defendant John McEvoy charged for “being drunk on a public road at Monastry.” He wasn’t alone. There were five similar cases heard on the same day including poor John Neil of Glencullen, who had to face five witnesses for the prosecution, Joseph Richards (RIC Constable), Michael Behan (RIC), Michael Wogan, John Byrne and James Lenihan. Another case saw John Botts of Enniskerry convicted of “being drunk on a public street” on the 1st of May, the 2nd of May and the 9th of May 1860. He was sentenced to forty days in gaol and six shillings costs.

The fines administered were generally a lot less that the maximum allowed, often one or two shillings. However if you consider the wages of the time for many workmen was probably less that ten shillings a week even a fine of one shilling could inflict hardship on a family. The convictions for drunk and disorderly were so common that the national papers, although attending the court, didn’t report the cases; often commenting, as in the Freeman’s Journal 1901, that the cases were “of a trifling and uninteresting character.”

The Sale of Liquors on Sunday Act (Ire)1878 dictated that most public houses were to be closed on the Sabbath. However in certain parts of the country public houses and hotels could open their doors for refreshment to bona fide travellers who had travelled a distance of at least three miles. The interpretation of what defined a bona fide traveller appears to have raised great a debate within legal circles of the time. The British Law Journal of 1881 raised the issue and reported one justice in Ireland as having said that just because a person travels from one town to another three miles away with the purpose of buying drink it does not make him a bona fide traveller. He is quoted as saying that if this was the case then;

All the people in Maynooth may go to Kilcock and drink as hard as they like on Sunday and all the people of Kilcock can drink as hard as they like in Maynooth.

We can see the effect of this law in a number of cases in Enniskerry reported by the national papers of the time. In one case James Brady of Killegar was prosecuted for obtaining drink at Mr Johnston’s Public House in Enniskerry on Sunday, December 15th, “he not being a bona fide traveller”. It was stated by District Inspector Molony of the RIC that:

this was one of the cases where a man travelled Sunday after Sunday, for the purpose of obtaining drink.

Mr Brady lived outside the three mile limit, but the onus lay upon him to prove that he was a bona fide traveller. Sergeant Duffy, in evidence, stated that:

He had found the man in Johnston’s bar frequently on Sundays.A fine of two shillings and six pence was imposed.

On the same date a similar case at the same licenced house saw Charles Neill, also of Killegar, being fined in two shillings and six pence and costs. Some aspects of Irish life obviously haven’t changed too much over the years – however there were so many “drunk in a public place” charges on record I’d wonder how drunk was drunk. I’d like to think that perhaps RIC Constable Joseph Richards, the complainant in many of the early cases, was a bit stringent, maybe he lay in ambush outside the doors of the public houses in the village waiting for people to stumble or show any sign of having taken a drink.

The laws against cruelty to animals were enacted quite early in the nineteenth century. The earliest British legislation was passed with The Cruel and Improper Treatment of Cattle Act 1822:

That if any person or persons shall wantonly and cruelly beat, abuse, or ill-treat any Horse, Mare, Gelding, Mule, Ass, Ox, Cow, Heifer, Steer, Sheep, or other Cattle, and Complaint on Oath thereof be made to any Justice of the Peace or other Magistrate within whose Jurisdiction such Offence shall be committed, it shall be lawful for such Justice of the Peace or other Magistrate to issue his Summons or Warrant.

According to Humphreys’ court guide the maximum fine that could be imposed was “five pounds” and/or “imprisonment not exceeding two months”. With the establishment of the Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1824, stronger lobbying to the parliament at Westminister began and further laws followed. The first SPCA inspectors were employed in 1830 and their investigations led to many convictions under the cruelty to animal legislation.

A case of cruelty to an animal reported from the Enniskerry court in 1878 saw Constable John Hewitt of the RIC charge John Moran with ‘cruelty to a horse’. Mr Moran was fined the maximum five pounds, which was a considerable sum of money in 1878.

In later years when the Irish SPCA was established, it was they who summoned the defendants into the courtroom. In 1914 SPCA Inspector John Anderson charged John Hyland (Ballybrew) with “ill treating a donkey.” Mr Hyland was fined “10s and costs”. Another case brought to the court in 1915. Inspector J Anderson of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals prosecuted James Gormley, a farm labourer, for ill treating a cat by leaving it without food. He charged that the cat had been left in an old burned-down house in the Rocky Valley. In his defense Gormley said that he gave the cat goat’s milk and bread morning and evening and he could not afford to buy meat for it adding that the cat:

was 25 years in the world, and wanted an old age pension and a rest for she was blind and getting bald.

Veterinary surgeon Mr Barbour gave evidence that the cat was emaciated and suffering from starvation. The defendant was fined one shilling and costs to which he declared: “I will go to the front before I will pay it.”It is thought provoking to think of the protection given to animals of the time when you consider, according to Humphreys’ court guide, that the punishment for ‘simple larceny’ for a male child under fourteen years of age could include ‘whipped strokes not to exceed 12, with a birch rod’ or ‘imprisonment not exceeding 3 months’. The animals appear to have been awarded more protection than children.

Children feature in an array of cases heard in the courtroom after the enactment of the Irish Education Act of 1892. From this point on education was free and it became compulsory to send children between the ages of six and fourteen to school. Parents were summoned to the court if their children had had been absent more than the maximum days allowed. The court could issue an attendance order which compelled them to send the children to school or face a fine.

In May 1909 a case involving Richard T Fox of Kilmurray was reported in the Freeman’s Journal and it illustrates how few concessions were given to those in rural areas who had to travel long distances to school. Mr Fox was summoned to the court because of the non-attendance of four of his sons to Calary School for the required amount of days. Mr Fox in his appeal to the court stated that his children had to cross a mountain to school, he stated

Cuthbert is only a young boy, and he cries that he is unable to walk over such a distance to Lord Monck’s school in Calary, and that sometimes they do be drenched and the master puts them round the fire.

The court didn’t accept the excuse and an attendance order way imposed with Mr Meldon RM reminding the courtroom that under the new Children’s Act in certain circumstances when boys “mitched” the magistrates had the power to send them to industrial school. 

Another similar case in 1911 saw attendance orders made against Thomas Sherry for the non attendance to school of his two children Joseph and Anasthasia. Thomas had missed 41 and Anasthasia 51 out of 111 days. The journey from Kilgarran to the village we bemoaned as children suddenly doesn’t appear so bad when you consider the return trip from Kilmurray to Calary Richard Fox’s children had to make every day.

More serious crimes were certainly presented to the Enniskerry courthouse. However most were advanced by indictment to the more superior Quarterly Sessions or Court of Assize, held in Wicklow town. One such serious charge, that of embezzlement, was made against a young man named Foley by his employer Charles Sutton of Golden Ball in 1861. Mr. Sutton said that Foley was employed as a driver on one of his bread carts. He accused Foley of embezzling a “considerable sum of money.” Foley was committed for trial and sent to Wicklow Gaol. A spree of burglaries and robbery headlined as “Highway Robbery Near Enniskerry” in The Irish Times, 1905 saw John O’Brien, of many aliases, being charged with robbing James Smith an “under gardener” of Lord Powerscourt and taking his watch and a shilling. He was also charged with taking a double barreled gun, a razor and articles of clothing from Andrew Foster of Ballyoney, and a quantity of bacon from Mr Frank Douglas of Coolakay. During his arrest O’Brien was said to have drawn a knife and tried to stab Constable Reynolds, RIC. As O’Brien had been said to be accompanied by others during his spree the case was adjourned so that further evidence could be collected.

By today’s standards the whole structure and workings of the court of Petty Sessions would be deemed totally unethical. Landlords judged their tenants; alleged poachers faced judgment by the very landowners they were charged with stealing from. The men judging and sentencing the accused had, for the most part, no legal training and there was no legal representation for the accused in Petty Sessions until well into the early 1900s. The very laws themselves were unjust. According to Humphreys’ court guide, under the Game Laws you were only ‘qualified’ to shoot game if you had a personal estate of at least one thousand pounds a year. You could not keep any type of setting dog, pointer, hound, beagle, greyhound or land spaniel unless you had a freehold worth at least one hundred pounds.

However, when considered in the context of the time through which it did exist, the Enniskerry Petty courtroom and its justices was not the harshest of these lower courts. I have read cases in other jurisdictions where children, as young as six years of age, were sentenced to one month of hard labour for taking apples for an orchard. Other areas, particularly in parts of England, were very fond of whipping with birch rods. Looking through the first few years of the surviving court records, I haven’t come across such serious punishments. Maximum fines were rarely administered and in several cases I have read how landowners ask the justices to show leniency towards poachers so that the accused could look after dependant family members.

For anyone with an interest in the history of the village, life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and/or their own genealogy, the surviving court records really provide a wealth of information and help to paint a vivid picture of everyday life of the time. In my own case my great-great-grandfather, previously just a name to me, came to life when I came across the three entries (so far) in the records where either he or his apprentices were summoned for bad behaviour towards the other. The conclusion I’ve reached is that he had very bad luck with his apprentices or, more than likely, he was a very difficult man to work under. It is details like this that add another dimension to the information already provided by church and census records – the Petty Session records are held in the National Archives and it is worth a visit to check if your own ancestors ever appeared in front of the local justices and magistrates.


This article originally appeared in the Journal of Enniskerry and Powerscourt Local History (Vol 1). 

Gathering our Genealogies: 2013 Journal Call for Submissions

Journal2013 FlyerSubmissions are invited for articles to the 2013 Journal of Enniskerry and Powerscourt Local History. The theme this year is “Gathering our Genealogies“. The journal is a serial published in hard copy annually. Previous journal issues can be found on the journal page. It is hoped that this journal will allow people to showcase their own research into their family history as well as share good practice and ideas on genealogical sources relevant to our area.

Contributions are welcome from everyone on the following topics:

  • A family history or part of a family history.
  • An interesting character from the past, with emphasis on genealogical records.
  • Genealogical sources for North Wicklow.

In preparing a submission, emphasis should be placed on readability. Please note that living persons should only be mentioned with their written permission, and only by gender and date of birth.