Hunting, Coursing, Racing, Boating, Angling, Athletic Sports, Cricket and Lawn Tennis - Wexford Guide and Directory, 1885

About “Wexford County Guide and Directory,” 1885

George Henry Bassett produced 7 Irish county directories in the 1880s: Antrim, Armagh, Down, Kilkenny, Louth, Tipperary and Wexford. Each provides useful history of the respective counties as well as lists of office holders, farmers, traders, and other residents of the individual cities, towns and villages.

Read more »

The directories are naturally an invaluable resource for those tracing family history. However, there are a few points to bear in mind.

  1. This online version of Bassett’s Wexford County Guide and Directory is designed primarily as a genealogical research tool and therefore the numerous advertisements in the original book, many full page, and quite a few illustrated, have been excluded.
  2. The text has been proofed with due care, but with large bodies of text typographical errors are inevitably bound to occur.
  3. Be aware that there were often inconsistencies in spelling surnames in the 19th century and also that many forenames are abbreviated in Bassett’s directories.

With respect to the last point, surnames which today begin with the “Mc” prefix, for example, were often formerly spelt as “M‘,”. For a list of some of the more common forename abbreviations used in the directory, see Forename Abbreviations.

Show less

WEXFORD is a good hunting county, but not so good as Kilkenny, as it is not so open. The fences are stiffer and more difficult to “negotiate.” It has a great many high banks and double fences. The banks are all sound, and it rarely occurs that there are bad falls. No “croppers” as with the “Wards.” If the horse and rider tumble they usually get safe over the grip, and are not buried as in the Ward country. The residents of the county have long sustained a character for lavish hospitality on meet days. It is particularly worthy of note that in the memory of the oldest inhabitant, no death has occurred by accident in the hunting field. The ladies of the olden days always made a strong muster, but in modern times they are much fewer in number.

The Wexford hunt was established about the beginning of the present century, by the late Colonel Pigott, of Slevoy Castle. He held the mastership until 1847 or 1848. In 1840, Captain James Harvey, of Park House, kept a pack of fox hounds, and hunted some of the far covers, and part of the present country, conjointly with Colonel Pigott. About 1844 Captain Harvey gave up his part of the country to the late Mr. Daniel V. Beatty, of Borodale, Enniscorthy, who then held the mastership of the entire county—having taken Colonel Pigott’s territory on his resignation—and continued to hold it until his death in 1881. He hunted two days a week with one pack of hounds until 1864 or 1865, and from that time until his death, three days a week, with two packs. The present master is Captain Thomas J. Walker, of Tykillen, Wexford; Captain Maher is treasurer, and Mr. Frank Boxwell, of Kerlogue, is secretary. Two packs are kept, one dog pack and one bitch pack. The kennels are at Tykillen.

The principal coverts are: Upton, the Island, Wells, Ballyvudock, Oulart Hill, Dranagh, Ballinkeele, and the Gorey, Solsboro’, Ballinaballin, Brownswood, Saunderscourt, Tykillen, St. John’s, Park Wood, Wilton, Bree Hill, Monart, Killoughrine, Warren’s Gorse (part of Killoughrin), Ballyhighland, Kelly's Brow, Ballinclay, Ballymacasey, Castle Boro, Coolbawn, Ballindunny, Killaray, Macmine, Bellevue, Galbally, Carrigmaince, Blackhall, Kavanagh’s Gorse, Corrig Mostha, Ballyvergan, Carrickbyrne, Tinnacarrig, Carnagh, Lacken Hill, Bricketstown, Horetown Wood, Harperstown, Rosegarland, Bannow, Tolagh, Tintern Abbey, Rathtinney, Shellbagen, Newtown, Dunbrody Park, Buttermilk Castle, Kilmanock, Fruit Hill, Tinnock, Alderton, Slievekitter Hill, Killowen, Stokestown, Ballylaan (Hughes’), and Camlin Wood.

Mr. Robert Watson, master of the Carlow and Island hounds, divides attention between his own county and the northern part of Wexford. The coverts which supply foxes for his pack are: Ballydaw, Farmly, Tombrick, Munfin, Coolgorrah, Ballyboy, Charlesfort, Ballybeg, Ferns, Clone, Ballinakill, Ballyduff, Shrule, Camolin Park, Ballymanane, Gorey, Courtown, Ardemine, Ballyfad, Coolgreaney, Limerick, Mount Neighbow, Bullingate, Doneshiall, and Carriganagh Rock.

Mr. William Whitney, of Mount Pleasant, Wexford, is the master of a pack of harriers, the formation of which by Mr. Samuel Tanner, of Greenfield, Wexford, dates back over fifty years. Originally it was called the Killinick Harriers. The name was changed by the late Mr. Raymond Rowe, of Ballycross, Wexford, to that of the Ballycross Harriers. Mr. Frank King succeeded Mr. Rowe as master. The pack consists of from fourteen to fifteen couples of hounds, and has hunted the baronies of Forth and Bargy, always receiving the warm support of the farmers. The present secretary is Mr. James Codd, of Whitestown, Wexford.

Mr. Edward J. Nunn, of Silverspring, Wexford, keeps about twenty beagles for hunting on foot. He has had the pack some four years, goes out three or four times a week in company with a few friends, and keeps exclusively to the baronies of Forth and Bargy. He finds plenty of hares, for the farmers like to follow the beagles, and help to preserve the game.

Sir Thomas Esmonde and the Hon. George Stopford keep private packs of harriers.

The good lady riders of the county include—Mrs. W. H. West née Bolton, Mrs. William Nunn née Breen, Mrs. Philip Beatty née Flood, Mrs. Wm. Bolton, Mrs. John D. Devereux. The first rate riders of the sterner sex include—Mr. Frank Boxwell, Mr. W. B. Nunn, Mr. W. H. West, Captain Walker, M.W.F.H.; Mr. Philip Beatty, Mr. G. H. Lett, Mr. Edward J. Lett, Mr. John Whitney, Hon. Geo. Stopford, Sir Thomas Esmonde, Mr. W. Bolton, Mr. Charles Doyne, Captain Richards, Mr. John D. Devereux, Captain Irvine, Mr. John Metge, Mr. John Whitmore, Messrs. Peter and Francis Murphy, Mr. F. B. Thackeberry, Messrs. Richard and Charles Reed, Mr. Edward Williams, Mr. William Kidd, and Mr. Malcolm, V.S.

The stated coursing matches in the county are held on the Marquis of Ely’s Hook Estate, and on the estate of Captain Barrett, Dunbrody Abbey. The meetings at both places come off in March and November of each year, are usually well attended and afford fair sport. The Hook and County Wexford Club manages the match at Hook. The officers of it are.—The Marquis of Ely, president; Mr. Andrew Barden, Corse, Fethard, treasurer; and Mr. John Murray, South-street, New Ross, secretary. An effort is made to preserve the hares, but if they leave four or five farms they are killed. These farms are in the centre of the estate. The Marquis encourages the sport, but does not favour the matches with his personal presence. The Hook Club consists of about thirty members. The Kilmanock Club manages the matches at Dunbrody Abbey. Captain Samuel Barrett is president, Mr. Laurence Murphy, of Ballykerogue, Priest-Haggard, is secretary and treasurer. There are twenty-five members. Captain Barrett takes great interest in coursing, but does not engage in it with his own dogs. The coursing ground is about 400 acres in extent, and, of its size, is considered one of the best in Ireland. It takes in the estate of Capt. Barrett. The Hook Club has been established over eight years, and the Kilmanock has passed its third season. I am indebted to Mr. John J. Doyle, of New Ross, for much information on coursing. He is a keen sportsman, and keeps some good greyhounds.

There is not much coursing done in the vicinity of Wexford. Twenty-five years ago it was very popular, and well-attended meetings were held on the North Slob lands, two and a-half miles from town, over an extent of 2,500 acres. Mr. Cadwalader Wilson, the late Lord Lurgan, Mr. W. H. Massy, the late Mr. James Gallwey, Mr. William White, Dublin, and the late Mr. William Gray, of Ballybay, were among those who engaged in and encouraged the sport. Mr. Joseph Tanner keeps a couple of hounds, and is now the only Wexfordian who openly courses. The cause of the decline is said to have been the difficulty of preserving the hares on the Slob from the dogs of the unauthorized lovers of coursing, who had made a habit of disturbing them as early as three and four o’clock in the morning.

Wexford has acquired considerable reputation for its racing cattle. Among those who keep good horses are Mr. Michael A. Maher, Captain Maher, Captain Walker, Mr. William H. West, Captain Richards, Mr. Peter Murphy, and Mr. John Williams. The only hunt-races are held annually over the North Slob, Wexford Course, in June. Races of a minor character are held at Taghmon, Ferns, Enniscorthy, and elsewhere, mainly to give greater attraction to holiday amusements.

Boating is an exercise which has reached its highest degree of popularity at Wexford and New Ross. Enniscorthy, not many years ago, had a Club and plenty of boats; but the depth of water in the season was not sufficient to keep up the enthusiasm of the youthful members. In the Wexford and New Ross special departments of the book fuller reference is made to the boat clubs and their records.

Anglers will find in many parts of Wexford splendid facilities for the enjoyment of the “gentle art,” especially if they can carry in their satchels permits from the lords of the soil. The Slaney and Barrow are noble rivers for sport. Full information is given on this subject in the different town and village divisions of the Guide.

In various parts of the County athletic sports are maintained with increasing vigour. Wexford, New Ross, Enniscorthy, Gorey, Newtownbarry, and Ferns take the lead in stimulating the young men to excel in manly games.

Cricket-playing is not popular in the Town of Wexford, save among the Students of St. Peter’s College. There is a flourishing club at Newtownbarry—the best in the County. Taghmon, Murrintown, Ballycarney, Duncannon, and Tintern also have clubs.

Lawn tennis is the favorite game of the County. There is no regular club, and none seems necessary to keep up the interest. So admirable a medium of attraction to young people of both sexes, and excuse for sociability among elder ones, who watch the game, must needs have a long and happy reign. As an active amusement, in which ladies can indulge without being considered masculine, in which men may join and yet be manly, and which yields an excellent chance for a good hearty romp without accusation of romping, Wexford society, with good sense, has welcomed and deferred to lawn tennis. In a drive through the county, it is a notable fact that almost every comfortable residence, with sufficient land, has a level bit dedicated to the pursuit of health in this simple and enjoyable fashion. Comparatively little is required beyond a well-rolled and ample space, and maintaining this in first-rate condition necessitates only a trifling expense. Among the finest grounds are those of the Hon. Mrs. Deane-Morgan, at Arkandrisk, on the Slaney; Dr. Boxwell, Butlerstown Castle; Mr. William B. Nunn, Castlebridge; Mr. John F. Kane, Saunderscourt; Colonel Hewson, Springfield; Mr. Edward Fitzgerald Ryan, Alma. Nearly all the mansions of the County families have good grounds. The best lady-players include Miss Hall-Dare, Miss Letitia Nunn, the Misses Doran, Miss Mary Turner, and Miss Boxwell. The best players of the opposite sex include Mr. John F. Ryan, Mr. Edward K. Ryan, C.E.; Captain Ernest Schreiber, Colonel Hewson, Mr. William B. Nunn, Mr. C. H. Peacocke, Mr. Augustus Warburton, and Dr. Dowse, Wexford.

Search for a copy of Bassett’s Wexford Guide and Directory, 1885