Walks and Drives, New Ross - 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.

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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.

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FEW places are so greatly favoured as New Ross in respect of walks and drives. The several roads leading from it are in a high degree attractive to the lovers of picturesque scenery. Above the upper road to Ballywilliam is Mount Garrett Castle, built by the Butlers. With retreating hills, and the Wicklow mountains behind it, this ruin forms a very good subject for a picture. The road to Fethard is fertile in scenic surprises. The river lends itself to a hundred charming effects, which are continually changing. At one point Mount Brandon’s blue peak may be seen beyond other hills and near green pastures; again, on the left a glade of the softest and fairest green rivets the attention. Hills, rocks, and river in endless combination, make the road beautiful. It is because of this charming variety that the river journey from New Ross to Waterford is the cheapest shilling’s worth to be found in the county.

At the Rosbercon side there is, first of all, the predominating attraction of “crossing over” by the broad iron bridge, which is one of the most imposing features of New Ross. Turning to the right at the opposite side, a favourite ramble passes the boat-house and winds up the river, on the top of the bank, which, for nearly a mile, is sheltered by forest trees, on the way to the new railway tunnel, which opens on the opposite bank. Further along, near Rosemount, the residence of Mr. James Byrne, J.P., the Barrow and Nore meet in a broad valley. The handsome private residences on the Rosbercon side of the Barrow include the Castle, Mr. A. E. Graves. This occupies a portion of the site of the Monastery, which, in 1545, John Parker, a considerable holder of Church property, was permitted to sell to John Blake. The grounds are ample, and are well kept. On the way up the steep hill, past the Castle, are the Glebe House, vine-clad, Rev. Boles Reeves, and the pretty cottage of Mr. Richard Cherry. Mr. Wm. Carr’s residence is approached from Chapel Road, and affords a view of the valley of the Barrow.

Bawn James, Mr. John B. Cullen, is one of the finest and most agreeably situated of the private residences in the vicinity. The house is new, has a handsome porch, and stands in a park tastefully planted with ornamental trees and shrubs, and brightened by the arts of the landscape gardener. Chilcomb, Mr. Boyd, is another of the prettily situated places. The road running past it is bordered by rows of beech and larch, and descends to the river.

From Rosbercon, the view of New Ross creeping up the steep hill, its church spires, pointing still higher, the bridge, factories, and storehouses reflecting in the depths of the river, is a most impressive one, and cannot fail to elicit the admiration of strangers.

A drive from New Ross, which affords an opportunity for much sightseeing, leads through the Irishtown, which is nearly 200 feet broad. In this the fairs are held. It contains a cross, part ancient and part modern. At the head of the street is the Convent of the Good Shepherd, and further along the churchyard of St. Stephen, called also “the Little Churchyard,” although several acres in extent. An old gateway, bearing evidence of former grandeur, is on the boundary of the Churchyard. It once led to the Red House, the family seat of the Tottenhams. The Maudlins is next reached, at the foot of a hill. Many old houses, with curiously constructed doorways, are seen at both sides of the street. Lacken Long Hill, with heather in full bloom, July 27th, is passed over very pleasantly, and gives a relish for the enjoyment of the tranquil beauty of Old Ross. Carrigbyrne is the last point of interest. On a spur of the rock a Corinthian column of graceful proportions commemorates Gen. Brown. The keeper of the monument, Wm. Doyle, some years ago, narrowly escaped death by lightning. While standing in the door-way, at the foot of the stairs, he heard the cries of a favourite dog, and started down the hill to discover the cause. He had not gone far when the shaft was struck by lightning at the top, and the iron door at the bottom was wrenched from its hinges and thrown down the decline. The monument is 130 feet high, and is in a grove which is a favourite resort for picnic parties. In the vicinity is Scullaboge Barn, the scene of one of the shocking incidents of the Rebellion of 1798.

Returning from the Monument by way of Ballynaboola and Cushenstown, a pretty gothic Catholic Church and Presbytery are seen at the latter place. They are enclosed in well-kept grounds, and serve admirably to perpetuate the memory of the Very Rev. Canon Murphy, P.P., by whom they were erected. Beg-Erin Hill, about a mile and a half from New Ross, is interesting on the return journey. On the side of it, delightfully situated, is Erin Vale, the residence of Mr. James E. Galavan, J.P. At the foot of the hill a small trout stream passes under the bridge which carries the road to the front entrance to the demesne (100 acres) of Talbot Hall, the residence of Lady Redington. Talbot Hall, after many years, is once more occupied by a descendant of the Talbot family. The house is large and substantial, and the facilities for improving its surroundings are extensive. The site is the highest at New Ross. The avenue is about a half a mile in length, and has on either side many trees of great size and beauty. The back entrance leads down to the Wexford Mail Road, and brings into view Roseville, Mr. Shanahan; Ashton, Mr. Thos. E. Jeffares; Maryville, Mr. W. Roe; Brandon, Mrs. Mary Doyle, a very handsome place, formerly belonging to Mr. Jones, a manufacturer, who removed to England. From the Fethard Road, Oaklands, Mr. Robert Tyndall, J.P., is seen to considerable advantage.

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