Mr. Jimmy Maloney
In mid-2010 Mr Jimmy Maloney came to Father Brendan and then I with a wonderful collection of old postcards and photographs of the area – see below. Some of these, he explained, had been collected in as diverse places such as the Dandelion Market (who remembers that?) in Dublin, shops in Cork and elsewhere around Ireland, and from his vast array of contacts who share his interest in the preservation of local heritage. I applaud Jimmy for the effort that he has put into collecting such things when it simply was not fashionable to do so – we are very lucky to have access to his collection.
The Changed View
Needless to say, Jimmy had obtained views that a lot of us had never seen before – the views of Carne pier and of Castletown House are especially noteworthy. It is also striking to see the amount of infill that has taken place around the causeway to the Island – as several views of the Church now illustrate.
Significantly, we are greatly relieved to see that the various older views of the leaning gate tower do not differ from photographs taken today – we are as informally certain as can be that there is no movement of the structure but measuring this precisely is something we do need to look at in the next year or so.
Last but not least, the Nunn’s estate map is a serious trove of information – I can still happily spend an hour looking at just a part of this – it always has something new every time I look at it.
Old vs Contemporary Views
I decided early on that I’d go out and take some contemporary views of the same photographs from Jimmy’s collection – Jennie Frizelle has done a great job (with a lot of patience) in pairing these for us. We hope you get the same pleasure from this collection as I have and continue to do.
Records For Future Generations
Needless to say, it would be most interesting to see any other photographs that may be around. I’d encourage everyone to reflect on any old photographs or maps or drawings or paintings they might have of their places, or the locality, or of local people that they would like to share with us.
If nothing else, I’d digitally record whatever you might have wherever possible – that way it at least could be preserved for the generations coming ahead. If you are in agreement, we’d plan to post it on the site with, of course, appropriate credits. Please Contact Us if you have anything at all of interest!
Christopher V S Doyle, May 31st 2011.
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Aeroplane Monthly, June 1988
Old Photos vs Contemporary Views
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Map 1 – The Frazer Map of Wexford circa 1807
This is noteworthy on account of it showing a full Wexford harbour or estuary long before any of the great reclamation works later that century were undertaken on the north and south slobs. Interesting too is the seeming presence of a land bridge to Little Saltee which reminds me of a story my grandmother used to recount: that in her parents or grandparents memory, cattle had been walked out to that island from the mainland. I do not know how true this is, and it is certainly not possible today even, I suspect, at the lowest of tides – however, she was pretty adamant about this, and it would be interesting to know if others had ever heard such a thing.
Another thing that has caught my eye is the fact that the Tacumshane and Lady’s Island lakes are very much separate entities and are, save for the seeming error in scale, pretty much as we would see them on a modern map. However, it is hoped that we will be able to include a copy of an Admiralty map of the same year that was, we presume, formally surveyed and which shows both bodies of water joined and sharing a common access to the open sea at a place that looks like Rostoonstown. While the traditional view is that both lakes existed as such for quite some time (the local folklore going back into the late Middle Ages is always of two lakes – there is no known reference to these being bays or in any other way open to the sea), there are mounting indications that these lakes could indeed have been open to the sea in the not too distant past. The Admiralty map (a copy of which is yet to be procured) shows bays in place of the two lakes – as this was a formally surveyed thing we must attach some credence to its accuracy to coastal features.
However, in addition, we note that some of the Norman towers around the lakes (Clough East, Castletown, Rathshillane, Sigginstown and Lyngstown) were arguably right on the shores – or very close by. If these Norman towers were simply built over existing Danish settlements (which we understand to have been extensive in the area), then this begs the question as to the logic of the siting of the Danish settlements in the first instance. If these were sites close to shores of a river or sea, that would make some sense, as seagoing access was important for the Danes for virtually all movements. However, siting such things on landlocked lakes would make little sense and it might, in a very tenuous way, be an indicator that sea ship access was routinely available right into what we now regard as two lakes.
Map 2 – Valentine Gill Map of Bannow circa 1803.
This is a little outside our geographical bailiwick but we attach it here nonetheless, as it is interesting. There is little to be seen of Clonmines, although that town had, until a short time prior to this map being made, returned an MP to the Houses of Parliament in Dublin. Interesting too was the fact that Bannow island has already been joined to the land on its eastern side.
It is my understanding (and I have no earthly idea if this is right or not) that when Clonmines harbour was accessible and used by sea shipping into the late Middle Ages, that the main navigation channel was past the eastern edge of the island. Doubtless someone will confirm or correct that in due course.
Map 3 – Bennett map of Wexford circa 1776.
The date of this needs to be checked but suffice to say, this is also very interesting. I cannot tell if the easternmost bay feature is what comprises just Our Lady’s Island lake today or is meant to be a joined version of Lady’s Island and Tacumshane lakes. Arguably, the bay and inlet features next along the western part of this map look terribly large relative to what we think were two water features in Tacumshane and Lady’s island lakes that are not terribly different in size and area today.
That said, Bunargate is marked as on the south-western tip of what is now Lady’s Island lake and if the next feature west of that was intended to show a body of water open to the sea that is now Tacumshane lake, we might be forgiven if this body of water is intended to be what is now the site of Tacumshane Lake but which was then open (in a very substantial way) to the sea.
We also note that the western edge of this bay is given as B Healy (referred to today as Ballyhealy) in which case this bay is almost certainly meant to represent what we know today as Tacumshane lake although we feel that the scale of what is shown for this particular water feature seems at this remove to be excessively large.
Map 4 – A purported medieval map of Wexford
When I first saw this, I thought it could not be a contemporary thing to the 18th or earlier centuries. I base this (personal view) on simple typesets and spelling – if anyone takes the most cursory of looks at any Speed or Petty maps of that same sort of era, there are vast differences in the methods used to describe things on maps as well as the writing and spelling employed. I think the naming of parishes seems modern and not medieval – often these have been transcribed to the mapmakers orally and are then spelled phoenetically (with all their faults) in contemporary maps – in this case, the names follow modern spelling usage.
I wonder also at the orientation of the map and why it is as it is – why is it not a north south. We cannot discount the possibility that it is a modern hand copy of a genuine, older map but I will leave it to others to decide and comment upon. The sketch does not appear to illustrate any notable geographical or historical features.