Carrigbyrne is a rural district best known for the excellent hexagonal cheese of the same name produced by local residents Patrick and Juliet Berridge, who also make great Brie.
Carrigbyrne Hill & Scullabogue House
Carrigbyrne / Carriadaggan Hill, locally aka “the Rock”, was the site one of the main insurgent encampments during the 1798 Rebellion. There are different forest trails through the woodlands leading to viewing points and a picnic area with vistas of the surrounding area.
The Carrigbyrne Memorial / Browne – Clayton Monument, aka “the Pinnacle”, is a 29m /94ft 4in granite replica of Pompey’s Column in Alexandria, designed by Thomas Cobden and erected in 1841 by local landowner General Robert Browne – Clayton to the memory of Sir Ralph Abercrombie, Commander-in-Chief of Crown Forces in Ireland just before the 1798 Rebellion, who was mortally wounded in the 1801 Egyptian campaign against Napoleon. He was highly critical of the army in Ireland, describing it as “in a state of licentiousness which must render it formidable to everyone but the enemy“, for which remark he was replaced by General Lake. (Photo – www.rootsweb.ancestry.com)
Great views can be enjoyed by climbing an internal staircase leading to the capital, damaged by lightning in 1994 and fully restored in 2002.
(The monument’s claim to be “the only internally accessible Corinthian column in existence” is contradicted by the 50m / 164ft pillar supporting Barcelona’s famous landmark statue of Christopher Columbus (1888)).
Scullabogue House, at the foot of the hill, was where the notorious Scullabogue Massacre took place the evening of 5th June 1798, the day of the Battle of New Ross. The farm was used as a detention centre for a crowd of loyalist prisoners, nearly all Protestants. Some fugitive rebels, pretending they had orders to do so, brought forth 37 of the prisoners and murdered them. They then set fire to a barn in which between 100 and 200 others were locked up and burned them all to death, including women and children. No recognised leader was present at this barbarous massacre; it was the work of an irresponsible rabble, including a few Protestants. The house still stands.
Courthoyle takes its name from an early Norman castle built by the Welsh Howel family, ancestors of County Kilkenny’s Walsh of the Mountain clan. “Hoel of Karrickobrien” was permitted by a 1232 grant from Richard Marshall of Old Ross “with the free tenants, to reclaim, enclose and occupy their lands which are within the aforesaid meres and bounds, as well as their other lands which thye hold outside the forest, reserving to us the savage beasts.“
Old Ross (Co. Wexford / West)
Old Ross / Cushinstown was an early Norman settlement, and is now a somewhat scattered rural community.
In the early C18th Able Ram of Gorey permitted some refugee Protestant families from the Rhine Palatinate in Germany to settle on Ram lands near Old Ross. The Ram family apparently “regarded this sociological experiment as similar to growing a pot of African violets“, in the words of historian Lester J Hartnick. Nevertheless, and despite some initial difficulties, the immigrants prospered, and many of their descendants still live in the area.
John Wesley, founder of Methodism, preached to the Palatines at Old Ross in 1787, and probably had a similar welcome to the enthusiastically fervent reception he got from the Palatine communities in County Limerick.
The only church to be burned by insurgents during the 1798 Rebellion was St. Mary’s (CoI) at Old Ross. Also burned were all but four of the community’s 100 homes and most of their livestock. George Hornick of Killanne was the victim of a revenge slaying by the rebels. According to contemporary reports, his body was stripped and then cut into quarters after a ritualistic execution, and the pieces were then burned; his remains were identified by the distinctive watch found in his clothing.
Old Ross is, unsurprisingly, very close to New Ross on ByRoute 2.
Rathgarogue was where Michael FitzHenry, principal of the local “Male School”, was bludgeoned to death with an iron bar by his wife’s cousin Joseph Murphy, apparently for refusing to lend him six pounds to take his elderly father with the rest of his family to America. Murphy was hanged outside Wexford Gaol on Monday 11th August 1863, the last public execution in Ireland.
Ballywilliam was for some years the terminus of the Carlow & Wexford Railway. The village boasted the first railway station in County Wexford, open from 1862 to 1963.
Ballywilliam’s RIC Barracks was burned on 5 April 1920, during the War of Independence.
Berkeley Forest House was erected originally after the late C17th Williamite War for a Gloucester born soldier named Berkeley, a first cousin and contemporary of the philosopher Bishop George Berkeley.
The house was extended in 1785 as a new home for Colonel John Deane, MP for Stillorgan & Terenure (Co. Dublin), who inherited the property through marriage. The Deane family lived here until shortly before WWI.
After a period of neglect the house was restored by Count Gunnar Bernstorff, whose wife and family play a strong role in the local community.
The very attractive walled garden (1780) is nowadays part Italian garden, part fernery, part bonsai, part knot garden overlooked by a fairytale thatched summerhouse. Victorian goat-carriage rides for children are occasionally provided.
The Berkeley Costume & Toy Museum is a private collection of rare costumes, embroidered textiles and antique toys including carriages and dolls, some from important families in Ireland and Denmark.
Drummin Bog has been returned to its original pristine condition by the hard work of Ann Bernstorff and her family.
Drummin is close to St Mullins (Co. Carlow) on ByRoute 4.
Mountgarret Castle is on an eminence overlooking New Ross (Co. Wexford) and is technically in the same county. (Photo by Liam Murphy).
It is mentioned in the Carew MSS catalogue of the principal fortresses of Wexfordshire in Lambeth Palace, and was specially excepted from being included within the liberties of the neighbouring town.
It was probably built c.1401 for Patrick Barrett, Bishop of Ferns (and Lord Chancellor of Ireland), who received Papal approval for the transfer of the See to New Ross.
Sir Richard Butler, second son of Sir Pierce, 8th Earl of Ormonde, by Lady Margaret Fitzgerald, daughter of the 8th Earl of Kildare, was created Viscount Mountgarrett in 1550 as a reward for his work as constable of Ferns Castle, when he joined in a Commission of Martial Law for the disturbed territories of Leinster with Sir Nicholas Devereux of Balmagir, who lived at nearby Adamstown Castle.
Mountgarret Castle, along with the Bishop’s Mill and 380 acres, was granted to Wm Ivory Esq in the Cromwellian Redistribution, but regranted in 1666 to Edmund, Viscount Mountgarrett, whose namesake descendant, the 12th Viscount, was made Earl of Kilkenny in 1793 but died without male issue.
The 18th Viscount, another Edmund Butler (b. 1961), is the likely heir to the Earldoms of Ormond and Ossory and the title of Chief Butler of Ireland.
Mountgarret Castle is very near New Ross on ByRoute 2.