Dan’s Diary 30/09/17 : the chronicle.ie

Dan’s Diary 30/09/17

| September 30, 2017

Numbers in a mass grave on Vinegar Hill remains unconfirmed

When the bicentenary commemorations of the 1798 Rebellion reviewed the

David and Goliath confrontation of the primitive Wexford pikemen against the mighty muskets and gunfire of the British military, we were all happy to fly the flag, carry the pike and march and commemorate.

It was part of our history after all!

I remember once quizzing the indestructible father of Wexford local history, the venerable Nicholas Furlong, concerning the numbers that perished during


Folklore floated the figure at between 20,000 and 30,000. Was that the number of victims in Wexford or nationwide. We have no idea!

However, during 1998 commemorative events were held in every village and hamlet across Wexford, and also in counties Carlow, Kildare, Offaly, Meath and

Dublin, and maybe a few others as well, possibly Kinsale in Cork and Kilala in

Mayo, but the casualty figures didn’t seem to fit the equation.

Recently, some sections of the media, national and local, used front page news to say that a survey had been conducted on Vinegar Hill that shows mass graves containing the remains of up to 2,000 women and children, believed to have been massacred on or near the battlefield.

The project also found a prison, pistols and muskets, swords and musket balls, an amazing amount of discoveries using modern technology.

Project Chairman, Ronan O’Flaherty, confirmed that a team of archaeologists were able to piece together events of June 21, 1798 (Battle of Vinegar Hill) through ground penetrating radar and metal detection carried out under licence.

Owen Dunbar from Gorey is passionate about everything associated with the

1798 Rebellion and he felt proud to be on the historic Vinegar Hill battlefield as it gave up its past artefacts.

He was present at a lecture in Enniscorthy Library given by Damien Shields of

Rubicon Archaeology where the secrets of a four year investigation into the site yielded up its findings.

“Over 60 musket balls have been found, some of the are fully intact, and on others you can clearly see the impact marks on them,” said Owen, who added;

“So detailed is this licensed survey that each find is flagged and bagged with the exact longitude and latitude coordinates to a few millimetres recorded by satellite.”

Each find could be related to the exact spot where it was found. It is known where each division of the yeomanry and redcoat armies were positioned on

June 21, 1798.

Owen posted on Facebook himself in one of his most proudest moments. “The two lead balls that I’m holding it’s almost certain they were fired by troops under the command of General Lake and Rotundas.”

Speaking to THE CHRONICLE regards a Facebook post, Mr Dunbar confirmed that a lot has been written about the research project, and particularly about the presence of a mass grave on the hill.

“We have seen estimates of numbers and nature of bodies mentioned, but the research team are in no position to confirm this as being the case. We have only undertaken geophysical analysis of the location at present. This is a very sensitive situation, and the research team will proceed carefully in this regard, taking recommendations from all relevant parties, and in line with international best practice.”

Mr Dunbar said we should always remember that the existing ditches around the hill are still a very obvious reminder of the course of events there and the soils around the hill still have a lot of information to reveal to us.

“We are only at the start of a long process of information gathering, but we are very thankful for the support and respect people have, and will continue to show this battlefield,” concluded Mr Dunbar.

He also reiterated the damage that some recent planning and metal detecting has done to the Vinegar Hill battle field site.

“It’s time Wexford Co Council declared the whole area surrounding Vinegar

Hill a protected site at the moment the only thing protected is the remains of the windmill on top,” he concluded.

It should be stressed that it is illegal to metal detect in Ireland without a licence, and urge anybody who witnesses others depriving us of our national heritage to immediately report it to the local Gardaí.


Paddy’s passion for the GAA is rewarded

It is not uncommon for illustrious locals to make their mark on the sporting past and it is only when they assume their eternal sleep that their unselfish contributions register publicly as something phenomenal and sustain the backbone of an organisation.

There was a huge public tribute to Paddy Wickham, (79), of Red Path’s Cross,

Bloomfield, Enniscorthy, who passed away recently and his lifetime of service to the GAA set him apart.

Paddy served as Chairman of Wexford County GAA Board from 1994-2001, one of the greatest periods in sporting history, and memories of Wexford’s most recent All Ireland senior hurling championship in 1996 will never be forgotten.

“He was over the moon when they won it. It was a great source of pride to

Dad,” said his daughter Mary, reflecting on the Liam McCarthy Cup making an infrequent welcome to Slaneyside.

Paddy served at all levels for half a century; as a player, and at club, district, county, Leinster Council and Central Council, sitting at decision-making tables.

A unique contribution to sporting administration.

Born and reared in the shadow of historic Wilton Castle where his parents,

Sylvester and Lil, lived at the ‘Dairy Yard’ – an out-farm of the castle – Paddy attended Bree National School and as a young player become part of

Ballyhogue GAA Club.

Playing in the right-corner back position, Paddy won a junior football championship medal in 1961 and followed up with a county senior medal in


After he married Peig Doyle from Market Square, Enniscorthy, in 1960, he moved to the town centre address to rear a family, and after his playing days were drawing to a close, Paddy turned his attention to GAA administration, and the rest is history.

Bishop Denis Brennan and a legion of GAA followers from across the county and beyond were in attendance when Paddy Wickham was laid to rest in

Davidstown Cemetery where the final tributes were paid and sympathy was expressed to his family and friends. RIP.

The Late Canon Matthias Glynn


Fr Matt’s Pugin passion

It was with great sadness that the Diocese of Ferns mourned the sad passing of

Canon Matthias Glynn, (77), who was possessed of a lifelong love for his native

Wexford’s history and heritage.

Fr Glynn was a dedicated follower of the celebrated church architect, Augustus

Welby Pugin (1812-1852) and during his priestly ministry of over forty years, he had the unprecedented privilege of serving in two Pugin’s churches – he became a curate at St. Aidan’s Cathedral, Enniscorthy in 1969 and he spent 22 years in the town, serving as Administrator from 1989 to 1991, when he was made parish priest of Tagoat, serving for the last 26 years of his life.

Speaking at the funeral, Bishop Denis Brennan said; “I have always admired how Canon Matt, Fr Robert Nolan and the hard-working refurbishment combined their talents to deliver such a fine result without any of the controversy which often accompanies the restoration of cathedrals,” an obvious reference to the complete restoration of St Aidan’s Cathedral, Enniscorthy, in


“Canon Glynn’s lifetime achievement was the restoration of St Aidan’s

Cathedral to its former splendour,” said his brother, Jarlath Glynn, who is Chief

Librarian at Enniscorthy Library.

Bishop Denis Brennan led the obsequies in Tagoat Parish Church, tributes were paid to Canon Glynn, and sympathy expressed to his sorrowing family, and he was laid to rest in Crosstown Cemetery, Wexford. RIP.


Greyhounds taking the bend at Enniscorthy Greyhound Stadium last

Thursday night.



Christmas dream goes to the dogs!

Children are usually the ones eagerly looking forward to Christmas, but in

Enniscorthy it is the business community who can’t wait for the arrival of the bearded man in the red suit and already plans are in place to make this year’s festival extra magical.

Last Thursday night Enniscorthy Greyhound Stadium hosted a Dog Night, a fundraiser organised by Enniscorthy and District Chamber of Commerce and

Enniscorthy Business Association, and it was a barking success both on the track and in the enclosure.

This is the third year of this venture and its fundraising purpose weighs heavily in the direction of 2017 Christmas Festival Lighting.

Through the joint efforts of Enniscorthy Municipal District Council, and the defunct Town Council before that, Enniscorthy’s network of streets has a modern lighting system and the town is transformed into a Christmas fairyland, but maintenance and operating costs have to be met.

All nine races were sponsored by Enniscorthy-based businesses, the weather was good, the attendance was satisfactory, and the action on the track was competitive.

It should also be mentioned that Enniscorthy is lucky to have a top class greyhound stadium and it deserves all the local support it can get, racing weekly on Mondays and Thursdays.

Supporting Thursday’s Christmas fundraiser was an enthusiastic group from

Gorey Active Retirement who spent some of their winnings on food and a glass of good wine…or two!


Getting to know who exists!


The IFA Centre on Mill Park Road will be the centre of attention next Friday

(September 29) as large numbers are expected to attend the Bank of Ireland’s

Enterprise Town one-day event.

In its second year, the initiative is designed to showcase the many and varied business enterprises found in Enniscorthy and to promote new opportunities for would-be entrepreneurs.

Marguerite Murphy, Branch Manager at Bank of Ireland, Abbey Square, said the event helps “people connect with people and businesses that up to now they didn’t know existed.”

Ms Murphy pointed out that only 30% of local businesses have a shop front to help promote their business so the need for new ideas and new initiatives to help create awareness of what a town like Enniscorthy has to offer is very important.

Upwards of forty stand-holders will be accommodated at the Enniscorthy

Enterprise Town event which will run from 5.30 pm till 8.30 pm, and they will be allocated on a first-come first-registered basis.

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