Kennedy: The Banks of the Boro: A Chronicle Of The County Of Wexford

Pdf Kennedy, Patrick, The Banks Of The Boro: A Chronicle of County Wexford, Dublin: McGlashan & Gill, 1867
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The Banks of the Boro: A Chronicle of County Wexford by Patrick Kennedy published 1867 is an account of his travels and of country life in Co. Wexford in the early 19th century. It is dedicated to his friend Patrick Josephy Murray who was the director of convict prisons and inspector of reformatory schools. In the preface Kennedy says that the incidents described occured between 1817 and 1818 before he resided in Dublin.

Among the incidents vivdly described are Irish wakes, hurling games, social evenings, meals, Sunday worship, harvest time, the custom of courting, marriages, funerals, traditional music, drinking sessions and conversations. Using this personal type of a narrative, Kennedy paints a richly detailed picture of daily life in County Wexford. The language of the people including a dialect of English known as Yola is faithfully recorded by Kennedy who paid close attention to detail. His description of events deliberately abandons a fixed chronology.

The period was a time of transition as the 1798 United Irishman rebellion had occured less than two decades before which had been accompanied by sectarian warfare, massacre and bloodshed. It was also twenty years before the calamity of the Great Potato Famine of the 1940s. Kennedy wrote his manuscript in the 1850s and therefore the tone is nostalgic. The apparent gaity of the Anglo-Irish gentry and Catholic peasant life masked tragedy and bitter political division.

The River Boro, a tributary of the River Slaney, rises in the Blackstairs Mountains and passes through Castleboro Demesne. Castleboro Desmesne was the home of the Carew dynasty who lived at Castleboro House which was destroyed by fire in the 1840s. Later in the 19th century Wexford born Protestant MP Charles Stuart Parnell secured the rights of Irish tenant farmers. In 1923 following the Irish War of Independence, Castleboro House was again destroyed by the IRA and the ruins were abandoned.

County Wexford was home to many branches of the Gaelic Kennedy clan. The town of New Ross was the ancestral home of U.S. President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) whose great grandfather Patrick departed for America during the 1840s.

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