The days of wind-driven corn mills

By Dan Walsh

Found myself in the Carne area during the week. Featured on RTE’s popular ‘Reeling in the Years’ for the controversial protests against the proposal to construct a nuclear power station at Carnsore Point at the end of the 1970s.

It will be 42 years ago next Wednesday, (August 19th 1978), when over 5,000 people took part in an anti-nuclear rally and festival at Carnsore Point. The government of the day, subsequently, called off the project and to this day, Ireland is nuclear free!

When all of those ‘celebrities to be’ and environmental activists were in this area I wonder did any of them discover the past? Like I did when passing through Tacumshane on the way to Our Lady’s Island – that most curious of landmarks -Tacumshane Windmill.

TACUMSHANE WINDMILL receiving a course of restoration

As recent as 1891 there were thirteen wind-driven corn mills at work along the south coast of Co. Wexford. The number was down to five by 1911, one of these being Tacumshane Windmill, restored under the care of the Irish Board of Works.

Although built in the mid-19th century, (1846 is carved on the lintel over the eastern doorway on the interior), Tacumshane closely resembles the original 16th century type of a three-storey tower mill.

The end of milling and corn drying came in 1961 and the last miller was Michael ‘Mike’ Power from Sigginstown and Hilltown, born in 1902 and he also worked in other mills in the district in his young days.

Tacumshane is unique amongst surviving windmills and is regarded to have links more closely with windmills in Brittany, western France, Portugal and Spain rather than mainstream developments in the Netherlands and eastern England.

CREDITS; Tacumshin Windmill – its history and mode of operation, compiled by Austin O’Sullivan, based on a short article by Liam de Paor, first published anonymously in issue 12 of the Office of Public Works journal Oibre in 1976.  

Man dies in New Ross tragedy

A man has died in a tragic accident at a business premises in the Park House area of New Ross yesterday (Friday) afternoon.

Details are unconfirmed, but it is believed the deceased may have been a visitor to the premises when he was hit by a truck and died at the scene.

Units of the New Ross Fire Service, ambulance paramedics and Gardai were quickly on the scene of the incident which occurred around 3pm.

Gardaí and the Health & Safety Authority are both conducting an investigation into the circumstances of the tragedy.

Off to the beach…a choice of 275kms!

By Dan Walsh

The weekend is here again, and with high temperatures staying with us for longer, large crowds are again expected at Wexford’s beaches and Gardaí will be on duty in and around Curracloe and Ballinesker beaches and car parks to assist with traffic congestion.

“Please ensure you park your vehicle in a safe and responsible manner. Access to beach car parks will have to be restricted if capacity is reached”; said a spokesperson for Wexford Garda Division, who added; “Signage and traffic control measures will be also in place to help alleviate any traffic issues.”

Meanwhile, Wexford County Council reported severe congestion at Curracloe and Duncannon in recent times and suggest that visitors take an alternative beach on the 275kms of Wexford coastline.

The list includes Ballymoney North, Cahore, Old Bawn, Morriscastle, Balllinesker, Culleton’s Gap, Rosslare Strand, St. Helen’s Bay, Carne, Ballyhealy, Cullenstown Strand and Booley Beach.

For those who get onto the beach and enjoy a swim, be extra careful because the warm water is enticing jellyfish, who can cause excruciating pain by sting, even when they are dead!

Cllr Jim Moore posted photos of a Lions Mane Jellyfish and a Compass Jellyfish, washed up between Ballygrangans and Nemestown, near Kilmore Quay, sent by a local lady as a warning to the public regards their presence. Please be careful and watch out for any jellyfish.

Also not forgetting the pets. Advice from the ISPCA; “It’s better to avoid walking your dog during intense heat, so early morning or evening walks is best when it’s cooler. If the pavement is too hot for your hand, then it is too hot for their paws. Always have fresh cool water available and access to shade from the sun. Never leave a dog alone inside in a car.”

The message for this weekend is simple. Please have patience and obey Garda directions, park safely and sensibly, respect the environment, take responsibility for personal care at all times, respect others, and have a memorable and safe family occasion. 

‘Hooked’ on live theatre at Coolgreany

By Dan Walsh

Drama-lovers in North Wexford and beyond are being treated to a rare theatrical event this summer- a live outdoor theatre performance. At a time when live theatre is a rarity, this is certainly a quality show not to be missed!

Popping up in the garden and Hooked on their lines! Carl Nuzum, Niamh Fleming and Norah Finn from Coolgreany Drama. Pic; Thomas Clare

Coolgreany Drama has been presenting (in accordance with Covid-19 health and safety guidelines) the full-length comedy drama Hooked by Gillian Grattan in the unique outdoor surroundings of the beautiful Ram House Gardens in the north Wexford village.

Ram House Gardens, lovingly tended by Lolo Stevens, is a delightful summer setting for this production. It is spread over two acres and features in many major gardens of Ireland guides.

Hooked is a three-handed comedy drama in which young Dubliner Lydia’s move to a small country village leads to an unexpected chain of events, exposing many local secrets and lies.

Directed by Sally Stevens and featuring Norah Finn, Carl Nuzum and Niamh Fleming, Hooked has proved a huge hit with audiences. It was performed regularly throughout July and after a short break has returned for August performances. Remaining dates are: Saturdays and Sundays at 4pm on August,15, 16, 22 and 23 and Thursday evening, August 20.

One of the few theatre performances taking place anywhere in the country.

To book tickets on Eventbrite for the remaining shows Google Hooked Coolgreany. Admission is €12 plus Eventbrite booking fee. For further queries about the show phone: 087 2411926.

The performance lasts for approximately 90 minutes with no interval. Due to Covid restrictions there are no toilet facilities.

A few seats left at Gap Arts Festival

By Dan Walsh

The creative 10th annual Gap Arts Festival is taking place this weekend, and Festival Director, Garrett Keogh told WexfordLocal.com; “While we have had online activities, we have tried to keep live performance and the bringing of people together at the heart of what we do.”

The Gap Arts Festival highlights

Taking place at Ballythomas, close to the Wexford-Wicklow county border the Festival will feature outdoor events, films, a picnic with live music and entertainment, and a reading of a new play by well-known actor Garrett Keogh, with a cast of Wexford-living Fair City regulars, including Ruth Hegarty and Aisling O’Neill.

We are informed that this event is sold out for tomorrow night and there are only about nine seats left for Saturday night’s performance, so quick action is necessary to be part of the audience.

Two short films are commissioned by Gap Arts Festival. One, a DIY short film, made by people at home on mobile devices over the last few months, that will be edited into a document of the community’s experiences of the lockdown. And a bi-lingual short Ceol na gCrann, The Music of the Trees, an allegorical piece with music on renewal and hope in dark times.

Pre-booking can only be made through Eventbrite.ie. Audience capacity is very much reduced. All events observe government health and safety guidelines including social distancing and sanitisation. For more information http://www.GapArtsFestival.com

Our Lady’s Island to experience virtual vision

By Dan Walsh

Unlike many other prominent pilgrimage sites around the world, Our Lady’s Island has never experienced “a vision”; however, ‘a virtual vision’ in the non-transparent sense will ensure that this years’ pilgrimage events will be ‘live streamed’ on the Our Lady’s Island Facebook page or ourladysisland.ie

No crowds at Our Lady’s Island for the traditional pilgrimage this August. The events will be ‘live streamed’;

The annual pilgrimage which attracts tens of thousands of pilgrims annually is a victim of the Covid-19 guidelines so the disappointed pilgrims cannot seek the comfort of prayer in the traditional way through personal presence. Alternatively, they can avail of the Facebook page.

The opening Mass for the 2020 pilgrimage will be celebrated by Bishop Denis Brennan at 11am on Saturday, August 15th. Morning Masses will be at 10am and Evening Masses at 8pm.

Parish Priest, Fr Jim Cogley said; “The church is open each day and everyone who wishes to visit the island is welcome to come for their own individual pilgrimage at any time. Church numbers will be restricted during services. The gift and coffee shops will be open with social distancing.”

A BRIEF HISTORY; 1954 was the Marian Year. It was also the year that the celebrated Irish American rosary priest Fr Patrick Peyton visited Ireland and that included the 15th of August pilgrimage at Our Lady’s Island. 40,000 people attended.

It was an occasion that boosted the south Wexford village as a pilgrimage of importance. Next day The Irish Independent newspaper ran a full page of photographs and Fr. Peyton made the front pages. Later the picture of Fr Peyton at Our Lady’s Island would hang in many homes across Wexford flanked by President John F. Kennedy and Pope Paul VI.

Christian devotion at Our Lady’s Island goes back to the 6th century and it is on record that people travelled great distances and crawled around a circuit of the island on their bare knees! Those days were knocked out by the Great Famine of 1847, but twenty years later, in 1867, the Redemptorist priests gave a mission in the parish and revived the ancient pilgrimage. 2,000 turned up.

In modern times tens of thousands travel from all corners of the country and in 15 centuries only the Great Famine and Covid-19 has interrupted the mass devotion of ancient origins. This year get on to Facebook or get somebody to help with the technology which will be ‘live streamed’ on PCs, tablets, mobile phones etc. Look up ourladysisland.ie    

Wexford Garda appeal for witnesses

One individual has been arrested and questioned in connection with incidents that occurred in the Spawell Road – Westgate area of Wexford town in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Gardai are seeking assistance from anyone who may have observed suspicious activity in or around this area late on Saturday night or early on Sunday morning to please contact them at Wexford Garda Station by calling 053 9165200.

Large crowds at Wexford beaches today

By Dan Walsh

Reports from Council Beach Staff indicate that there have been significant crowds at main beaches such as Ballymoney, Courtown, Morriscastle, Rosslare Strand, Strand Courtown, Duncannon and over 5,000 at Curracloe.

BALLYCONNIGAR BEACH on quieter days


Wexford County Council appeals to Wexford residents and visitors to refrain from visiting the main beaches if possible. The number of COVID-19 cases nationally is increasing and the crowds on the beaches are making social distancing impossible.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Wexford County Council said; “We do not want to have a second all out lockdown in Co. Wexford, that prospect is something everyone wants to avoid. So, the message is enjoy the sunshine, stay safe, but stay away from the beaches today (Sunday) if possible.” Council staff will liaise with Gardai and may have to shut down access to the beaches if people do not take cognisance of the delicate situation that exists.

Duncannon basking in the sunshine

By Dan Walsh

Duncannon has traditionally been a popular holiday spot and with today’s temperatures in the low 20s and more to follow into early next week, at least, the sandy resort by the Barrow Estuary is making the best of the times that are in it!

DUNCANNON BEACH this afternoon.

Overflowing numbers forced the closure of the beach car parking area this afternoon, and while motorists were compliant, there was no controversial congestion. It was a straightforward case of following the Covid-19 guidelines.

Duncannon is a tight spot for traffic at any time and blocked off areas facilitating the replacement of a footpath at the village junction isn’t helping, but traffic was moving today, and those who ventured to the top of the village, parked safely, and exercised an adventurous up-hill down-hill walk to the beach, had no worries.

Modern Duncannon is for the holidays. The older Duncannon is steeped in history. After the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, James II, embarked for France from Duncannon Fort. During the 1798 Rebellion it afforded asylum to many.

New Ross is open and refreshed

By Dan Walsh

The trial run of four weeks of pedestrianisation in New Ross on each Friday, Saturday and Sunday of August has commenced with a pleasant degree of success so far. And, the weather is helping too!

A pleasant summer scene on South Street, New Ross, this afternoon

Many visitors were taking advantage of today’s brilliant sunshine and tasty varieties of food on South Street. There was also some music to sweeten the mood. The trial is to assist local traders deal with the effects of the Covid-19 restrictions on business and trade in the town.

New Ross Municipal District has provided funding for tables and chairs which will be put out for use by any traders and it will also link in with New Ross Summer Sessions which is currently each Saturday and Sunday.
Today’s photo taken in South Street is enriched by the fresh artwork from The Walls Project, and one of five murals to be installed in New Ross celebrating The Norman Way.