Enniscorthy Past

 Enniscorthy Market Sq. in olden days. Please click on picture to get a better view.

Town History

“The town of Enniscorthy stands beside the Slaney in the centre of Wexford county; a steep town with street climbing above street from the Norman Castle up to where Pugin’s Cathedral overlooks the scene. It is a homely, handsome place, with spacious fair-green and squares, convents, factories, mills, stores, fine schools; over all an air of prosperity that comes from the goodness of the surrounding land and the industry of the people; a democratic place, Irish as the quartz rock on which it stands.

From the centre, you look across the river meadow to another hill, Vinegar Hill, on the East bank, crowned by an ancient windmill tower, and wider prospects are through woods to the purple folds of the mountains – to the three heights against the sunset, that were named of old ‘The Three Leaps of Oisin’s Hounds’. If it were in France or Italy, the world would hear of Enniscorthys’ beauty, painters and etchers would depict it in a hundred aspects”

This another delightful photo of old.

Vinegar Hill

Slaney Place, Enniscorthy. I can’t help but notice the two men to the left standing by the wall and doing nothing. There is a similar occurrence in the first photo up above. I thought at first the men above were just gathered there for past-time activity after the market was over or whatever, but now I don’t think that was somehow the case. Come to think of it, I’ve seen similar stuff in other old photos of men who were simply hanging around and gawking everywhere and with hands in the pockets and doing nothing. It was never the women. The men in the photo here, it appears, don’t know where to put their heads as the older woman passes by. See how she passed by on the middle of the street, was it because she was too embarrassed to walk on the narrow foot-path? I remember my uncle pointing out to me men who were standing on the street in Enniscorthy doing nothing. He said that kind of thing would never be seen in Japan, where people are kept busy the live-long day going about their business. I know there is a term called ‘corner-boys’. I’ve also seen men in Ballyjamesduff, dress up to go and stand at a corner of one particular street. It happened outside churches long ago, so perhaps this is just an extension of the same behaviour. I think the woman was also wearing dark clothing, as in the olden days women mourned their spouses and dressed in black clothing. I once encountered a woman who lost her husband when she was  young woman and twenty years on she was still wearing black clothing. I think that was an exceptional case. How come the men never had to don black clothing for years on end. I expect they only wore the black patch on their sleeves.

Enniscorthy Castle

Postcard of last major restoration of Enniscorthy Castle by P.J.Roche of New Ross. The work was carried out between 1900 and 1905, and the Castle was a wedding present for his son, Henry J. Roche and his American bride Josephine Shriver.


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