St. John’s Manor, Enniscorthy Co. Wexford

St. John’s Manor was home of my great-grandmother Anastatia and her brother Ned Kavanagh. When she married she chose a very kind genteel farmer at nearby The Still, Enniscorthy, instead of entering into an arranged marriage to a surgeon. The husband’s relations went off to Boston, America when she arrived at Fairfield Farm. I think she may have ran them, as they were probably too laid back and not so fond of farm work. They were very arty, eccentric type of people from what was told me by my uncle, who visited the next generation in America. We both love[d] individually minded people of that ilk.

She was subsequently disowned by her family. She was a flaming red-head, as most Irish are noted for having – despite Scotland having the larger amount of redheads – and had an independent mind to go with same. There was five hundred acres of very fertile land attached to St. John’s when my ancestors were there. However, in this present day there is only 5 acres. The Kavanagh’s sold the manor in the forties. My great-grandmother had wanted to buy it – but was barred from so doing. There was also a private graveyard attached to it where Ned Kavanagh is buried along with his wife, parents and young daughter. Not to mention some very brave Irish men who were excommunicated from the church because of their allegiance to a national cause and were not allowed a Christian burial.

He had a substantial amount of property besides St. John’s. He was in the threshing/shipping business and had over a hundred men working for him during the threshing/harvest season, etc. He was a very hard taskmaster, and wouldn’t bend to the unions. He was known to have told the union men that if they were so fond of sticking up for the workers why didn’t they go along and work for them instead. It was tough being at the top, and it can make people very hard. He was also in the shipping business and made vast sums of money as well as having also lost vast amounts. He dabbled in stocks and shares. I remember my uncle telling me that the Kavanagh’s were direct descendants of the famous MacMurrough-Kavanagh clan They were fierce strong upright tall business men, and my uncle in Knock who ran a mini religious-stalls empire in days when people were starving in Ireland had the gimp of the Kavanagh about him. They could both turn a penny into a thousand pennies. Or, as my mother used to say, that every pilgrim’s head that landed in Knock was a penny to fill his deep pockets. He wore an apron and it was called the mason’s apron for some unknown reason. Uncle Ned was an impeccable dresser. Every day he wore a business man suit. He was a true professional in his attire and manner. He was a very shrewd business-man, just like his grand-uncle Ned. He counted heads as pennies. He even made money from milk-bottles filled with water from taps that were blessed beside Knock Basilica and subsequently sold to gullible pilgrims as Knock holy water. He laughed all the way to the bank on this holy (H2O). For over forty-five years the pennies rolled in as the holy water flowed out of the taps and made uncle Ned a man to be envious of in the far reaches of Knock Co. Mayo. I used to be in stitches laughing at the cunning ways of the shrewd operator, as the said tales were told me by a reliable source. I remember being told an hilarious story about a bus-load of pilgrims from Enniscorthy, whom made a real fuss of him altogether because he was one of their own. One of these Enniscorthyites sitting in a crowded space in his restaurant called him over to the table and for the craic she whispered jokingly into his ear, “aaarrrh…whist…sure, you must be a millionaire at any rate now, with all the years you’ve been slogging away in business in this neck of the woods?” He moved back a pace from the table with a big smirk on his face, whilst simultaneously clutching his beloved apron, he bent over to her ear and said in a pretended whisper and with a captivated audience to boot. “No, begob, I’m not a millionaire at all, whatever makes you think that indeed?” She pointed to all she could survey, “ah, sure”, she said, “isn’t it well known from here to Enniscorthy that you own the half of Knock, so go wan outta dat and don’t annoy me with all your aul fibbing, I didn’t come down from Heaven, you know, with the last Knock apparition.” “Ah, well,” says he, stiffening himself up, and in a more serious vein, “I’m very afraid, so, that I’ll have to disappoint you, now, on that one there”. There was uproarious laughter at this stage from the whole restaurant of pilgrims, who eavesdropped on the shenanigans. “But”… says he gloatingly with a negative nod, “I will tell you one thing, though, you’ve got your sums terribly wrong”. He then proceeded to go over to her other ear and said in a real loud voice for all to hear. “I have it to say that I’m not a millionaire…but….er… I’m a multi-millionaire. Well… the howls of laughter nearly cracked the ceiling. The craic was just mighty. I laughed my socks off as this was being regaled to me. He was actually telling the truth. You definitely need a sense of humour in business and he was graced so much with that gift.

On a more sombre note. I have it to say that I went to my mothers funeral in a top range Merc, costing nigh on 80,000 grand. I could buy a small house with that amount. His wife left the keys of her own Merc in the city and it was stolen. She was not covered by insurance because of negligence on her part, and went out the next day to buy a newer one, albeit at a lower price range as Ned’s. He wanted a rolls-royce. His other brother in Bassett, Southampton had a porche. Only the best would suffice. She was dripping down to her ankles in Canadian furs. The whole family of five went all over the world during three months of the winter. I believe the suitcases were packed to the hilt with luxury clothing items. This was long before the Celtic Tiger appeared on the Irish scene.

Ned Kavanagh’s children had their own school-room at the house, so they were very fortunate to be well educated. One of his daughters entered a convent and became head of that order somewhere in Africa. She donated St. John’s bellfry to the people. The casket of gold sovereigns that my great-grandmother had stashed away at Fairfield farm would have been her family fortune. Her children were sent to boarding school and university on same. It was rumoured that it was also used to set up uncle Ned in business in Knock. The casket was apparently found hidden in the attic at Fairfield farm, The Still, when she passed away. My mother told me on innumerable occasions to always remember that I came from a respectable family, despite all to the contrary. I always think of what she told me and the stories about my ancestors, especially when I find that there are people out there who think I’m not good enough to wipe their shoes or be in their blogosphere company. I also think of my uncle in Canada who rose to the top – having been a director of WHO organisation for years and had a scholarship foundation called after him; and who had over a dozen letters after his name. His sons too are proudly following in his footsteps in the academic field.

Country manor with its own spa CO WEXFORD/€995,000: A COUNTRY HOUSE built on the site of a 13th-century Franciscan monastery comes with a spa in the basement and a protected cottage in the grounds.

Bought 10 years ago and revamped by its current owners, St John’s Manor, on the outskirts of Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, could be bought either as a family home, or as a home and income. It is for sale for €995,000 through Sherry FitzGerald O’Leary in Wexford.

The late Georgian mansion, built in 1810, sits on five acres near the River Slaney, approached down a poplar-lined avenue. Granite steps lead to a grand entrance hall which, like the rest of the house, is rich in period detail.

There are views of the Slaney Valley from the drawingroom, which has an ornate marble chimneypiece; there’s a black and pink marble fireplace in the dramatic red diningroom and a study. A conservatory with a flagstone floor opens onto a deck.

There are three large en-suite bedrooms upstairs in the main house, and an attic level room at the top.

Other accommodation includes the two-bedroom priory mews cottage and a two-bed annexe.

The Ballycoursey Day Spa is in the basement and is still run as a going concern, leaving it open to new owners to possibly take it over. There’s also potential to run the whole place as a guest house. There are outbuildings in the courtyard and a stable block and two-acre paddock.

St John’s Manor, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford Georgian mansion on five acres Agent: Sherry FitzGerald O’Leary

St. John’s Manor, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford

Fairfield Farm Enniscorthy | Marie-Thérèse O’Loughlin …

St. John’s Manor Census 1901

5 Kavanagh View occupants or original census form (as a PDF)

St. John’s Manor, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford

St. John’s Manor  Enniscorthy  Co. Wexford.

BRIEF HISTORY In 1231 AD Sir Gerald de Prendergast founded the Priory of St. John’s for Augustinian Cannons on the current site of St. John’s Manor. Granite quoins, steps, archways and many other building materials including ancient oak beams from the original Priory were used in the construction of the Manor as it stands today. Charles Hill built St. John’s Manor in 1810. The attached Priory Mews Cottage and Antiques Tea-Room/Sitting Room predates the Manor to 1232 and is listed and protected as one of the oldest structures in Ireland.

 A double bow fronted four storey Georgian Mansion built in 1810 on the site of a 12th century Franciscan monastery, and as such is Listed as a Preserved Building. It occupies approximately five acres and commands one of the most beautiful reaches of the Slaney River with its glittering waters and scenic valley. It has been provided with modern conveniences while retaining all period features and offers peace, tranquillity, and seclusion with plenty of space in a richly decorated and sublimely comfortable home.

Panoramic views of Enniscorthy, the ancient and historic Ringwood and Vinegar Hill are evident from most windows. It inspired one of the best contemporary poets, Thomas Kinsella, to pen his famous poem Another September while staying at St. John’s.

Another September

 Dreams fled away, this country bedroom, raw
 With the touch of the dawn, wrapped in a minor peace,
 Hears through an open window the garden draw
 Long pitch black breaths, lay bare its apple trees,
 Ripe pear trees, brambles, windfall-sweetened soil,
 Exhale rough sweetness against the starry slates.
 Nearer the river sleeps St. John's, all toil
 Locked fast inside a dream with iron gates.

 Domestic Autumn, like an animal
 Long used to handling by those countrymen,
 Rubs her kind hide against the bedroom wall
 Sensing a fragrant child come back again
 - Not this half-tolerated consciousness
 That plants its grammar in her yielding weather
 But that unspeaking daughter, growing less
 Familiar where we fell asleep together.

 Wakeful moth wings blunder near a chair,
 Toss their light shell at the glass, and go
 To inhabit the living starlight. Stranded hair
 Stirs on still linen. It is as though
 The black breathing that billows her sleep, her name,
 Drugged under judgement, waned and - bearing daggers
 And balances--down the lampless darkness they came,
 Moving like women : Justice, Truth, such figures.
The mansion’s imposing façade is flood-lit at night and may be seen from the far bank of the N11 Rosslare to Dublin road, which is approximately half a mile distant.

St John’s Manor is approached via a winding poplar lined quarter mile private avenue, ensuring total privacy and seclusion. Within the grounds is an ancient oak tree reputed to be over 600 years old, and listed in the prestigious Tree Register of Ireland. A shamrock sun terrace and a willow walk provide access to the Slaney River. The present owners have planted in excess of four hundred trees in the grounds of the Manor during their custodianship.

MarieTherese39 412 days ago

“On February 13th 1552, a lease was granted to Gabriel Blake, “of the Franciscan Friary, Enniscorthy, with a water mill and other appurtenances adjoining; the Manor Enniscorthy, a ruined castle and land in the same, an old weir and land in Garrane,” land.

MarieTherese39 421 days ago

During the time my great-grand uncle Ned resided at St John’s the land comprised of 500 acres. He also had many other properties in Wexford.

MarieTherese39 422 days ago

1911 census of my great-grandmother’s brother.

Crikey, he’d only one daughter in 01.

MarieTherese39 422 days ago

Census form of my great-grand uncle, Edward Kavanagh. I read that his wife Roseanna was was born in Australia.

Houses in St. John’s (Enniscorthy Rural, Wexford) St. John’s

5 Kavanagh View occupants or original census form (as a PDF)
Roseanna also had a daughter called Eileen. Eileen married a prominent Wexford county doctor who was a brother of Bart Bastible, the Sweepstake T.V personality.
“The Irish Hospitals’ Sweepstakes” programme, sponsored by the Irish Hospitals’ Trust to promote the sale of tickets for the Irish Sweepstake, and “The Walton’s Programme”, sponsored by the Dublin music shop of that name, became among the best-known and longest-running sponsored programmes. Listen here to the closing sequence of “The Irish Hospitals’ Sweepstakes” programme.
RTÉ Libraries and Archives: preserving a unique record of Irish life. (The Irish Hospitals’ Sweepstakes. First broadcast: 1930s Presenters: Ian Priestly Mitchell & Bart Bastible)
She became an artist and even sold one of her painting to my uncle Tom R.I.P. in Canada. He had insisted on paying for it, so my uncle Willie told me. Eileen went to live in Dalkey, Co Dublin. I think she may have had an art shop, or a shop of some other description anyway. She was fiercely independent. I think he told me that there was a son who was an accountant. Uncle Willie R.I.P. went to visit her in a nursing home in the vicinity approximately ten years ago. She has since died.
Another daughter of Ned’s went out to Africa. She became head of a religious order. She donated the belfry of St John’s to some church or other out in Africa. She was allegedly fuming when she came home on holiday to Ireland to discover the modern usage of St. John’s by the second last owners, who were in the hairdressing business. Nothing remains static. She lived to be a ripe old age. She could have been in the ninety bracket when she visited her home?
There was also a very strong heavy door given to Enniscorthy Museum.
The Kavanagh children had very privileged lives. They even had their own school and tutors. Ned made his fortune, mostly I think, in the shipping business. He also took risks with his fortune.
He had wanted his only sister, my great grandmother Anastatia (Ansty) to marry a surgeon who was lined up for her, but she had other plans on marrying a plain gentle farmer, who had only one-fifth of the land that Ned had at St John’s alone. She was disowned. However, she had enough sovereigns in a steel-suit-case that saw her educate her children and grand-children. It was rumoured too that some of the undeclared sovereigns went on to build up Ned’s (grand-nephew) little Knock empire. That’s supposed to be a secret family folk-lore. I don’t know the truth of it at all? It’s such a shame that Ned senior deprived the cousins of knowing each other as children. ‘Never the twain shall meet’. The latter turned out to be very successful.
Medical Appointments by Local Authorities.
By the courtesy of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health we are enabled to publish the following monthly list of medical candidates appointed to offices under local authorities on the recommendation of the Local Appointments Commissioners: – … [D]octor C. Bastible, 50 Hannaville Park, Terenure, Dublin to be M.O.H., Co. Wexford, who will also act as School Medical Officer. (October 1930)
Dr. C. Bastible attended the wife of the president of Ireland Sean T. O’Kelly. Mary-Kate was a lady of many friends and no enemies.