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Introduction A Wexford Miscellany will take you through the long history of the town of Wexford from it's mythological origins to the modern urban centre. The book is really three volumes packed into one. It has a concise, eminently readable popular history of the town. It contains a series of unique and often, previously unpublished photographs. These pictures, rescued from attics, private and public collections, will transport you to forgotten times. The maps and sketches will conjure up the reality of Viking, Norman and Medieval Wexford. The thematic chronology will recall times past with snippets of information from contemporary sources. These short, snappy pieces can be dipped into at leisure to savour the reality of earlier days. They will interest, amaze, amuse and mystify in turn. Some thousands of years ago Garman Garbh stole the crown of the queen of his tribe. In pursuing this villain, the tribe enlisted the help of a local enchantress who released a great torrent of water. This deluge engulfed Garman and he drowned. The crown was retrieved and once more graced the queen's head. But the waters of the enchantress settled in some lowlands in the south eastern corner of Ireland where local legend it The Lake of Garman or Loch gCarman. Such is the fabled origin of the name and the harbour which gives Wexford it's current Gaelic name. In The Mists of Time There is no certainty as to the date of the arrival of the first settlers in this area. Their entry route was most likely by boat from Wales, landing in a calm safe haven fed by the fresh water rivers later named the Horse River and the Peter, perhaps as early as 7,000 B.C.. On the forested edge of this broad expanse of harbour the first Wexfordians made their initial camp, perhaps as a base for fishing or trapping wild animals. Later, as the population grew, land would have been cleared for agricultural use and the settlement that would become Wexford took root. It is evident from the famous map of Ptolemy that a settlement in this area was well established by 150 AD. On this early map, drawn from the observations of various seafarers made over many years, we find the river now known as The Slaney, plotted as The Madonnas and a settlement at its mouth called Menapia which can only be Wexford. This settlement of the Menapii tribe who originated in Menapiorum Castellum, now called Kessel, in Belgium shows that trading was already well established in this area. From this Celtic settlement of the Menapii which was probably located in the vicinity of to-day's Selskar Abbey, the town was to grow. The Coming of Christianity. 433 439 Attila ruler of the Huns Vandals capture Carthage The Selskar area is believed to have been the site of pagan worship. In keeping with practice elsewhere, Christianity established at the same location when introduced in the fifth century. Wexford did not rely on St. Patrick for it's Christianity. The holy man for this area was a man variously referred to as Yvorus, Iver, Iberius or Ibar. Like Patrick, he had his legend of banishment. As the national saint is said to have driven the snakes from Ireland, Ibar drove the rats from Begerin, or Little Ireland, an island in Wexford Harbour. It is said that this banishment occurred when the vermin were found eating the holy man's books. Ibar is recalled today by his many names in numerous parts of Wexford. St. Iberius church is on Main street, St. Ibar's is the main cemetery and St. Ivers is a well known rural area south of the town. Begerin has disappeared into the reclaimed lands to the north of the harbour. The Viking Age. 850 861 863 868 882 New Zealand settled by ancestors of the Maori Iceland discovered by Vikings Cryllic alphabet created First printed book 'The Diamond Sutra' in China Swedish Viking state in Kiev, Russia The Vikings or Norsemen were the next people to make a permanent impression on Wexford. Their earliest exploits were sporadic raids on the monasteries at Oak Island and Begerin. Over the years these invaders began to found more permanent settlements. These began to the south end of the present town around the mouth of the Bishopswater river and initially appear to have been quite separate from the older settlement. The Norsemen built their houses and erected ditches and palisades under the knoll which would house castles and barracks for the next thousand years. Over the years the Norse town known as Weisfiord, Ford of the Mud Flats, gradually expanded northwards and trading between the new and old settlers flourished. Over the years, Christianity became the religion of the new Weisfiord, with churches like St. Michael's, St. Doologues or Olaves and Holy Trinity being established. Life in Weisfiord revolved around houses of mud plastered wattle with thatched roofs. These homes were built close together with small gardens for growing the staple foods. Pigs were reared in the muddy streets and cats and dogs were working companions rather than pets, keeping a check on the vermin which St. Ibar had not banished from the mainland area. From ancient texts the inhabitants are described as tall, handsome and with ruddy complexions. This healthy appearance could be attributed to the abundant produce of land and sea which was available to them. Surprising as it may seem, in the famous Good Friday battle at Clontarf in 1014, Wexford's inhabitants would have fought against Brian Boru. This was because sea travel was much easier than any other and therefore, Wexford was in closer contact with Bristol and Dublin than with any Irish native settlement. Despite common belief the Battle of Clontarf did not drive the Vikings from Ireland. Towns like Wexford remained. The Norsemen and the Irish lived in varying states of co-existence and the municipality grew and life settled into a peaceful rhythm. The Normans. 1161 1170 1170 1171 1175 Chinese invent gunpowder Murder of Thomas Beckett Papermaking spreading in Europe Fall of the Toltec civilisation in Mexico Saladin rules Egypt Muslim Empire starts in India In the spring of 1169 the relative peace was shattered. News reached the fortified town in May of that year that an army of Welshmen with Dermot McMurrough, king of Ui Kinsella, was marching from Bannow, some miles away. A force of 2,000 men is said to have been despatched to intercept this group, confident of repelling the potential invaders. What they confronted was the first ever well disciplined and armed Norman army on Irish soil - an army of great fighting experience, helmeted and clad in chain mail. Seeing discretion as the better part of valour, the townsmen retreated behind their walls, burning outlying houses as they went. This Norman invasion was precipitated by McMurrough's disaffection with other Irish chieftains following some romantic and marital difficulties. On seeking assistance from Henry II of England, a group of Welsh knights under Strongbow were allowed to mount an expedition to Ireland and it was this Norman force which stood before the walled town of Wexford in May 1169 with ranks of archers armed with longbows and crossbows massed on the heights of today's Carrigeen. Giraldus Cambresis leaves us an account of the siege. "FitzStephens lost no time in preparing for the attack...an assault was made on the walls with loud cries and desperate vigour. But the townsmen were ready...casting down from the battlements large stones and beams... Withdrawing from the walls, they gathered on the neighbouring strand and set fire to the ships they found lying there. On the following morning, after Mass had been celebrated throughout the army, they proceeded to renew their assault... At length by mediation of two bishops resident in the town..peace was restored." This passage gives us a possible origin for the Wexford town crest of three burning ships. It also tells us that Wexford's walls held fast against the Norman army. The first ever so-called "Anglo-Irish Treaty" was signed in Wexford in May 1169 as the town was granted to FitzStephen and to his half brother Maurice Fitzgerald. This Norman period saw the extension and improvement of the town walls. The town played host to King Henry II during the Easter season of 1172 when he is reputed to have done penance for the death of Thomas a Beckett in one of Wexford's churches. On April 17 of that year the king proceeded via Peter Street to a shipwharf at the present Cresent and sailed for France. Before embarking he granted the mills of the town of Wexford to the Knights Templar and instructed the inhabitants to continue strengthening the walls. Medieval Wexford. 1300 1312 1338 1341 1349 Climate deteriorates in Europe Inca civilisation on the rise Templar Knights abolished Start of Hundred Years War The Black Death starts in Asia Black Death in England While primarily defensive, town walls of this period were also boundaries. They marked the line between residents and non residents, those entitled to town privileges and those not so entitled. Town gates in the Norman town were closed from sunset to sunrise. Wexford's six gates - South Gate; St. Bride's Gate; St. Peter's Gate; Kayser Gate; St. John's Gate and West Gate - were used to control trade and to collect tolls from those entering the town. Within the walled Wexford, life was quite organised and formal. Marketplaces were designated by laws indicating what commodities could be sold in each area. Potatoes and corn were sold at Cornmarket, meat was sold in "The Shambles" or Meat Market at The Bullring. Wexford had become part of the Norman world. It was in 1317 that Wexford was granted it's first charter. This document outlined regulations for the administration of the town. The 1317 charter granted to Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, concerned the appointment of burgesses from whom a mayor and bailiffs were chosen. Life in Wexford in the 14th century was primitive by modern standards. Dunghills were commomplace in the streets. Lanes and pig styes were said to "infect the air and produce fevers, pestilence and death". Fire was also a common enemy in closely packed thatched houses and "anyone found guilty of starting a fire was fined one hundred shillings or thrown into the flames". The year was measured by seasons and Saint's Days of which no fewer than 150 were then observed. Time was measured as dawn, dusk and noon as a mid point. In 1348 the people of Wexford are said to have flocked to the tomb of Friar John to pray for deliverance from The Plague or Black Death which ravaged Europe. Either through holy deliverance or lack of documentation, we find no reference to the plague in the town. A town charter of 1410 granted the Mayor of Wexford power to call men to arms and to set fair prices for goods sold in the Market Place. In 1462 Wexford was drawn into the War of the Roses between York and Lancaster. The town was seized by Sir John Butler and was soon under siege from the Earl of Desmond. Deciding not to test the defences built by his Norman forebears, Butler accepted a challenge to combat in the open fields. In this he was defeated and Wexford was taken by Desmond, once more without the walls being breached. Desmond held a parliament in Selskar Abbey in 1463. The Reformation. 1509 1519 1520 1525 1532 The watch invented at Nuremberg Magellan crosses the Pacific Africa - New World slave trade starts Potato introduced from South Ameria Inca Empire destroyed The religious reformation in Europe and in England first affected Wexford in January of 1539. George Browne, Protestant Archbishop of Dublin, visited the town in that month preaching royal supremacy in church matters. With suppression on the horizon, the Franciscan Order who had ministered to the spiritual needs of the Wexford flock since 1240, quitely went underground. They lived as ordinary citizens in the homes of the faithful and ministered in secret. A brief respite in 1553, with Queen Mary on the throne saw the Friars back in their church thanks to the generosity of Paul Turner, a local businessman. Such relief was short-lived and at the start of Elizabeth's reign secret celebrations of the Mass in ruined churches and Mass houses again became the lot of friars and flock. Such was the fervour and determination of priests and people in Wexford that by 1620 the Friars had a small thatched chapel open at Archer's Lane, where the People Newspaper's works now stands in High Street. When the anti-Catholic laws were slightly relaxed the Friars again returned to their church which had been built outside the old walls near Mary's Gate. It was around this time that the familiar brown habit was adopted by the order and became a familiar sight on Wexford streets. The early 17th century witnessed some quite bloody entertainment in Wexford. Around the year 1621, a charter was granted to the butchers of the town. In return they undertook to provide twice each year, on August 24th and November 21st, a bull to be baited by dogs. This spectacle of a huge beast tethered and then attacked by canines took place at the Bullring and the hide of the animal was presented to the mayor, with the flesh being distributed to the poor of the town. Confederation and Cromwell. 1607 1609 1620 1625 1629 1642 First permanent English settlements in America Jamestown Telescope invented in Holland First weekly newspapers in Europe New Amsterdam (New York) founded First Europeans step on Australian soil Abel Tasman sights Tasmania and New Zealand The year 1641 saw Wexford in rebellion. Families whose lands were being confiscated for plantation by the crown began to agitate and a large meeting of the gentry took place at the Hill of Carrig, just outside Wexford in October of that year. This rebellion primarily concerned the better off landlords who were losing land. Their number in the Wexford area in 1641 was said to be about 800. As events progressed, major fortification took place in the town. The town walls were strengthened and all buildings within eight feet of them were evacuated. The harbour was blockaded with beams and chains. Cannons were brought into town from outlying areas and from ships. As tensions rose, conflict between Catholic and Protestant increased. The Protestant population found themselves victims of harsh rules and laws similar to those affecting Catholics almost a century before. Laws forbade Protestant men, women, children and beasts in the area. Bibles were to be burned and many of that religion were cruelly treated and robbed. Wexford showed allegiance to Spain and it is said that the Spanish flag was flown from Wexford Castle. The town's harbour became the naval base for the forces of the Federation of Kilkenny, the effective Irish parliament. These ships constantly harassed vessels on the Irish Sea and their sailors were classed as pirates by the English authorities. As such they were liable upon capture to be tied back to back and thrown into the sea. This prompted Jasper Bolan, Mayor of Wexford, to write a letter threatening to execute 168 prisoners held in the town if the practice did not cease. On Easter Saturday 1647 Cardinal Rinuccini, the Papal Envoy, arrived in Wexford. He was welcomed with cannon salutes from the town walls and ships in the harbour. During his stay, he was given a reception by the Corporation and presided over liturgical celebrations at St. Peter's Church. When leaving Wexford later in the week Rinuccini described his reception as the "greatest manifestation of loyalty to Rome" he had experienced in Ireland. As the rebellion continued in Ireland, England witnessed the execution of King Charles I and the assumption of the title Lord Protector by Oliver Cromwell. Tuesday October 2nd 1649 was, by all accounts a stormy, wet and windy day in Wexford. It was also the day that seven thousand infantry and two thousand cavalry of Oliver Cromwell's army set up camp at Carcur on the outskirts of the town. The reputation of Cromwell had preceded him, even in those days of slow communication. His massacre of Drogheda sent shivers through the whole country. With his ships entering the bay after a force of dragoons had captured the fort at Rosslare, Cromwell was able to land his heavy guns to the south of Wexford. These guns were placed at Trespan Rock, overlooking the town and so with the walled town surrounded, negotiations began. Letters were passed between Cromwell and Colonel David Sinnott, Governor of Wexford over a number of days. Meanwhile, extra Irish troops were being landed in Wexford from the Ferrybank side of the Slaney. By October 9th Cromwell had the main body of his forces focused on Wexford Castle, which stood slightly outside the wall. If captured it would give access to the town. On the same day, Lord Ormond arrived at Ferrybank offering four hundred soldiers to the towns inhabitants as reinforcements. For some reason the offer was refused. Dawn on October 11th. 1649 witnessed the first bombardment of Wexford's walls by Cromwell's guns. Over 100 rounds were fired on the Castle and a number of breaches were made, yet the inhabitants held out. Sinnott then tried to renew negotiations for peace but his terms were not acceptable and the town braced itself for another onslaught. Unknown to the garrison, one of the envoys, James Stafford, Governor of the Castle, aware of the power of Cromwell's guns and wishing to save himself and his men, delivered the castle to the enemy. From this commanding position Cromwell's men could fire down into the town causing panic. The defenders left the walls and thus gave the attackers a chance to scale them and open the gates. The townspeople fled in terror before the invaders and gathered for a final stand in the marketplace. From different accounts of the attack it appears that between fifteen hundred and two thousand townspeople died either by the sword or drowning in attempting to escape. Thursday October 11th 1649 in Wexford is surrounded by traditions and tales. There is the story of 200 women massacred at the market cross, shots deflected by crucifixes, blood staining soldiers hands forever after and Puritan soldiers converting to Catholicism upon witnessing the courage of the inhabitants. There is even a story that a priest in Mayglass, miles from Wexford, seeing the form of a beautiful woman rise into the sky from the direction of the town on that day. Cromwell himself stayed in Wexford until October 17th, but it was a town of ruined buildings, desecrated churches and a meagre population. It is said that only 20 Catholics spent Christmas in Wexford in 1649. By the next spring many had returned to the town. But they returned as tenants in homes they once owned. In 1653 an order banished all priests from the country. By May 1654 all Papists were to be transported. In 1659 a decree forbade licences to sell strong drink for consumtion indoors. This was to prevent plotting and conspiracy in alehouses rather than to make people more temperate. In the aftermath of the Cromwellian campaign, strict anti-Catholic laws once more made life difficult and secretive in Wexford. As time passed, conditions eased and in 1687 James II granted a new charter to Wexford. This gave Wexford a Town Clerk and Aldermen and permission to use a mayoral seal. In 1690 Thomas Knox, a descendant of the religious reformer John Knox, became Governor of Wexford. He later invited the first Huguenots to Wexford. These refugees from religious persecution settled in the Faythe area of the town. On the social side of Wexford in the 1690s, tea was known as 'china ale', dancing was the chief recreation of the poorer classes and dinner at a good tavern cost 1/6 (8p.). Holydays had been reduced to 33 and Catholics abstained from eggs, butter and milk as well as meat on Fastdays. Age of Revolution. 1793 1798 Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette executed in Paris First free settlers arrived in Australia Napoleon in Egypt Nelson wins Battle of The Nile Income Tax introduced by Pitt First vaccination against smallpox The late eighteenth century was an age of revolution in America and France. People began to see the power of the people and in Ireland the United Irishmen were formed "... on the principles of civil, political and religious liberty." This led to the withholding of taxes which in turn brought down the wrath of the magistrates on the population followed by repression by the military. In 1793 the fallout from such repression hit the streets of Wexford. Two men were being transferred to the town gaol located at Stafford's Castle, Stonebridge, when a large throng of friends and supporters marched on Wexford demanding their release. At Upper John's Street, they were confronted by a force of fifty soldiers under the command of Major Charles Vallotin. Vallotin went forward alone to speak with John Moore, a farmer, who led the group. Seeing a soldier being held prisoner, the major was enraged and attacked Moore with his sword. As he fell, Moore struck Vallotin with a scythe. The militia opened fire on the crowd who fought back. As dusk fell on July 11th, 1793 , eleven men lay dead at John Street, including John Moore. These were left on view for a period to deter others. Five others were hanged for their part in the affray, at Windmill Hill on July 26th. A monument to the memory of Major Vallotin, who died of his wounds, stands at Wygram,. An uneasy peace reigned over the next few years but tensions were growing. Eventually martial law was imposed on March 30th 1798. On April 26th the North Cork Militia, with their wives and children moved into the barracks at Wexford. In May of 1798, Philip Hore in his diary records some of the fear felt in Wexford. "May 1st. Ordered by Militia to extinguish fire and candle. May 25th. The town is in confusion - horse and foot patrols on the streets. May 26th. The town is in alarm." On Whit Sunday, May 27th. Bagenal Harvey of Bargy Castle a few miles outside Wexford, one of those trying to defuse the situation, arrived in town to hand over arms gathered in the countryside. He was arrested and thrown into gaol. On the same day, news of major incidents of burning and plundering reached the town. The 1798 Rebellion had begun. Fortification of the town was ordered. The old town gates were re-erected and cannons placed in the streets. Civilians offered their services to the military. On May 29th the Donegal Militia arrived from Duncannon with 200 men as did the Taghmon Cavalry. Vessels in the harbour were filled with people fleeing in fear. All fires were ordered to be extinguished, even those of bakers ovens, to prevent conflagrations. Thatch was stripped from the roofs of all houses within the town for the same reason. Streets were deserted, lower windows were boarded up, the bridge portcullis was raised. Wexford waited. At daybreak on May 30th the townspeople saw the toll-house on the bridge in flames and huge crowds assembled in the fields nearby. During the day, amid confusion and panic, the rebels entered Wexford. The first Republic of Ireland was proclaimed in Wexford in May 1798. Throughout the month of June Wexford was thronged with people and many felt undressed without arms, be they guns, pikes or swords. The town was bedecked with green boughs and people wore hats with cockades or green ribbons. Unfortunately some unruly elements within the rebel forces used this period to settle old vendettas and many cruel acts and executions took place. On the blackest day of the new republic, June 20th 1798, thirty five people were killed at Wexford Bridge which stood on the approximate site of the present structure. As the tide of battle turned in County Wexford, the town found itself besieged by crown forces. General Sir John Moore's troops camped at Windmill Hills. The town surrendered to Lord Kingsborough but Moore's men were bent on destruction and demanded that rebel leaders be handed over. Moore's army was brutal in victory. The bridge was again an execution place. Rebels were hanged and bodies mutilated with heads being raised on spikes above the courthouse. It is ironic that a Wexford John Moore was killed at John Street at the start of these events and an English John Moore commanded the forces who ended the Rebellion of 1798 in Wexford. The Nineteenth Century. 1812 1818 1819 1840 Napoleon invades Russia Britain and United States at war Zulu Empire founded Spain cedes Florida to USA Singapore founded Penny Post introduced The next century in Wexford was one of structural and commercial expansion. A new gaol was built at Wexford in 1812 on the site of the present County Hall. It had 58 cells and 16 airing yards. Males spent their time on the treadmill or breaking stones while the females were employed at washing, spinning and knitting. The gaol walls were 20 feet high and public executions took place on a gallows erected on a green in front of the building. The year 1818 saw the building of The Fever Hospital at Grogan's Road with 60 beds to house victims of epidemics such as cholera which were regular visitors to a busy port town. In the same year, the Presentation nuns opened their convent at Francis Street. In 1819 St. Peter's College opened to train priests for the diocese and for parishes abroad. In 1828 the Brunswick Club was established at the Assembly Rooms, today's Arts Centre. It was Protestant, loyalist and anti-nationalist. This led to the founding of the Independent Club which had the opposite objectives. Bishopswater Distillery produced fine Wexford Whiskey from 1827. The company had it's own cooperage and cart-making shops. In 1831 the Ballast Bank was erected in Wexford Harbour to permit ships leaving port unladen to take on a ballast of sand and gravel. Similarly, those arriving in ballast could deposit same at the Ballast Bank. The Dockyard was opened by John Redmond in 1832 on reclaimed land to the south of the quays. The first boat built there was 'The Vulcan' for Nathaniel Hughes, launched in 1833. A cholera epidemic broke out in Wexford in 1832, six years after it first appeared in Bengal, India. Ten doctors resident in Wexford at the time fought the epidemic. The Fever Hospital was soon filled and a ship, used to house prisoners during 1798, was commandeered as a hospital and moored in the river Slaney. January 1832 was opening date for the Theatre Royal in High Street. It was built for newspaper owner Mr. Taylor. The new theatre lit by candles and oil lamps attracted huge crowds, with carriages clogging the surrounding streets on a regular basis. The Theatre Royal still attracts thousands of patrons from all over the world to the international Wexford Festival Opera held each autumn. In 1835 Thomas Moore, the poet, visited Wexford. His mother had lived for many years in Cornmarket in the house now known as The Thomas Moore Tavern. On the visit he planted a tree in the Presentation Convent grounds and entertained the sisters with his music. In 1837 there were 690 Wexfordmen sailing in one hundred and ten registered vessels. The destinations of such vessels from Wexford included The Black Sea, Odessa, Patra in Greece, Ismir in Turkey and the United States and Canadian ports as well as West Africa. Pierces Foundry began as a small concern making fire fans in 1839 but by 1856 they were involved in the construction of a bridge across the Slaney at Carcur. In 1840 the well known temperance apostle, Fr. Matthew, visited Wexford. A year later thousands attended a temperance rally at the Friary. The Sisters of Mercy established a house at Paul Quay on December 8th 1840. They later moved to Summerhill and took on the running of the Redmond Talbot Orphanage. They opened a convent and school there with the assistance of Richard Devereux. The Workhouse, at Stoneybatter, took in it's first inmate in 1842. The Christian Brother were invited to Wexford by Richard Devereux to educate the boys of the town. They began the task on May 15th 1849 at a site in The Faythe now housing the John of God school but later moved to George's Street and then Joseph Street and Thomas Street. In 1851 work began in Wexford on not one, but two catholic churches. The twin churches which still dominate the skyline were completed within seven years at a cost of over œ26,000. Their official names are the Church of the Immaculate Conception and Church of the Assumption, but most locals know them only as Rowe Street and Bride Street and would find it hard to give them their formal titles. In 1867 the Tate School was built with monies bequeathed by William Tate, a Wexfordman who made a fortune in Jamaica. It operated as a day and boarding school well into this century. It now houses Wexford Corporation. The Dublin-Wicklow-Wexford Railway reached Wexford on the 17th of August 1870. By 1882 it had been extended to Rosslare but closed after a short time. It re-opened in 1894 to connect with the new mailboat service to Fishguard in Wales. Charles Stewart Parnell visited Wexford in 1881 and dined at the Imperial Hotel in Selskar Street. May 1st. 1892 was date of the first burial in the new cemetery of St. Ibar's in Crosstown. Prior to this a number of small and very old graveyards dotted around the town had been in use. The Twentieth Century. 1911 First salaries for MPs Amundsen reaches South Pole Revolution in Mexico The twentieth century began in Wexford with a tragedy. On September 14th 1900 seven townspeople drowned when a boat carrying them to a race meeting capsized in the harbour. The Lockout of 1911 brought hardship but also a great sense of comraderie to Wexford. In the age of growing trade unionism, workers in the Wexford foundries decided to become organised. This angered the foundry owners and they locked out all who joined the union. Over the months from August 1911 there was great bitterness as imported workers kept foundries like Pierces, Selskar Iron Works and Wexford Engineering operating. Extra police were drafted in to protect the 'scabs' as the locked out workers called them and incidents of name-calling and stone throwing increased. On one occasion, police baton-charged a crowd resulting in the death of Michael O'Leary. As the lockout continued families existed on a single meal each day. Every family in the town was in some way affected by the lockout, with so many people being employed in the foundries. Workers in other areas supported the Wexfordmen. The GAA organised games to raise funds and rural organisations collected money for those locked out. In January James Connolly,who would later take part in the Easter Rising of 1916, arrived in Wexford to negotiate on behalf of the workers. An arrangement was made and the workers were permitted to join a union, although not the union of their original choice. Work was resumed in February, but the bitterness and distrust built up in 1911 took many years to eradicate. Despite assurances of no victimisation, many who had give half a lifetime to those foundries never worked in them again. Home Rule was a live issue in Wexford in 1914 and with the passing of the third reading of the bill in Parliament a massive parade took place in Wexford on May 27th with the mayor requesting all businesses to close to facilitate those wishing to take part. The year 1914 also brought war and many Wexfordmen joined the march to the trenches. The town also worked for refugees from the Great War with charity concerts being held at places like the new Palace cinema. War reports filled the local newspapers - Wexfordmen killed at Gallipolli - Recruiting rallies at the Bullring - Rumours of the distillery being turned into a prisoner of war camp - Pierces becoming a munitions factory. The 1916 Rising in Dublin resulted in the Volunteers being put at the disposal of the Royal Irish Constabulary and 500 Wexford citizens including the mayor enlisting as special constables. Homes of Sinn Fein supporters were raided and suspects were imprisoned at various locations in the town. In 1918 the United States Air Force established a sea plane base at Wexford and operated from there during the final months of the Great War. Wexford witnessed one of the largest funerals ever on it's streets, in 1918. The death of John Redmond, leader of the Irish Party at Westminster, cast a black cloud over the area. Redmond was leader of the party of Parnell and had come closer than anyone to bringing home rule to Ireland by peaceful means. He was buried at the family vault in John Street graveyard. The following year, 1920, Richard Corish was elected mayor of Wexford. He held the position for 25 consecutive years until his death in 1945. On January 15th 1921 Martial Law was declared throughout Ireland as a consequence of the War of Independence. this meant that fairs and marts were suspended, possession of arms was punishable by death and all collections required special permission. The name, age, sex and occupation of every resident in a flat or house had to be displayed inside the main door. On Sunday April 22nd., 1922 one of the treaty signatories, Michael Collins visited Wexford. But within months the country witnessed civil war with shooting and killing once more reaching our streets with tragic deaths on both sides. With the ending of the civil war, Ireland and Wexford entered a period of relative peace and security. The Second World War was known as The Emergency in Ireland, but still Wexfordmen died in the conflict. As soldiers and even more as sailors they found themselves in the frontline. Even with the end of the war, privations continued. Flour and bread were still scarce in Wexford in 1947. Coal shortages affected train schedules and worst of all the local quota of Guinness was cut by a third in 1947. The inauguration of the Irish Republic as opposed to a Free State in 1949 was marked with parades and celebrations in Wexford. Health priorities in 1951 revolved around tuberculosis a disease responsible for a large proportion of deaths at the time. As part of the national fight against the disease, Mass X-ray vans arrived in Wexford for the first time in September of that year. In the same year, a major cultural event was initiated which would project Wexford across the world. Wexford Festival Opera brought little performed operas to a small town in Ireland and attracted thousands of visitors from all over the world. On September 16th., 1956 the special relationship between Wexford and the United States of America was given extra substance with the unveiling of a statue at The Cresent. John Barry was born near Wexford town, sailed from her quays and was hailed as the 'Father of the American Navy'. In 1956, the American people presented a statue of the man to Wexford. In 1960, Dun Mhuire, or the Parish Hall opened for concerts, dances and other entertainments. Edelweiss Dairy Products opened a factory to produce cheese at Rocklands in October 1961. One way traffic was first proposed for Wexford's narrow streets in 1963. In that same year, another Wexford/American connection was consolidated. On a state visit to Ireland, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, descendant of a Wexford family visited the county town of his ancestors. This visit brought helicopters, caddillacs and secret service agents to Wexford and put the town once more on the world stage. The first Wexford assembled Renault 8 motor car drove through the factory gates on Tuesday November 23rd. 1964. The town was again in the news when an Aer Lingus Viscount, 'St. Phelim' crashed into the sea off our coast on Sunday morning, March 24th. 1968 with the loss of all on board. Protest marches in 1969 saved the local surgical wing of the hospital from closure. Wexford in later decades continued to expand. In 1974 a new parish of Clonard was created to cater for the growing population. Industrial growth saw factories opened here by Australian, German and American companies. Twinning with Coueron in France has brought closer links with Europe. A National Heritage Park was developed on the outskirts of town attracting coachloads of visitors each season to see how our ancestors lived. Redmond Square has been greatly developed in recent years, a fitting legacy to the Redmond family who were deeply involved in the business and political life of the town. In fact, much of the land under development was reclaimed from the Slaney by 19th century schemes undertaken by the Redmonds. Massive urban renewal schemes have brought new life to formerly neglected areas of the town with major expansion in the area of Selskar Abbey where that original settlement of pre-Viking Wexfordians had built their homes.