Wexford holds great childhood memories for me. I was really looking forward to this trip down south.
I had spent a fantastic summer in Courtown in the early 90s with my cousins, uncle, aunt and my late Grandmother. I recalled some of the best memories from playing on the beach of Courtown Harbour, to frequenting the amusement arcade at night perfecting our trips on the bumper cars: cars I still drive better than the real thing today 😉
Growing up in a house filled with music, it was hard to escape from learning ballads link Bunclody(based on the town in Wexford where the lark seemingly sang so sweetly) and listening to My grandfather belt out his hearts content to songs of yore..Kelly the Boy from Killane being one of those songs he took great pride in singing… Grandads rendition could only be matched by the late & great Luke Kelly!! (Biased?!maybe) This great folk ballad was based on a man by the name of John Kelly who was one of the leaders of the United Irish army. He led the attack at New Ross but lost. He was sentenced to death. This was a song I knew the lyrics of, had learned the music of but had never gotten to the route of the story behind the song.
Attached is a YouTube link of a recording by Luke Kelly & the Dubliners of the ballad… have a listen🎶🎶
On the way home from my run in Ferrycarrig, nostalgia of my youth and remembering my grandparents so fondly, I took a bigger interest in the sign for Vinegar Hill and decided to take a detour and visit the site where many Irish fought for our freedom…Turning out of Enniscorthy, I took a left and found myself up a narrow Boreen… Vinegar Hill was my destination.. (praying I wouldnt have to reverse at any stage to make way for oncoming cars…not a great one for the reversing 🙈)
Vinegar Hill was one of the scenes of the rebellion of 1798. Thousands of British soldiers began gagainst the Wexford United Irish rebels. The Irish rebels lost and the British took control of County Wexford. The other song I referenced in my journey was Boulavogue. This was a song written to commemorate the campaign of Fr. Murphy who led the defeat at Boulavogue against the British but who was later sentenced and hanged.
After this bit of touring, I had a better upstanding of the music I was listening to. I ended the trip of Wexford with a rendition of “You remember Martin Storey and from the midfield he was Glory…and we were dancing at the Crossroads”… the anthem of the Wexford hurlers in 1996 when they claimed hurling glory… Wexford is a County with beautiful coastlines, historical tales and a fine tradition of Hurling. At any time, taking a trip to the Slaney County is a must and be sure to sample their Strawberries 🌞🍓