ByRoute 2.1 Co. Wicklow & Co. Wexford

Croghan / Croghan Kinsella, focus of the brief 1795 Gold Rush.

Coolgreany, Inch & Killinierin (Co. Wexford / North)

Coolgreany (Cul Greine – “the sunny corner”) lies just south of Croghan Mountain, in the extreme north of County Wexford. Coolgreany has a very wide main street with pretty little houses on each side, and is a rare example of a village with no church of any sort.

The earliest reference to the area where the village now stands dates from 1569, when it was called Cowlensmottane (Cuil na Smutam – “corner of the tree stumps”). An Augustinian Friary had owned lands locally, and the presence of several chalybeate springs was noted.

The North Wexford plantations began in 1610, and Coolgreany village was planned and built by new settlers. Originally there were houses on one side of the street only, facing east. In 1659 there were nine inhabitants, all English born; but two centuries later the vast majority of the local population had surnames of Gaelic origin.

Oliver Cromwell passed through Coolgreany on 29th September 1649 en route to wreak destruction on Wexford Town.

Coolgreany’s monument to the 1798 Rebellion, the most elaborate of several in the area. Although not itself the scene of major fighting, the area was home to numerous insurgents. The village also briefly hosted “General” Joseph Holt‘s band of outlaws in the aftermath of the uprising.

The Coolgreany Evictions of 1887, at the height of the Land War, involved the ejectment of tenants on George F Brooke’s estate, participants in Michael Davitt‘s campaign to destroy landlordism, and were recorded in a remarkable photograph album now in the National Library. The failure of the local magistrates to order the prosecution of the landlord’s agent for murder caused widespread opprobrium and probably hastened reform.

Today, Coolgreany is best known for its success in handball, which has been played in the village for over a hundred years.

The Look Out Connemara Pony Stud is home to the Wicklow Bay Polocrosse Club, formed in 2003.

Coolgreany is within easy reach of Arklow on ByRoute1.

Ram House Garden is a charming two-acre romantic garden, judged “Best in County Wexford” in a recent competition. There are gravel and woodland areas, a pool garden, beautiful mature cypress and silver birch trees, glades, a courtyard, a shade garden, terraces, a pergola garden, a gazebo, a scented garden, lavish planting around a cascading stream, ponds and a wide variety of flowers, including roses, primulas, geraniums, wisteria, honeysuckle and especially clematis. Animal sculptures have been strategically placed around the grounds. The owner, Lolo Stevens, serves delicious homemade cakes. The lovely old house itself is a private residence.

Inch is an unremarkable village. Although its name strikes some as odd, it is actually a fairly common Anglicisation of the Gaelic word Inis – “island”.

In 1690 Inch church was the scene of a skirmish between the forces of Kings William III and James II.

A local monument is dedicated to the memory of two local 1798 Rebellion insurgents, Michael Redmond and “the screeching general” Anthony Perry.

In 1921 Inch was the scene of an armed IRA ambush on Crown forces.

Inch is linked by a scenic route through the attractive hamlet of Scarnagh with Castletown on ByRoute1.

Knockbawn Gardens provide a pretty oasis of about 1½ acres with hedges of box, beech & laurel and mixed borders, a summerhouse, a kitchen garden and a tennis lawn.

Killinierin / Killanerin / Kilanerin (Coill an Iarainn – “Wood of Iron”) is a compact but rapidly growing village surrounded by woodlands, and overlooked by Croghan Mountain.


Ballynastragh has long been the  seat of the Esmonde Baronets, descendants of Sir Thomas Esmonde, who raised a cavalry regiment for King Charles I and fought as a commander at the Siege of La Rochelle. Several of the later Baronets had distinguished military or political careers, both in the UK and Ireland since independence.

Ballynastragh House c. 1826

Ballynastragh House was burned down during the Civil War by the anti-Treaty IRA. A contemporary account: “On the night of the 9th of March 1923, an armed group approached the house in the darkness. It was undefended as they knew and they were well informed. In a matter of minutes it was ablaze from end to end. Barely time was given to Col. Esmonde to remove the chalice which had survived from Penal days. The records of Grattan’s Parliament, the Master Roles of the Irish Volunteers 1782 and many other valuable historical records perished in the flames. The House was a vast historical museum and the destruction of documents was second only to that which occurred in the Four Courts in 1922. For alleged patriotic reasons the records of Ireland were blown sky high. On a neighbouring hill the next day, Col. Esmonde picked up a charred piece of paper with the words “The End” on it.”

Titania’s Palace, the famous dolls’ / fairies’ house commissioned in 1908 by Sir Neville Wilkinson, Ulster King of Arms (the chief heraldic officer of Ireland) was kept in Ballynastragh House for a period.


A new house, similar in style but somewhat more modest in scale, was built on the site shortly afterwards and still stands.

Ss Peter & Paul’s church (RC) is a Gothic style structure built in 1863 to an early design by EW Pugin.

Borleigh Manor nowadays comprises a beautiful Georgian mansion with about 120 acres of parkland and an ornamental lake. Owned for many centuries by the Esmonde family, it was for a time the residence of TV matinée idol Richard Greene, best known for his leading role in The Adventures of Robin Hood, and was visited by film stars such as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The property has been used as a stud farm in recent years, and remains strictly private.

Woodlands Country House B&B is an attractive Guesthouse (6 bedrooms) run by an exceptionally friendly and helpful lady called Mrs Philomena O’Sullivan. The house, built in 1836, has a stone courtyard and is surrounded by mature gardens.

Killinierin is within easy reach of Monaseed on ByRoute 3.

 1798 Rebellion

The following Address was presented to the Viceroy on the 18th April 1798, less than two months before the outbreak of hostilies.

Parish of Kilanerin, and barony of Gorey; signed by the undersigned, and one thousand three hundred and sixty inhabitants of said parish. Dated Kilanerin Chapel, April the twelfth, 1798 and published in the Dublin Jornal, the third of May, 1798.

To his excellency, John Jeffries Pratt, Earl of Camden, Lord Lieutenant, and General Governor of Ireland.

We the Roman Catholic inhabitants of the Parish of Kilanerin, in the Barony of Gorey, and county of Wexford, do think it our duty to come forward at the crisis of internal disturbance, this publicly to declare our unalterable attachment to his sacred majesty King George the third; and we do hereby declare, and in the most solemn manner pledge ourselves, to support with our lives, fortunes and influence, his majesty’s happy government established amongst us, determined as we are to exert ourselves for the suppression of rebellion and sedition. And we do likewise solemnly pledge ourselves, should any person attempt to disseminate amongst us seditious or levelling principles all of which we hold in the utmost abhorrence, that we will use our utmost endeavours in bringing such miscreants to condign punishment. And we do further assure all our protestant brethren, of our sincere affection of them, and our absolute determination to co-operate with them in every means in our power, for the support of his happy constitution, the suppression of rebellion, the welfare of his majesty’s government, and in love and loyalty to his sacred person.

And we do request of the right honourable the Earl of Mountnorris and Sir Thomas Esmond, baronet, to present these our declarations to his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant.

A reward of one hundred guineas was offered by the Parishes of Kilanerin, Arklow, and Kilgorman (that is the Roman Catholic inhabitants) for the discovery of wicked and designing persons, who spread a report that all the different churches in the neighbourhood were to have been attacked on Sunday the twenty-ninth of April, and that a general assassination of their protestant brethren as to have taken place.

Signed by

William Ryan (Parish Priest of Arklow and Kilgorman)

John Sinnott (Parish Priest of Kilanerin)

D. Murphy (Parish Curate of Ditto)

Sir Thomas Esmond (Baronet)

Laurence Doyle and Others.


There follows the signatures of the priests and parishioners of Castlebridge, Ballynamonaboy, Ferns and the Union, Kilmallock, Gorey, Kilcormick (Boolavogue half parish) Tomb, Rosminogue, Ballycanoe, Donoghmore and Kilmuckridge. Interestingly, among the signatures is that of Fr John Murphy of Boolavogue.


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