By Lucy Wall-Murphy

The Streams of Bunclody

Fairdays in Bunclody


The Moss-House
and the Bridge Meadow

The Island Hunt and
 Golf Links

The Sawdust Stoves

The Corpus Christi Procession

The Beauties of Bunclody

The Pathway around by Carrhill

Trades and occupations in
Irish Street

The Well in the Wood

Changes in Irish Street

Fairdays in Bunclody

Fairdays were held in Bunclody from the eighteenth century, at least. In 1728 the landlord, John Maxwell, was given permission to hold two fairs in the town every year, on 6 June and 24 October, and to hold a market every Saturday. By 1795 there were fairs on 29 April, 17 and 18 June, 20 August, 14 September, and on 4 and 30 November. Bassetts’ ‘Wexford Directory’ of 1885 lists twelve monthly fairs.

During the 1920s and decades following, as well as the fairs at which cattle and sheep etc. were sold and bought, there was a pig market held every Wednesday and a fowl market on Saturday. Coming up to Christmas time there would be special turkey markets.
Animals were brought into the town very early on a fairday morning — the drovers could be heard going through the streets at five o’clock. Sheep were brought in creels and placed in pens along the footpaths, especially on Irish Street, during the day, and so, every fairday evening the paths had to be swept and cleaned.

On the Market Square at the end of the Mall stalls (‘stannin’s’) would be erected where clothes would be displayed for sale. Others would be selling hardware, tools, delph, and lengths of rope. The seller would cry out ‘Sixteen yards of good hemp rope for one and sixpence!’ and would get an assistant to carry the rope to show that it was as long as claimed. The price would be reduced to one shilling as the salesman talk would proceed. The man selling the delph would claim that the cups or mugs were ‘unbreakable’ and bang them on the lid of a tea-chest to prove his point — there being no danger whatever that the object would break or crack on the bouncing tea-chest.

Outside the priests’ house would be a wooden gates and ladders, brought in from their place of manufacture — Shillelagh, I think.

Schools in the town were closed on fairdays. The story told in my days was that a schoolchild was accidentally killed on a fairday and that it was then decided that schools would not open on fairdays in the future. Needless to say, school children looked forward to the fairdays. In some cases, the children were not allowed out on the streets on a fairday for fear they would be knocked down by the traffic.