In 1887, a young boy named ‘Cogley’ found the figure shown in the image on the right near St Iberius’ Church, in the shallow waters of Lady’s Island lake.
The story of how the figure ended up in the lake is remembered locally as follows:
One evening in October 1649, a warning came that Oliver Cromwell’s troops were marching towards the church from Wexford to ransack and loot it, along with the nearby pilgrimmage site at Lady’s Island.
On hearing the soldiers were on their way, a local man named ‘Duffy’ ran to St Iberius’ Church and took the crucifix holding this figure from the church. Duffy fled across the shallow part of the nearby lake with the figure in a bid to rescue it from the clutches of the English soldiers.
However, as he made his way across the lake, Duffy was spotted by the soldiers and shot dead. Duffy’s body and the relic he carried fell to the bed of the lake where it was concealed for over 200 years before it was discovered again by chance by the young Cogley in 1887.
More details of this story can be found on the Our Lady’s Island parish website here. The tale was shared with us by Paul Doyle from Our Lady’s Island, who’s great-grandfather was the boy ‘Cogley’ who found the relic in the lake in 1887.
The now-ruined medieval church and graveyard in Tomhaggard stands on what is regarded as the site of an earlier monastery founded in the village.
Below you will see some computer-generated images of what the exterior and interior of the medieval church would have looked like in its prime. Click on the images to take a closer look at them. There are also reconstructed images of some of the key features of the church:
Interior of the Church – East Window
Tomhaggard Medieval Church Exterior from the South East
Conjectural Reconstruction of the Sepulchre Tomb Niche
Conjectural Reconstruction of the East Window
These images were created and shared with us by Dermot Troy, a local architect who has comprehensively surveyed the site at Tomhaggard.
Image by Patrick Weston Joyce (public domain) via Wikimedia Commons
‘Yola’ is an extinct form of English that was spoken in this area of County Wexford for hundreds of years. The Yola language became extinct in the 1880s but many words and phrases still survive in the locality.
‘Yola’, which means ‘old’, evolved from ‘Old English’. Old English was brought to Ireland by the Normans. When communities of Flemish, French, Welsh, English and Frisian-speaking settlers came here, following the Normans, they and the existing norse/viking and native Irish populations had a major influence on the Yola language. It became a ‘muskaun’ or ‘mix’ of all these languages.
St. Catherine’s Church would have hosted many weddings over the centuries and in honour of this, you will find below a translated extract from an old Yola song, possibly originating in the 15th or 16th century, entitled ‘The Wedding of Ballymore’:
A peepeare struck ap; wough dansth aul in a ring, The piper struck up, we danced all in a ring, Earch myde was a queen, an earch bye was a king, Each maid was a queen, and each boy was a king, Zoo wough aul veil a-danceen; earch bye gae a poage, So we all fell a-dancing, each boy gave a kiss, To his sweethearth, an smack lick a dab of a brough. To his sweetheart, and a smack like a slap of a shoe.
Zoo wough kisth, au wough parthet; earch man took his laave, So we kissed and we parted, each man took his leave, An a boor lithel breedegroom waithed wonderfullee griefte, And the poor little bridegroom looked wondrously grieved, Zoo wough aul returnth hyme, contented an gaay, So we all returned home, contented and gay, To our pleoughes an mulk-pyles till a neeshte weddeen die. To our ploughs and our milk-pails till the next wedding day.
This information was shared with us by Bileen Scallaan, a local linguistics student who has studied the Yola language extensively.
The book ‘King Arthur’s Battle for Britain’ by Eric Walmsley suggests that Lady’s Island may have been the inspiration for the Isle of Avalon, the final resting place of the legendary figure, King Arthur.
This story was shared with us by Paul Doyle from Our Lady’s Island, who’s father, Oliver, helped the author source images of this wonderful place for the book. Paul has a Facebook page called ‘The Hidden Gems of Carne‘ which is full of interesting stories from the locality.