News in Brief from the 19th Century

By John C McTernan

Bryan Ward, described as Caretaker of Coney Island advertised three Bathing Lodges for Letting on the Island, one large and two small. The grass of a cow was available with each house. The houses which had been put in thorough repair were being Let unfurnished at Moderate Terms. The Advertisement was dated June 10th, 1876.

The Meredith family operated an oyster bed at Coney Island over a long period. Bryan Ward, who had been caretaker for a number of years, leased it while Henry W. Meredith was a ward of Court at 16 pounds a year. In 1858 Ward planted 80,000 small native oysters in the bed. It was licenced in 1869. In the years immediately after, the bed was allowed to rest - no oysters being taken off it except a few hundred which were sent to Dublin or Cloonamahon for the Agent, Mr. Kincaid. Only an acre or so was cultivated at any time.

At the Rural Court in March, 1895, Bryan Ward of Coney Island was charged by Sergeant Johnston of Rosses Point, Inspector of Weights and Measures, for having unstamped measures on his licenced premises. He was convicted and fined 6d, with 1 shilling costs. Ward was popularly referred to as The King of Dorran's Island. In that capacity he greeted C.S. Parnell on the occasion of the Irish Leader's visit to the Island during the Sligo by-election of 1891. Although Ward had acted as Agent for the Meredith estate for a number of years, in March, 1898, he was evicted from his Island homestead by Dr. H. Tweedy - the then representative of the estate - for arrears of rent. This proved too much for him in his ninetieth year. He died within a few days and was buried in Killaspugbrone