6.47pm 6 April 2019, Ballyhack Ferry Terminal
Before the hands of the clock, Ballyhack measured time by the sea. To mark this, participants clad in blue gathered at the Ballyhack ferry terminal to take the Passage East Ferry Company out at high tide (6.47pm). All aboard were given a view of the estuary and Michelle Browne led participants in a ‘Wexican’ wave.
28 April 2018 in the Old School House
18 April 2018, Scoil Catríona Naofa, 95 students participated.
Ballyhack and Passage East form the two sides of the short Wexford-Waterford ferry crossing at the mouth of the River Barrow, just before it joins Waterford Harbour. There are no bridge crossings between the two counties (in fact the nearest bridge crossing the Barrow is at New Ross, on the Wexford-Kilkenny border, some 20 north of Ballyhack) and the ferry only started operating in the 1980s. For two fishing towns that are so geographically close to one another, Ballyhack and Passage East have had surprisingly little shared history. Fishing is central to Ballyhack’s heritage and identity and the image of fishing nets hanging on the pier to dry on
Sunday nights – each family’s net in its own allotted place – features strongly in the community memory. Today a local business continues the tradition of smoking fish that has been part of the town’s industrial heritage for generations. Physically, the pier and the ‘castle’ – a fifteenth-century tower house – dominate the town. The castle is associated with the Knights Templar, who had a preceptory at Ballyhack from the twelfth century – one of the earliest of their strongholds in Ireland. Accusations of ‘bad butter’ or ‘dirty butter’ have traditionally been levelled against the town, but no-one seems to be sure of their origin – or willing to admit to it!