A series by Paul Swift
The River Bann (White River) rises on the southern slopes of Croghan Mountain on the border of south county Wicklow and north County Wexford. It flows south for 26 miles were it then joins the River Slaney. It is joined by the Blackwater Stream near the village of Hollyfort and flows close to the village of Camolin and the town of Ferns. It flows beneath the N11 Dublin to Wexford Road and is crossed by the Dublin to Wexford railway line four times.
Shortly after the river rises two standing stones can be found in the townland of Croghan Middle, north-east of the river. One of the stones has a rectangular cross-section and stands 1.2m tall while the other has an irregular shaped cross-section and is slightly taller at 1.4m.
One of the first bridges to cross the river is known as Pallis Bridge. Just below the bridge a mill race led to a nearby corn mill. A few miles further south in the townland of Laraheen on the east side of the river is a two-storey farmhouse known as ‘Bannview’. It was erected around 1853 by David Charles.
In the townland of Grovehill the Bann is joined by the Blackwater stream. Just below this confluence Grove Bridge carries the road to the village of Hollyfort over the river. A nature trail exists along the banks of the river at this location.
On the outskirts of Hollyfort on the east side of the river is Great Grove, a three-bay, two-storey farmhouse built around 1885. The property had connections with the Webster family. On the 1940 Ordnance Survey map a ‘Fairy Rath’ is marked adjacent the house. A local tale was recorded in 1940 which says that when the rath was first ploughed in the late 19th century the farmhouse was plagued for six months with showers of stones that did no damage. The stone throwing stopped after a visit from a poor woman who drank water in the kitchen of Great Grove.