During one excursion with the young people, Declan Flanagan took us on a long ramble stopping off at a place on the coastal path in Ballyconnigar Upper. The exact location can be found as you come out of the forestry and can be identified from the OSI map video on this page. The story behind The Money Hole stems back to what Declan claims was the Penal Times. The story goes that during this time many local people gathered their valuable possessions, buried them in a hole and covered them with a large stone flag. As is the case with many stories like this anyone who tried to meddle with the flag or remove the valuables got a dose of bad luck. 
 
In my own village of Ballygarrett we were told as children of a marlhole in the towns land of Peppardcastle which also allegedly contains valuables and gold which had been hidden during troubled times. Like this story, there was no indication provided as to when these “troubled times” were – they could be The Irish Confederate Wars, the Penal Times, 1798 etc. Nevertheless I am reluctant to dismiss these stories as somewhere along the line there must have been some incident to spark the stories developing.
 
Certainly, there are many cases of valuables, especially Chalices, Patens etc, being hidden during Penal Times. In South Wexford we have the story of the Tomhaggard Chalice where on Christmas morning in 1653, a clandestine Mass, illegal under Penal Laws, was being celebrated in Tomhaggard when the congregation was attacked by Cromwellian soldiers.
 
The celebrant, Fr. Nicholas Meyler was killed. A member of the congregation, Mrs. Lambert saved the Mass chalice by firstly concealing it in her skirts and then hiding it on the shore of nearby Lingstown Lake.
 
While in Killoughterane at the far side of Mount Leinster a Chalice and Paten made in 1595 was found at the bottom of St. Fortchern’s Well during a dry summer in the 1880’s. Again, it was believed the chalice and paten were hidden in the well during the Penal Times. 

The same Holy Well is dedicated to the 5th century St. Fortchern who had a small Early Christian Cell in the area and is where my own surname, Fortune, supposedly derived. It has been recorded that the well was so popular for cures in the late 19th and early 20th century, that ‘even a man from Blackwater in Co. Wexford travel there and was cured’.
 
In conclusion there could be some truth in “The Money Hole” story, however, who will be the brave one to go looking?

The Money Hole

Ballyconnigar Upper, Blackwater, Co. Wexford

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