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Ferns Heritage

The whole history of modern Ireland stems from Ferns. Its complex story is riveting. Ferns is known as the Ancient Capital of Leinster - Diarmuid MacMurrough, King of Leinster had his royal seat in Ferns. He was an ambitious king with his eye on the High Kingship, his many power struggles resulted in him inviting the Normans in 1169 to help him fight his battles (they never left) – he sealed the deal with his daughter Aoife’s marriage to Strongbow. This significant Norman connection has earned Ferns the title ‘Gateway to Norman Wexford’. To celebrate this significant medieval heritage the Ferns Medieval Gathering was organised by the local community. The highlights of the weekend which focused on the fun aspects of our heritage included a Launch Parade, a Medieval Fair on the Castle lawn and a Medieval Banquet. You can get a flavour of weekend by visiting our Gathering page

Ferns Heritage Project Group (FHPG)

Established in 2015 as a Sub Committee of Ferns Development Association, the FHPG is focusing on developing Ferns tourism potential and interpreting the story of Ferns - with a focus on its Christian/Gaelic Kingship and Norman heritage. In March 2016 the group organised a major conference entitled 'Gaelic Capital and Norman Stronghold - Ferns and the transformation of Ireland'. In September 2018, the conference explored 'A new way or the Norman way - continuity and change in post Norman Ireland'. The 2018 conference is entitled 'Pillars of God - church power and influence in medieval Ireland'. Each year we invite speakers, all experts in their individual fields to present papers at the Conference which results in lively and interesting debate.

The work of the group continues - identifying and sourcing funding for projects and liaising with tourism stakeholders at county and national level. Plans for a Conference 2017 are ongoing.

Wexford Trails:

The concept of Wexford Trails was developed by Wexford Local Development and Wexford County Council in collaboration with a number of agencies including Failte Ireland to develop and promote tourism trails within the county. Four trails: Wexford Craft Trail, Wexford Garden Trail, Wexford Heritage Trail and Wexford Walking Trail were the first trails formed with The Norman Way joining in 2016.

Wexford Walking Trail

Ferns Village is a member of the soon to be launched Wexford Walking Trail. Currently the network consists of 17 trails throughout Wexford county. The Ferns Village Heritage Trail adds an historic dimension to a range of trails in the network, other trails offer scenic, mountain/hill walking, coastal, riverside and woodland walks for a range of abilities and interests. For more information visit the Wexford Walking Trail Facebook page and www.wexfordwalkingtrail.ie. www.wexfordwalkintrail.ie

Wexford Heritage Trail

In Ferns, we are very proud to be part of the network of heritage attractions in Wexford under the Wexford Heritage Trail. This wonderful initiative enables tourists to access information on the varied heritage attractions throughout Co. Wexford.
Download Wexford Heritage Trail Brochure
Download Wexford Heritage Trail A3map

In recognition of its significant heritage Ferns was the 'Overall Winner' in the annual Keep Wexford Beautiful Awards in November 2012. View the YouTube clip for details of Ferns Heritage Trail.

The National Monuments Service (NMS) designated Ferns as ‘Monument of the Month’ for October 2012 reflecting its importance as a national heritage site. The National Monuments Service is part of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and plays a key role in the protection of our archaeological heritage.

This wonderful stained glass window (right) by Kate O'Brien can be seen in St. Edan's Cathedral.

Ferns is different in that it is the only major area of historical significance in Ireland which has evidence of four distinct periods in Irish history. Archaeological digs have revealed habitation from the Bronze, Iron, early Christian and Norman eras.

Uniquely Ferns Iron age excavation produced the first evidence of the use of iron nails. Amber beads also discovered link Ferns to the Bronze Age (during this period, Amber trade routes were established) while the many ecclesiastical sites extend from early Christian – through Norman and the Middle Ages. This distinguishes Ferns from other significant heritage sights such as Cashel, Glendalough or Clonmacnoise which provide evidence of just the Christian period.

Download the Ferns Heritage Brochure (may take a couple of minutes due to size)

Click the links below for information on each heritage feature: