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Ferns Heritage Project

Set up in 2015, the Ferns Heritage Project (FHP) is a sub-group of Ferns Development Association. FHP's focus is on developing Ferns' tourism potential with a particular focus on its medieval story, liaising with tourism stakeholders and working with agencies and groups to implement projects such as Town & Village Renewal Schemes and The Saints project.

The group organises a range of projects and activities to raise awareness of Ferns' significant medieval history, from the time of St. Aidan in the 6th century, through its Gaelic Kingship period when Diarmuid MacMurrough had his seat of power and Ferns was the Ancient Capital of Leinster, to the arrival of the Normans in 1169 - a huge expanse of time, with many fascinating stories associated with key events in Irish history.

Ferns Conference:

Ferns Heritage Conference 2019 will take place on October 12th and 13th in St. Edan's Cathdral, Ferns. This year's conference is entitled 'The MacMurrough Inquiry'.

The stories of power shifts and inter-dynastic battles which led to the Normans arriving in Ireland are legendary. Alliances were constantly made and undone by Gaelic kings in a continuing struggle to retain power.

Many view the arrival of the Normans in 1169 as an invasion, a betrayal by the ambitious King of Leinster, Diarmuid MacMurrough, whose royal seat was in Ferns, the Ancient Capital of Leinster.

Modelled on formal judicial inquiry conducted into a matter of real public concern, ‘The MacMurrough Inquiry’ will shine a light on key events which led to the ‘invasion’, looking at the extent to which Diarmuid MacMurrough was responsible. Informed by Brehon Law, leading barristers, historians and academics are collaborating with local people in Ferns on this exciting project which will explore the fascinating tale of power and intrigue in medieval Ireland.

The Inquiry will be held in St. Edan’s Cathedral on Saturday, October 12th followed by a field trip to the O’Doran Law School in Ballyorley on Sunday, October 13th. The MacMurrough Inquiry is the fourth in the series of annual Ferns conferences.

For more information, please email: fernsheritageconference@gmail.com.

The Conference is organised by local community group the Ferns Heritage Project and supported by Wexford County Council.

Projects include:

Ferns Medieval Feast. This demonstartion and talk given by food historian and author Regina Sexton, took place during Heritage Week 2018 and was supported by The Heritage Council. The demonstration was a great success and the range of ingredients and gave an insight into food culture during the medieval period. To view recipes produced as a result of the demonstration: Download Ferns Medieval Feast Ezine

Guided tours We organise guided tours - telling the story of Ferns’ medieval past, from the arrival of St. Aidan in the 6th century, through to the 12th century when Diarmuid MacMurrough, King of Leinster had his royal seat in Ferns, and on to the arrival of the Normans. Stories, at the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East, touch on some of the most famous characters and events in Irish history. Tour enquiries to: fernsheritagetour@gmail.com.

The Discovery Programme Accessing Heritage Council funding enabled us to engage The Discovery Programme to conduct a geo physical survey on an area adjacent to St. Mary’s Abbey which was built within the bounds of the original monastic settlement. The survey focused on a significant underground double isled structure, further work is needed to determine the extent of infrastructure in this area.

Community Engagement: In terms of tourism potential, Ferns key assets are its medieval heritage and its people. A core aim of the Ferns Heritage Project (FHP) is to increase community engagement. A recent Wexford Trails’ campaign, piloted in Ferns and coordinated at local level by the FHP was a great opportunity to do just that, in an engaging and effective way. The aim of the campaign is to involve local communities, getting to know what’s in their area, welcoming visitors, becoming Ambassadors for their village/town. The initial focus of the campaign in Ferns was on businesses on Main St., the next step is to roll it out to schools and the wider community. Look out for Ask The Locals stickers in participating shop windows.

Ferns Heritage Conference 2016 and 2017

YouTube clips of presentations made at last year's conference can be viewed at: click here Click here. Thanks to Alan Owens for his trojan work on video presentations.

Follow this link to view accommodation in and around the Ferns area
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