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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.

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 to the arrival of the Normans in the 12th - a huge expanse of time, with many fascinating stories associated with key events in Irish history.

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.

The annual Ferns Conference: Ferns Heritage Conference 2018 took place on October 13th and 14th in St. Edan's Cathdral, Ferns. Entitled 'Pillars of God - church power and influence in medieval Ireland', the following details speakers and presentations.

Professor Jonathan Wooding (Sir Warwick Fairfax Chair of Celtic Studies, University of Sydney) looked at early links between Ireland and Wales, focussing on Saints David and Aidan.
Dr. Elizabeth Boyle (Head of the Department of Early Irish at Maynooth University) explored how ecclesiastical and secular law intersected in medieval Ireland
Dr. Cóilín Ó’Drisceoil (Kilkenny Archaeology and Maynooth University) dipped into the medieval fascination with the afterlife and how to avoid an overlong stay in Purgatory!
Dr. Niamh Wycherley (Medieval historian and postdoctoral researcher in the Moore Institute, NUI Galway) investigated the role of relics in early Irish society.
Professor Tadgh O’Keeffe(UCD School of Archaeology) presented on the history and architecture of our own Anglo Norman Cathedral of Ferns.
Barry Lacey (local archaeologist) explored the medieval church of nearby Clone.

The Sunday session featured a concert in St. Edan's showcasing local talent. Participants included: a local children's choir, Credo (a female acappella group); Mollie Carroll, a young harpist, and the youth baroque quartet (County Wexford School of Music).

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

Conference Organisation

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

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.

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