Ferns Village Heritage Trail
Distance: 2.37km (1.5 miles)
Walking time: 40min
Renowned through the ages as the Ancient Capital of Leinster, this is a trail well worth taking. Experience sites of national and international importance–a centre of early Christian and medieval significance. Visit heritage sites linked to some of the greatest changes in Irish history. Linger at a holy well founded by St. Aidan who came to Ferns in 598AD. Nearby you can visit 12th century St. Mary’s Abbey and the grave of the king who brought the Normans to Ireland in 1169. Spend some time in St. Edan’s Cathedral and view the high crosses in its grounds. Take a tour of Ferns Castle, a 13th century Norman castle, and in the adjacent Visitors’ Centre you can see the wonderful Ferns Tapestry exhibition. Nearby is a monument to Fr. John Murphy, a 1798 Rebellion leader and further along the trail is a 1916 commemorative plaque linking Ferns to these significant events in Wexford’s history.
Diarmuid MacMurrough founded St. Mary’s Abbey ‘for the health of my soul and my ancestors and successors’. Its foundation charter included an entitlement to a ‘portion of all beer brewed in Ferns’. MacMurrough took sanctuary in the Abbey whilst he awaited the arrival of his Anglo-Norman allies.
In the Cathedral graveyard is interred the late Fr. Ned Redmond who, as a student in France, was credited with saving the young Napoleon Bonaparte from drowning, thus altering the course of European history.