New light to be shed on ancient past

By David Tucker

Published 11/03/2016 | 00:00

Ferns Castle. Left: it was a real-life Game of Thrones.
Ferns Castle. Left: it was a real-life Game of Thrones.

NEW light will be shed on Wexford's ancient past at the weekend, when the results of a new geophysical survey of the monastic remains at Ferns are revealed at a two-day symposium at the Ferns Castle Visitor Centre.

The symposium 'Gaelic kingdom to Norman lordship' will include full-day lectures on Saturday, a conference dinner Saturday night, and field trips on Sunday.

It is a unique opportunity to hear from some of Ireland's foremost historians and archaeologists, all in the very special setting of medieval Ferns, the Ancient Capital of Leinster.

Among speakers will be French Ambassador, Jean-Pierre Thébault, who will talk about the Norman influence on Ireland's social, infrastructural and cultural landscape.

And newly-announced speakers will include Morgan Kavanagh of Borris House speaking on 'Ancestral Home, Modern Challenge' and Michael Starrett, CEO, Irish Heritage Council who will lead an open forum discussion

The conference - a community initiative organised by the Ferns Heritage Project and supported by Wexford County Council - will explore the various dimensions of Wexford's transformation from Gaelic Kingdom to Norman lordship.

Ferns' remarkable medieval heritage places it at the heart of the Norman/Gaelic Kingship story in Wexford and the village is poised to tap into tourism initiatives such as Ireland's Ancient East, which highlights a rich heritage spanning over 5,000 years of history across the east, southeast and midlands.

'The arrival of the Normans is a seminal moment in Irish history,' said Dr. Ronan O'Flaherty, who is working with the group in organising the conference.

'Ferns, the ancient capital of Leinster and citadel of the ambitious Irish king Dermot MacMurrough is the backdrop against which these great events take place. Kings, saints and fighting men are all here and what makes Ferns unique is the extent to which their medieval citadel survives to this day.'

The range of topics and quality of speakers reflects the significance of Ferns and the surrounding area in the medieval period. In addition, The Discovery Programme, and Ireland's Centre for Archaeology and Innovation, have recently completed a new geophysical survey of the monastic remains and these will be revealed at the conference.

Wexford People

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