Tuesday 20 August 2019

Heritage conference in Ferns will shed new light on Norman influence in Ireland

St Edan's Cathedral in Ferns, venue for the main conference.
St Edan's Cathedral in Ferns, venue for the main conference.

We all know that Diarmuid MacMurrough, King of Leinster and would-be King of Ireland, was responsible for introducing the Normans to Ireland.

Diarmuid, whose Royal Seat was at Ferns, recruited Norman mercenaries to help him in his struggle with the High King Rory O'Connor but ended up sparking a full-scale Norman invasion of the country.

What happened next is the main focus of this year's Ferns Heritage Conference which will be held on September 9 and 10.

The two-day conference entitled 'A new way or the Norman Way? Continuity and change in post-Norman Ireland' will explore the wider Norman influence on Ireland, including landscape, social structure, food and medicine, amongst other things.

The main conference will be held this year in the special setting of St Edan's Cathedral, Ferns on September 9 with an outdoor session the following morning.

Speakers will include UCC food historian, writer and broadcaster, Regina Sexton; medieval archaeologist, Dr Anne-Julie Lafaye of The Discovery Programme; Emmet Stafford of the well-known Wexford archaeological firm Stafford-McLoughlin, historian Brian Ó Cléirigh and Dr Ciara Crawford, Maynooth University.

The conference will also include a display of medieval fighting techniques by Wexford-based Goats Head Historical Fencing, which will give an insight into war and duelling in medieval times.

On September 10, an outdoor session led by Edmund Joyce of Carlow IT's Wexford Campus will guide participants through an architectural 'reading' of the 19th century St. Edan's Cathedral in an attempt to unravel its many hidden older components.

The event is organised by the local Ferns Heritage Project Group, whose focus is on promoting and developing Ferns tourism potential with particular emphasis on its Christian and medieval heritage. Last year's conference was sold-out in advance, with a waiting list applying. The move to St Edan's Cathedral will provide much-needed additional space this year.

Catherine MacPartlin, Chairperson of the Ferns Heritage Project Group paid tribute to Dean Paul Mooney for making the Cathedral available for the conference and also to Wexford County Council for their continued support.

To book your place email: or phone 087-4189740. YouTube clips of presentations from the Ferns Heritage Conference 2016 can be seen on the Ferns Village YouTube channel.

Wexford People

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