Sunday 17 December 2017

Wexford's real-life Game of Thrones


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

WEXFORD'S own Game of Thrones will be in the spotlight next month during a two-day conference on Gaelic kings and Norman warlords.

The conference,'Gaelic Capital and Norman Stronghold - Ferns and the transformation of Ireland' will open at Ferns Castle Visitors Centre on Saturday, March 12, and will explore Wexford's transformation from Gaelic kingdom to Norman lordship.

Ferns was central to the events which took place in the 12th century and which transformed the ancient Gaelic kingdom of Leinster and changed the course of Irish history.

'This was a real Game of Thrones,' said archaeologist Catherine MacPartlin, one of the organisers of the conference.

'A King of Leinster elopes with (or kidnaps!) a rival king's wife and ends up ousted from his realm by the High King of Ireland. Hungry for revenge, he sails overseas to enlist the help of yet another King, Henry II of England, and returns with an army of Norman mercenaries.'

The Norman Invasion had begun and Ireland was changed forever.

The Conference is being organised by local community group Ferns Heritage Project, a sub committee of Ferns Development Association. It will explore the various dimensions of the events of this turbulent period of Irish history and will reveal new findings from the most recent geo-physical study of the ancient monastic centre.

Archaeologists and historians from Ireland and Scotland, all experts in their individual fields, will deliver papers on topics ranging from Gaelic royal landscapes to Anglo Norman settlement and William Marshal, the greatest knight in Christendom.

Speakers will include Dr Edel Bhreathnach, CEO, The Discovery Programme; Gerard Dowling, also of The Discovery Programme, who led the recent geophysical project in Ferns; Professor Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, University College Galway; Dr Stephen Harrison, University of Glasgow; Dr Adrian Empey, an expert on William Marshal and Dr Eamonn McEneaney, Waterford Museum of Treasures.

Question and Answer sessions will give conference attendees a full opportunity to participate.

Because seating is limited, with just 50 seats available, booking is essential and seating will be allocated on a first come first served basis. The conference fee €25 (including lunch). Optional extras include a conference dinner on Saturday evening at a cost of €25 and field trips on Sunday at €15.

For more information and to book your place email: or ph 087-4189740. Visit the Ferns Heritage Conference page on for full details of the conference,

Wexford People

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