Ferns, short for Fearna Mr Maedhg, is a small historic town in north County Wexford, near the Wicklow border, with a population of about 900. It is 16kilometres from Enniscorthy.
The ruins of Ferns Castle are in the centre of the town and Ferns is believed to have been established in the 6th century, when a monastery was founded in 598 dedicated to St. Mogue of Clonmore who was a Bishop of Ferns.
The town became the capital of the Kingdom of Leinster when the kings of that southern part of the province established their seat of power there. The most notorious of these was Dermot Mc Murrough who is forever associated with inviting the Anglo Normans to Ireland in 1169.
Ferns Castle, an Anglo-Norman fortress, was built in the 13th century by William, Earl Marshall. Today about half of the castle still stands. Several other reminders of the town’s eventful history include St Mary’s, a 12th century Augustinian priory established by McMurragh circa 1160 and where he is thought to be buried. The town also contains the 13th-century St Edans Cathedral and several high crosses and parts of crosses.