The Cathedral


Monastic Site

The first monastery at Ferns was founded in the sixth century by St Aidan ( or Edan) who was also known as St Mogue. His remains are buried below the church. An inscription on the wall states that he died in January 632 AD. There is also a holy well on the opposite side of the road known as St Mogues Well. This ancient sacred site is probably the reason why the monastery was built here. St Mary's Abbey (pictured above) was founded in the 12th century by Diarmuid MacMurrough and includes a seventy-five foot high round tower, built in two stories, the lower of which is quadrangular. There is also the remains of a 13th century Cathedral, built by John St John, the first Anglo-Norman bishop of the diocese (1223-1243).

Three Plain High Crosses

High Crosses

The main reason for my visit to Ferns was to see the wonderful High Crosses located on the grounds of the present day church. There are three beautiful early plain high crosses with imperforate rings, standing at over two metres high. All that remains of the fourth high cross is part of the shaft with fret pattern decoration. It is believed to mark the grave of Dermot McMurrough (died 1171) (pictured right).

Situated: In Ferns County Wexford. If you drive south to Ferns on the N11 the Church is located on your left as you enter the town.

Discovery Map 69: T 0217 4980. Last visit June 2009.

Longitude: 6° 29' 32" W

Latitude: 52° 35' 24" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey.


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