Home to a number of national monuments, Ferns’ most iconic attraction is the magnificent Ferns Castle. Today, about half the castle still stands, originally it was square shaped with a drum tower at each angle. This Norman castle dates back to the 13th century and you can still see evidence of its origins, with its chapel considered to be one of the finest of its kind in Ireland. The 360 degree view from the top of the Castle is astounding.
In the Castle Grounds, you can drop in to the Visitors Centre which houses the renowned Ferns Tapestries. These consist of 25 tapestry panels which were hand stitched by local women who wanted to highlight Ferns fascinating history in this art form.
To the north of the village are the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey, which was founded by Dermot MacMurrogh in 1158, St. Peters Church and St. Edan’s Cathedral, which is said to be the smallest cathedral in Europe! In the grounds of St. Edan’s Cathedral can be found three heads of high crosses dating to the 8th and 9th Centuries. In the graveyard adjacent to the Cathedral, you can visit the grave of Diarmuid MacMurrough who left Ferns in 1167 to invite the Normans to Ireland. Walk a short distance in the Gorey direction and you will see St. Mogue’s Well. Legend has it that St. Aidan, whose followers were complaining they could find no water, pointed to this spot and suggested they dig – the waters are said to have curative powers.
Nowadays, Ferns has a real community feel where sports play a huge part in their achievements. It has its own camogie team, the senior team won a senior B county title in 2010 – a first for the parish. GAA (Gaelic) also plays a big part on life in Ferns, which carries on a tradition of playing national games of hurling and Gaelic football which dates right back to 1886. Ferns even has a pitch which has the exact dimensions of Croke Park! A vibrant soccer club, Ferns United, fields men’s, women’s and underage teams and is another sporting asset to the community.
Perhaps your interests lie in fast cars and motorcycles? Ferns hosts many Motocross events ranging from practice sessions to championship events.
Ferns also boasts attractive cafés, restaurants and pubs where you can relax, enjoy and savour the chefs delights. Much of the produce is locally sourced so when you are dining in Ferns you are supporting local businesses and jobs.