Ferns first came to prominence when the resident King of Leinster, ‘Diarmuid MacMurrough’ brought the first Normans to Ireland in 1169 to help him fight his battles (they never left). However his successors eventually surrendered the Castle when Chieftain Donagh McMurrough did so in 1449.
The present Castle site can be dated on architectural grounds to c1220 indicating that it was built during the period of the Norman Marshall family control of Ferns. The Castle remained the ‘caput of the major’ until 1360 when it was lost back to local Chieftains, the Kavanaghs, who in turn held it until about 1540 after which it was staffed by a succession of English Governors. Over its lifetime the Castle was sacked, damaged and modified several times.
Each August during Heritage Week its worth visiting the Centre to see the delights put on by the incredible OPW guides.
For further information and to arrange free guided tours, phone 053-9366411.