Fethard castle


Fethard Castle, County Wexford
Photo © Humphrey Bolton, 13 July 2006

This was built by Christ Church Canterbury after they had been granted the borough of Fethard by Hervey de Montmorency. However, it had belonged to the Bishop of Ferns before the Norman conquest of 1169, and he successfully reclaimed it. It was inhabited until 1922.

Fethard (Irish: Fiodh Ard, meaning "high wood") is a town in the barony of Middle Third, South Tipperary in Ireland. It is also a parish in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly. It is located 16 km (10 mi) east of Cashel on the Clashawley River.

The town is remarkable for having been heavily fortified and completely surrounded by town walls as part of Edward I's policy of establishing fortified market towns. The town walls rise to a height of 25 feet and can still be seen today. Most of the circuit survives, making Fethard the most complete medieval circuit in Ireland.

The Loftus family were English planters who had owned land in the neighbourhood from around 1590 when Sir Dudley Loftus was granted the lands around Kilcloggan. Nicholas Loftus acquired the Manor of Fethard-on-Sea in 1634 and Fethard Castle became the family residence. After the end of Cromwell's campaign Nicholas Loftus was given extensive lands in the south of County Wexford and purchased Loftus Hall from 'several Adventurers and soldiers', but it was only in 1666 when his son Henry moved to the Hall from Dungulph that it became the principal residence of the Loftus family.

FETHARD CASTLE, COUNTY WEXFORD

Fethard Castle, the property of the Marquess of Ely, and in the occupation of the Rev. A. Alcock, is pleasantly situated on the left of the road to New Ross; and Innyard, the seat of the Lynn family, is situated in tastefully disposed grounds.

A TOPOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF IRELAND BY SAMUEL LEWIS, 1837