Ferns, County Wexford, Ireland
The Tower of Ferns is found in the centre of Ferns, in Ireland’s County Wexford.
The Tower of Ferns, or Ferns Castle, is now in a state of predominant ruin. About half of the castle still stands, with the towers being in varying states of disrepair. There are remnants of what was once a three-storey square keep with a tower at each corner. As the towers go, one has been lost completely, another is mostly ruin, and a third is still about half-standing. The fourth and almost completely preserved tower is the southwestern one, which still has a circular chapel, seven of its fireplaces, ornamental carving, and a vaulted basement. The remains of a moat surround the castle’s keep.
Ferns Castle is open to the public between the 24th of May and the 29th of September each year. Opening hours are between 10:00am and 6:00pm. Its restaurant seats up to 30 people, while its tour accommodates 15 and lasts for 30 minutes. Access to the castle is free. It provides car parking, toilets including toilets for the disabled, although disabled access to the castle itself is somewhat limited by its narrow and plentiful staircases. The castle sometimes has exhibitions and seasonal events, information about which is available upon request.
There is no exact date for the building of Ferns Castle, though it is suspected to have begun in 1222 by Earl William Marshall the younger. It was not completed, however, until the mid 13th century. William de Valance was its owner by this time. The castle’s use as a residence was discontinued very early in the 14th century; the moat was filled in by around 1310 and it had reached a state of disrepair by 1324. It changed hands quite often after then – it was taken and reclaimed several times by different parties until 1551, when it was taken for the Crown by John Travers. The Crown then held possession of it until the mid 17th century. It was then handed to Cromwell’s soldiers who are suspected to have brought about its demolition.
Other Castles in the Area
Ballyloughan Castle, County Carlow
Enniscorthy Castle, County Wexford
Ferns Castle, County Wexford
Ferrycarrig Castle, County Wexford
Glenart Castle, County Wicklow
Huntington Castle, County Carlow