03 Jan Fethard Town Walls Heritage Trail
This blog post on the Fethard Town Walls Heritage Trail is part of a series of posts from my Munster Vales travel guide.
Fethard is a scenic 16km drive from Cashel. Arriving in Fethard I just couldn’t get over what a pretty town it is. It is so green and quaint with a stunning backdrop of Sliabh na mBan Fionn, “mountain of the fair women”, Slievenamon. The Clashawley river runs through this charming Irish town but its most remarkable feature is a large number of medieval ruins.
You can also see the original 14th century Fethard town walls. Ninety per cent of Fethard’s town walls are intact. This is the highest proportion of any walled town in Ireland. The highest point of the Fethard Town Walls is in the north section where early masonry still stands to the height of 7.8 metres.
There used to be five gates into the walled town of Fethard, but only the North Gate remains today.
You can, however, see the remnants of two other gates. If you look closely at the North Gate you can still see marks left by the wickerwork used in its construction. I geeked out a little over this!
The south side wall is the most intact. This part of the wall runs along the north side of the road R706. The river flows between the Fethard Town Walls and the road.
Considering Fethard is one of medieval Ireland’s best preserved Norman towns, I expected there to be loads of tour buses with tourists looking to experience old Ireland. But the town was lovely and quiet and peaceful.
A 2km self-guided Fethard Town Walls heritage trail takes you past the ruins.
This walk takes about one hour to complete. Of course, it took me longer as I stopped all the time to take photos. Fethard is just so photogenic. Click here to download Fethard Town Walls Heritage Trail map.
The Fethard Heritage Trail takes you through the charming streets and back along the river banks and passed most of the ruins.
Inside the Fethard Town Walls, is the Augustinian Abbey, founded in 1305. The Church is the original 14th century building, although it was modified in the 15th century.
The Fethard Town Walls Heritage Trail also takes you by Edmond’s Castle. This is built into the south wall and is a rare fifteenth-century hall house.
Walking along Watergate Street in the centre of the town you’ll see Court Castel, a 15th-century fortified urban tower house, and one of the largest in Ireland. Also on Watergate Street, located at the abbey in a section of the Fethard town wall, you’ll find a Sheela-na-gig. This is a medieval carving. Sheela-na-gigs are explicit portrayals of women, possibly created to evoke fertility or ward off evil.
Also inside the Fethard town walls is the beautiful Holy Trinity Church. This medieval parish church is around 800 years old, although the west tower was added in the late 15th century and the roof of the nave dates back to about 1489. The church is open for worship every Sunday morning. At other times, visitors can go into the church by obtaining the key from the Fethard Horse Country Experience.
The Fethard Town Walls Heritage Trail thirst quencher.
When you are finished the picturesque Fethard Town Walls Heritage Trail, pop into McCarthy’s pub on Main Street for a pint and a lot more.
Established in 1840, McCarthy’s Fethard pub has been in the McCarthy family for five generations, and very little has changed throughout the years. But this Victorian-style pub holds a secret, it is also an undertakers. So you can order a casket with your coffee. Because of how unique it is, it is quite popular, especially with those visiting the nearby Coolmore Stud farm. However, McCarthy’s pub is well worth a visit if you are in Fethard.
Thanks to Tríona O’Mahony of Munster Vales organising our trip and proving some of the photos.
The following are the other blog posts in this Munster Vales series:
Thanks for reading
Have you done the Fethard Town Walls Heritage Trail? Let me know how you got on and I’d love to see any photos you took.
If you liked this Fethard Town Walls Heritage Trail blog post, you might also like my review of the Finn Lough Bubble Domes in Northern Ireland.
Additionally, you might enjoy reading my review of the Pullman Restaurant in the Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Galway, Ireland.
Another blog you might like is my review of the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel in Galway, Ireland.
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