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Fiodh Ard
Fethard Quay
Fethard Quay
Fethard-on-Sea is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 52°11′42″N 6°49′59″W / 52.195°N 6.833°W / 52.195; -6.833Coordinates: 52°11′42″N 6°49′59″W / 52.195°N 6.833°W / 52.195; -6.833
County Wexford
15 m (49 ft)
 • Total311
Irish Grid ReferenceS793049

Fethard-on-Sea or Fethard (Irish: Fiodh Ard, meaning "high wood")[2] is a village in southwest County Wexford in Ireland. It lies on the R734 road on the eastern side of the Hook peninsula, between Waterford Harbour and Bannow Bay.

The village had a population of 311 as of the 2016 census.[1] It lies in the Fethard electoral district in the Wexford constituency. It is in the Templetown parish in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ferns. Its main industries are fishing and tourism.[citation needed]

Public transport[edit]

Two Bus Éireann routes serve Fethard-on-Sea; route 370 provides a commuter service to Waterford via New Ross departing at 07.15 Mondays to Saturdays inclusive with a return journey in the evening.[3] Tuesday-only route 373 provides a link to/from Wexford via Wellingtonbridge.[4]


In the 12th century, Baginbun near Fethard was the site of Norman landings during the Norman invasion of Ireland.[5][6] The remains of Norman-era earthworks and fortifications may be seen at Baginbun Bay, south of Ingard Point.[7]

A 12th-century castle was built by Raymond le Gros, which passed to the Bishop of Ferns and was used as an episcopal residence. There is little evidence of the castle today.[citation needed]

Alexander Devereux, the 16th-century bishop of Ferns and Abbot of Dunbrody, is buried in St. Mogue's Church of Ireland church.[6]

Fethard was granted a charter by James I of England,[6] and became a municipal borough, sending two members to the Irish parliament, before its dissolution.[citation needed] In 1798 a harbour,[6] was built and was a landing site for French troops during the revolutionary wars.[citation needed]

Village name[edit]

Long known simply as 'Fethard', the village became known as Fethard-on-Sea following events in 1914 when the lifeboat Helen Blake capsized. Nine of the lifeboat's fourteen-man crew were drowned during a service mission to the schooner Mexico off the Keeragh Islands.[8] There was an outpouring of sympathy for the village and charitable donations were posted from around the world. To avoid this post from being misdirected to Fethard in County Tipperary, the name of the Fethard in County Wexford was reputedly changed to better distinguish the two.[8]

Fethard-on-Sea boycott[edit]

In May 1957, Roman Catholic villagers boycotted Protestant-owned local businesses in response to the actions of a Protestant woman, Sheila Cloney, who left her Catholic husband, and took her children away to avoid being forced to send them to the local Catholic school as the local Catholic priest demanded. The boycott received national and international attention before it concluded. The family was reconciled eventually, with the daughters being home-schooled.[9][10]


A film was made about the Cloney family called A Love Divided (1999) starring Orla Brady as Sheila Cloney.[11] The film also proved to be controversial, with allegations of fabrications and historical misrepresentation,[12][13][14] and the omission of important facts relating to the case.[15][16] Press criticism focused on one of the film's writers, Gerry Gregg, a Communist and former member of the Workers' Party of Ireland,[17] who was accused of antagonism towards the Roman Catholic Church[18] and towards Irish Republicanism.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Sapmap Area: Settlements Fethard-on-Sea". Census 2016. Central Statistics Office. 2016.
  2. ^ "Fiodh Ard / Fethard". logainm.ie. Placenames Database of Ireland. 18 January 2020.
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-12-20. Retrieved 2011-04-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-09-15. Retrieved 2013-08-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Normans' Baginbun landing book release". wexfordpeople.ie. Wexford People. 27 May 2017. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d Samuel Lewis (1837). Topographical Dictionary of Ireland - Fethard – via libraryireland.com.
  7. ^ "Fethard-On-Sea". southeastireland.com. Archived from the original on 2005-07-22. Retrieved 2005-09-20.
  8. ^ a b "A terrible loss... an incredible story of survival". Gorey Guardian. Independent News & Media. 23 February 2019. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  9. ^ National Archives press clippings National Archives.
  10. ^ Love conquers all: but for decades a village paid the price Sunday Mirror, 1999-12-05.
  11. ^ A Love Divided Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "LOVE CONQUERS ALL; But for decades a village paid the price of – Sunday Mirror – Find Articles at BNET.com". Archived from the original on 2011-03-02.
  13. ^ "Obituary: Sean Cloney – Independent, The (London) – Find Articles at BNET.com". Archived from the original on 2008-03-08.
  14. ^ National archives Finding aid: Women in 20th-Century Ireland, 1922–1966 (Browse records)
  15. ^ The Mayo News – Fethard boycott recalled
  16. ^ "Religion: Fethardism". Time. 19 August 1957.
  17. ^ a b The return of the revisionists: ThePost.ie Archived 2008-04-10 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Catholic League: For Religious and Civil Rights Archived 2008-05-10 at the Wayback Machine