What did the Normans do for Wexford?

The Normans are coming back to Wexford this summer. The Norman re-enactors are from Enniscorthy. Pic: Patrick Browne.

A series of expert guided walks and talks are set to take place across Wexford this summer under the theme ‘The Normans Are Here’ marking the year of the 850th anniversary of the first arrival of the Norman to Ireland onto Bannow Beach on the south coast of Wexford in 1169.
The public lecture series will be hosted by Wexford libraries and a summer lecture series will be hosted by The Irish National Heritage Park with guest speakers set to include Dr Conor Kostick, Dr Linda Doran, Dr Denis Shine, Ian Doyle and Dr Michael Potterton and more.
Getting events underway on Thursday, June 20th at 7 pm is a talk by Archaeologist Dr Denis Shine; the title of the talk is ‘Carrick – Wexford’s most enigmatic Anglo-Norman treasure’. The event will be hosted at Ferns Castle Visitor Centre.
The Carrick site in Co. Wexford is one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood medieval sites in Ireland. Built in the autumn and winter of 1169 by Robert FitzStephen, one of the first knights to land at Bannow Bay, Carrick is the oldest Anglo-Norman fortification in the country.
On Tuesday, July 2nd New Ross Library writer, historian, commissioning editor, Dr Conor Kostick will discuss ‘What did the Normans do for Wexford.’ As a historian, Conor Kostick’s awards include a gold medal from Trinity College, Dublin first prize in the 2001 Dublinia Medieval Essay Competition; fellowships from the Irish Research Council and the University of Nottingham.
On the evening of Thursday, July 4th, Ian Doyle from the Heritage Council will host a discussion on ‘Before the Normans – the archaeology of early medieval Wexford’ at Tintern Abbey.
Ian will discuss what kind of landscape the Anglo-Normans meet when they first landed, looking at pre-Norman archaeology, church, settlement and economy as well as new analyses of the ecclesiastical centres of Ferns and Taghmon.
On Thursday, July 18th Dr Michael Potterton will discuss ‘Early castles in Ireland’ at Wexford Library. And on Friday, July 26th locals and visitors to Wexford are in for a treat as the Carrick centre will host a lunch and open day when visitors can enjoy stepping back in time at the Carrick Archaeology Site at The Irish National Heritage Park from 3 pm to 5 pm.
Throughout the summer a series of guided walks will also be on offer with Baya the storyteller as she hosts “New Ross Tales” guided tours of Norman New Ross. These walks will take place on June 22nd, July 6th, July 20th and August 10th and 24th. The 
guided walking tours will commence from the Tholsel in New Ross Town at 1.30pm except June 22nd, when the tour will commence at 6pm.
The Walls of New Ross self-guided tours are on offer showcasing to visitors the history and heritage hidden in plain sight on the streets
 of New Ross as they learn about the 18 blue plaques 
with historical facts on significant buildings and produced a free booklet and map for self-guided walking tours. Guided tours with New Ross Street Focus are also available upon request.
Many other events are set to take place later in the summer and autumn including a Norman Medieval Fare and a series of Norman themed events for children and adults at the Rockin Food Festival in Enniscorthy town over the August Bank Holiday.
A flagship event will be hosted by The Irish National Heritage Park as the spectacle of a Viking Fire Festival with a Norman twist will take place on September 28th and 29th. The festival will have two locations for events, the Wexford Quayside and the Irish National Heritage Park with the River Slaney route running between the two.
On October 12th and 13th, a re-enactment of the trial of Diarmuid MacMurrough will take place in Ferns. The MacMurrough Inquiry’ will shine a light on key events which led to the ‘invasion’, looking at the extent to which Diarmuid MacMurrough was responsible. Informed by Brehon Law, leading barristers, historians and academics will explore the fascinating tale of power and intrigue in medieval Ireland.
Taking the 2019 events to a close will be the ‘Carrick 850 International Conference’ hosted by the Irish Archaeology Field School, Irish National Heritage Park and partners on October 18th and 19th. This international conference is being organised to coincide with the publication of the first
book detailing the Carrick site – ‘Carrick, County Wexford: Ireland’s First Anglo-Norman Stronghold’.
Further details on all of the events can be found at www.visitwexford.ie/Norman850


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