History of Ferns detailed in Christopher Power’s new book

A new book has been published outlining the significance of Ferns’ historical past.

It is the book “The History of the Fern”, authored by Christopher Bauer of Tinnashrule.

Christopher, a Carlow County librarian, has been collecting and commenting on information for the book over a 13-year period and said that many sources were explored during that time.

He said that much of the material in the book came from a wide geographical spread.

“The fern is a wonderful area that includes so much of Ireland’s history,” he said.

“From the beginnings of the Bronze Age, until it became one of the first Christian centers in Ireland, it survived the Viking invasions, the Norman invasion, and the 1798 Rebellion, all of which greatly affected the region,” he added.

Despite all of this, Christopher said, the fern has continued to thrive and it touches every aspect of its history in the book.

“What has been of particular importance in recent years, as we move through the centenary decade, is the fact that outside Dublin, Fierns was one of the few locations where the events of Easter week in 1916 took place,” he said.

“Likewise, Ferns witnessed the tragedy of the Irish Civil War which resulted in one death and great structural damage,” he added.

“The book also explores very recent developments, revealing the fern’s past including details of recent archaeological surveys last summer.”

Christopher’s inspiration for writing the book came from his deep interest in the history of the Ferns and its place in the wider world.

To date, he has authored eight books on various topics related to Oxford, Wicklow, Carlo, Limerick and Tipperary.

“The motive for writing this book was originally to live in the shadow of the historical fern and the heritage that goes with its famous name,” he said.

Christopher is aware of the fact that “only scattered antiquities” remain as concrete evidence of the city formerly located in Furnes.

Despite being local and very familiar to the village, Christopher admits that for years he knew very little about the ruins’ origins.

“Like most people in this wonderful community,” he said, “I took the vestiges of Ferns’ impressive past for granted because I went through them every day.”

“Despite clear evidence of its rich history, I know relatively little about many aspects of the medieval institutions that now form the basis of Fern and its diocese in modern times,” he added.

Christober said that many fern-related studies have been done over the years including Nikki Furlong’s excellent biography of King Diarmuid McMurrow, “Dermott” which was written in the 1970s.

However, he said that what influenced him most in writing the book was Reverend Dean Tom McFaul’s study of Ferns Cathedral written in 1954.

“To my knowledge, surprisingly little has been written about the general history of Franz,” said Chesopher.

He said he remains puzzled about the relatively small amount of archaeological discoveries that have been made in the city given its age and the size of the settlement there throughout history.

“The sites of the Ferns monks have proven richer in this respect,” he said.

Christopher greatly appreciates the help he received from many people in writing books.

“A lot of people have helped me over the years, some of them are no longer with us,” he said.

He especially thanked the staff of the Wexford County Library, my colleagues at the Carlow County Library, the late Father Aidan Jones, the St Peters Archives, the Ferns Select Vestry, St Aidan Parish, the printing and layout design, and especially Dennis Kinsella.

The History of the Fern is a 144-page fully illustrated book suitable for anyone interested in any aspect of the Fern region.

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