This village was once the capital of Leinster. The see of Ferns was founded in the sixth century by St Maodhog (or Mogue). The religious settlement and the town which grew around it were often plundered by the Danes.
In the twelfth century the King of Leinster , Dermot MacMurrough, made Ferns his capital and founded the abbey there. After the Anglo-Norman invasion the town declined, and in 1406 the episcopal see was transferred to New Ross.
The present Church of Ireland church incorporates sections of the 13th century cathedral thought to have been built by the first Anglo-Norman bishop of the diocese.
There are some 8th/9th century High Crosses in the vicinity of the abbey ruin and the 12th century fragment of a High Cross reputedly marks the last resting place of Dermot McMurrough. The earliest identifiable headstone in the nearby graveyard dates to 1717.
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