After exploring parts of County Wicklow, we headed back towards Cashel. At Clonmel, Sara picked a new route back to Cashel; it was a regional road to the north and we began winding our way back.
As we drove around bends and up-and-down hills, we came upon a walled town called Fethard. We didn’t expect it, nor did we plan on it. What we knew immediately is that we needed to find a place to park and to walk around.
Fethard was established around 1200. It’s walls date back to the 1290’s and ar considered the finest in Ireland and the most complete; as it is still fully intact.
The side of the town that runs parallel with R689 and the Clashawley River has a variety of buildings and ruins. We parked next to the Abymill; an original mill wheel leaning against the outside wall. We then walked along the river banks and towards the Water’s Gate. We could see a church and crossed what looked like an original bridge called the Madam’s Bridge.
On the Water Gate wall is a Sheela Na Gig, a carving of what is thought to be a pagan goddess of fertility. We continued past Court Castle, which looked more like a manor house, and the towards the town centre. Eventually, we made a loop back to the Abbey and explored the cemetery where there were fabulous stone crosses covered with Celtic artwork.
It was at this moment that I was grateful that we had a car and were exploring the backroads. We didn’t always stop at every town. However, when we came across a landscape or a town that we wanted to further acquaint ourselves with … we were be able to stop and enjoy.
Location via Google Maps: