Saturday, April 17, 2010

Norman Motte Glasscarrig, Co Wexford coast

Just down the coast from our house in Skuna Bay, is a Norman Motte in a location called Glasscarrig Point. Some time ago, while out walking, I took a photo from the beach and uploaded it to Panoramio - click here to see more details on this photo and location on Google Maps. There is an excellent view of this very flat part of North Co Wexford from the top of the Motte - it is located on a farm (be careful about trespass) very close to the beach, and is in fact in some danger from coastal erosion that occurs in this area. It is easy to get to - take the road sign-posted for Donaghmore from the Courtown to Ballygarrett road (just after Doyle's Garage). Go right down to the end of the lane (you will pass the ruined Donaghmore church and small graveyard), park, and walk the short (0.5km) distance south along the beach. A church at Donaghmore is reputed to have been founded by St Patrick himself - see extract of an article by William H. Grattan Flood in 1905.

The Normans first invaded Ireland in 1169, and among several castles they built was the one in Ferns built in the 13th century. The Normans also established a network of wooden Motte and Baileys Castles - the picture to the left (a link from the UK Castles website) shows what they looked like. Only the mound (motte) still stands at Glasscarrig. It is believed that the shortest distance between Ferns Castle and the coast of Wexford is to this point, which may have been the reason why the Normans built it here (quick escape route!). There is even a rumour that an underground tunnel exists between the castle and the coast here, but this has never been found. 

It's nice to have 800 years of history on your doorstep. Many locals hope that this historic site, plus the church and graveyard at Donaghmore, will prompt Wexford County Council to take anti-erosion measures (my house is about 50m from the sea). However, as most of the houses along the beach here are holiday homes belonging to people mostly from Dublin (no votes for local politicians), very little is being done (some work was done a few years ago near Cahore).

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