Dr. Bill O' Gorman, from WIT, speaking about this site on WLR

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wexford origins: The lake of Garman

In a country steeped in myth and legend Wexford's history is no exception. A story tells of its origin in the mists of time, when Garman Garbh was drowned on the mudflats by waters released by an Enchantress. The vast expanse of harbour thus created was named "The lake of Garman" or Loch Garman, the Gaelic name for Wexford.

The origins of Wexford as a centre for trade can be traced back to Celtic tribes who moved westward across Europe who were initially attracted to the county because of its natural harbour on Ireland's south east coast.

The Norsemen are accredited with introducing towns to Ireland, and Wexford was among the first, dating back to the early 900's. From marauding warriors, the Vikings became citizens and traders of early Wexford and their legacy includes the narrow winding streets and town name including Wexford itself, derived from the Norse, Weissfiord - inlet of the mudflats.

In the Spring of 1169, the then prosperous town was taken by an invading force of Norman knights, who over the following centuries enclosed the town and regulated trade.

The 1600's brought suffering. Wexford became a chief naval base for the Confederate Government in its war with the Parliament Forces and this led to a massacre in 1649, when Wexford fell to the army of Oliver Cromwell. Following this disaster, the town was relatively calm for over a century, but in the hot Summer of 1798, it exploded once more onto the stage of Irish history. In that year of insurrection, many of the woes of previous decades came to the surface, with violent results on both sides.

For more info about Wexford and its history log on to wexfordweb.ie.

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