- Not to be confused with Fethard in County Tipperary.
Fethard-on-Sea is a village on the coast of County Wexford in Ireland. With a population in 2016 of 311, it's the largest (or more accurately the least tiny) of the villages on Hook Peninsula, so these are all described here. They include Saltmines, Duncannon and Ballyhack.
Fethard is 37 km from Wexford railway station, which has trains from Dublin Connolly via Wicklow. Waterford is closer but only has two trains a day, connecting to Tipperary, Cork, Tralee, Limerick and Dublin Heuston.
Bus Éireann 370 runs 3 or 4 times M-Sa from Waterford to New Ross, Ramsgrange, Duncannon and Wellington Bridge, with two continuing to Wexford, Rosslare Strand and Europort. Only one commuter bus a day connects Fethard, leaving the village around 07:00, and returning from Waterford around 18:00.
By road from Dublin follow N11 / M11 to Enniscorthy then N30 / N25 to New Ross then R734 south. From the west take N25 over the toll bridge at Waterford.
Suirway Bus 608 runs three times M-Sa from Waterford to Passage East, taking 30 min.
You need wheels, there's no public transport down the peninsula.
- 1 Clonmines is a medieval village, probably founded by the Normans at the same time as Bannow. In the 16th century it had silver mines, but the harbour silted up and the place was abandoned by the 17th. The ruins are on private land but you can see enough from the roadside.
- 2 Tintern Abbey, Saltmills Y34 KR64. mid-March to Oct daily 09:30-17:00. This Cistercian abbey was founded in 1200 by the Earl of Pembroke, who'd vowed to do so if the heavens preserved him when his ship was caught in a storm. It was populated by monks from Tintern Abbey in Monmouthshire, which by way of disambiguation was dubbed Tintern Major while the new abbey was Tintern de Voto - "of the Vow". It was dissolved in 1539 and the lands passed to the Colclough family until the 20th century. It's a substantial ruin with nave, chancel, tower, chapel and cloister, set in wooded parkland with walking trails. Adult €5 (walled garden combi €9), conc €4, child €3.
- Colclough Walled Garden is a 500 m walk from the abbey, admire the old church and graveyard on the way. It's open Apr-Sept 10:00-18:00, Oct-Mar 10:00-16:00. Adult €5 (abbey combi €9).
- 3 Fethard has a ruined 15th century castle, an L-shaped turret with a round tower. It was the residence of the Bishop of Ferns, replacing a Norman turret. You can see the exterior anytime, free, but it's unsafe to enter. Nearby are the ruins of 9th century St Mogue's church, where you'll have to use a bit of imagination. This is named for Saint Máedóc (558-632) aka Mogue or Aidan, the first Bishop of Ferns.
- 4 Baginbun Head is where the Normans began their invasion of Ireland in 1169 - it's named for their two ships La Bague and La Bonne. They camped nearby before settling across the estuary at Bannow (see Kilmore Quay for sights there). There's a Martello tower on the headland and sandy beaches on both sides.
- 5 Duncannon Fort, Duncannon, ☏ . Jun-Sept daily 12:00-15:00. This is a star fort built by Elizabeth I of England in 1587/88 against Spanish attack; it's over the site of earlier fortifications. Visit by guided tour. Adult €6, child €2.50.
- 6 Templetown was granted by Henry II to the Knights Templar, who built a base and several churches here. The structures were added to by the Knights Hospitaller. The ruins are free to enter. The knights must have been an abstemious lot because the modern pub "Templars Inn" has closed down.
- 7 Loftus Hall harks back to 1350 but was entirely rebuilt as a country mansion in the 1870s. From 2011 it was promoted as "Ireland's most haunted house", though it's not clear if the ghosts were eligible to ride the zip-wire. In Nov 2020 the place closed and was put up for sale with a price tag of €2.5 million.
- Slade near Hook Head is a picturesque small harbour with a 16th century tower house, though this is derelict and unsafe to enter.
- Hook Head is the headland forming the east shore of Waterford harbour or "Three Sisters" estuary - outflow of the rivers Nore, Suir and Barrow. It's a great area for bird-watching; the main attraction is the lighthouse but there's also the ruin of St Dubhain's Church, blowholes, fossils in the limestone bedrock, and dolphins in the estuary in winter.
- 8 Hook Lighthouse, ☏ . Daily 09:30-18:00. There's been a beacon here since the 5th century, and the tower was completed by 1240, so it's among the world's oldest lighthouses. It's 35 m high with four storeys: in the top chamber monks tended the beacon fire and later the lantern. Secular lighthouse keepers took over from the 17th century, until it was automated in 1996. Guided tour adult €10, conc €9, child €6.
- Ballyhack Castle, 100 m from Passage East ferry pier, is a 15th C tower house built by the Knights Hospitaller of St John. It's open mid-May to Sept Sa-W.
- Dunbrody Abbey: see New Ross for this 12th century Cistercian abbey.
- Duncannon Sand-Sculpting Festival is held on Duncannon Beach over the August public holiday. The next is probably F 30 July - M 2 Aug 2021 but tba.
- Hooked Kitefest is on Duncannon Beach in mid August. The next is probably 21-22 Aug 2021 but tba.
- Londis in Fethard is open daily 08:00-21:00.
- Centra in Ramsgrange is open M-Sa 07:30-22:00, Su 07:30-21:00.
- 1 Aldritch Lodge, Duncannon Y34 W650, ☏ . Th-Sa 18:00-22:00, Su 17:00-21:00. Upscale restaurant, modern Irish and European cuisine. They also have three rooms en suite, adults only. Double (room only) €100.
- Roche's Bar in Duncannon (aka Sqigl Restaurant) serves excellent local produce. They're open daily from 12:30.
- Neville's and Milano's are fast-food places in Fethard.
- 1 Ocean Island Caravan Park, Fethard (R734 one km north of Fethard), ☏ . Clean well-run place open Apr-Sept for camping and tourer caravans.
- 2 Baginburn Lodge, Main St, Fethard Y34 DH56, ☏ . Clean friendly hotel in village centre with 12 rooms en suite. B&B double €100.
- 3 Dunbrody Country House Hotel, Mersheen, Arthurstown Y34 R597 (off R733), ☏ . Early 19th century mansion, an upscale hotel since 2001, with a highly-rated restaurant. B&B double €200.
- Glendine Country House, Arthurstown Y34 Y920 (opposite Dunbrody CHH), ☏ . Cosy welcoming B&B in 1830s mansion near Ballyhack ferry pier. Extensive grounds and dog-friendly.
- B&Bs in Duncannon are The Moorings, Seashells, Harbourside, and Fort Conan Hotel.
As of Dec 2020, you should manage a call in this area with Eir and Three, and 4G with Vodafone, but there are lots of dead spots in the back lanes. 5G has not reached the Hook Peninsula.
- Wexford has the National Heritage Centre, and Johnstown Castle with the Agricultural Museum.
- Enniscorthy was the bastion and last stand of the rebels of 1798.
- Waterford is Ireland's oldest city, with Viking, medieval and Georgian Heritage.