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Your Are Here - Home > Counties > Wexford County > New Ross
New Ross is situated in the southwest corner of Wexford. New Ross is located on the River Nore and the River Barrow. New Ross is close to where the three rivers meet. The River Suir, River Nore and River Barrow all meet up a short distance south of New Ross. They are known as the three sister rivers. New Ross is a busy market town and joins Wexford to Waterford. Many travel from Wexford to Waterford via New Ross and many stop here to eat and take a few hours off. The streets in New Ross Town are narrow and like Wexford Town the town has been developed around the older routes of old Wexford. This really helps the town give it a Irish feeling and more homely place. They are plenty of see and do in New Ross and the surrounding area. The scenery to the south of New Ross is amazing due to the coast and where the three rivers meet. The winding river cuts through the valleys till it meets that sea and many people come to take great pictures of this area. JFK Park is very close to New Ross, which is related to John F. Kennedy, a former president of USA. His family roots originated here and he visited Wexford a few times to find out about his past. A tour of the park can be taken and you can find out about his history and who he was related to here. A very interesting place to visit. There is plenty of to experience in New Ross and the surrounding area and well worth a visit.

The port town of New Ross dates from the Middle Ages. The earliest settlement in this area dates back to the 6th century when St. Abban of Magheranoidhe founded a monastery in what is now the Irishtown. The original earthen banked circular enclosure of his monastery was visible around the graveyard until about 10 years ago when it was unceremoniously removed by the council. It has been replaced by a concrete wall and steel fence. Its name, Ros, was shortened from Ros Mhic Treoin, or the Wood of the Son of Treon. Little is known of the town in pre-Norman times, except for the writings of St. Abban, who lived in the late 6th century. He founded of a monastic settlement, which lies under the present day St. Stephen's Cemetery in the Irishtown.

New Ross was in the territory of Dermot McMurrough and came to prominence when the Anglo-Normans conquered the region. The Norman knight William Marshall and his bride Isabella arrived during the early part of the 13th century. An earthen defensive structure called a motte was quickly built at Old Ross in order to hold the newly conquered territory. A medieval borough sprung up around it - peopled by English and Welsh settlers. William later founded the port town down by the river, leaving the native Irish living around the monastery up the hill. Isabella was the only child of Strongbow who was married to Aoife, daughter of Dermot McMurrough, King of Leinster. The arrival of Isabella and William is described in the Chronicles of Ros, which are in the British Museum. It records that in 1189, Isabella set about "building a lovely city on the banks of the Barrow". The town's fortunes further increased when King John made William Earl of Pembroke at his coronation in 1199. A year later, the Earl Marshal transferred the Norman capital of Leinster to Kilkenny and New Ross became the main port.

The town grew around the bridge built by William Marshal, son-in-law of Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke (Strongbow), and a leader of the Norman invasion of Ireland. The town of New Ross (the town of the new bridge) was granted a Royal Charter in 1207. The port gained concessions from King John in 1215 and again in 1227 but these were later revoked by Henry III and Edward I to protect the port of Waterford. Even with these handicaps, New Ross was Ireland's busiest port in the thirteenth century. These restrictions were lifted in the fourteenth century by Edward II and Edward III.

The spiritual needs of citizens were not forgotten and a great Church, St Mary's Abbey, was erected which was to become one of the largest parish churches in Ireland. St. Mary's Church (Church of Ireland) was built in 1811 on the site of the nave of the abbey. A friary was built in Friary Lane during the medieval period but no trace of it survives above ground these days. A religious run lepers' hospital was established in the Maudlins in the later Middle Ages but this has recently been removed. There are two Roman Catholic churches, both built in the nineteenth century. These are the parish church of St. Michael and St. Mary, and the Augustinian church.

The town prospered with the arrival of rich merchants, pirates, tradesmen, religious orders, and merchant bankers. However, in 1265 the citizens found it necessary to build a wall around the town for protection against attack by the native Irish and feuding Norman families. The building of the wall was a community effort with towers and gates added to its defence. The wall can be still spotted on Joneses Hill, Goats Hill, The Three Bullet Gate, fragments in the Bullaun and also in Lidl carpark. It is sorely neglected and desperately needs conservation measures to prevent its final decline. A portion of a gate survives at fair gate or maiden's gate at the bottom of the Irishtown.

The town was the target for attack in the 13th and 14th centuries by Irish chieftains, particularly the McMurrough-Kavanagh clan and for many years the town was forced to pay the clan for protection.

The town was fought over in the Irish Confederate Wars of the 1640s. In 1643, the town resisted the siege by James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde, who fought a battle near the town with an Irish army under Thomas Preston, 1st Viscount Tara. However it was later taken by Oliver Cromwell, during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in 1649 who discharged three cannon shots at the Aldgate and thereafter it was known as the Three Bullet Gate.

New Ross in 1832.The town is an important crossing point on the River Barrow, being located between the river estuary, and the point where the River Nore joins the Barrow and was the location of one of the bloodiest battles of the 1798 rebellion. During this Rebellion, a fierce and decisive battle took place in New Ross on 5 June between the Irish rebels and the British forces. The poorly armed rebels captured most of the town by weight of numbers and drove out the defending soldiers. The soldiers returned later in the day and recaptured the town. Over 2,000 people died during the battle and most of the thatched buildings were burned.

The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were prosperous times for New Ross with the colonisation of North America. Local merchants sailed their own ships back and forth to the colonies often carrying Irish emigrants. A replica of one of those ships, the Dunbrody, is now berthed on the quay in New Ross and offers visitors to the ship an insight into life as a passenger during the late 1800s.

President John F. Kennedy addresses the people of New Ross 27 June 1963.Over the years, seven bridges have spanned the river Barrow to connect the Port of New Ross with its neighbours in Rosbercon. However, at various stages down through the centuries, the bridges collapsed due to neglect or were destroyed by armies. During the times when the town was without a bridge, a ferry service or passage was maintained between both shores and this kept the military and economic ties with Waterford open.

Thousands of people left the quayside over the years to start new lives in Britain, America, Newfoundland, Canada and Australia. The most famous emigrants were Patrick Kennedy and Bridget Murphy, great-grandparents of John F. Kennedy, President of the United States. President Kennedy returned to visit his ancestral home in June 1963.

There are many sporting organisations in the town of New Ross, such as the Geraldine O'Hanrahans GAA Club, New Ross Rugby Club, New Ross Celtic Soccer Club,[2] New Ross Town Soccer Club, New Ross Boat Club, New Ross Badminton Club, New Ross Swimming Club and New Ross Golf Club. The sporting organisations in New Ross have been making great strides to serve the people of New Ross even better in recent years with the GOH GAA Club having recently completed a massive development at the club grounds incorporating a brand new clubhouse with a meeting room, 6 new dressing rooms, a shop and a ball alley to add to their already impressive grounds. New Ross Celtic Soccer Club have also only recently completed a major development at their club grounds in Butlersland. They now have a clubhouse, two full size soccer pitches and two astro-turf pitches. New Ross Rugby Club recently added a second pitch to cope with the increasing popularity of their club. The future looks bright for sports in New Ross.
Wexford Town
New Ross
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New Ross
In: Wexford
People: 7,709
Speak: English, Irish
Type: Market Town
GPS: -6.945076, 52.395611