Fishguard (Welsh: Abergwaun, meaning "Mouth of the River Gwaun") is a coastal town in Pembrokeshire, Wales, with a population of 3,419 recorded in the 2011 Census. The community of Fishguard and Goodwick had a population of 5,043 in 2001 and 5,407 in 2011. Modern Fishguard consists of two parts; Lower Fishguard and the "Main Town". Fishguard and Goodwick are twin towns with a joint Town Council.
Lower Fishguard (locally known as 'Lower Town') is believed to be the site of the original hamlet from which modern Fishguard has grown. It is situated in a deep valley where the River Gwaun meets the sea, hence the Welsh name for Fishguard. It is a typical fishing village with a short tidal quay. The settlement stretches along the north slope of the valley.
The main town contains the parish church, the High Street and most of the modern development, and lies upon the hill to the south of Lower Fishguard, to which it is joined by a steep and winding road. The part of the town that faces Goodwick grew in the first decade of the 20th century with the development of Fishguard Harbour.
Quick Facts About Fishguard
- 1797 saw the last invasion of Britain when the French landed at Carreg Wasted Point, to the west of Fishguard.
- You can get a ferry from Fishguard to Rosslare in Ireland, the journey takes a little over 3 hours to get to mainland Ireland from Wales.
- In 1972 Lower Fishguard was the scene for the filming of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood, with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton drinking at the Ship Inn Lower Fishguard, West Wales It was also visited by Gregory Peck for the filming of Moby Dick.
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Events In And Around Fishguard
Regular events held in this town.
Things To Do Outdoors In Fishguard
Outside Fishguard there is a stone monument commemorating the signing of the Peace Treaty after the last invasion of Britain in 1797. Women dressed in Welsh costume are said to have startled the invaders. The 19th-century parish church of St Mary's contains a memorial stone to the heroine Jemima Nicholas, who helped repel the French invasion. There is also a Bi-Centenary memorial stone monument in West Street, Fishguard to commemorate the invasion.
Fishguard is within the historic Welsh cantref of Cemais, and part of the Welsh province of Dyfed, within the historic Principality of Deheubarth. The coasts of Wales were subject to Norse raids during the Viking Era, and in the latter part of the 10th century Norse trading posts and settlements emerged within Dyfed, with Fishguard established sometime between 950 and 1000 AD.
The town name Fishguard derives from Old Norse Fiskigarðr meaning "fish catching enclosure", indicating that there may have been a Scandinavian trading post, although no evidence has been found. Called Fiscard until the turn of the 19th century when the name was Anglicised, Fishguard was a marcher borough and in 1603 was described as one of five Pembrokeshire boroughs overseen by a portreeve. The Norman settlement lay along what is now High Street between the church at its north end and the remains of a Norman motte at its south end.
Lower Fishguard developed as a herring fishery and port, trading with Ireland, Bristol and Liverpool. In the late 18th century it had 50 coasting vessels, and exported oats and salt herring. In 1779, the port was raided by the privateer Black Prince, which bombarded the town when the payment of a £1,000 ransom was refused. As a result, Fishguard Fort was completed in 1781, overlooking Lower Fishguard. The port declined in the latter half of the 19th century.
Fishguard's ancient Royal Oak public house was the site of the signing of surrender after the Battle of Fishguard in 1797, the last successful invasion of Britain, when a force of 1,400 French soldiers landed near Fishguard but surrendered two days later. The story is told in the Fishguard Tapestry created for the 200th anniversary to emulate the Bayeux Tapestry, and is displayed in the Town Hall Library.
A 19th-century vicar of Fishguard, the Rev. Samuel Fenton MA, wrote the book The History of Pembrokeshire.
The ancient Parliamentary Borough of Fishguard was contributory to the Borough of Haverfordwest. In 1907, it was created an urban district, which included Goodwick from 1934 until it was abolished in 1974. During the Second World War, the Fishguard Bay Hotel was Station IXc of Special Operations Executive where submersibles were tested in Fishguard Bay.
Fishguard & Goodwick Golf Club was founded in 1921 and closed in the 1960s.