Almost 1,000 years old and still making history!
Take a look around Ferns Castle, without leaving home. That is the invitation from Google Street View, which has made the home of the MacMurroughs their first Wexford landmark to receive the full online virtual treatment.
The ancient landmark is now accessible at the click of a mouse, with web users able to stroll around the grounds using the arrow keys on their computers. The images on screen also show the neighbouring properties, all under the finest of South East blue skies.
To date, the Street View approach has been restricted to whatever the Google camera cars have been able to record from the public roads. However, now they have ventured through the gates to look around 50 monuments and tourist attractions, from Killarney National Park in Kerry to Glenveagh Castle in Donegal.
The list includes Duckett's Grove and Altamont Gardens in Carlow, along with Jerpoint Abbey and Kilkenny Castle, with Ferns the only site selected in County Wexford. It features on a list that also gives internet users a taste of the Battle of the Boyne and the Phoenix Park as well as the visitor centre in Glendalough.
The castle and its visitor centre are run by the Office of Public Works with staff on hand there during the tourist season. They are hoping that the online introduction to the site will encourage more people to roll up to their doors in the flesh.
Google has so far not dispatched its cameras to work their 3D magic around other tourist magnets such as Vinegar Hill, Selskar Abbey or the Dunbrody famine ship in New Ross. At the Hook last week, administrator Cathy Dowling pointed out that while the famous lighthouse is not on the Google roster, they do have webcams in place on the old tower.
She reported that the real time pictures to be seen at www.hookheritage.ie can be spectacular.
Meanwhile, Google is advertising its Ferns Castle experience, as part of the same service that also opens up the Grand Canyon in Colorado or the Colosseum in Rome to virtual visits.