While it may seem hard to believe nowadays, at one point, Co Wexford was one of the holiest places in Ireland!
That's the assertion of the latest work of Clonegal native Professor Kevin Whelan who launched his new book 'Religion, Landscapes and Settlements in Ireland - From Patrick to Present' in front of a packed house at The Ferrycarrig Hotel.
Professor Whelan, of Notre Dame University, points out that, following a line from Kilrane to Kilmokea, near Campile, there was a density of bishops, priests, monks and scholars, chapels and churches and devotion like no other area in Ireland in medieval times.
Professor Whelan was delighted to discuss some of his findings with an enthusiastic audience at a special launch for his latest work in the Ferrycarrig Hotel, hosted by the Wexford Historical Society.
The launch was attended by several prominent local historians and authors and was overseen by Enniscorthy Librarian and Historical Society secretary Jarlath Glynn.
Professor Whelan gave a fascinating 90 minute lecture, examining all aspects of faith in Co Wexford, covering a period from 432 up to 2018.
'Because religion played such a decisive role in Irish life, the book is also an oblique-angle version of Irish history,' he explained. 'It conveys a sense of how we got to be where we are, even as we leave it behind.'
Such was the level of anticipation for the new book, it was said to have sold out before the launch officially began.
A second run is now being printed by the publishers, Four Courts Press, and is expected to hit the shelves by mid February.