Roman Catholic Diocese of Ferns

Roman Catholic Diocese of Ferns
Diocese of Ferns
Dioecesis Fernensis

St. Aidan’s Cathedral, Enniscorthy
Country Republic of Ireland
Territory Most of County Wexford and parts of County Wicklow
Ecclesiastical province Province of Dublin
Area 1,158 sq mi (3,000 km2)
- Catholics

Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Latin Rite
Cathedral St Aidan’s Cathedral, Enniscorthy
Patron saint St Aidan
Current leadership
Pope Pope Benedict XVI
Bishop Denis Brennan,
Bishop of Ferns
Metropolitan Archbishop Diarmuid Martin,
Archbishop of Dublin
Emeritus Bishops Brendan Oliver Comiskey,
Bishop Emeritus of Ferns

The Diocese of Ferns, shown in gold,
within the Province of Dublin

The Diocese of Ferns (Irish: Deoise Fhearna) is a Roman Catholic diocese in south-eastern Ireland. It is one of six suffragan dioceses in the ecclesiastical province of Dublin and is subject to the Archdiocese of Dublin.[1][2][3] The incumbent Ordinary is Denis Brennan.


Geographical remit

The See covers most of County Wexford and some of County Carlow and County Wicklow. It is a suffragan of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin.


W. H. Grattan Flood, author of the History of the Diocese of Ferns,[4] illustrates the origin of the Diocese, by stating:

It is a far cry back to the year 598, when the See of Ferns was established, with St. Aedan (Mo-Aedh-og or Mogue) as first Bishop. During his episcopate thirty churches and numerous monasteries were founded. St. Ibar, St. Abban, St. Brendan, and St. Senan were also early labourers in the diocese. St. Aedan died on January 31st, 630, leaving a fragrant memory behind him, and his episcopal See was known as Fearna-mor-Moedhoc." [5]



The following is a list of the most recent post-Reformation Roman Catholic bishops and vicars apostolic.[6][7]

  • Thomas Furlong (1857–1875)
  • Michael Warren (1876–1884)
  • James Browne (1884–1917)
  • William Codd (1917–1938)
  • James Staunton (1938–1963)
  • Donald J. Herlihy (1964–1983)
  • Brendan Oliver Comiskey, SS.CC. (1984–2002)
  • Denis Brennan (2006–present)

Sex abuse controversy

The October 2005 Report of the Ferns Inquiry has outlined the serious levels of clerical sex abuse in the diocese since the 1960s. It strongly criticised the former bishops of Ferns, Donal Herlihy and Brendan Comiskey for their inability to deal with the allegations of sexual abuse made against a number of priests. Brendan Comiskey resigned as Bishop on 1 April 2002.


  1. ^ Diocese of Ferns. Catholic-Hierarchy. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
  2. ^ Archdiocese of Dublin. Catholic-Hierarchy. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  3. ^ Diocese of Ferns - Catholic Encyclopedia article. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
  4. ^ Grattan Flood, History, title page.
  5. ^ Grattan Flood, History, p. ix.
  6. ^ Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1986). Handbook of British Chronology (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 428–429. ISBN 0-521-56350-X. 
  7. ^ Diocese of Ferns. Catholic Hierarchy. Retrieved on 7 September 2009.


  • Grattan Flood, W.H. History of the Diocese of Ferns. Waterford: Downey & Co., 1916.

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