Thursday, January 7, 2016

Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Fishguard is a pretty little town, just a short bus ride from where I’m staying in Newport, Pembrokeshire. It’s built on a steep hill and the descent into Lower Town and then up into the main square includes some interesting corners that can only be negotiated by single-lane traffic. I don’t envy the bus drivers.

I particularly enjoy the brightly-painted old buildings around the main square.

Fishguard is a quiet town nowadays, but in the late 18th century it was an important trading port with over 50 small vessels carrying coal, lime, slate, and herrings. It was also a centre of shipbuilding.

Nowadays, Goodwick, just around the point from Fishguard, is a port for ferries travelling to and from Rosslare, Ireland.

Old Fort 
In 1779, an American privateer fired on Fishguard from his ship. This prompted the construction of the Old Fort with an array of 8 9-pounder guns.

The Last Invasion 
In 1797, a squadron of 4 French ships drew up and disembarked 4 miles west of Fishguard. 600 regulars and 800 convicts disembarked and started raiding local farms. A British force was assembled, assisted by regulars such as Jemima Nicholas who captured 12 soldiers and locked them up in St. Mary’s Church.

The invasion has been captured with detail and humour in a 105-foot-long tapestry designed and made by local women. It’s an amazing accomplishment and I plan to visit it 2 or 3 times to try and take in all the detail.

There are weekly markets in the town hall on Thursdays and Saturdays with a small collection of producers selling vegetables, dairy products, and baked goods.

I’ve discovered two natural food stores. Fruit & Veg is the larger.

The Gourmet Pig is a very pleasant delicatessen. I had an excellent bowl of lemon-lentil soup for lunch at Pepper's.

Credit: Historical information is from local tourist brochures.

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