Townlands of Riverchapel-Courtown Harbour, Co. Wexford

History of the area

The history of the Riverchapel-Courtown area begins around the year 600 A.D. when St Aidan, the first bishop of Ferns, landed at Ardamine on his return from St David’s in Wales. It was at Kiltennel that he established his first church, which may have been an even earlier Christian foundation in the late sixth century. The name means “the church of Sinell ” to whom it was dedicated.

Riverchapel itself started life as a small village in the parish of Ardamine, just three miles south-east of Gorey. The name originated from a small mud-walled chapel beside the Owenavorragh River which served the community in the 1700s.

Favoured by nature with long sandy beaches, woodlands and the rock-cut gorge of the river, the adjoining village of Courtown developed into a fishing village in the 1830s. Then in the 1860s, thanks to the arrival of the railway from Dublin to Gorey and the southeast, both Courtown and Riverchapel became a popular tourist resort.

More recently in 1991 however, the increased population in the neighbouring parish of Ballygarrett has led to the formation of the new parish of Riverchapel-Courtown Harbour.

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