Fishguard is a coastal town
A town is a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city. The size a settlement must be in order to be called a "town" varies considerably in different parts of the world, so that, for example, many American "small towns" seem to British people to be no more than villages, while...

 in Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire is a county in the south west of Wales. It borders Carmarthenshire to the east and Ceredigion to the north east. The county town is Haverfordwest where Pembrokeshire County Council is headquartered....

, south-west Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

, with a population of 3,300 (est. 2006). The community
Community (Wales)
A community is a division of land in Wales that forms the lowest-tier of local government in Wales. Welsh communities are analogous to civil parishes in England....

 of Fishguard and Goodwick had a population of 5043 at the 2001 census.

The town of Fishguard (proper) is divided into two parts, the main town of Fishguard and Lower Fishguard. Lower Fishguard (locally known as 'Lower Town') is situated where the River Gwaun meets the sea in a deep valley. It is a typical fishing village with a short tidal quay. The settlement stretches along the north slope of the valley.

The main town contains the parish church
Parish church
A parish church , in Christianity, is the church which acts as the religious centre of a parish, the basic administrative unit of episcopal churches....

, the High Street and most of the modern development, and lies upon the hill to the south of Lower Fishguard, to which it is joined by a steep and winding hill. The western part of the town, facing Goodwick, grew up in the first decade of the 20th century with the development of the harbour.


The region Fishguard occupies is within the historic Welsh cantref of Cemais, and part of the Welsh province of Dyfed
Kingdom of Dyfed
The Kingdom of Dyfed is one of several Welsh petty kingdoms that emerged in 5th-century post-Roman Britain in south-west Wales, based on the former Irish tribal lands of the Déisi from c 350 until it was subsumed into Deheubarth in 920. In Latin, the country of the Déisi was Demetae, eventually to...

, within the historic Principality of Deheubarth. The coasts of Wales were increasingly subject to Norse raids during the Viking Era, and in the latter part of the 10th century Norse trading posts and settlements emerged within Dyfed, with Fishguard established sometime between 950 and 1000 AD.

The town was originally surrounded by secure castle walls and the name Fishguard derives from old Norse fiskigarðr meaning "fish catching enclosure", This indicates that there may have been a Scandinavian trading post here, although there is no historical record to confirm this. Fishguard was once a marcher borough
A borough is an administrative division in various countries. In principle, the term borough designates a self-governing township although, in practice, official use of the term varies widely....

 and in 1603, it was described as one of five Pembrokeshire boroughs overseen by a portreeve. The Norman
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 settlement lay along what is now High Street between the church at its north end and the slight remains of a Norman motte
A motte-and-bailey is a form of castle, with a wooden or stone keep situated on a raised earthwork called a motte, accompanied by an enclosed courtyard, or bailey, surrounded by a protective ditch and palisade...

 at its south end. Lower Fishguard developed as a herring
Herring is an oily fish of the genus Clupea, found in the shallow, temperate waters of the North Pacific and the North Atlantic oceans, including the Baltic Sea. Three species of Clupea are recognized. The main taxa, the Atlantic herring and the Pacific herring may each be divided into subspecies...

 fishery and port, trading with Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

 and Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

. In the late 18th century it had 50 coasting vessels, and exported oats
OATS - Open Source Assistive Technology Software - is a source code repository or "forge" for assistive technology software. It was launched in 2006 with the goal to provide a one-stop “shop” for end users, clinicians and open-source developers to promote and develop open source assistive...

 and salt herring. In 1779, the port was raided by the privateer
A privateer is a private person or ship authorized by a government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping during wartime. Privateering was a way of mobilizing armed ships and sailors without having to spend public money or commit naval officers...

 Black Prince, which bombarded the town when the payment of a £1,000 ransom was refused. As a result, Fishguard Fort was completed in 1781, overlooking Lower Fishguard. The port declined in the latter half of the 19th century.

Fishguard's ancient Royal Oak pub was the site of the signing of surrender following the Battle of Fishguard in 1797, said to be the last invasion of Britain, when a force of 1,400 French soldiers landed near Fishguard but surrendered two days later. The whole story is told by the Fishguard Tapestry, which was created for the 200th anniversary as a deliberate echo of the Bayeux Tapestry
Bayeux Tapestry
The Bayeux Tapestry is an embroidered cloth—not an actual tapestry—nearly long, which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England concerning William, Duke of Normandy and Harold, Earl of Wessex, later King of England, and culminating in the Battle of Hastings...

, and is on display in a hall near the town centre.
The nineteenth century vicar of Fishguard, the Rev Samuel Fenton, wrote the noted book 'The History of Pembrokeshire'. The ancient Parliamentary Borough of Fishguard was contributary to the Borough of Haverfordwest. In 1907, it was created an Urban District
Urban district
In the England, Wales and Ireland, an urban district was a type of local government district that covered an urbanised area. Urban districts had an elected Urban District Council , which shared local government responsibilities with a county council....

, and included Goodwick from 1934 until the Urban District was abolished in 1974. During the Second World War, the Fishguard Bay Hotel was Station IXc of Special Operations Executive
Special Operations Executive
The Special Operations Executive was a World War II organisation of the United Kingdom. It was officially formed by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton on 22 July 1940, to conduct guerrilla warfare against the Axis powers and to instruct and aid local...

 where submersible
A submersible is a small vehicle designed to operate underwater. The term submersible is often used to differentiate from other underwater vehicles known as submarines, in that a submarine is a fully autonomous craft, capable of renewing its own power and breathing air, whereas a submersible is...

s were tested in Fishguard Bay.

Since 1995, the town of Loctudy
Loctudy is a fishing port and seaside resort in Brittany, France, at the mouth of the Pont-l'Abbé river estuary.The commune is in the Finistère Departments of Francedepartment in northwestern France...

  in Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

, France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 has been twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

 with Fishguard.


Fishguard has a relatively mild climate due to its coastal position. The winds coming from the west or south-west have a determining influence on temperature
Temperature is a physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold. Objects of low temperature are cold, while various degrees of higher temperatures are referred to as warm or hot...

 and precipitation
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...


Wildlife around Fishguard is rich in flora and fauna: it shows a wide variety of colourful wild flowers and sea mammals including the grey seal
Grey Seal
The grey seal is found on both shores of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is a large seal of the family Phocidae or "true seals". It is the only species classified in the genus Halichoerus...

, and even porpoise
Porpoises are small cetaceans of the family Phocoenidae; they are related to whales and dolphins. They are distinct from dolphins, although the word "porpoise" has been used to refer to any small dolphin, especially by sailors and fishermen...

s and dolphin
Dolphins are marine mammals that are closely related to whales and porpoises. There are almost forty species of dolphin in 17 genera. They vary in size from and , up to and . They are found worldwide, mostly in the shallower seas of the continental shelves, and are carnivores, mostly eating...

s. The local birdlife include Eurasian Curlew
Eurasian Curlew
The Eurasian Curlew, Numenius arquata, is a wader in the large family Scolopacidae. It is one of the most widespread of the curlews, breeding across temperate Europe and Asia...

, Common Redshank
Common Redshank
The Common Redshank or simply Redshank is an Eurasian wader in the large family Scolopacidae.- Description and systematics :...

 and Sanderling
The Sanderling is a small wader. It is a circumpolar Arctic breeder, and is a long-distance migrant, wintering south to South America, South Europe, Africa, and Australia...

 regularly foraging in the lower fishguard harbour and European Stonechat
European Stonechat
The European Stonechat is a small passerine bird that was formerly classed as a subspecies of the Common Stonechat. Long considered a member of the thrush family Turdidae, genetic evidence has placed it and its relatives in the Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae.It is 11.5–13 cm long and...

, Great Cormorant
Great Cormorant
The Great Cormorant , known as the Great Black Cormorant across the Northern Hemisphere, the Black Cormorant in Australia and the Black Shag further south in New Zealand, is a widespread member of the cormorant family of seabirds...

 and Northern Fulmar
Northern Fulmar
The Northern Fulmar, Fulmarus glacialis, Fulmar, or Arctic Fulmar is a highly abundant sea bird found primarily in subarctic regions of the north Atlantic and north Pacific oceans. Fulmars come in one of two color morphs: a light one which is almost entirely white, and a dark one which is...

 can be seen from the coastal path.


According to the United Kingdom Census 2001
United Kingdom Census 2001
A nationwide census, known as Census 2001, was conducted in the United Kingdom on Sunday, 29 April 2001. This was the 20th UK Census and recorded a resident population of 58,789,194....

, Fishguard had 3,193 inhabitants and 1,465 households. In 2001, 39.8% of the population could speak Welsh. This compares with 58.9% in 1951 and 90.3% in 1901. The population of 3,193 breaks down as follows:
Age Distribution Fishguard Pembrokeshire
0–4 years 5.8% 5.8%
5–15 years 13.0% 14.6%
16–19 years 3.7% 4.8%
20–44 years 24.4% 28.4%
45–64 years 25.2% 27.2%
65+ years 27.9% 19.2%


The English name 'Fishguard' demonstrates the town's connection with the sea. It is therefore not surprising that sea fishing and the port are the principal industrial activities in this town. Fishguard Harbour opened in 1906 and today is used by ferry
A ferry is a form of transportation, usually a boat, but sometimes a ship, used to carry primarily passengers, and sometimes vehicles and cargo as well, across a body of water. Most ferries operate on regular, frequent, return services...

 passengers to Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 and also well-known for herring
Herring is an oily fish of the genus Clupea, found in the shallow, temperate waters of the North Pacific and the North Atlantic oceans, including the Baltic Sea. Three species of Clupea are recognized. The main taxa, the Atlantic herring and the Pacific herring may each be divided into subspecies...



Outside of Fishguard there is a stone monument commemorating the signing of the Peace Treaty after the last invasion of Britain
Last invasion of Britain
The Battle of Fishguard was a military invasion of Great Britain by Revolutionary France during the War of the First Coalition. The brief campaign, which took place between 22 February and 24 February 1797, was the most recent effort by a foreign force that was able to land on Britain, and thus is...

 in 1797. Women dressed in Welsh costume startled the invaders. Also there is the 19th century parish church of St Mary's containing the grave of the heroine Jemima Nicholas
Jemima Nicholas
Jemima Nicholas , also known as Jemima Fawr, was a Welsh heroine who led the women of Pembrokeshire into battle in what is known as the last invasion of Britain. When the contingent arrived, she reached for a pitchfork and captured 12 French soldiers who were drunk at the time...

. There is also a Bi-Centenary memorial stone monument in West Street, Fishguard to commemorate the Invasion. A tapestry was created in 1997 to commemorate the invasion and can be viewed free of charge in Fishguard's Town Hall.

Fishguard has many hotel
A hotel is an establishment that provides paid lodging on a short-term basis. The provision of basic accommodation, in times past, consisting only of a room with a bed, a cupboard, a small table and a washstand has largely been replaced by rooms with modern facilities, including en-suite bathrooms...

s and is the main shopping town of North Pembrokeshire with a busy Thursday market in the Town Hall.

Fishguard hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1936 and 1986.

Fishguard has a thriving Round Table
Round Table (club)
Round Table is a social networking and charitable organisation for men in their 20s, 30s and early 40s, founded in Norwich, England, in 1927. It is open to all men aged between 18 and 45...

 with 20 members doing all sorts of good work including running the Fishguard & Goodwick Carnival which has been voted the most popular community event.

The Gwaun Lodge of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes
Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes
The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes is a Fraternal, Benevolent and Social Organisation in the United Kingdom. It has no Royal patronage; it was founded after the Flood, it is not a recognised Order of chivalry and has no connection with buffaloes...

, is also a thriving charitable organisation within the community who host a number of sponsored events and other community works throughout the year thanks to the influx of younger brethren to the Order.

Fishguard has a 180-seat cinema/theatre called Theatr Gwaun
Theatr Gwaun
Theatr Gwaun is a cinema/theatre in Fishguard, Pembrokeshire.-History:Built in 1885 as a Temperance hall, it was converted into a cinema in the 1920s and still retains many of its original features, including an old fashioned ticket machine. Originally, the building was known as The Studio. It was...

 which provides a venue for film, music and live theatre.


A regular ferry
A ferry is a form of transportation, usually a boat, but sometimes a ship, used to carry primarily passengers, and sometimes vehicles and cargo as well, across a body of water. Most ferries operate on regular, frequent, return services...

 leaves for Rosslare
Rosslare Europort
Rosslare Europort is a modern seaport located at Rosslare Harbour in County Wexford, Ireland, near the southeastern-most point of Ireland's coastline, handling passenger and freight ferries to and from Wales and France....

 in Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 from the port of Fishguard Harbour (not actually in Fishguard, but a mile away at Goodwick
Goodwick is a coastal town in Pembrokeshire, south-west Wales, immediately west of its twin town of Fishguard. Goodwick was a small fishing village in the parish of Llanwnda, but in 1887 work commenced on a railway connection and harbour, and the village grew rapidly to service this...

). Fishguard is the terminus of the A40
A40 road
The A40 is a major trunk road connecting London to Fishguard, Wales and officially called The London to Fishguard Trunk Road in all legal documents and Acts...

London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 to Fishguard trunk road
Trunk road
A trunk road, trunk highway, or strategic road is a major road—usually connecting two or more cities, ports, airports, and other things.—which is the recommended route for long-distance and freight traffic...

. It is in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is a national park along the Pembrokeshire coast in West Wales.It was established as a National Park in 1952, and is the only one in the United Kingdom to have been designated primarily because of its spectacular coastline...

 and on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path
Pembrokeshire Coast Path
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is a National Trail in southwest Wales. It was established in 1970, and is 186 miles long, mostly at cliff-top level, with 35,000 feet of ascent and descent. The northern end is at Poppit Sands, near St...

. Fishguard is served by train at Fishguard Harbour railway station
Fishguard Harbour railway station
Fishguard Harbour railway station serves the port of Fishguard Harbour, Wales. It is the terminus of one of the branches of the West Wales Line from Swansea.-Ownership:...


In the media

Fishguard has acquired a reputation as a result of "Hugh Pugh", a comic character in the Welsh TV series Barry Welsh is Coming
Barry Welsh is Coming
Barry Welsh is Coming was a sketch show produced by Absolutely Productions for HTV Wales. The programme was first broadcast at 10:40pm on Friday 6 September 1996 and originally ran for 6 series with some episodes later broadcast on the Paramount Comedy Channel. The main star was John Sparkes, who...

, who reports from Fishguard and constantly points out the rivalry between Fishguard and Haverfordwest
Haverfordwest is the county town of Pembrokeshire, Wales and serves as the County's principal commercial and administrative centre. Haverfordwest is the most populous urban area in Pembrokeshire, with a population of 13,367 in 2001; though its community boundaries make it the second most populous...


Fishguard's Royal Oak pub appeared in the film I'll Sleep When I'm Dead starring Clive Owen
Clive Owen
Clive Owen is an English actor, who has worked on television, stage and film. He first gained recognition in the United Kingdom for portraying the lead in the ITV series Chancer from 1990 to 1991...


Lower Fishguard was used as "Llareggub" in the film of Dylan Thomas
Dylan Thomas
Dylan Marlais Thomas was a Welsh poet and writer, Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 11 January 2008. who wrote exclusively in English. In addition to poetry, he wrote short stories and scripts for film and radio, which he often performed himself...

's Under Milk Wood
Under Milk Wood
Under Milk Wood is a 1954 radio drama by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, adapted later as a stage play. A movie version, Under Milk Wood directed by Andrew Sinclair, was released during 1972....

, starring Richard Burton
Richard Burton
Richard Burton, CBE was a Welsh actor. He was nominated seven times for an Academy Award, six of which were for Best Actor in a Leading Role , and was a recipient of BAFTA, Golden Globe and Tony Awards for Best Actor. Although never trained as an actor, Burton was, at one time, the highest-paid...

, Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor
Dame Elizabeth Rosemond "Liz" Taylor, DBE was a British-American actress. From her early years as a child star with MGM, she became one of the great screen actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age...

 and Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole
Peter Seamus Lorcan O'Toole is an Irish actor of stage and screen. O'Toole achieved stardom in 1962 playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia, and then went on to become a highly-honoured film and stage actor. He has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, and holds the record for most...


The film Moby Dick
Moby Dick (1956 film)
Moby Dick is a 1956 film adaptation of Herman Melville's novel Moby-Dick. It was directed by John Huston with a screenplay by Ray Bradbury and the director. The film starred Gregory Peck, Richard Basehart, and Leo Genn...

(starring Gregory Peck
Gregory Peck
Eldred Gregory Peck was an American actor.One of 20th Century Fox's most popular film stars from the 1940s to the 1960s, Peck continued to play important roles well into the 1980s. His notable performances include that of Atticus Finch in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird, for which he won an...

) was filmed there in 1955.

In sci-fi comic 2000 AD, Fishguard was the landing point for the Allied liberation of the United Kingdom in Savage Book 5
Invasion! (2000 AD)
Invasion! was a series created by Pat Mills and mostly written by Gerry Finley-Day that appeared in the first 51 editions of the weekly comic 2000 AD....


Notable people

See :Category:People from Fishguard

  • Mark Delaney, footballer, grew up in Fishguard
  • Cerys Matthews
    Cerys Matthews
    Cerys Elizabeth Matthews is a Welsh singer and songwriter. She is known as the lead singer of the Welsh rock band Catatonia, her more recent bilingual solo career, and for a 1998 Christmas duet with Tom Jones.-Biography:...

    , lead singer, Catatonia
    Catatonia is a state of neurogenic motor immobility, and behavioral abnormality manifested by stupor. It was first described in 1874: Die Katatonie oder das Spannungsirresein ....

    , went to Fishguard High School and now lives locally
  • Jemima Nicholas
    Jemima Nicholas
    Jemima Nicholas , also known as Jemima Fawr, was a Welsh heroine who led the women of Pembrokeshire into battle in what is known as the last invasion of Britain. When the contingent arrived, she reached for a pitchfork and captured 12 French soldiers who were drunk at the time...

    , single handedly captured 12 French
    French people
    The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

    soldiers in 1797, armed only with a pitchfork

External links

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