Fishguard (Abergwaun = "Mouth of the River Gwaun") is a coastal town in Pembrokeshire, south-west Wales, with a population of 3,300 (est. 2006). The community of Fishguard and Goodwick had a population of 5043 at the 2001 census. A regular ferry leaves for Rosslare in Ireland from the port of Fishguard Harbour (not actually in Fishguard, but a mile away at Goodwick). Fishguard is the terminus of the A40 London to Fishguard trunk road. It is in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Fishguard is served by train at Fishguard Harbour railway station.

The town of Fishguard (proper) is divided into two parts:

  • Lower Fishguard (Cwm) 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.
  • Upper Fishguard contains the parish church, 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 Upper town, facing Goodwick, grew up in the first decade of the 20th century with the development of the harbour.


The name Fishguard is from old Norse fiskigarðr = "fish catching enclosure, and indicates that there may have been a Scandinavian trading post here, although there is no historical record to confirm this. It was once a marcher borough. Owen, in 1603, described it as one of five Pembrokeshire boroughs overseen by a portreeve. The Norman settlement lay along what is now High Street between the church at its north end and the slight remains of a Norman motte at its south end. Lower Fishguard developed as a herring fishery and port, trading with Ireland, Bristol and Liverpool. In the late 18th century it had 50 coasting vessels, and exported oats and salt herring. The port declined in the latter half of the 19th century. Fishguard's ancient Royal Oak pub saw the signing of surrender following the last invasion of Britain in 1797. The whole story is told by the Fishguard Tapestry, which was created for the 200th anniversary as a deliberate echo of the Bayeux Tapestry, 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, 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 where submersibles were tested in Fishguard Bay.

Since 1995, the town of Loctudy (Loktudi) in Brittany, France has been twinned 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 and 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, and even porpoises and dolphins. The local birdlife include Curlew, Redshank and Sanderling regularly foraging in the lower fishguard harbour and Stonechat, Cormorant and Fulmar can be seen from the coastal path.


According to the United Kingdom Census 2001, 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%
Age Distribution Fishguard Pembrokeshire
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 passengers to Ireland and also well-known for herring fishery.


Outside of Fishguard there is a stone monument commemorating the signing of the Peace Treaty after the last invasion of Britain 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. 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 hotels 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 with 20 members doing all sorts of good work including running the Fishguard & Goodwick Carnival which has been voted the most popular community event.

Notable people

The Welsh writer D.J. Williams was a resident and also taught at the local secondary school.

The retired football (soccer) player Mark Delaney who played for , and internationally for Wales grew up in Fishguard.

Catatonia lead singer Cerys Matthews went to Fishguard High School and now lives locally.

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, who reports from Fishguard and constantly points out the rivalry between Fishguard and Haverfordwest.

Fishguard's Royal Oak pub appeared in the film I'll Sleep When I'm Dead starring Academy Award nominee Clive Owen.

Lower Fishguard was used as "Llareggub" in the film of Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood, starring Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Peter O'Toole. The film Moby Dick (starring Gregory Peck) was also filmed here in the 1950s.

See also


External links

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