William Marshal - He was “the greatest knight that ever lived”, Earl of Pembroke and Regent of England. As Lord of Leinster, he blazed a trail of Anglo-Norman power, building castles at Kilkenny and Ferns, and founding Duiske Abbey and Tintern Abbey on Wexford’s Hook Peninsula.
With his wife Isabella – daughter of Strongbow and Aoife – he founded New Ross with its thriving port. Yet William Marshal’s story could have turned out so very differently.
On a journey to Ireland in 1200, his ship was struck by a violent storm and it seemed as if he might drown. In desperation he vowed to God that he would found an abbey wherever he landed safely.
Arriving in Bannow Bay, William kept his promise, and that’s how Tintern Abbey – also known as Tintern de Voto or Tintern of the Vow – came to be built on the neck of the blustery Hook Peninsula.
Unsurprisingly William constructed Hook Lighthouse too. The rest, as they say, is history.