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Wexford Harbour in County Wexford, Ireland is the natural harbour at the mouth of the River Slaney. In earlier times, the area occupied by the harbour was considerably larger than it is today, up to ten miles wide at its widest point, with large mud flats on both sides. These were known as the North Slob and the South Slob from the Irish word slab, meaning mud. It contained several islands, the large island of Beggerin was known to be a safe refuge for early Christian settlements.
Vikings arrived from Norway in 819 AD and founded the city of Wexford calling it Waes Fjord, meaning 'inlet of the mudflats', and the modern name has evolved from this. Over the course of about 300 years, the Norse settled in Wexford, intermarried with the local population and gradually converted to Christianity. They forged temporary alliances with Irish kings, sometimes fighting with other Norse towns; at other times, such as in 933 and 1161 they were attacked by the Irish. The Norse remained in control until 1169 AD when Wexford was attacked by a superior force of Norman and Irish soldiers. There was a short battle after which the Hiberno-Norse withdrew within the walls leaving their ships unprotected. These were set on fire by the attackers - this may have been the origin of the Wexford Town crest, the three burning ships.
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