Fishguard and neighbouring Goodwick are said to have derived their names from the Vikings, who were frequent visitors to this part of the coast. The sheltered harbour at Lower Town was a bustling little cargo port with a fishing industry which made it famous from Elizabethan times for its herrings. The local people were widely known as Sgadan Abergwaun (Fishguard herrings) and the local comprehensive school still features the herring in its badge.

In 1797 came the famous French invasion of Fishguard, the bicentenary of which was celebrated with such success last year. The invasion was repelled according to legend, by the amazonian Jemima Nicholas and other red flannel-clad local ladies who were mistaken by the French in the distance for reinforcement troops. A spectacular tapestry now commemorates the event.