Wexford Town is a maritime town whose very name underscores it's Viking origin. On the eastern seaboard of Ireland, located at the mouth of a fine natural harbour, Wexford offers the visitor a delightful maze of meandering streets, lanes and passage ways. Everywhere is the all prevailing sense of a maritime centre of great antiquity. At its core is tangible evidence of its Norman period, especially in its delightfully presented Heritage centre, in the restored Westgate Tower.
Wexfords with miles of great coastline offers great scenery and the it means that there are some wonderful beaches and harbours close by in Wexford for the family to enjoy such as the golden sandy beaches of Rosslare Strand Blue Flag, 5 miles of golden sand beach and Courtown Bay and Harbour, and Roney Point in Gorey, Co Wexford. It is popular for water sports such as pleasure boating, shore angling, sailing, sea canoeing, snorkelling and other water sports. County Wexford also offers several Golf Courses nearby such as Courtown Golf Club, Enniscorthy Golf Club, New Ross Golf Club, Rosslare Golf Club, St Helen's Bay Golf and Wexford Golf Club. County Wexford is known for its its locally grown Stawberries so hence the Enniscorthy Strawberry Fair which is held each year, a great family day out with lots of entertainment and Strawberries!! Also in Wexford is the renowned Wexford Opera Festival and racing at Wexford Racecourse, Newtown Road and Kilmore Quay has its Seafood Festival in July, with lots of local Irish Seafood.
Wexford Harbour is a place very popular with bird watchers as it is the closest point for migrating birds into or out of Ireland from Britain and Europe and the harbour area and mud banks are where the wildfowl feed, why not visit the visitors centre at the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve in Ardcavan, Wexford. The Saltee Islands, are also another great bird watching area, for migrating birds and puffins, and also seals, just off the lovely fishing village of Kilmore Quay. Kilmore Quay, where you are greeted by a row of traditional Irish thatched and whitewashed cottages, a charming old world peaceful sea fishing village in Wexford county and its Kilmore Quay's Memorial Garden which is modern and well tended. Take a drive out to Hook Head headland and see Hook Head Lighthouse one of the oldest lighthouses in Ireland and also the Bannow Drive. With Dublin just 60 miles away and Rosslare a mere 45 miles Wexford is a very accessible holiday destination. Rosslare Ferry Port has sailings to Fishguard, Pembroke, Le Harve, and Cherbourg, a very busy car port in the South of Ireland.
Wexford is the place to be for the 2012 National Ploughing Championships in New Ross, County Wexford..
Wexford: Spectacular Coastlines & Garden Gems
Steeped in tradition, the county of Wexford boasts traditional storytelling houses across the county, as well as a stunning 200km coastline drive. In addition, there’s mountain scenery, historic towns and villages, and river valleys. This area is also home to the ‘Emmigrant Trail – the Kennedy Story’, bringing alive the story of this famous family and all those who emigrated from Ireland’s shores through the years. So whatever type of holiday you’re looking for, there’s plenty to see and do.
With eight houses in operation cross the county – including Ballindaggin, Oulart, Clonnegal, Kyle forge, Bunclody and Enniscorthy – go for a unique and enriching experience as you immerse yourself in all kinds of ‘Stories from the Hearth’, from myth and legend to local tales.
Ring of Hook Drive:
Perfect for those who like history and scenic drives, this part of the Wild Atlantic Way takes you through small villages along the coast on narrow, winding roads, up to the iconic lighthouse. There are plaques marking sites of interest along the way and, unlike the Ring of Kerry, it doesn’t get congested with tour buses, even in the summer.
Hook Head Peninsula:
Drive along the coast or take a scenic boat ride from Waterford to explore this magical spot with gorgeous views and seascapes, picturesque fishing villages and fine heritage houses. One of the most important and famous lighthouses in Ireland, Hook Head is the oldest (medieval) intact operational building of its kind; the visitor’s centre at Fethard on Sea offers guided tours, café, gift shop and picnic area and its open daily all year. Local tip: try the soup of the day in the lighthouse cafe!
A countryside town on the mouth of the River Barrow, this is the place to go for some in depth learning about the Dunbrody Famine Ship; a rebuilt timber ship complete with actors to bring the past to life for all the family. It’s easy to find on the South Quay and also offers a restaurant and an Irish American hall of fame to explore. Also the birthplace of John F Kennedy, the Kennedy Homestead celebrates five generations of this important family and the success of the Irish in America. The Ros Tapestry is a fine exhibit of community art; with over 150 volunteers involved, the 15-panel tapestry depicts the Anglo-Norman arrival in the area. Visit the JFK memorial Park for an easy stroll through its 622 acres and picnic – perfect with little ones – or head to Saltmills for a trip to a 13th century Cistercian Abbey if you love a bit of history. And for fans of all things ghoulish, Loftus Hall has a dark history waiting to be discovered – if you’re brave enough, you can take an interactive 45-minute tour of the most haunted house in Ireland.
Kilmore Quay & Saltee Islands:
A pretty fishing village and your gateway to the uninhabited islands, expect whitewashed thatched cottages and plenty of charm. The sea angling centre is excellent, and the harbour and marina are great spots for relaxing and people watching. Nearby Foulksmills is a lovely spot with rolling countryside and plenty of walking trails if you want to get away from it all. On Saltee, you can see a variety of birdlife, including puffins during nesting season (May).
Rosslare Strand and Harbour:
While the strand is a popular blue flag beach resort, with excellent water sports facilities and everything you need for a great family or active holiday – lots of great food, sandy beach, accommodation of all types and walking trails – the harbour is bustling. There’s even a ferry to Wales and France available! Head south from the town and visit Carnsore Point. Our Lady’s Island is also known for its excellent beaches, bird watching and annual summer pilgrimages.
Dating back to the 2nd century, this pretty town has a lovely quayside, winding streets and excellent local cuisine and shopping. Spend a few hours in the Agricultural Museum to learn about the local farming traditions and lore, as well as famine history. The exhibits are spread over several floors and beautifully put together, while the gardens are well maintained and flat for walking – the lake walk is particularly lovely – making it suitable for all ages and abilities. Head to Selskar Abbey for a look at a fine example of 1200AD Norman architecture, with wall and abbey tours available. For an incredible adventure, steeped in history, head out of town to see the splendour of the Irish National Heritage Park at Ferrycarrig, and learn all about Ireland’s past through reconstructed historical sites and demonstrations of traditional skills that immerse you in the past. The Irish Wildfowl Reserve in North Slob, is also a great spot with its exhibition centre, film show and observation points to view wild waterbirds.
This stunning blue flag beach, considered one of the finest in Ireland, was used for filming the D-Day sequence of Saving Private Ryan - along with Ballinskeer. Perfect for walking, games, picnics, kite flying, swimming, it’s a beautiful and peaceful spot for a day out.
Travel inland to Enniscorthy and learn about knights and rebels at Enniscorthy Castle; situated in the heart of the town, you learn about Norman Knights, English Earls and local merchants, and there’s some fine medieval wall art to discover. Also check out the Rebellion Centre to learn about key figures in the 1798 rebellion of Vinegar Hill – you can even participate in a 4D battle! The ruins of nearby Ferns Castle are also worth a visit, with informative guides waiting to enthral you with the history and legends of its past – even in summer, there aren’t huge crowds here, so it’s a nice spot to get away from the tourist trail.
A family favourite, there are plenty of leisure facilities for the perfect break as well as a gorgeous beach. Bowling, games, and ball pools can all be found in Pirate’s Cove, while Courtown Leisure Centre offers three swimming pools, high ropes, zip wires and laser tag. Golf is also available as well as multiple walking routes that are easy to find and cover all abilities.
A thriving market town, Gorey boasts striking 18th century architecture and fantastic golf courses, as well as majestic historic houses and family facilities, making it the perfect base for exploring the area. Wells House and Gardens is stunning, with enchanting woodlands and terraced gardens, tours of the house, and many activities such as archery and clay pigeon shooting. There’s also an adventure playground and wildlife events throughout the year. If you fancy seeing a restored grinding watermill, Craanford Mills out at Craanford village is well worth a visit during summer months. The area is also home to Ireland’s first Lavender Farm, with a barrel train ride, café and woodland walks for the perfect family day out. And to keep all ages happy, the Kia Ora Mini Farm offers everything from petting animals and go-carts to a maze and soccer obstacles.