County Wexford


Enniscorthy stands on the banks of the River Slaney. There are many mills and granaries overlooking the river here, and also several potteries.  Carley's Bridge has been producing pots for over 300 years, it was founded in 1654.  There are many historic pubs here too. In 1798 there was a battle on the nearby Vinegar Hill, between the Wexford Pikemen who made their last stand here, and some 20,000 British troops.  At the Antique Tavern you can see some of the actual pikes used in the battle.
Enniscorthy Castle
This impressive castle was founded by the Normans and then added to in the 16th century.  It now houses the County Museum. which tells the story of the fateful events of 1798 (see above).
St. Aiden's Cathedral
This Cathedral was designed by AWN Pugin, more famous for his work on the Houses of Parliament in London.  He designed this in the 1840s in a Neo-Gothic style.

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Hook Peninsula


This was once a crossing point into County Waterford with fortifications to protect it.  There is still a ferry service here to Passage East.

Ballyhack Castle

This castle was built about 1450 by the Knights Templar.  It now houses a museum.

Bannow Bay

In 1169 the Normans made their first landing here.

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There is a star-shaped fort here, built in 1588 because of anticipated attacks by the Spanish Armada.  It is now a resort town with a lovely sandy beach.

Dunbrody Abbey

This Cistercian church was built in the 12th century.  Sadly it has now fallen into ruins.

Hook Head

Hook Head is famous for its fossils.  It is also a site that attracts many seabirds and even seals.  There is also what is probably the oldest lighthouse in Europe, dating from 1172 it is perched above the coast on the red sandstone.

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Slade is a pretty village which lies 2 km (1.5 miles) east of Hook Head.  It has a pretty harbour which is dominated by Slade Castle which was built in the 15th century.  

Tintern Abbey

William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke was caught in a storm off the coast here.  He made a vow to found the Abbey if he survived.  The Cistercian Abbey was started in the 13th century.  Part of it has been restored, mostly the west end.

Irish National Heritage Park

This open air museum has replicas of many types of home, burial places and places of worship from Ireland's history.  It is based near Ferrycarrig, north of Wexford City itself.  You can see a viking boatyard, as well as many celtic reconstructions.

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John F Kennedy Park and Arboretum

John F Kennedy's ancestral home is in Dunganstown, and this park was founded nearby in 1968.  There are a huge variety of trees, in excess of 4,500 and many paths for walks or horse riding.  There are lovely views of the surrounding countryside.

Johnstown Castle

This wonderful Gothic Revival mansion is situated some 6km (4 miles)southwest of Wexford.  It has belonged to the State since 1945 and now houses an agricultural research centre.  It is not open to the public, but the Irish Agricultural Museum is.  These are housed in the castle's farm buildings and show the crafts of wheelwrights and other farm trades.
The gardens are open to the public and are truly beautiful. There are Italian sunken gardens, ornamental lakes, woodland and parkland.  There are azaleas, camellias, Japanese cedars, redwoods, scotspine and much much more.  In the grounds is also a medieval tower house, Rathlannon Castle.

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Kilmore Quay

Kilmore Quay is a small fishing village.  Boats from here regularly take visitors out to the Saltee Islands (see below) to see the birds and seals there.  There is a lovely sandy beach, and pretty thatched cottages.  In the harbour is a moored lightship which houses the Maritime Museum with many

New Ross

New Ross is a port based on the banks of the River Barrow.  It is also one of the oldest towns in the county because of its position.  Pleasure cruises still take visitors up the Barrow and Nore Rivers, especially in the summer.
St. Mary's
The church on this site now is a modern one, but remains of the old 13th century church still remain.  You can see the south transept and medieval tombstones.  When this ancient church was built it was the biggest parish church in Ireland.
The Tholsel
This was an old toll house which is now used as the town hall.  In the 1798 rebellion it was occupied by the British, and there is a memorial to a Wexford Pikeman opposite, commemorating the bravery of the Irish rebels.

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Rosslare is Wexford's main harbour when that port declined.  The main ferry terminals to France and Wales  are about 8km (5 miles) south of the town.  Rosslare boasts a sandy beach and some of the best weather in Ireland making it popular with holiday makers.  The beach is some 9.5 km, (6 miles) long and has dunes, there is a golf course, good shops and pubs.

Saltee Islands

Great and Little Saltee Islands lie off the coast of Wexford and are a haven for seabirds.  Together they form Ireland's largest bird sanctuary.  They are privately owned but visitors are welcome and boats regularly take trips to the islands from Kilmore Quay.  There is a bird monitoring and research programme which keep an eye on the birds and  grey seals that visit the islands.  Great Saltee is famous for its colonies of cormorants, but also has more than 1,000 pairs of guillemots, as well as gannets, puffins, Manx shearwaters and many others.

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Wexford was once a Norse name "Waesfjord", which means "estuary of the mud flats".  It was a port for centuries with boats sailing to Bristol, Tenby and Liverpool,  but got silted up in the Victorian era which nearly ended its usefulness as a sea port. Now there is only a fleet of mussel dredgers.  Wexford still retains a few viking features.  the streets are laid out in the traditional Viking fishbone pattern, and Keyser's Lane is a tiny tunnel like alley that in viking times led to the Norse waterfront.  
Wexford is also a cultural centre.  It boasts a fine selection of arts and music.The pubs boast live music and the Wexford Opera Festival is an international event held in October each year.
The Bullring
This square was the site of a bull-baiting ring in Norman times, and was also the site of a bloody massacre by Cromwell's men in 1649.
Selskar Abbey
This Augustinian abbey was built in the 12th century.  King Henry II was said to have done penance here at the monastery for the murder of Thomas à Becket in 1170.
Westgate Heritage Centre
This ancient gateway to the city dates from Norman times as did the rest of the town walls.  This gateway contains a museum about the history of Wexford.

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Wexford Wildfowl Reserve

Just east of Wexford town is the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve.  It covers 100 ha (250 acres) of reclaimed land.  One third of the worlds entire population of Greenland white-fronted geese over winter here each year.It also attracts many other geese, waders, ducks, swans etc and also birds of prey attracted by the other birds.

Yola Farmstead

Based at Tagoat 6 km (4 miles ) south of Rosslare this farmhouse has displays on traditional crafts such as butter-making, glass blowing, bread-making, and thatching.

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