is the county’s ancient capital. A friendly and lively town with winding streets, a pretty quayside, great shopping, and an array of pubs, cafes and fine restaurants. Wexford’s origins date back to the 2nd century. Wexford Town is within easy reach of many fine beaches, coastal drives and listed walks, and so is the ideal base from where to explore the county and region.
Wexford Fringe Festival
Is the largest annual fringe festival in the southeast of Ireland, taking place each October in the medieval town of Wexford.The Fringe Festival is co-ordinated by the Wexford Chamber. Wexford’s Fringe Festival combined with Wexford Festival Opera, one of the top three festivals of opera in the world, transforms Wexford into a vibrant hub each October. Wexford Fringe Festival has become a vital showcase for Irish Arts nationally and internationally. Over the past 58 years the Fringe Festival has grown into one of Ireland's largest cultural events featuring dramas, light opera, exhibitions, the Guinness Singing and Swinging Pubs Competition, trad sessions, workshops and much more. www.wexfordfringe.ie
Irish National Heritage Park - Ferrycarrig. www.inhp.com
Fittingly described as the flagship exhibition in the South East, this extensive heritage park covers 35 acres. Full scale reconstruction of ancient houses, forts, and tombs, Christian monastery, mill, cooking place, Viking boatyard and boats, woodland trails, wildlife, plants and flowers. A multi-lingual audiovisual presentation.
Children’s activities include panning for gold, wattle your own house and rock art to name but a few. A restaurant, craft and gift shop are also on site. Open: 7 days: May-Aug 9:30am to 6:30pm (last admission 5pm) 7 days: Sept-April 9:30am to 5:30pm (last admission 3pm-4pm).
West Gate Heritage Tower
This tower once guarded the western entrance to the walled town. It was built c1300 by Sir Stephen Devereux on instructions of King Henry. Like the other town gates, it consisted of a toll-taking area, cells for offenders and accommodation for guards.
is said to be one of the oldest sites of worship in Wexford. An abbey was built on the site by Alexander Roche
who upon returning from the Crusades was informed of the decision of his true love to enter a convent believing him dead. The abbey, the tower of which still stands, was the scene of synods and parliaments over the centuries. The roofless church is of much later construction.
Wexford Opera House
This venue in the High Street is the headquarters of the world renowned international Wexford Festival Opera. The original theatre opened in January 1832. In 2006, it closed it’s doors to undergo a major reconstruction which took just over 2 years to complete. On Friday 5th Sepember 2008 the Wexford Opera House was offically opened by the then Taoiseach, Brian Cowan. This was a historic moment for Wexford and Ireland. The impressive landmark building (Ireland’s first custom built opera house) was designed and project managed by the office of public works. The skyline changing building hosts a mulitutde of events all year round of theatre, dance, concerts and other events in addition to the Weford Festival Opera. www.wexfordoperahouse.ie
The Bull Ring
The Bull Ring got its present name from the medieval sport of Bull-baiting, introduced to the town by the Butchers’ guild. From 1621 until 1770, bulls were baited twice a year and their hides presented to the Mayor. During the 1798 rebellion, the Bull Ring became an open air factory, making and repairing pikes and other weapons for insurgents. The Bull Ring has been the venue of many political rallies and protests: Daniel O’Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell and Eamonn de Valera are among the many polictical figures who have addressedaudiences in this historic square.
Dominating the Wexford skyline are the twin churches - the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Rowe Street, and the Church of the Assumption, Bride Street. These two churches built between 1851 and 1858, just years after the great Famine, are a
monument to the devotion of Wexford people and the determination of Father James Roche who saw them to completion. An interesting feature at the main door of both churches is the cobble mosaic showing relevant names and dates. Although referred to as twin churches one difference is the clock on Rowe Street Church.
The Franciscans were the oldest established religious order in Wexford, having first come in c1240. Since then have attended to the spiritual needs of the town through good times and bad. For many years, theirs was the only Catholic Church in Wexford town. Friaries are reptued to be among the victums of Cromwellian soldiers in 1649. The grounds of the church were the venue of huge Temperance rallies in the 1840’s. One of the features of the friary is the effigy of the young boy St Adjutor, Roman martyr “The Little Saint”. This life like character shows
the wounds inflicted by the youths father. It is a much visited shrine.
Church of St Iberius
Located on Wexford’s busy Main Street and dating back to the 18th century. This attractive church presents many interesting features for the visitor including a number of memorial tablets of historical provenance.
Wexford Arts Centre
The old market house building dates back to 1775 and has a brilliant Georgian ballroom and supper room. The ground floor was originally an open arched area for traders. It now provides entertainment and culture for locals and visitors. www.wexfordartscentre.ie
Mc Donalds Drive Thru
Rosslare Road Roundabout, Drinagh Retail Park, Wexford,
Tel: 053-9168010 Opening Hours: 7am-11.30pm 7 days a week.
With over 200km of spectacular coastline, a wealth of historic sites and attractive towns and villages, it’s little wonder that Wexford is a favourite holiday destination for visitors and locals alike. It is the sunniest and warmest county in Ireland, with many of Ireland’s best loved seaside resorts including the Blue Flag beaches at Courtown, Curracloe, Rosslare Strand and Duncannon. Wexford is a historic county with bustling towns such as Enniscorthy, Gorey, New Ross and Wexford Town. In New Ross, the Dunbrody Famine Ship offers a fascinating insight into the transatlantic voyages taken by Irish emigrants during the Great Famine years. Wexford’s maritime heritage is also celebrated at the Hook Lighthouse, one of the oldest operational lighthouses in the world, while in Enniscorthy, the National 1798 Rebellion Centre explores the birth of modern democracy in Ireland.
Rosslare Strand is a popular Blue Flag seaside resort with great watersports, golf and walking trails. Rosslare Harbour is a small yet busy port town providing passenger ferry services to Wales and northern France. To the south, Carnsore Point and Lady’s Island are popular destinations noted for bird watching, good beaches and many historic sites.
New Ross is a thriving town set in rich rolling countryside on the mouth of the River Barrow. New Ross is home to the Dunbrody Famine Ship, a recreation of the actual 19th century timber-built ship on which actors re-enact the hardships of transatlantic crossings of the 1840s. South of New Ross, the Ring of Hook Drive takes
visitors along a scenic coast road through Ballyhack, Arthurstown, Duncannon, Campile and Fethard on Sea. The drive also takes in some of the county’s finest heritage sites such as Tintern Abbey, Dunbrody Abbey, Duncannon Fort and the Hook Lighthouse.
Enniscorthy is a cathedral town on the River Slaney overlooked by the 1798 Vinegar Hill battle site. An early Norman settlement, Enniscorthy is dominated by the town’s Castle built in 1205. Enniscorthy also boasts a strong tradition in the creation of craft and quality pottery. To the north, Ferns is a pretty village with a long and fascinating history. Ferns Castle stands a shattered fortress which was built by the Normans in the 13th century. The village also features a 12th century Abbey and four high crosses, dating back to the 8th and 9th centuries.
Oulart village is situated 8.5 miles east of Enniscorthy, expanding substantially during the recent ‘boom’. It is famous for its many monuments, one of which is called Tulach a’ tSolais. It is the biggest monument in the world to 1798 and the most naunced. It was designed by Scott Tallon Walker, Architects, in collaboration with sculptor Michael Warren, it is naunced edifice reflecting 1798 in the context of the European Enlightenment. For instance it reflects the Égalite of the French Revolution on the Spring and the Autumn Equinoxes (day equals night) when the sun rises and sets through its length.
Further north, Gorey is a thriving market town with striking architecture from the
18th and mid-19th centuries. There’s also great golf at a number of courses including the Seafield Golf and Country Club. Bunclody is a pretty market town at the foot of the Blackstairs Mountains, bordered by the sweeping River Slaney. Bunclody offers angling and canoeing facilities and is a good base for cycling and walking tours.
Wexford’s East Coast
is blessed with long, golden beaches and seaside resorts, including Curracloe, Courtown, Kilmuckridge and Blackwater. Curracloe has a celebrated Blue Flag beach with shore fishing and horse riding facilities. Blackwater and Kilmuckridge are seaside towns with good self-catering and camping facilities. Further north, Courtown is a popular holiday resort, with a beautiful Blue Flag beach. With miles of sandy seafront, Courtown offers a wide variety of watersports and leisure facilities for all the family, not to mention walking routes, local amusements and quality self-catering accommodation.
On Wexford’s south coast, Kilmore Quay is a pretty fishing village with whitewashed buildings and thatched roofs, while excellent fishing and seafood make this a popular destination for visitors. Boat trips can be taken around the uninhabited Saltee Islands, popular with birdwatchers. To the north of Kilmore Quay, the village of Foulksmills is surrounded by lush countryside and dotted with pleasant walking trails. Starting out from Wexford town, the South East Coastal Drive takes in Kilmore Quay, Wellingtonbridge, Fethard, Hook Head, and Ballyhack before entering Waterford and continuing west to Ardmore. The drive is renowned for its beautiful scenery, rich heritage sites and tranquil villages.
Hook Lighthouse Visitor Centre
Hook Head. Tel: 051 397054/5 www.hookheritage.ie firstname.lastname@example.org
A light on Hook Head has marked the entrance to Waterford Harbour for at least two thousand years. The present structure, the medieval tower of Hook, is about 800 years old - one of the oldest operational lighthouses in the world. The splendour of the isolated setting at the southern extremity of a long and historic peninsula helps to capture and convey the essence of its colourful story. Guided tours are provided of the lighthouse and there is a café, gift shop, car and coach parking area.
Visitor Centre is Open: All year round, daily, 9.30am to 5pm.
The National 1798 Rebellion Centre
Enniscorthy. Tel: 053 9237596 - This award-winning centre offers a fascinating insight into the birth of modern democracy in Ireland. The family friendly centre tells the epic and heroic tale of the 1798 Rebellion and its aftermath using the latest multimedia and interactive computers and an audiovisual presentation. After your tour, relax in the restaurant or browse around the craft shop.
Summer (Apr-Sep) Mon-Fri 09.30-17.00; Sat, Winter (Oct-Mar) Mon-Fri 10.00-16.00;
Sat, Sun & Bank Hols 12.00-17.00.
Last admission 1 hour before close
Dunbrody Heritage Ship
New Ross. Tel: 051 425239 www.dunbrody.com
Contact: Sean Reidy
The Dunbrody Famine ship is one of the premier tourist attractions in the South East of Ireland. Centred on an authentic reproduction of an 1840ís emigrant vessel, it provides a world-class interpretation of the famine emigrant experience. Incorporating guided tour, costumed performers and themed exhibitions of the highest quality, The Dunbrody provides a unique insight into the bravery and fortitude with which Irish people faced up to a desperate situation.
As well as the Ship’s Tour, the Dunbrody Visitor Centre houses a charming river-view cafe and the Irish-American Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame commemorates the critical contribution of Irish men and women to US history, as well as acknowledging the continuing contribution of contemporary Irish-Americans. Each year the Hall of Fame inducts new members; most recently Donald Keough, Michael Flatley and Maureen O’Hara.
The attraction is located in New Ross, County Wexford. Central to the South East, New Ross is conveniently close to the towns of Wexford, Kilkenny, Waterford and Enniscorthy. As such the Dunbrody is a perfectly placed stop on any tour of the region. www.dunbrody.com
John F. Kennedy Arboretum
New Ross. Tel: 051 388171 wwrw.heritageireland.ie - The John F. Kennedy Arboretum celebrates US President John F. Kennedy's links with New Ross. The Arboretum contains some 4,500 types of trees and shrubs from quite literally each nation on earth. Slieve Coillte Hill has a viewing point with spectacular views.
October-March: Daily 10.00-17.00
April: Daily 10.00-18.30
May-August: Daily 10.00-20.00
September: Daily 10.00-18.30
Duncannon. Tel: 051 389454 - An Iron Age fortification once occupied the site of this imposing military fort which dates from the era of the Spanish Armada (1588), with some modern additions. Attractions include a café, craft shop, maritime museum, craft centre and artist studio. Cockleshell Art Gallery and Pirates Den.
Rest of the year:Open Mon to Fri 10am-4:30pm
Guided Tours Available:on the hour
Admission: Adults €5.00
Children, Seniors €3.00
Family Groups €12.00
Irish Agricultural Museum
Johnstown Castle, Wexford. Tel: 053 9171247 The Irish Agricultural Museum is set in the extensive farm building of the former farmyard of Johnstown Castle and features many aspects of rural life. The exhibitions cover farm and rural transport, rural crafts, all the major farming and farm dwelling activities. The adjoining extension houses a large exhibition on the Potato Famine and the 1840’s Great Famine. Museum -
Summer (April to October):
Monday – Friday: 9am-5pm
Weekends & Bank Hols: 11am-5pm
Winter (November to March):
Monday – Friday: 9am-4pm
Weekends & Bank Hols: 11-4pm
Gardens Opening Hours:-
The gardens are open all year round,
7 days a week from 9am- 4.30pm (5.30pm in summer)
The Wexford Wildfowl Reserve
North Sloblands. Tel: 076-1002660 - Ireland’s premier wildfowl reserve, the Wexford Slobs and Harbour are a natural haven for birds. Home to large flocks of geese, ducks and wading birds during the winter, as many as 8,000 (1/3 of the world’s
total population) Greenland White-Fronted Geese come here for the winter. There are hides and other facilities for bird watching as well as guided tours, on request. Open: Daily 9am to 5pm. Closed on Christmas Day.
- a View from the Keep
The recently renovated and refurbished, Enniscorthy Castle through its exhibition “View from the Keep” explores the development of the Castle and town from its earliest Anglo-Norman origins (12th Century) through to the 20th century. See what life was like living in the Castle,
discover Enniscorthyís role in the 1916 Rising and open your eyes to the works of internationally renowned furniture designer and architect Eileen Gray, born in 1878 just outside the town. The roof of the castle is also accessible, with spectacular views of the surrounding buildings, Vinegar Hill, and countryside.
Summer (Apr-Sep) Mon-Fri 09.30-17.00;
Sat, Sun & Bank Hols 12.00-17.00
Winter (Oct-Mar) Mon-Fri 10.00 –16.00;
Sat, Sun & Bank Hols 12.00 –17.00
Last admission 30mins before close