Author Archives: Damian and Siobhan
Hailed by Lonely Planet in 2011 as the ‘Flashiest Lighthouse’, Hook lighthouse, at the tip of Hook Peninsula, is thought to be one of the oldest in operation. Guided tours of the tower are available. Keep your eyes peeled for seals that often play along this coastline.
Set beside Vinegar Hill, the award-winning National 1798 Centre is perhaps one of Ireland’s most fascinating history museums. Take yourself back to a time of unrest in Ireland that led to a rebellion by the United Irishmen. The focus is on the Battle of Vinegar Hill.
Dating back to 1230, Enniscorthy Castle was built by Anglo-Normans and used primarily as a private dwelling for its various owners. It was the setting for many bloody battles fought during Cromwell’s reign, and was stormed by the United Irishmen before they were defeated at Vinegar Hill.
Boasting layers and layers of enthralling history, the castle is now home to Wexford County Museum, displaying a collection of agricultural and military artefacts. From the roof, visitors can enjoy views of the surrounding area, including historic Vinegar Hill.
Docked in the historic town of New Ross, the Dunbrody is a full-scale replica of a famine ship originally built in the 1840s. A step on board will take you back in time to the life of the famine emigrant. You will meet the captain and crew and hear stories from emigrants about their departure, voyage and arrival in the ‘New World’.
For great seafood restaurants, cosy pubs and a range of seaside activities, take a 22km drive from Wexford town to the quaint fishing village of Kilmore Quay. The many thatched cottages dotted around the village provide a beautiful backdrop to the new harbour and marina.
Kilmore Quay is also the set-off point for day trips to the Saltees, a pair of islands that sit about 5km off the coast. Great Saltee and Little Saltee make up one of Ireland’s largest birds sanctuaries. Sea birds found here include puffins, guillemots, gannets, and Manx shearwaters. The larger island is also a breeding ground for grey seals.
With ringforts, crannogs, fulacht fiadh and Ogham stones, the National Irish Heritage Park takes you on a historical ramble through 900 years of Ireland’s rich history, from the early Stone and Bronze ages, through the Celtic and early Christian eras, right up to the sometimes ferocious Viking and early Norman years.
The agricultural buildings within the grounds of Johnstown Castle are home to the Irish Agriculture Museum. Exhibitions here display farm equipment and vehicles dating back to the early 18th century. The village crafts exhibition features six different craft workshops, and depicts the role of craftspeople in the community throughout the years. A bicycle display exhibits bicycles dating back as far as 1885. The museum is open seven days a week, year round.
Each Christmas since 2011, the Winter Wonderland festival transforms Wexford town into a festive hub, with a Santa’s grotto, Christmas light-and-sound display, and a log-cabin Christmas market selling decorations, mulled wine and festive food.
The Wexford in Bloom festival, held in July, promotes environmental awareness, action and achievement. The week-long programme features, among other events, flower-arranging demonstrations, grow-it-yourself talks, walking tours, and wine and cheese tasting.
In the neighbouring town of Enniscorthy, the traditional Strawberry Fest, which includes the Strawberry Ball, the All Ireland Farmer’s Market and the crowning of the Strawberry Queen, has been given a twist in recent years with the addition of a music festival featuring an eclectic mix of local, national and international acts. The festival takes place in June each year.