After returning from a jaunt down to the sunny-south-east region recently and an amazing few days gallivanting around Wexford, I thought I would compile the “Top 10 Things to do in Wexford” and share them with you! Hope it inspires you when picking your next staycation/vacation!
And in no particular order!!
- Hook Light House - Lighthouses have a magic and mysticism of their own, none more so than the 13th Century Hook Lighthouse which is located in the south-western corner of County Wexford. The present structure is about 800 years old offers guided tours of the lighthouse tower, built by William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke as part of the development of his Lordship of Leinster. Climb the 115 steps to the spectacular view from the balcony. The former lighthouse keeper’s houses now play host to such visitor facilities as a gift shop, café, art exhibits and maritime displays.
- Dunbrody Abbey – Dunbrody Abbey is one of the finest examples of a Cistercian Monastery in Ireland. Dunbrody Abbey was founded in 1170 on the instructions of Strongbow, by Herve de Montmorency (his uncle), after the Norman invasion of Ireland and was completed circa 1220 upon condition that there should be a sanctuary in the Abbey for all malefactors. Dedicated to “St. Mary the ever Blessed Virgin, and St. Benedict” it has sometimes been called the Abbey of St. Mary de Port, for the refuge it contained by the express condition of its founder. There is also maze with pitch and putt, craft shop and a tea room (with lots of yummy things) on the grounds as well.
- Ferns Castle – Ferns Castle dates from the 13th century, and while it is unknown who commissioned her, it is thought by possibly William, Earl of Marshall. The castle was originally formed in a square, complete with large corner towers. However it was destroyed in 1649 by Cromwellian forces and today, only half of the castle now stands. The most complete of her towers contains a circular chapel, with carved ornaments, several original fireplaces and a vaulted basement. Look out for the gargoyle on the south end of the south-western tower – this little fellow has survived despite all the odds!
- John F. Kennedy Arboretum - Dedicated to the memory of the former president of the United States of America: John F. Kennedy, the Arboretum is home to a collection of plants, which is held in high regard internationally. Covering 252 hectares (623 acres) and located on the southern slopes and summit of Slieve Coiltia, it contains some 4,500 different types of trees and shrubs collected from temperate regions from all over the world and planted in a botanical sequence. There are 200 forest plots; all grouped by continent and other unique features include an Ericaceous Garden (with 500 different rhododendrons, and many varieties of azaleas and heathers), dwarf conifers, hedges, ground covers and climbing plant, with a pretty lake also located on the site.
- Rosslare Beach – Rosslare Beach is a gorgeous blue-flag beach and certainly blew our cobwebs away after a glorious meandering walking along her sandy shores. The beach is around 9.5km buy we did not walk all of it our visit! Perhaps next time!!
- Tintern Abbey – Tintern Abbey is situated on the west shore of Bannow Bay and was one of the most powerful Cistercian foundations in the South East until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536. The first Cistercian foundation in Ireland, at Mellifont, Co. Louth in 1142 was part of sweeping reforms which took place in the Irish Church in the 12th Century.The Colclough family extensively modified the abbey church, converting the crossing tower and later, the nave, chancel and Lady Chapel to domestic quarters. In the 18th century Sir Vesey Colclough built many of the fine battlemented walls seen around the abbey today. Conservation and consolidation works started at Tintern in the early 1980s and archaeological excavations between 1982 and 1994 exposed many of the original features. And if you have ever visited Melifont you can see the similarity of the Cistercian architecture.
- Wexford Walking Tours, County Wexford – flex those leg muscles and explore Wexford town like the Vikings did on a walking tour of this historic city. The Tour Guides are Failte Ireland approved and tours take place in all weather – sun rain or snow.There are three different guided walks to choose from: The Wexford Town Walk, The Town Tavern trail and Ghostly Wanderers. The latter was my particular favourite! Spppoookkkyyy!!!
- Kilmokea Country Manor and Gardens – These magnificent gardens are beautifully laid out around a pretty Georgian house overlooking the River Barrow. With lots of gorgeous greenery – these gardens are the best eye candy around! Kilmokea is a wonder to view in the Spring with its mass of flowers and colour, in Summer with the herbaceous plants at their height and gorgeous scents filling the air, Autumn with its subtle changing of colours and Winter with the promise of Spring. This is a gorgeous visit and definitely made my green fingers itch!
- Dunbrody Ship – The Dunbrody Famine Ship was 19th Century three masted sailing ship that brought many emigrants from Ireland to North America during and after the Great Famine. The Visitor Experience provides a unique insight into a period of history which shaped modern day Ireland and America. You will, firstly view an audio-visual presentation which gives the historic background to the Great Famine, and the reason why so many people were forced to emigrate on sailing ships like Dunbrody to America in the mid -19th Century, with actors retelling crew and passenger stories. This is an authentic recreation with its actors, sound effects and smells, and will transport you back in time and leave a lasting impression!
- Saltee Islands – the Saltee Islands are situated just off the south coast of Wexford and were a brilliant trip. Great and Little Saltee Islands form together Ireland’s biggest bird sanctuary. While these are private islands, visitors are welcome and boat trips leave Kilmore Quay regularly. Something a bit different but your happiness will be weather dependent!
Need Accommodation in Co. Wexford? Check out Rosslare Beach Villas!