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County Wexford is located in the South East of Ireland and is often referred to as the sunny southeast, owing to its slightly warmer and sunnier climate. The county is a superb mix of urban and rural, the vibrant towns and stunning countryside blend seamlessly together. The landscape is a combination of rivers, mountains, woodland and valleys that stretch down to the breathtaking coastline with miles of natural sandy beaches, four of them holding the Blue Flag distinction. The region is immersed in history with remnants of the Vikings, Celts and Normans all still evident in the historic monuments found throughout the area. It is this ideal mix of old and new, hustle and quietness that makes it such a popular destination with tourists.
Getting to County Wexford is straight forward regardless of your choice of transport. It is well served by road and public transport. If travelling by car there are a number of routes to choose from with the N11 providing access to Dublin, the N25 to Cork, New Ross and Rosslare and the N24 to Limerick. Within the county, there are very good road links and it is easy to navigate around. Additionally, the county has a good rail system with mainline links to Dublin, Rosslare and Limerick. The bus service operates to all of the country, with regular daily services to Dublin City and the Airport. The closest airports are Dublin Airport (about 2 hours away) and Cork Airport (about 2 hours away). The ferry port of Rosslare is within the county and Dublin is a drive away, both ports offer daily services to the UK mainland and Rosslare to France.
This delightful county, with its individual heritage and culture forms part of the “Sunny South East” and is home to some of the most stunning scenery consisting of the Blacklion and Wicklow Mountains forming its borders and along the coast stretches for 200 miles with golden beaches, there are lush green fields, forests and pastureland in between. It is a natural playground for both visitors and locals with plenty of activities and attractions on hand. You will find all forms of activities here from the Arts to outdoor pursuits such as golf, water sports, like windsurfing and sailing, equestrian activities, walking, angling, there is plenty of good fishing, and cycling, clay pigeon shooting and paintballing to heritage and cultural events. It is a complete holiday experience.
A good way to see a lot of the county is by incorporating one of the driving tours in your itinerary, these designated routes allow you to see some of the most stunning and picturesque countryside that there is, you can choose from The Urban Triangle, By Hook or by Crook, The Island Drive, The Three Rivers and Castles and Coast. Each route is different you will but they all share in common the gorgeous natural scenery, panoramic seascapes, pre-historic sites, heritages centres and stately homes and gardens.
The lovely beaches with golden sand and sheltered bays offer a wealth of opportunities to relax and have fun regardless of age. Young children will enjoy playing and splashing about in the sea or building sandcastles on the vast expanses of beaches. You can opt for long walks along the beach, or even horse rides. The more adventurous might elect to try one of the various watersports that are available, like kayaking, surfing, canoeing and more.
Hook Head Lighthouse is a 13th Century Norman building located at the point of the Hook Peninsula. It is one of the oldest working lighthouses in the world and the proud owner of the title of the worlds “flashiest lighthouse” bestowed by Lonely Planet. There is a visitor centre where you will get to learn all about the workings of a lighthouse. The views from the balcony are astounding and on a clear day you can see for miles. From this vantage point you can see seals, dolphins and perhaps a whale. On stormy days the sea spray can reach as far as the top of the lighthouse.
The Irish National Heritage Park is positioned in 35 acres of amazing heritage trail, with many delightful attractions to see and do whilst you are here. There are workshops that you can get involved in, where you can try out old techniques and procedures. You can walk around the park at your own pace or take a guided tour where any questions you might have will be answered. There is a vast array of buildings to see that incorporate the areas 9,000 year history with everything from campsites, a Ringfort, a mill, Fulacht Fiadh, Crannog and Viking house. Throughout the year various events take place celebrating the heritage and culture of Ireland.
Johnstown Castle is a delightful example of a Victorian revival castle and ornamental grounds. Within the mature woodlands and the lakes sits this lovely battlemented castle, constructed for Grogan Morgan during 1810 and 1855, it includes a section of a more ancient castle. Also located here in the former estate farm buildings is the Irish Agricultural Museum that exhibits farming and rural life and has on show a large collection of artefacts relating to times gone by. Items include carts, ploughs, dairy equipment, stationary engines, country dressers and sugan chairs. There are workshops that showcase established trades like a blacksmith, cooper and wheelwright.
Enniscorthy Castle has been overhauled and renewed, whilst at the castle you can look into the construction of the castle and town from its beginnings in 12th Century Anglo-Norman times, onto the 16th Century with reproductions of the rooms Mr. Henry J. Roche and his family used whilst residing here between 1903 and 1951. There are exhibits relating to the 1916 Rising in the region and the work of Irish furniture designer and architect Elllen Gray. There is entry to the roof of the castle that offer amazing views of the encircling buildings, Vinegar Hill and countryside.
Ferns Castle was constructed in the 13th century, the original castle would have formed a square with large corner towers. Today, only half of the castle is intact. The more complete tower has an excellent circular chapel, with carved ornaments. In addition the tower has a number of original fireplaces and a vaulted basement. During archaeological excavation a rock-cut ditch was uncovered on the perimeter of the castle walls.
The Dunbrody Experience is a reproduction of the 19th Century three-masted sailing ship that would have carried numerous emigrants from Ireland to North America during and following the Great Famine. This carbon copy, extends to 176ft in length and was built and finished in 2001. On board you will get a real understanding of the famine experience with guided tours, costumed performers and themed exhibitions. Along side the ship is a the Dunbrody Visitor Centre that contains the Irish American Hall of Fame, here the Irish men and women who made a welcome contribution to US history are recognised, in addition to the on-going contribution of contemporary Irish-Americans.
Kilmore Quay is a gorgeous small fishing village that is best known for it's white washed thatched cottages and tranquil and welcoming ambiance. It is popular with anglers, wildlife enthusiasts and families. Watch the fishing boats as they come in with their nets laden with their catch of the day. From the quay take a day trip to the Saltee Islands, these islands were previously a draw for pirates and smugglers but now have a different type of resident, with puffins, gannets and seals having made this place their home. Whilst here you must try some of the renowned fresh seafood and see for yourself why it is often said to be the best in the country.
The JFK Arboretum is devoted to the memory of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, former President of the United States of America, the Arboretum is an accumulation of plants of worldwide reputation. The Park extends to 623 acres on the southern slopes and top of Slievecoiltia, within the park are 4,500 types of trees and shrubs from all moderate areas of the world, planted in botanical order. The lake is the most visited section of the Arboretum and is a refuge for wildfowl. There is a road that allows access to the 271m peak from where there are all-encompassing views.
The National 1798 Visitor Centre is located in the shade of Vinegar Hill, next to the river Slaney. Here you will get to hear the legendary and heroic tale of the 1798 Rebellion and the consequences, the story is told using modern multi-media and interactive exhibits. You will get to see a brief look of the intriguing journey to modern democracy. Vinegar Hill has a fabulous view of Enniscorthy and was the situation of the Rebellion of 1798 where Irish agitators, settled on the hill and flew their banner from the windmill. The outer walls of the windmill are still intact.
Quad Attack is an exhilarating day out for those looking for fun and excitement. Set in grounds of 80 acres, this all weather cross-country offers driving fun for everyone over the age of 6. Indoor the fun continues at the Crazy Corral, with sumo wrestling suits, a bungee burst and a rodeo bull. Keeping to this theme maybe try a day out at Extreme Adventure at Gravity Forest Park where you can try out the largest adventure rope course in Ireland. There are different levels to choose from, and to can test your abilities for heights as you try out Aeriel Trekking, Zip Wires, Climbing Walls and much more.
On the other hand you could totally relax whilst you are here by taking a Spa getaway. There are lots of pamper opportunities available, with a choice of hotels offering Spa breaks. Immerse yourself in the most up to date treatments and relax afterwards in the luxurious surroundings. When you eventually feel ready to leave this cocoon of warmth and tranquility, it might be the time for some retail therapy. A visit to the shops will give you the opportunity to see all that is on offer, from the sophisticated fashion shops, individual boutiques, modern malls, country stores, antique shops and craft shops. There are a number of delightful and unique hand-crafted items made within the county. You are certain to come across a special item to appeal to your tastes and maybe a souvenir to take home.
Eating out is important for visitors and when in County Wexford you will not be disappointed by the choice and standard of food available. Being in area rich in agriculture and located along the coast you can be assured that the food you consume will be from high quality local produce and prepared using traditional methods. Customarily Wexford has been the leading food manufacturer in Ireland, and there has been a significant increase in artisan producers. With a range of dining options available such as family run establishments, traditional pubs, local cafes and gourmet restaurants you are assured the best choice of food Wexford has to offer. There will be something to suit all tastes and budgets so whether, it is a lunch to catch up, a sandwich on the go or a special family meal.
During the year County Waterford hosts a number of festivals and events including the internationally renowned Wexford Festival of Opera. There is everything from music concerts such as traditional kitchen sessions and jazz festivals, to pitch n putt championships, angling competitions, farmers markets, horse racing and heritage days. A sample of the events taking place include, Wexford Fringe Festival, Wexfest, Daisy Day at Hook Lighthouse, Wexford Food Festival, Strawberry Fest, 4th of July Celebration, Kilmore Quay Seafood Festival, JFK Dunbrody Festival, Duncannon Sandsculpting Festival, Wexford Kite-Surfing Festival. It is definitely worth checking what is on before you travel should there be any event in particular you might want to visit. During your time here if you do encounter a traditional music session it won't be long until you are caught up in the music and clapping along. A visit to the Farmers Markets will allow you to sample the delicious local produce.
County Wexford is popular with all ages, not least because of the longer sunshine hours and warmer climate. There is ample activities and events to keep you entertained throughout your time here. So whatever the purpose of your visit, be it a family break, a weekend away with friends or a romantic getaway there is more than enough to keep everyone entertained, the problem will be fitting it all into the time you have here.
The range of accommodations in Wexford is extensive, with choices from luxury hotels to camping. So whether your preference is a luxury hotel, a family friendly hotel, a guesthouse, or a holiday cottage, they are all available here, and are competitively priced. Holiday homes are increasing in popularity owing to the freedom and flexibility they provide to guests, they are particularly suited to those travelling in groups or with children, as they offer space, compared to the confines of a hotel room, and the ability to come and go as you please whilst having the comforts of home.
The people of Wexford are welcoming and inviting and are waiting to greet you to their delightful county, here you will get the complete holiday experience from the activities on offer, the excellent food and warmer climate. It is a place where you will feel immediately the warmth and friendliness of the locals. Come and discover for yourself all that is on offer and enjoy the unique experience of County Wexford that will leave you wanting to return time and time again.
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