Top 10 Things To Do In County Wexford - Irish Gifts Store
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Top 10 Things To Do In County Wexford

Hook_lighthouse

Top 10 Things To Do In County Wexford

County Wexford has tonnes of places to visit. In this article we list the places that we found to be the most beautiful. The problem is that we couldn’t decide which place was better than the other because everyone had their own stuborned opinions. So, in no particular order we present the Top 10 Things To Do In County Wexford.

1. Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience

The Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience is one of the best tourist attractions in the South Eath of Ireland. The experience consists of a guided tour, costumed performers and themed exhibitions, centred on board of an authentic reproduction of an 1840’s emigrant ship. The Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience provides a unique insight into the bravery and fortitude with which Irish people faced up to a tough period between 1845 and 1852 that was characterised by mass starvation (about 1 million people died), disease and mass emigration (about 1 million people emigrated) from Ireland.

Ireland-Dunbrody-famine-ship

 

2. Hook Lighthouse

The Hook Lighthouse, also known as the Hook Head Lighthouse, is located at the tip of the Hook Peninsula. This is the oldest intact operational lighthouses in the world. The current building is almost 800 years old, but tradition states that a missionary to the Wexford area established some sort of beacon in the same place, about 1500 years ago. You can take avail of the guided tours of the Lighthouse Tower, buy your gifts from the nautical gifts shop, enjoy your lunch at the café located at the base of the lighthouse or have a picnic on the green area located right at the base of the lighthouse.Hook_lighthouse

 

3. Ferns Castle

Ferns is believed to have been established about 1400 years old when a monastery was built here in 598. The town became the capital of the Kingdom of Leinster and also the Capital of Ireland when the kings of the southern part of the province established their seat of power there. It was a very large city then, but shrunk when a fire destroyed most of it. If it was not burnt it would’ve been one of Ireland’s biggest cities today. You will be excused if you remain shocked when you’ll see its size today (it has a population of 954).

The castle was built in the 13th century by William, Earl Marshall. Originally, the castle formed a square, with large towers at its corners. Nowadays, only half of the castle remains. The castle hosts a magnificent chapel that features a vaulted ceiling. Three windows will light the interior of this architectural jewel which is considered as the finest of its kind in Ireland. While you’re visiting the castle, you can take avail of the guided tours and the nearby Visitors’ Centre that exhibits a renowned tapestry depicting the story of Ferns in stitch work.

Wexford-Ferns Castle-Ferns

 

4. Irish National Heritage Park

If you’re in county Wexford and you didn’t visit the Irish National Heritage Park, you better go back and visit it. This place is incredible!

You’ll explore reconstructed ringforts that have been completely rebuilt and surrounded with a massive timber rampart, prehistoric campsites, Fulacht Fiadh, crannogs, Viking houses and other historic landmarks. . You will be able to see how people lived in Ireland since the first settlements were established, up to the arrival of the Normans in the 12 Century. Also, the park has a new 180 meters trail that takes visitors into wet woodlands, winding between ancient trees and pools of water, to experience at first-hand what Ireland must have looked like to our Stone Age ancestors.

Irish National Heritage Park

 

5. Wells House & Gardens

The Wells House & Gardens is all about enjoying life in a stunning setting. The House was built in the late 1600s by john Warren who owned more than 6,000 acres of land in the area. The house was completely redesigned in the 1830’s by Daniel Robertson and that same design we can see and visit today. By the way, the house is still occupied by its current owners, Uli and Sabine Rosler.

The amount of activities that you can undertake at Wells House & Gardens is incredible. You can discover hidden treasures by taking one pf the Woodland Walks, or you can relax in the beautiful Victorian Terrace Gardens while you let your kids enjoy themselves by playing in the Adventure Playground, or you can experience the real life in a Victorian house by undertaking the Living Victorian House Tour, or you can enjoy a session of Archery, Clay Pigeon Shooting or Falconry where you handle and fly falcons in their natural habitat.

Wells House & Gardens

 

6. Saltee Islands

The Saltee islands consist of the Great and Little Saltee and are situated about 5 kilometres off the coast of Kilmore Quay in county Wexford. The Great Saltee is the most famous bird sanctuary in Ireland and it is very popular with both day-trippers and birdwatchers alike.

Historic evidence shows that these islands were occupied as long ago as 3,500 to 2,000 B.C. There is a recently-identified promontory fort, the remains of an ancient grave, an Ogham stone (now in a local museum) and traces of what appear to be ring forts. There is also evidence of buccaneering and smuggling. They were used as a base for pirates, wreckers and smugglers. Pirates from Spain, France, North Africa and America plundered the busy merchant ships within sight of the islands. And in the days of sail the waters around the islands became known as “the graveyard of a thousand ships” and the islands their tombstones, so dangerous was the area to shipping.

One of the most remarkable sights on the Great Saltee in mid-Summer are the sea birds colonies on the cliffs to the north-east of the Gannet headland. Huge numbers of Guillemots and Razorbills pack the ledges and create a frightful never-ending din which only at night abates a little. The Fulmars too play their part in this magnificence. Towards dusk the sight of the Puffins gathering in small groups near their nestling sites presents a marvellous sight.

Saltee Islands

 

7. The National 1798 Rebellion Centre

The National 1798 Rebellion Centre is located in Enniscorthy, county Wexford. This exhibition does a fine job of explaining the background to one of Ireland’s pivotal historical events. It covers the French and American revolutions, which helped spark Wexford’s abortive uprising against British rule in Ireland, before chronicling the Battle of Vinegar Hill. Vividly re-told in an exciting interpretation of events the “Rebellion Experience” at The National 1798 Rebellion Centre is not to be missed. On your visit you will meet the key figures of the Rebellion, participate in our state of the art 4D battle of Vinegar Hill Experience, discover how weapons from the period worked and learn in  gruesome detail how some 20,000 insurgents faced the might of  10,000 well-trained and well-armed Crown Forces.

The National 1798 Rebellion Centre

 

8. Enniscorthy Castle

Reconditioned and redecorated, Enniscorthy Castle explores the Development of the Castle and Town from its earliest Anglo-Norman origins (12th Century) through the 16th century with recreations of rooms of the last residents, Mr. Henry J. Roche and his family, who lived here from 1903 to 1951. The Exhibitions also explore the 1916 Rising in Enniscorthy and the work of Irish Furniture Designer and Architect Eileen Gray born in 1878 just outside Enniscorthy. The Roof of the Castle is also accessible, with spectacular views of the surrounding Buildings, Vinegar Hill, and Countryside.

Enniscorthy Castle

 

9. Irish Agricultural Museum and Famine Exhibition

The Irish Agricultural Museum is housed in the former farm buildings of Johnstown Castle Estate. The museum has one of the most comprehensive displays of farming and rural life in the country. In here you can admire the large collection of beautifully restored tractors, carts, ploughs, threshing machines, stationary engines and dairy equipment. The exhibitions in the museum have been designed to display and explore a history of Irish agricultural life from the turn of the 18th century until the middle of the 20th century. Also, you can learn about ‘The Great Famine’ through an exhibition which vividly reveals what life was like before, during and after the famine.

In the immediate vicinity of the Irish Agricultural Museum and Famine Exhibition you will find the beautiful Johnstown Gardens and the Peacock Tea Room where you choose form a variety of speciality coffees and other hot drinks

Irish-Agricultural-Museum

 

10. Tacumshane Windmill

The windmill was built in 1846, and was used until 1936, making it the last windmill in the Republic to work commercially. It was renovated in the 1950’s and if you want to visit it you can ask for the key from the nearby shop (The Millhouse Bar) – if that’s not the whole Irish experience I don’t know what is. Where else will you find a place where you ask for the key in order to go and visit a tourist attraction?

Needless to say, you pay nothing to visit the windmill, but if you don’t visit The Millhouse Bar you’re missing out! The food here is awesome!!!

Tacumshane Windmill