WexfordIrish: Loch Garman) is a picturesque town in County Wexford, on the coast near the south-east corner of Ireland.
However, during the 20th century, the silting up of Wexford Harbour made it almost unnavigable, restricting it nowadays to pleasure craft and a small fleet of fishing boats.
Over the years, Wexford has remained at the forefront of Irish history. Due to its position, it has been constantly targeted by invaders - the Vikings, the Normans and, most tragically, Oliver Cromwell, whose armies entered Wexford town in 1649, killing over half of its inhabitants. Wexford was also an important site for the failed rebellion of 1798, and in its aftermath, the heads of many rebellion leaders were displayed on Wexford Bridge. This important event has been immortalised in songs such as "The Boys of Wexford" and "Boolavogue" which most Wexford people learn in primary school.
Following an economically depressed period in the mid-20th century, Wexford has now recovered and is a vibrant, forward-looking town with a population of 20,000. Its people are fiercely proud of where they come from, and the town exudes a certain joie de vivre that can be hard to find elsewhere in Ireland. Perhaps due to its maritime past, recurring waves of invaders or its annual world-famous opera Festival, Wexford is also one of the most cosmopolitan towns in Ireland. it is also one of the cleanest, having been declared "litter free" by a recent inspection from Irish Businesses Against Litter (IBAL).
The Tourist Office on the Quayfront is open year-round, and provides reams of information on various activities such as walking tours, hill walking, local festivals, cultural events, horseriding, accommodation choices and eating out.
There are more than 20 buses daily to/from Dublin, operated by both Bus Éireann and Wexford Bus. Regular buses run to and from Waterford City. Buses also run from Rosslare.
Wexford is easily accessible from south Wales and France (Cherbourg and Roscoff), as the ferry port of Rosslare is 20 km (less than half hour drive) from central Wexford. There are ferry sailings every day and you can catch a bus or train to Wexford. See the Rosslare article for ferry info.
An around town bus service is operated by Shuttlebus – look for the yellow and blue bus-stop signs. The same company also operates services to Kilmore Quay and Castlebridge.
The revamped quayfront provides pleasant strolls along the River Slaney. Almost a sight in themselves are Wexford's narrow winding Viking streets. Follow the Main Street from Selskar onwards and discover the atmospheric buzz of the town. Many lanes linking the quayfront and the Main Street still exist - most notably Keyser's Lane, which was the main thoroughfare linking the quays to the town in Viking times.
address: Murrintown RdThe stately home Johnstown Castle is now home to the Irish Agricultural Museum and a finely laid out park, including artificial lakes, Gothic towers and statues. The museum has a tea-room.
Irish National Heritage ParkThis sprawling complex shows the history of Ireland stretching back thousands of years through life-size displays of living quarters and places of worship. Try to come on a sunny day as it is all outside. The Fulacht Fia restaurant in the centre is very good for lunch.
- Wexford Wildfowl reserve is on the coast 3 km east of the city. Open daily all year.
Wexford Golf Course is located a few minutes from the town centre at Mulgannon. Other nearby courses can be found at Garrylough, Rathaspeck, Rosslare, Blackwater and St. Helen's Bay.
Horse racing is catered for at Bettyville racecourse, 2 km outside town. Roughly ten meetings a year are held.
Wexford Festival Opera has been drawing committed music fans from far and wide for over half a century: up-and-coming directors and designers joining forces with the dynamic musical talent to create brand-new productions; choral and orchestral concerts, lunchtime recitals, talks, stand-up shows, an extensive fringe programme, a setting of genuine charm. Since 2009, the festival has taken place in the Wexford Opera House. Replacing the quaint Theatre Royal, but sensitive to its surroundings, this has become one of Ireland's foremost cultural venues, with a year-round series of events taking place.
Wexford is renowned for its strawberries. Wexford Creamery cheese is also extremely good - try their vintage cheddar.
Handmade jewellery can be bought at Wexford Silver (North Main Street).
Westgate Design (North Main Street) provides an array of authentic souvenirs and crafts in its cavernous store. Slightly further afield, Ballyelland pottery (situated in Castlebridge) produces superb, unique pieces.
Very good are The Yard (George Street) and Forde's (Crescent Quay), both of which fall into the Modern Irish/European category. Le Tire bouchon (South Main Street, above the Sky and the Ground pub) offers an Irish take on French cuisine.
For Asian cuisine, Vine restaurant on North Main Street is superb. Watch the chefs prepare your meal through the open kitchen while you enjoy the excellent service and energetic atmosphere.
Spice (Monck Street above The Crown Bar) has excellent Indian cuisine, though it caters to the slightly less robust Irish taste, so you may need to request extra chilli!
Robertino's pizzas are also very good.
La Cuisineaddress: North Main StCheap and delicious but it can be difficult to find a table. Try their white coffees.
Chocolateaddress: Common Quay StOffers an extensive lunch menu, with a sizeable terrace.
Westgate Designaddress: North Main StCheap and tasty, and usually very busy.
Stable Diet Cafe and patisserieServes award-winning breads cakes and pastries, and does a great lunch.
La Dolce Vitaaddress: Trimmer's LaneWas once deemed the best Italian restaurant in Ireland by a prominent food critic.
Taste restaurantphone: +353 53 914-3988Overlooked by the historical ruins of Selskar Abbey, provides excellent traditional Irish and European fare.
Cistin EileTry proper Irish food. Butlers Pudding, Cabbage, Apple & Mustard prepared with flair and care by award-winning chef Warren Gillen, in relaxed setting.
Premieraddress: South Main StThe chips are renowned amongst locals! Try a rissole, a Wexford speciality.
Wexford plays host to roughly 50 pubs, so plenty of variety is available!
Some favourites include the renovated Thomas Moore Tavern in Cornmarket, the Loch & Quay, Maggie Mays and T. Morris on Monck Street, Mackens in the Bullring, the Sky & the Ground and Bugler Doyles on South Main Street.
phone: +353 53 914-3474address: George's St, Wexford TownLocated in town centre, close to all amenities and provide a private lock-up car park.
phone: +353 53 912-0999Four-star hotel in a spectacular location on the River Slaney estuary.Recently voted Ireland's most family friendly hotel.
phone: +353 53 912-2566address: On the QuayLuxury 4-star hotel on the quays in Wexford, with a spa and swimming pool.
Maldron Hotel (formerly Quality Hotel)
Whitford House Hotel
The Blue Dooraddress: Georges StB&B.
Westgate Houseaddress: WestgateB&B.
The St. George Guesthouseaddress: George's StB&B.
Bugler Doyle'saddress: South Main StB&B.
Kirwan Houseaddress: Mary StA youth hostel, open to all ages.
Unnamed campsiteaddress: Ferrybank
Maple Lodge Bed and Breakfastphone: +353 53 915-9195address: CastlebridgeAA & Failte Ireland 4-star quality B&B. Safe parking and walk to restaurants. Guest sitting room/patio picnic area. Breakfast menu.
phone: +353 53 915-2901address: 26 Henrietta St
The Hook Head lighthouse is the oldest functional lighthouse in Europe, and possibly the world. It offers an interesting visitor's centre and a lovely café! Also, the surrounding area of Hook Head and Slade village provide wild and beautiful scenery.
- Enniscorthy – to the north, on the River Slaney. The National 1798 Centre gives visitors an in-depth look at the failed rebellion of 1798, using interesting and colourful displays.
- Gorey – further north than Enniscorthy
- Kilmore Quay – to the south
- New Ross – The Dunbrody famine ship offer visitors an opportunity to see what life was like on one of the "coffin ships" that left Ireland during the 19th century famine. The John F. Kennedy Park and Arboretum, 11 km south of New Ross, provides for a pleasant day out for the family - there is a café, mini train for the kids, a vast selection of rare plants and trees, and beautiful views of the surrounding area.