Wexford, in the sunny south-east, is peppered with scenic views, historic sites and sandy coastlines. It’s the ideal destination for those who want some vitamin sea too.
From Vikings to Normans, Wexford has been luring adventurous invaders for centuries and still does with its exhilarating experiences, fantastic festivals and brilliant beaches.
So pack your picnic, don’t forget a punnet of those Wexford strawberries, and let’s dive into some of the juicy adventures awaiting when you arrive in this part of Ireland's Ancient East.
After months of being cooped up, now is the time to discover the best of what Ireland has to offer, so make a break for it!
The iconic Hook Lighthouse is the oldest operational lighthouse in the world. Take a guided tour inside and give your calfs a proper workout ascending the 115 steps. The lookout at the top is a great place for a photo and to catch your breath. After your tour, you can grab a bite in the café or enjoy a packed lunch in the picnic area.
Irish National Heritage Park
Located just outside Wexford town, the Irish National Heritage Park re-creates 9,000 years of Irish history in a modern and immersive way. You can experience what life was like for early Irish settlers, prepare for battle like a Viking, learn how to forage like a prehistoric farmer and practice falconry like the Normans. You can even spend the night in an ancient ring fort - just don’t expect any room service. This is a wonderfully exciting experience for adults and kids alike.
Fancy yourself as lord or lady of the manor? This elegant 17th-century Victorian House with its extensive grounds is an ideal place to swan around for a few hours living it up like Lord and Lady Muck. After enjoying the magical fairy and Gruffalo walks around Wells House, the animal farm and playground head to Mrs Stone’s Restaurant for some comforting home cooking where the wonderful staff treat you like royalty.
Dunbrody Famine Ship
Located in New Ross, experience what it must have been like for emigrants fleeing Ireland’s famine during the 1800s by climbing on board the Dunbrody Famine Ship - a remarkable reproduction of a ‘famine ship’. You gain real insight into the voyage to America to seek a better life. It was a ship like this that carried JFK’s great-great-grandfather from Wexford to America in 1848.
The Irish Experience Sea Cave or Sunset Kayaking
Sea cave kayaking under the watchful eye of Hook Head Lighthouse on Hook Peninsula is an exhilarating way to discover the Irish coastline and to feel like an explorer on an adventure to uncharted territory - Jacques Cousteau, eat your heart out. You can also make a break for it at sunset to enjoy a more gentle paddle, spot some seals and listen to the sound of the sea as the sun sets on a memorable day.
Cahore Cliff Walk
Walks are even better when there is a brilliant beach and refreshing dip waiting at the end and that’s exactly what you’ll get when you do the Cahore Cliff Walk in Gorey. Starting in Cahore, this 5km loop is wide and paved so it is easy to bring a buggy if you have the kids in tow. There are magnificent views stretching across the Irish Sea and on a clear day you can see all the way to Wicklow Head.
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With sand so soft it feels like walking on silk and clear water calling out for a dip, Curracloe Beach is a taste of paradise just 10km from Wexford Town Centre. Take a barefoot walk over the dunes and take in the wonderful vista of wind-swept grasses and pale gold sands lapped by gentle waves. It’s a much more serene scene than the opening of the movie Saving Private Ryan which was filmed here.
International Outdoor Adventure Centre
There’s something quite magical about camping out under stars, telling stories and bonding over a break from modern life. But if you like to ‘rough’ it with some home comforts then the International Outdoor Adventure Centre is the place for you. Each camping pitch has electricity so you can stay connected and for those that want a more luxurious camping experience, there is a glamping village where you are surrounded by nature whilst snuggled up in a cosy bed.
After a night relaxing under the stars it’s time to get the adrenaline pumping with some exciting/terrifying activities. Are you brave enough to tackle the high ropes? Have you got the skills to build a raft? By the end of your stay, you’ll be able to give MacGyver a run for his money.
Boat Trip to Saltee Islands (from Kilmore Quay)
Hop aboard and cross the St. George Channel to the privately-owned Saltee Islands which are home to an incredible array of birdlife. Soaring gannets and gulls, flapping puffins and Manz Seawaters, as well as a cacophony of social seabird chatter, greets you as you arrive at Great and Little Saltee. You’ll also see a breeding population of grey seals. It’s a terrific place to unleash your inner Attenborough.
Wonderful walks await you in Wexford whether you want a leisurely rural ramble or tough trail to test your mettle. The diversity of walking trails means you’ll find a route no matter what your ability or interest. The Wexford Trails series of walks take you up and down mountains and hills, along coasts and riversides, through woodland and past historic sites and scenic viewpoints.
Johnstown Castle Estate, Museum and Gardens provide you and the family with hours of exploration, discovery and fun. Take a self-guided tour around the fascinating Irish Agricultural Museum, make your way down the servant's tunnel and explore over 4km of the picturesque lake and ornamental garden walks.
2020 is the year of discovering the magic close to home. So go on, make a break for it!
And what better place to start than Ireland's Ancient East? Full of amazing experiences for foodies, history buffs, thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike, one thing is for certain, you're not going to regret a short break away to this amazing corner of the country.
Limited capacity and procedures may be in place at visitor attractions, sites, and restaurants so you are encouraged to book ahead to avoid disappointment!