Heritage comes thick and fast in Wexford. Look at Enniscorthy, which recently celebrated a rather significant birthday: 1,500 years. It’s home to St Aidan’s Cathedral designed by the famous architect Augustus Welby Pugin, and an interpretative centre telling the story of nearby Vinegar Hill. This is where the decisive battle of Ireland’s 1798 Rebellion was fought. Or look at Bannow and Baginbun Head, site of the first Norman landings in 1169, and New Ross, a premier trading port in Ireland during medieval times.
Next up is Wexford town itself, where a heritage trail steers through medieval streets wearing the influence of Viking, Norman and Cromwellian invasions. Highlights include Selskar Abbey, where Henry II spent six weeks of penance in 1172 for his part in the murder of St Thomas Beckett.
Wexford has an eye to the future, too. The state-of-the-art Opera House in the centre of the town is host to the panoramic Sky View café and has celebrates the 60-year-old Annual Opera Festival every October. The beautiful walnut-paneled theatre adds a touch of class to Wexford’s take on 21st century architecture.
Hook, line and sinker
Steven Spielberg chose the Blue Flag beaches north of Wexford to film Saving Private Ryan (the Normandy landings were filmed around Curracloe), but the rugged south coast is worth exploring, too.
A short spin south of Wexford lies the fishing village of Kilmore Quay, where boats could have you deep-sea fishing or bird-watching on the Saltee Islands in no time.