County Wexford Attractions
The Hook Lighthouse
The Visitor Centre at Hook Lighthouse is at the tip of the Hook Peninsula, Lonely Planet describes it as one of the top 14 attractions in Ireland. The centre offers guided tours of the lighthouse tower, one of the oldest operational lighthouses in the world. The lighthouse is a 13th Century Norman structure, built by the Earl of Pembroke as part of the development of his Lordship of Leinster, culminating with the spectacular view from the balcony.
The Dunbrody Famine Ship
The Dunbrody was a 19th Century three-masted sailing ship that brought many emigrants from Ireland to North America during and after the Great Famine. An exact replica of this 176ft long 19th century ship was constructed and completed in 2001. Today she rests at the New Ross quay beside a fascinating state-of-the -art visitor centre which is a key focus for tourism in the area.
John F. Kennedy Arboretum
Dedicated to the memory of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, President of the United States from 1960 to 1963, the Arboretum is a plant collection of international standing. It covers 252 hectares (623 acres) on the southern slopes and summit of Slievecoiltia. It contains 4,500 types of trees and shrubs from all temperate regions of the world, planted in botanical sequence. There are 200 forest plots grouped by continent. A road provides access to the 271m summit from which there are panoramic views. A Visitor Centre houses exhibitions and an audio visual show.
The Kennedy Homestead
Patrick Kennedy, the great-grandfather of President John F. Kennedy was born at the Kennedy Homestead. Still farmed by members of the family, the Kennedy Homestead is now a cultural museum exploring the history of the Kennedys in Ireland. Open seven days a week, visitors can browse the collection of Kennedy memorabilia, as well as the picnic area and souvenir shop.
Irish National Heritage Park
Tintern Abbey, Wexford
Named after Tintern in Wales, Wexford’s Tintern Abbey was founded c. 1200 by the Earl of Pembroke. Allegedly, when the Earl was in a sea storm, he swore to build an abbey if he got back to land, hence the alternative name of Tintern de Voto. (Tintern of the Vow.) Visitors can enjoy 45-minute guided tours of the extensive ruins and take refreshments in the tearooms.
Open seven days a week, guided tours of Duncannon Fort are available between June and September. This imposing bastion fortress is situated on the side of the beautiful Hook Peninsula and is a stalwart of Ireland’s Ancient East. With 450 years of history, the fortress boasts incredible views across the Waterford Estuary.
Kilmore Quay & Saltee Islands
The Saltee Islands, a renowned bird sanctuary, are located approx. 5km from the coast of Kilmore Quay. Privately owned, the islands attract a variety of seabirds, including gannets and puffins. The larger island, Great Saltee, also hosts a breeding population of grey seals. Day visitors can go to Great Saltee without permission between 11:30am and 4:30pm.
Wexford Wildfowl Reserve
Open daily between 9am and 5pm, the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve features a visitor centre where you can learn more about the birds who make their homes here. As you meander round, you can spot over 250 different varieties, including swans, gulls, and ducks. In addition, there are countless mammals, including hares, badgers and otters, and red squirrels in the neighbouring Raven Nature Reserve.
National Opera House
The National Opera House, formerly known as the Wexford Opera House, was built on the site of the former Theatre Royal, Wexford, which was demolished to facilitate the development, the need for a new opera house was a result of the success of the popular Wexford Festival Opera.
Set in a stunning landmark building, the Opera House consists of the 771 seat O’Reilly Theatre and the smaller Jerome Hynes Theatre, seating up to 176.
New Ross Golf Club
Golfers of all levels are welcome at New Ross Golf Club. Established back in 1905, the club is sited between the beautiful Barrow and Nore valleys, giving stunning views across the Brandon and Blackstairs mountains. The Par 70/73 golf course features tree lined fairways and greens interspersed with water hazards. Relax in the clubhouse bar and pro shop after your game.
Horse Racing Wexford
Wexford town’s racecourse is a great place to visit. Ideally situated overlooking Wexford Harbour, this is a hospitable, sociable course, immensely popular with tourists and locals alike. The racing features a mixture of flat, hurdles and national hunt and the atmosphere and excitement on race days has to be felt to be believed. Some of the biggest names in the industry have raced here. Alternatively, you may want to visit Enniscorthy Greyhound Stadium, where racing takes place every Monday and Thursday evening.