Information about Wexford
Wexford is a picturesque town on the east coast of Ireland. Wexford began as a Viking town in the 10th century, when the deep pool in or around today's Crescent Quay provided a safe berthing place for longboats.
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.
Wexford is a vibrant, forward-looking town. 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 anuual, world-famous opera Festival, Wexford is also one of the most cosmopolitan towns in Ireland.
What to see
Within the town, most attractions are of an ecclesiastical nature. St. Iberius Church, on North Main Street, is a must see for its romanesque influenced architecture. Also worth a look are the twin churches at Rowe Street and Bride Street. Built in 1858, and designed by a student of Pugin, both are fantastic examples of 19th century neo gothic church architecture. However, as Bride Street has undergone major alterations, Rowe Street is the more impressive. The ruins of Selskar Abbey, and the adjoining Westgate tower are also of interest. the former was where Henry II of England reputedly did penance for the murder of Thomas Beckett, archbishop of Canterbury. The latter is the only surviving gate in Wexford's town wall, dating back to the 12th century and the Norman invasion of Ireland. Other portions of the wall may be seen at Abbey Street and Mallin Street.
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.
Wexford provides an array of opportunities just to wander around. The revamped quayfront provides pleasant strolls along the River Slaney. The Main Street and its adjacent alleyways are simply begging to be explored. Boat trips around Wexford Harbour, and Seal Watching Tours out to Raven Point are provided by Harbour Thrills on the quayside, providing a mix of adrenaline and nature! Alternatively, hire a boat at Ferrycarrig and explore the river yourself. For golfing enthusiasts, Wexford Golf Course is located just 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, 2km outside town. Roughly ten meetings a year are held.
The newly built 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.
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 freshest, most dynamic musical talent in the world to create brand-new productions; choral and orchestral concerts, lunchtime recitals, talks, stand-up shows, an extensive fringe programme, a setting of genuine charm.