Counties of Ireland - Wexford

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County Wexford coat of arms (New)

County Wexford coat of arms (Old)

Situated in Ireland’s ancient east, Wexford boasts some of Ireland’s most significant historical sights and fabulous scenery. Just an hour’s drive south from the capital, this coastal county is the sunniest in Ireland, and is therefore extremely popular with domestic travellers from Dublin and beyond. 

The largely flat landscape is peppered with evidence of ancient civilisations, and the county town of Wexford’s labyrinthine layout harks back to the Viking era. Along the coast, vast open skies and wide sandy beaches tempt travellers seeking nature and solitude.

Vinegar Hill, Co. Wexford, Credits: Irelandscontentpool

Wexford’s proximity to the British mainland means it has seen many an invasion – first the Vikings and Normans, followed by Oliver Cromwell. Learn about the saints and Gaelic kings who came before these invasions at the Medieval Ferns Experience in the north of the county, or immerse yourself in over 9,000 years of Irish history at the Irish National Heritage Park, just outside Wexford town; highlights include falconry displays, character-led tours and overnight stays in a reconstructed ringfort.

Many key moments of the Irish Rebellion of 1798 took place in Wexford County. Visit Enniscorthy to explore the National 1798 Rebellion Centre – which illustrates the events that led to the uprising with colourful displays and costumed actors – and soak up the views from atop Vinegar Hill, the site of one of the rebellion’s most important battles.

Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford, Credits: Irelandscontentpool

Head southwest to New Ross for a lesson in Irish-American history. US President John F Kennedy’s great grandfather was born just south of the town, before emigrating to the United States in 1848. You can explore the Kennedy family’s legacy at the Kennedy Homestead cultural museum, or imagine what it was like to emigrate to New York to escape famine at the Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience. The Dunbrody ship is a full-scale replica of one of the so-called ‘coffin ships’ that carried hundreds of emigrants from Ireland to the US during the Great Famine, and brings the harsh reality of the 5-6 week Atlantic crossing to life.

South of New Ross stands 800-year-old Hook Lighthouse, the oldest operational lighthouse in the world. Walk the 6km roundtrip from Slade Harbour to the lighthouse to take in the dramatic coastal landscape that posed such a danger to passing ships.

Kitesurfing, Duncannon beach, Co. Wexford, Credits: Irelandscontentpool

Once you’ve had your fill of history, it’s time to enjoy Wexford’s contemporary culture. If you’re here in October, don’t miss the Wexford Opera Festival, a world-renowned operatic extravaganza that has been drawing crowds to this corner of Ireland for 70 years. Sports fan? Catch a game of Gaelic football at Wexford Park – the soccer, rugby, basketball hybrid is fast-paced and uniquely Irish.

What do you get when you pair 200km of coastline with Ireland’s sunniest weather? Beach days in abundance. Wexford’s beaches are not only clean and family-friendly, they’re Hollywood-worthy locations, with Curracloe Beach featuring in Brooklyn (2015) and replicating the white sands of Normandy in the D-Day scenes in Saving Private Ryan (1998). If you’re lucky, you might spot Atlantic grey seals (but failing that, you’re guaranteed to see plenty at Seal Rescue rehabilitation centre, near Courtown).

Hook Lighthouse, Hook Peninsula, Co. Wexford, Credits: Irelandscontentpool

Thanks to all that sunshine, Wexford is Ireland’s main grower of strawberries and raspberries – keep an eye out for roadside huts and honesty boxes in the summer, or pick your own at the family-run farm, Village at Wheelocks.

Here for the Guinness? There are over 50 pubs in Wexford town alone – enjoy your pint with a side of traditional Irish music at Thomas Moore Tavern near the harbour on Tuesdays.

101 Must-Do’ ways to live your regional connection.

Our 101 team have been working with local tourism, business, community and Council initiatives to bring you some of the best ways for you to live your connection to Wexford.

Top 20 Surnames from Wexford

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