County Wexford is located in the southeast of Ireland – this part of the island enjoys more hours of sunshine than elsewhere in Ireland and is known as “the sunny southeast” and for that reason, Wexford is popular with Irish holidaymakers and is the country’s caravanning and camping capital. It offers a number of beaches, seaside towns, beautiful landscapes, and a host of historic attractions.
Wexford’s history is eventful: It was here that the Normans began their invasion of Ireland in 1169. During the 1798 rebellion, the county was the site of a number of notable events.
With the Atlantic Ocean on its south coast and the Irish Sea on its east coast, County Wexford is home to a number of Ireland’s most popular seaside beach destinations: Courtown, Duncannon, Rosslare and Curracloe, to name but a few.
Bunclody is a great destination if you want to take in some outdoor activities as it’s situated at the foot of the Blackstairs Mountains on the River Slaney. Wexford town and Enniscorthy boast some astounding historical attractions while the little picturesque town of Kilmore Quay is a charming spot with whitewashed thatched cottages lining the street.
The county’s major attractions include Duncannon Fort, Johnstown Castle and Gardens, and Dunbrody Abbey. Other places of interest to visit include the National Opera House, John F. Kennedy Arboretum, Wexford Wildfowl Reserve, and the Irish Agricultural Museum.
Whatever your interests are, you’re sure to find plenty to do during your visit to County Wexford. In the unspoilt countryside you’ll find challenging golf courses, excellent fishing outlets, walking paths, trails and scenic driving routes. You can also explore the countryside by horseback or head to the coast and enjoy some exhilarating water sports.
Top Attractions in County Wexford
Visitor Attractions and Things to Do in County Wexford
Ballyhack Castle – Ballyhack – Ballyhack Castle, dating from c. 1450 AD, is located in a commanding position on a steep slope overlooking Waterford estuary. This large tower house is thought to have been built by the one of the great military orders, founded in the 12th century at the time of the Crusades.
Dunbrody Abbey Visitor Centre – Dunbrody – A large Cistercian Abbey founded in 1210 AD. Visitor centre attractions include a small museum with a fine dolls house, castle ruins.
Duncannon Fort – Duncannon – Duncannon Fort is star shaped and built at a strategically important promontory in Waterford Harbour.
Hook Lighthouse – Churchtown – Built in the 13th century as a navigation aid by William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, as a part of his development of his Lordship of Leinster.
Irish Agricultural Museum and Famine Exhibition – Johnstown Castle, Johnstown – The Irish Agricultural Museum and Famine Exhibition is located in the old farmyard buildings of Johnstown Castle which were built about 1810. These have been restored and converted to provide facilities for Ireland’s largest Agricultural Museum.
Irish National Heritage Park – Ferrycarrig – Leave today behind and begin an unforgettable journey through 9000 years of Irish history! Enter a special place, where Ireland’s heritage comes alive with sights and sounds that shaped a country and helped to shape the world.
John F. Kennedy Arboretum – New Ross – Dedicated to the memory of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, President of the United States from 1960 – 1963, the Arboretum is a plant collection of international standing. It covers 252 hectares (623 acres) on the southern slopes and summit of Slieve Coillte.
Johnstown Castle – Johnstown – The National Museum of Agriculture and Rural Life is located in the former estate farmyard within the grounds of Johnstown Castle. A permanent exhibition on the Great Famine recently opened. Museum visitors can view the gardens.
National 1798 Visitor Centre – Parnell Road, Enniscorthy – The National 1798 Visitor Centre is family friendly, and tells the epic and heroic tale of the 1798 Rebellion and its aftermath using the latest multi-media and interactive computers.
National Opera House – High Street, Wexford Town – The National Opera House in Wexford is a world-class venue which presents both Irish and international opera and music events, as well as comedy, theatre, dance and other family events.
Tintern Abbey – New Ross, Saltmills – A Cistercian abbey, founded circa 1200 by William the Earl Marshal, and named after Tintern in Wales. The remains consist of the nave, chancel, tower, chapel and cloister.
Wells House & Gardens – Gorey, Co.Wexford, Ballyedmond – A Great Victorian House and Gardens in the heart of Wexford.
Wexford Arts Centre – Cornmarket, Wexford Town –
Wexford Wildfowl Reserve – Wexford Town, North Slob – The Wexford Wildfowl Reserve is an important wetland and home to a wide variety and diversity of birds and birdlife. There is an observation tower and visitor centre.
Events and Festivals in County Wexford
Wexford Opera Festival – Wexford Town – Annual opera festival.
Main Destinations in County Wexford
Rosslare is home to Ireland’s Europort and is a resort in the sunniest corner of the country. A truly magnificent beach and 27 hole golf links together with well equipped and varied accomodation options are just part of the many attractions offered in this well endowed se
Wexford Town has been designated a heritage town in recognition of its Viking town. The Westgate Heritage Centre is a ‘must see’.
Other Towns and Villages in County Wexford
Bunclody, sometimes known as Newtownbarry, this interesting settlement features an unusual stream with a series of small scale waterfalls in the main street.
Courtown is a popular seaside resort destination.
Duncannon features a delightful beach and many delightful vistas, the little seaside town is dominated by the large fortress which has played a significant part in Ireland’s history.
Enniscorthy translates as ‘island of the Corthaige’ – referring to a people who lived there in the 4th and 5th century. It was first settled by a follower of St. Patrick, St. Seanan during the 5th century.
Ferns is home to Ferns Castle, ancient churches and holy wells all attest to the medieval and earlier importance of this well presented settlement. Open spaces add a special appeal to this town.
Fethard-on-Sea is a seaside town close to the historic Hook Head Lighthouse. It is colourful and welcoming and serves as the main centre to a growing number of visitors attracted to the Hook Peninsula.
Gorey is a busy market town with a good selection of shops, restaurants, and pubs. There is also a Pugin Church, a famous 19th century architect.
Hook Head is home to a Norman lighthouse, built over 600 years before the stone lighthouses of the 18th century, it was built in 1172 but according to legend an earlier lighthouse once stood in its place, founded by a Welsh monk Dubhand.
Kilmore Quay is small village noted for the range and quality of its thatched cottages, it is the port of departure for trips around nearby Saltee Isles, a major bird sanctuary.
New Ross is a town that was walled in the 13th century, and was one of the leading ports in the Middle Ages. The ruin of St Mary’s Church now overlooks this bustling town.
Popular locations to stay in Co. Wexford are Arthurstown (1 place to stay), Barntown (1), Bunclody (1), Campile (1), Duncannon (2), Gorey (6), New Ross (7), Rosslare (3), Rosslare Harbour (6), Wexford Town (12).
Other towns include Ballyedmond, Ballygarrett, Ballyhack, Ballymoney, Ballymurn, Bannow, Blackwater, Bree, Broadway, Camolin, Carne, Castlebridge, Churchtown, Courtown, Curracloe, Drinagh, Dunbrody, Duncormick, Enniscorthy, Ferns, Ferrycarrig, Fethard-on-Sea, Foulkesmill, Foulksmills, Inch, Johnstown, Killurin, Kilmore, Kilmore Quay, Kilmuckridge, Kilrane, Newbawn, North Slob, Oilgate, Ramsgrange, Saltmills, Taghmon, Tagoat, Wellingtonbridge.
Getting Here and Around
There are bus services from Waterford, Dublin, Cork, Limerick and other towns to Wexford. There are a number of local and regional routes also.
The county is also served by the Dublin-Rosslare railway line, with stations at Gorey, Enniscorthy, Wexford, Rosslare Strand and Rosslare Harbour.
Wexford is also home to Rosslare Europort ferryport, which offers services to both the UK and France.
More detailed information on getting to and around County Wexford can be found in our Co. Wexford Transport Guide.