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Ireland golf vacation guide :
City and regional guide - Wexford

Located in the southeastern corner of the island of Ireland (an area known as the Sunny South East), Wexford Town and County is an excellent place to visit and offers plenty to occupy the visitor. From beautiful coastal villages, blue flag beaches, museums, heritage parks, historical connotations, golf courses and festivals, Wexford has it all and that little bit more. And being located in the sunniest region of the country, you are more likely to get whatever fine weather and sunshine is on offer. County Wexford has long been Ireland’s gateway to the rest of the world and over the years, the Celts, Vikings, Normans and legendary invaders of Irish mythology all chose landing places on Wexford’s 120-mile coastline.

As a county, Wexford boasts the country’s finest agricultural land and some of the most appealing scenery. From the shadowy Blackstairs and Wicklow Mountains on the west and northern borders, to the miles of sandy beaches in the east and lush pastures of the River Slaney, Wexford offers a huge variety of landscapes. Due to its Viking and Norman past, Wexford Town itself is a designated heritage town. The Celtic settlement of Loch Garman linked with the 9th century Viking settlement to form what is now Wexford, while the present day narrow streets bear testament to the old market trails between the two communities. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the Normans stretched the town walls along the banks of the River Slaney and encompassed the by then, unified township.

One of the must-see attractions is the Irish National Heritage Park in Ferrycarrig, located just outside Wexford Town, which depicts man’s settlement in Ireland from 7000 BC to the arrival of the Normans in the 12th century. Visitors can retrace a history stretching back 9000 years and discover how the Celts, Vikings and Normans came together, intermarried and ultimately formed the Irish society we know today. Another of Wexford’s main attractions can be found at Johnstown Castle Gardens. The castle itself is a fine example of 19th century Gothic Revival architecture and though it’s not open to the public, the beautifully maintained grounds, with lakes, medieval ruins and walled gardens are well worth inspection. The Irish Agricultural Museum & Famine Exhibition is also located within the grounds of Johnstown Castle and provides a fascinating insight into Ireland's agricultural past.

The Kennedy Homestead in New Ross is another interesting place to visit. This was the birthplace of President John F. Kennedy’s great-grandfather, Patrick Kennedy, who joined millions of other Irish people in fleeing from the Great Famine in 1848. The unique museum and visitor centre celebrates the history of the Kennedy dynasty and traces the family’s journey from an immigrant vessel, to the slums of Boston and ultimately to the gates of the White House. Wexford of course has a long history of rebellion and this history can be revisited at the National 1798 Visitor Centre in Enniscorthy, which tells the epic and heroic story of the 1798 Rebellion and its aftermath; and at the Boolavogue Father Murphy Centre near Ferns, which commemorates the memory of local priest Father John Murphy, who led the 1798 uprising against the English in the area.

Other attractions in the region include Dunbrody Abbey Visitor Centre, a large Cistercian abbey founded in the 13th century, which features a small museum and castle ruins; Hook Lighthouse, a massive 100-foot structure built in 1172, which predates by some 600 years the practice of building stone lighthouses; Tintern Abbey, a Cistercian abbey founded by William, Earl of Marshall circa 1200 and named after Tintern in Wales; and Wexford Wildfowl Reserve, famous for its Greenland White-fronted Geese.

There are many beautiful towns and villages in Wexford including Ferns, Gorey, Enniscorthy and Kilmore Quay to name but a few and all are worthy of exploration. Ferns has the reputation of once being Ireland's capital and the ruins of its great Norman Castle built in the 13th century bears testament to its illustrious past. Gorey is a bustling market town, whose proximity to Courtown Harbour makes it a popular destination, while Kilmore Quay on the other hand, is a quiet village noted for its thatched cottages, from where one can explore the beautiful bird sanctuary of the Saltee Islands. Enniscorthy, like Wexford is an historic town of Norman origins and is overlooked by the famous Vinegar Hill, where the Battle of Vinegar Hill was fought in 1798. Dominating the town is Enniscorthy Castle, a Norman castle, which was completed in 1205 and now houses the County Wexford Folk Museum.


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