Nestled along the southeastern coast of Ireland is County Wexford, a place where history and exploration meet. From a lighthouse to an estate, or a farm to the islands, you can find something to suit everyone’s tastes. Discover here our top five must do’s in County Wexford during your trip:
Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience
The Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience is a time-travel experience back to the days of the potato famine. Come aboard an authentic copy of an 1840’s Coffin Ship to take part in a guided tour with costumed performers and learn about the courage and conditions endured by the emigrant Irish during their voyage. On your way out of the vessel, make sure to pop by the Irish America Hall of Fame to discover the contributions of Irish people, such as John F. Kennedy and Henry Ford, to the history of the United States.
Head over to the Hook peninsula, where you will encounter the world’s oldest operational lighthouse. Built over 800 years ago, monks who had entrenched a monastery on the peninsula, would warn incoming ships of the dangerous peninsula rocks from the top of Hook Lighthouse with a beacon. Nowadays, you can work up a sweat by climbing the 115 steps all the way to the top of the lighthouse to enjoy picturesque views of the Irish sea. On your way up, you may encounter some friendly life-sized holographic faces such as St Dubhán and William Marshal. Want to see more? Visit the café for a quick bite or swing by the gift shop for a memento to bring home with you.
Wexford Lavender Farm
Ireland has never smelled better than when you visit the Wexford Lavender Farm, a seasonal attraction which opened in 2014. Its 4 acres of organic lavender fields welcome you with their flourishing scent. Families can spend the day taking part in quad barrel train rides, play at the children’s play area, or even explore the grounds via one of the three walking loops ranging between 2 to 7 kilometers. If you are famished after your escapade, enjoy a snack at The Purple Haze Café, located in a small converted school from the 18th century.
Johnstown Castle is an estate which includes a castle (of course!), gardens and a museum. The castle and structural elements of the garden were all designed by the Victorian Architect Daniel Robertson, who had also designed the Powerscourt Estate in County Wicklow. Scout the castle grounds on a one-hour tour and see the very rare 86-meter-long hidden servant tunnels within the castle’s walls. Rumor has it, these servant tunnels may be the longest ones in the country! Castles aren’t your thing? Head over to the Johnstown Castle Estate’s Farm courtyard buildings where you will find the Irish Agriculture Museum, which houses 19 various exhibits about farming and life in Ireland’s countryside.
Board a boat and take a 4km sea trip from Kilmore Quay Harbour to go explore the Saltee Islands. Recognized as one of the world’s most significant bird sanctuaries, the Great Saltee Island is a temporary home for approximately 200 recorded species as of date. Most of these species are migrant birds and can best be seen during the spring and early-summer season. If you travel during the nesting season you will be lucky enough to spot birds such as puffins, guillemots, gannets and chough. Make sure to bring your binoculars to scope out the birds!
From sea to land, County Wexford offers history, wildlife and adventure. It may even make you want to explore more of Ireland, after all, all counties have so much to offer. Check out our blogs to learn more about the most popular activities to do and sights to see in the Irish counties.