Discover fabulous blue flag beaches, deliciously sweet strawberries, picturesque little hamlets and a culture-crammed town in Ireland’s sunny southeast.
Many visitors to Ireland overlook this mostly rural county in favor of the wilder landscapes of the southwest, west and northwest coasts. Make the time to explore this lesser-known part of the country to discover evocative monastic ruins, beautiful beaches and roadside culinary delights.
Among the most notable aspects of Wexford is its coastline, which not only offers scenic sandy beaches but also happens to be blessed with some of the sunniest weather in Ireland. Stroll along the nature trail on the dunes at Curracloe Beach or lie out on Morriscastle Beach, which extends for a lengthy 12 miles (20 kilometers). The often windswept Rosslare Strand is good for kayaking, windsurfing and sailing. Film enthusiasts may want to see Ballinesker Beach, a location featured in Spielberg’s World War II blockbuster, Saving Private Ryan.
Another popular coastal destination in Wexford is Hook Peninsula. Look for humpback, fin and minke whales passing through the waters, follow hiking trails that lead past the atmospheric ruins of the 13th-century Tintern Abbey and take a guided tour of Hook Lighthouse. The lighthouse dates back to the 13th century and is the world’s oldest functioning lighthouse.
Explore the town of Enniscorthy, which features notable attractions including the Gothic Revival-style St. Aidan’s Cathedral and the National 1798 Rebellion Centre, where innovative high-tech exhibits document the events of the 1798 Irish Rebellion. In New Ross, a riverside town near the border with County Kilkenny, find the John F. Kennedy Arboretum and the SS Dunbrody Emigrant Ship, which recounts emigrants tales from the Famine era.
The best time to visit the famous county town of Wexford is during the 12-day Wexford Opera Festival. During the festival, the population swells as opera fans come to see recitals and shows.
As you explore, be on the lookout for roadside strawberry stalls. Wexford strawberries are said to be the tastiest and juiciest in all of Ireland. Stalls are most commonly seen in June and July.
Wexford is just a 2-hour drive from Dublin. Bus routes serve the bigger centers; rent a car to discover sights away from the major towns.