(Irish: Contae Loch Garman) is one of the traditional Counties of Ireland. It is located within the province of Leinster in the Republic of Ireland. It was named after the town of Wexford (which derives from the Old Norse name Veisafjǫrðr or Waesfjord). In pre-Norman times it was part of the Kingdom of Uí Cheinnsealaig, whose capital was at Ferns. The county's total area (including inland fresh-water areas) is 2,353.19 km2 (908.54 mi²). In 2006 the county had a total population of 131,749 people.
History of County Wexford
The county is rich in evidence of early human habitation. Portal tombs (sometimes called dolmens) exist at Ballybrittas (on Bree Hill) and at Newbawn — and date from the Neolithic period or earlier. Remains from the Bronze Age period are far more widespread. Early Irish tribes formed the Kingdom of Uí Cheinnsealaig, an area that was slightly larger than the current County Wexford. The county was one of the earliest areas of Ireland to be Christianised, in the early 5th century. Later, from 819 onwards, the Vikings plundered many Christian sites in the county. Wexford town became a Viking settlement near the end of the 9th century.
Wexford was the site of the invasion of Ireland by Normans in 1169 at the behest of Diarmuid Mac Murrough, King of Uí Cheinnsealaig and king of Leinster (Laigin), which led to the subsequent colonisation of the country by the Anglo-Normans.
Wexford town - circa 1800.
U.S. President John F. Kennedy in New Ross – 27 June 1963.The native Irish began to regain some of their former territories in the 14th century, especially in the north of the county, principally under Art MacMurrough Kavanagh.
Under Henry VIII the great religious houses were dissolved, 1536-41 - in Co. Wexford this included Glascarrig Priory, Clonmines Priory, Tintern Abbey, and Dunbrody Abbey.
On 23 October 1641, a major rebellion broke out in Ireland, and Co. Wexford produced strong support for Confederate Ireland. Oliver Cromwell and his English Parliamentarian Army arrived 1649 in the county and captured it. The lands of the Irish and Anglo-Normans were confiscated and given to Cromwell's soldiers as payment for their service in the Parliamentarian Army. At Duncannon, in the south-west of the county, James II, after his defeat at the Battle of the Boyne, embarked for Kinsale and then to exile in France.
Co. Wexford was the most important area in which the 1798 rebellion was fought, during which significant battles occurred at Vinegar Hill (Enniscorthy) and New Ross. The famous ballad Boolavogue was written in remembrance of the Wexford Rising.
At Easter 1916, a small rebellion occurred at Enniscorthy town, on cue with that in Dublin. During World War II, German planes bombed Campile. In 1963 John F. Kennedy, then President of the United States, visited the county and his ancestral home at Dunganstown, near New Ross.
Places of Interest
The scenic Bannow Drive, popular amongst tourists, is a signposted route through four Wexford villages: Duncormick, Cullenstown, Bannow and Wellingtonbridge.
Ballyteigue Burrow, located near Duncormick, is one the finest protected sand dune systems in Ireland. Rich in wild flowers, wildlife and butterflies, this 9 km coastal stretch is a protected nature reserve by the golden sands of Ballyteigue Bay, with spectacular scenery, a joy to walk over.
The Hook Peninsula is noted for its many beaches and spectacular scenery. It features the medieval Hook Head lighthouse and the historic townland of Loftus Hall.
Popular Beaches are located at Courtown, Curracloe, and Duncannon.
Some other places of interest include:
- Ferns Castle & Abbey.
- Enniscorthy Castle & Museum.
- Vinegar Hill.
- National 1798 Visitor Centre (Enniscorthy).
- The Browne-Clayton Monument (Carrigbyrne)
- Oulart Hill.
- Castleboro (Ruins).
- the Seven 'Castles' of Clonmines.
- Johnstown Castle.
- Ballyteigue Castle.
- Bannow Church (dates from 13th century).
- Selskar Abbey (Wexford town).
- Irish National Heritage Park (Ferrycarrig).
- Tacumshin Windmill (southeast Co. Wexford).
- St. Mary's Church (New Ross).
- Dunbrody Abbey.
- Tintern Abbey.
- Slade Castle.
- Ballyhack Castle.
- J.F. Kennedy homestead and Park.
- Slieve Coilte.
- Duncannon Fort
Barnadown, Clone Road,
053 936 7281, Mobiles: 087 822 2247, or 087 826 6072