County Wexford (from the Irish, Contae Loch Garman) is rich in legendary history, sometimes dark and unpleasant. It is always fascinating.
Oliver Cromwell, the ruthless English military leader, notoriously stormed the county town of Wexford in 1649. Many of the town’s civilian population were rounded up and slaughtered in the bloody Bull Ring at the centre of town, which was in fact used for the medieval sport of bull-baiting from 1621 – 1770. The site of the Selskar Abbey, which has been redeveloped several times since it was founded during the 13th century, was decimated under his command (and later redeveloped, in 1818). Under further instruction from Cromwell, seven friars were murdered at the Franciscan Friary. A crucifix at the church is in memory of them.
Loftus Hall on Wexford’s Hook Peninsula, where from the devil himself was supposedly exorcised (today it is haunted by the ghost of a young women), is the subject of a documentary and a feature film. Its reputation for hauntings, however, precedes its reputation as an historical building (it was attacked during the Irish Confederate Wars by English soldiers in 1642 and twice again by Cromwell in 1649). It is located on the Hook Peninsula in Wexford.
The Saltee Islands, among the oldest in Europe between 600 and 2000 million years old, lie a few miles off the southern coast. Included in their unusual history are tales of pirates, shipwrecks and lost treasure. In summer, magnificent colonies of Guillemots and Razorbills flock to the northeast of the Gannet headland.
Unmissable Attractions County Wexford
1. The Bull Ring
5. Loftus Hall
8. The Monument of the North at Ferns consists of the 7th – 13th century ruins of Ferns Castle, St. Peter’s Church and St. Mary’s Abbey
9. Wexford Wildfowl Reserve (Opening Times: Monday to Friday from 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.)
13. Dunbrody Famine Ship and Irish Emigrant Experience (Opening Times: Monday to Sunday from 9.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.)
14. Ros Tapestry Exhibition Centre (Opening Times: Monday to Sunday from 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. in summer)
15. Enniscorthy Castle (Opening Times: Monday to Friday from 10.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. – 5.00 p.m.)