Hi Everyone. I hope I find you all safe and well. How are we all getting through these days at home? I think we can all agree that some days are tougher than others. A great source of comfort and encouragement for me is the increased sense of community online and it was so heart-warming to receive so many lovely comments after last weeks virtual trip to Wicklow. Thank you so much. My virtual tour of Ireland continues this week with a trip to the gorgeous County Wexford in Ireland’s sunny southeast. So buckle up and let’s discover some of it’s hidden delights!
County Wexford’s Hidden Gems
1. Tintern Abbey
Tintern Abbey in New Ross dates back to 1200. It was founded by the Earl of Pembroke, William Marshall. The story goes that while fearing for his life on a stormy sea journey, he vowed to create a place of worship if he survived. The result was Tintern Abbey which took it’s name from the abbey of the same name in Wales of which William was the patron. Cistercian monks from the Welsh abbey came to Wexford to inhabit the abbey.
When the monasteries were dissolved under the rule of King Henry VIII, the abbey went into the ownership of Sir James Croft followed by Anthony Colclough. The final member of the Colclough family to live there was Lucey Marie Biddulph Colclough who donated the abbey and grounds to the Irish State.
Tintern Abbey is also home to the charming and idyllic Colclough Walled Garden (pictured below).
2. Yew Hedge Maze, Dunbrody Abbey
So if you’re in the mood for another abbey then Dunbrody Abbey is another great bet but since we just visited Tintern, I thought we could go straight to the gardens at Dunbrody and the amazing maze! It consists of no less than 1500 yew trees and is one only 2 full size mazes in the whole of Ireland!
3. Irish National Heritage Park
So next up it’s the National Heritage Park just outside Wexford Town. Time to step back-way back in time! This open air museum charts the history of Ireland from the Mesolithic period right up the Norman Invasion in the 12th century. Spread over 35 acres, it features incredible re-creations of human settlements over a 9000 year period.
4. Cullenstown Strand
No trip to County Wexford would be complete without a trip to one of its beautiful beaches. The award winning Cullenstown Strand boasts golden sands and great views of the Saltee Islands. It’s also very close to Bannow Bay, the place where the Normans famously landed in Ireland in 1169.
5. Hook Lighthouse
My final County Wexford pick was voted Ireland’s number one hidden gem in the 2018 Irish Independent Reader Travel Awards. It has stood at the tip of the Hook Peninsula for some 800 years making it the oldest working lighthouse in the world! The 115 steps take to you the balcony and the most amazing views.
Ever wonder where the saying ” By hook or by crook” comes from? Well one tale claims that Strongbow, one of the leaders of the Norman Invasion in 1169, ordered his army to land in Ireland ” By Hook or by Crooke”. The Hook is said to refer to Hook Head and Crooke refers to the nearby village of the same name in County Waterford.
Hope you all enjoyed the trip. The journey continues next week…
In the meantime take very good care of yourselves and each other.
Slán go fóill!