County Wexford (Irish: Contae Loch Garman) is an eastern county in Ireland, bordered by the Irish Sea. It is in the province of Leinster and is part of the South-East Region. It is named after the town of Wexford and was based on the historic Gaelic territory of Hy Kinsella (Uí Ceinnsealaigh), whose capital was Ferns. Wexford County Council is the local authority for the county. The population of the county was 149,722 at the 2016 census.
Contae Loch Garman
Exemplar Hiberniae (Latin)
"An example to Ireland"
"Sampla na hÉireann"
Location in Ireland
|• Type||County Council|
|• Total||2,365 km2 (913 sq mi)|
|• Density||63/km2 (160/sq mi)|
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.
County Wexford was one of the earliest areas of Ireland to be Christianised, in the early 5th century. Later, from 819 onwards, the Vikings invaded and plundered many Christian sites in the county. Vikings settled at Wexford town near the end of the 9th century.
In 1169, Wexford was the site of the invasion of Ireland by Normans at the behest of Diarmuid Mac Murrough, King of Uí Cheinnsealaig and king of Leinster (Laigin). This was followed by the subsequent colonisation of the country by the Anglo-Normans.
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 County Wexford this included Glascarrig Priory, Clonmines Priory, Tintern Abbey, and Dunbrody Abbey.
On 23 October 1641, a major rebellion broke out in Ireland, and County Wexford produced strong support for Confederate Ireland. Oliver Cromwell and his English Parliamentarian Army arrived in 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.
County Wexford was the most important area in which the Irish Rebellion of 1798 was fought, during which significant battles occurred at The Battle of Oulart Hill during the 1798 rebellion. 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.
Wexford is the 13th largest of Ireland's thirty-two counties in area, and 14th largest in terms of population. It is the largest of Leinster's 12 counties in size, and fourth largest in terms of population. The county is located in the south-east corner of the island of Ireland. It is bounded by the sea on two sides—on the south by the Atlantic Ocean and on the east by St. George's Channel and the Irish Sea. The River Barrow forms its western boundary. The Blackstairs Mountains form part of the boundary to the north, as do the southern edges of the Wicklow Mountains. The adjoining counties are Waterford, Kilkenny, Carlow and Wicklow.
County Wexford is known as Ireland's "sunny southeast" because, in general, the number of hours of sunshine received daily is higher than in the rest of the country. This has resulted in Wexford becoming one of the most popular places in Ireland in which to reside. The county has a mild, but changeable, oceanic climate with few extremes. The North Atlantic Drift, a continuation of the Gulf Stream, moderates winter temperatures. There is a meteorological station located at Rosslare Harbour. January and February are generally the coldest months, with temperatures ranging between 4–8 °C on average. July and August are generally the warmest months, with temperatures ranging between 12–18 °C on average. The prevailing winds are from the south-west. Precipitation falls throughout the year. Mean Annual Rainfall is between 800–1200 mm. Generally, the county receives less snow than more northerly parts of Ireland. Serious snowfalls are relatively rare, but can occur. The one exception is Mount Leinster, visible from a large portion of the county, which is frequently covered with snow during the winter months. Frost is frequent in winter months, less in coastal areas.
Largely low-lying fertile land is the characteristic landscape of the county. The highest point in the county is Mount Leinster (795 m, 2610 ft) in the Blackstairs Mountains in the north-west on the boundary with County Carlow.
Other high points:
Notable hills include: Carrigbyrne Hill, Camross (or Camaross) Hill (181 m), Carrigmaistia (167 m), Bree Hill (179 m), Gibbet Hill, Vinegar Hill, Slievecoiltia and Forth Mountain (237 m), and Tara Hill.
The major rivers are the Slaney and the Barrow. At 192 km (119 mi) in length, the river Barrow is the second-longest river on the island of Ireland. Smaller rivers of note are the Owenduff, Pollmounty, Corrock, Urrin, Boro, Owenavorragh, Sow and Bann rivers.
The Wexford Cot is a flat bottomed boat used for fishing on the tidal mudflats in Wexford, also a canoe shaped Punt fitted with a gun, called a Float in Wexford is used traditionally to shoot game birds in the North Slob mud flats.
Most, but not all, of the county was covered with the ice sheet during the last Ice age. As the ice retreated, County Wexford would have been one of the first areas to be covered with glacial drift (a mixture of boulders, clay, sand and gravel) that blanketed the existing bedrock. This has led to high quality soils, suitable for a wide range of agriculture. A very detailed soil survey of the county was published in 1964, as part of the 'National Soil Survey of Ireland'. It classifies each area of the county according to its specific soil type.
Most of the county is covered with soil called brown earths, described as well-drained and having a wide use range. After that, gleys (poorly to imperfectly drained with a limited use range) are the next major soil type, primarily located in the south-east of the county and east of Gorey (along the coast). Gleys are dotted elsewhere around the county in small areas, and where they occur they generally form bogland. The last major soil type is brown podzolics, located mainly near the edges of the Blackstairs Mountain range and around Bunclody and in the baronies of East Shelmalier and South Ballaghkeen. Though there are areas covered with other soil types, these are of limited extent.
Common species of tree include oak, ash, sycamore, alder, blackthorn, hawthorn, beech and birch. Less common (but plentiful) are wild cherry and Scots pine (also called red deal). Elm is now far less common, due to the devastating effects of Dutch elm disease. Gorse (or furze) is very common. A priority habitat in Wexford is the grey dune, on which many native wild flora grow, including bee orchid and pyramidal orchid. Despite the designation of much of this habitat as a Special Area of Conservation, it remains threatened by destruction for agricultural intensification. There is very little natural forest in the county. Most natural trees and vegetation grow on hedgerows.
South-eastern Wexford is an important site for wild birds—the north side of Wexford Harbour, the North Slob, is home to 10,000 Greenland white-fronted geese each winter (roughly one third of the entire world's population), while in the summer Lady's Island Lake is an important breeding site for terns, especially the roseate tern. The grey heron is also seen.
Throughout the county pheasant, wood pigeon and feral pigeons are widespread. Swans, wild duck, kingfisher, and owls (the long-eared owl, the short-eared owl, and the barn owl) are less common - but plentiful. Red grouse, once common, are now extremely scarce. The species has been in decline for some decades. Threats include habitat degradation, disease, predation and over-hunting. Red grouse in Ireland are now considered threatened. The corncrake, also once very common, is now almost never seen. Smaller birds—such as crows, swallows, robins, wrens and so on—are very common. The first magpies in Ireland were recorded by Robert Leigh, of Rosegarland, County Wexford, as having appeared in the County of Wexford about 1676. Land mammals include badger, rabbit, otter, hedgehog, red fox, mink, bats, squirrels (red and grey), rats (brown and black - both introduced species), and mice (wood (or field) and house). Two types of hare—the Irish (or mountain) hare and the less common brown (or European) hare—are found. Hare is not nearly as common as rabbit. The stoat (Mustela erminea hibernica) is also reasonably common. Locally the stoat is just as often incorrectly called a weasel.
Only two types of seal are found on County Wexford's coast—Atlantic grey seals are very plentiful in coastal areas, but the slightly smaller common (or harbour) seal is less common, yet plentiful. The small tortoiseshell butterfly (reddish-orange colour, with black markings) is the most common species of butterfly in the county. Various types of moth are also common. The common frog is plentiful, and is the only type of frog found.
Wexford County Council has twenty-one members. The Wexford constituency is represented by five deputies in Dáil Éireann: James Browne (FF), Paul Kehoe (FG), Brendan Howlin (Lab), Michael W. D'Arcy (FG) and Mick Wallace (Ind)
In 2016, the county had a total population of 149,722 people. Of these, 61.4% (91,969 people) lived in rural areas and 38.6% (57,753 people) lived in urban areas. 83.8% of the population stated their religion as Roman Catholic, 7.1% other religions and 7.5% stated they had no religion. Between 2006 and 2011 the population increased by 10%, slowing to 3% between 2011 and 2016.
Since 1951, an opera festival, Wexford Festival Opera, takes place every year in the Theatre Royal in Wexford town and runs for several weeks. A new Opera House has recently replaced the old one on the same site, it is now called Wexford Opera House. The new theatre opened in 2008 and consists of two theatres, the O'Reilly theatre and the Jerome Hynes theatre.
There is a renowned singing tradition in County Wexford. Having an abundance of traditional songs, many of which relate to the rebellion of 1798, the county has for many years had a strong presence in the Irish traditional singing scene. Noted singers include All-Ireland Fleadh Champions Paddy Berry, Seamus Brogan and Niall Wall. Paddy Berry has also collected and published a number of songs from Wexford.
Beaches in Curracloe, County Wexford were used to film the opening scenes of the movie Saving Private Ryan, which depicted the D-day assault on Omaha Beach. The Count of Monte Cristo, directed by Kevin Reynolds, was partly filmed in the village of Duncannon in 2000 — Duncannon Fort being used for one of the main scenes. The movie Brooklyn (film) was partially filmed in Enniscorthy and featured some of the locals as extras.
Ballyteigue Burrow, located near Duncormick, is one of the finest protected sand dune systems in Ireland. Rich in wildflowers, wildlife and butterflies, this 9 km coastal stretch is a protected nature reserve by the golden sands of Ballyteigue Bay, with spectacular scenery.
Other places of interest include:
The economy is chiefly agricultural. Cattle, sheep, pig rearing and some horse breeding are the main types of husbandry practiced. Poultry rearing, once popular, has very much declined. Wheat, barley, rapeseed, and oats are grown, as are potatoes. Sugar beet is no longer grown due to the withdrawal of EU subsidies. The numbers involved in farming have been declining for many years and many of the seasonal workers are now eastern Europeans. Mushrooms are also grown indoors. Tomatoes are grown under glass, for example at Campile.
Wexford strawberries are famous and can be bought in shops and wayside stalls throughout the summer. Every year, near the end of June, a 'Strawberry Fair' Festival takes place in the town of Enniscorthy, and a Strawberry Queen is crowned. Dairy farming forms an important part of the agricultural industry. Locally produced milk is on sale in many supermarkets. Wexford Irish Cheddar is an award-winning brand, and Carrigbyrne, a full-flavoured soft cheese, is produced near New Ross.
Evergreen tree species are extensively cultivated, especially in more recent years—Norway spruce and Sitka spruce are the most common varieties planted. These are generally sown on poorer quality soils (mainly in bogs and on hills or mountainsides). A small amount of deciduous trees are also planted, though these require better soils.
Silver was once mined at Clonmines—primarily in Tudor times. Lead was mined at Caim, 1818 - c. 1850—this mine also contains zinc; the two are usually found together. Copper ore (malachite) is found at Kerloge, just south of the town of Wexford. Iron is found in small quantities at Courtown Harbour. The county is not noted for mineral reserves. No significant mining activity is currently practised, with the exception of quarrying for stone. In 2007, a significant oil find was made 60 kilometres off Hook Head in Co Wexford.
Carnsore Point made the national headlines in the late 1970s after a proposal was made to build a nuclear energy plant there; the plans were abandoned after extensive protests from the public, due to environmental and health concerns. Great Island Power Station opened in 1967 and was operated by the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) until it was sold to Endesa in January 2009. It is an electricity-generating station fueled by heavy fuel oil and rated at 240 MW. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Barrow and Suir, near Campile. Before its sale, the station was scheduled to close by 2010. Endesa propose building a 430 MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) gas fired plant on the site. The project would need a new 44.5 km gas pipepline from the existing transmission network at Baunlusk, 6 km south of Kilkenny City. A wind farm has now been built on the site, featuring 14 wind turbines generating electricity. It was completed in November 2002 and was the first wind farm on the east coast of Ireland. Wind farms now exist at a few other locations in the county, such as Ballywater Wind Farm, at Cahore (near Kilmuckridge), on the county's east coast, and Richfield wind farm, located in the southeast of the county.
In recent years the county Football team has been making rapid advances. Camogie, a women's version of hurling, is also played, and Wexford won the All Ireland in 2007 and 2010. Wexford Park is the county's main GAA pitch, holding 25,000 supporters. Also, handball is played on a limited basis; there are a number of handball alleys located throughout the county.
In the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championships, Wexford have won 6 times, first in 1910 and most recently in 1996, beating Limerick in the final. After this momentous occasion a real banger of a choon was born. From that day forth there wasn't a night in the stores when 'Dancing at the crossroads' by the Wild Swans didn't ring out for 15 to mid 40 year olds to hear. A great day for the parish it was. Thank you George O'Connor. Amen.
There are numerous golf clubs in the county - including Rosslare (a Links course), and Enniscorthy. Two more are located near Gorey - Ballymoney Golf Club and Courtown Golf Club - are 18 hole golf courses. Bunclody Golf and Fishing Club, boasting Europe's only golf lift, is situated just inside County Carlow. There are also a few others. New Ross Golf Club, however, is actually located in County Kilkenny - about 1 km from New Ross town.
There are also many par-3 courses in the county, such as Scarke Golf Course & Driving Range, located about 2 km east of New Ross town, the 'Abbey Par 3' course, at Winningtown, Fethard-on-Sea, Blackwater Par 3 Golf Course, Kilnew, Blackwater, located a few kilometres northeast of Wexford town, Garrylough Golf Course and Driving Range, Screen, and Rathaspeck Manor Golf Course, Rathaspeck, near Rosslare (there are also few Par-4 holes on this course). There are also a number of other Par-3 courses in the county.
Much maritime activity takes place - especially at Kilmore Quay and Slade, but also on a smaller scale at many other locations. Common fish species include herring, mackerel, cod, monkfish, whiting, bass, perch, gurnard, haddock, mullet, pollock, John Dory, sole, conger eel, shad, salmon, trout, pike, carp, and tench. Shellfish include mussels, cockles, periwinkles, clams, and oysters.
The Smallest Bookshop in Ireland is located in the South Wexford village of Bridgetown. Red Books was named the official Smallest Bookshop by the Irish Mirror in the Spring of 2018. Red Books is known as a hotspot for thinkers, artists, readers, revolutionaries and misfits, and is a must see on a visit to County Wexford. The shop is open everyday and is situated in a building which has housed everything from a secondary school classroom to a cattle shed to a military barracks.
Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh (fl. 1630) was a 17th-century Irish language poet and harpist, who composed the song "Eileanóir a Rún".
Cearbhall was a common name amongst people of the Ó Dálaigh (O'Daly, Daly) surname, and more than one poet of that surname bore the name Cearbhall. The Cearbhall Óg who composed 'Eileanóir a Rún' was from Pallas, near Gorey in County Wexford. The Eileanóir of the poem was the daughter of Sir Morgan Kavanagh of Poll an Mhóintigh in County Wexford. In folklore Cearbhall is commonly depicted as a womanizer.Enniscorthy Castle
Enniscorthy Castle is situated in Enniscorthy, County Wexford. The current castle was originally built in the 16th century.Ferns, County Wexford
Ferns (Irish: Fearna, meaning "alder trees" short for Fearna Mór Maedhóg) is a historic town in north County Wexford, Ireland. It is 11.7 km (7.3 mi) from Enniscorthy, where the Gorey to Enniscorthy N11 road joins the R745 regional road. The remains of Ferns Castle are in the centre of the town.Gorey
Gorey (Irish: Guaire) is a market town in north County Wexford, Ireland. It is beside the main M11 Dublin to Wexford road. The town is also connected to the railway network along the same route. Local newspapers include the Gorey Guardian and Gorey Echo.
Gorey is one hour drive from the southern outskirts of Dublin, connected to the capital via the N11/M11. As a commuter town, there has been an increase in population in the early 21st century. Between 1996 and 2002 the population rose by 44% in the town and by 23% in the surrounding district.Lord Lieutenant of Wexford
This is a list of people who have served as Lord-Lieutenant of Wexford.
There were lieutenants of counties in Ireland until the reign of James II, when they were renamed governors. The office of Lord Lieutenant was recreated on 23 August 1831.N30 road (Ireland)
The N30 road is a national primary road in Ireland. It connects the N25 and N11 roads, providing a link running east-northeast through County Wexford, between New Ross and Enniscorthy. This provides for a more direct national route between the two towns, as the N25 and N11 both run to Wexford town, eastwards from New Ross and southwards from Enniscorthy respectively.N80 road (Ireland)
The N80 road is a national secondary road in Ireland that runs southeastwards from its junction with the N52 and R443 in the town of Tullamore in County Offaly, to the N11 at Ballynahallin, just north of Enniscorthy in County Wexford, a distance of 114.683 km. Total length is 114.683 km (71.261 mi).New Ross
New Ross (Irish: Ros Mhic Thriúin, formerly Ros Mhic Treoin) is a town in southwest County Wexford, Ireland. It is located on the River Barrow, near the border with County Kilkenny, and is around 20 km north east of Waterford. In 2016 it had a population of 8,040 people, making it the fourth-largest town in the county.R700 road (Ireland)
The R700 road is a regional road in Ireland which runs northwest-southeast from Kilkenny City centre to New Ross in County Wexford.
En route it passes through Bennettsbridge, Thomastown and Inistioge before crossing the River Barrow into County Wexford.
It terminates in New Ross via Craywell Road, John Street, Bridge Street, (and via Quay Street and North Street) at a junction with the N25 at O'Hanrahan Bridge in the town centre.
The route is 42 km (26 mi) long.R725 road (Ireland)
The R725 road is a regional road in Ireland. From its junction with the N80 on the western outskirts of Carlow Town it takes an easterly route to its junction with the N81 in Tullow, where it crosses the River Slaney on a bridge shared with the N80 in the town centre. It continues east to Shillelagh in County Wicklow, turns due south for 6 km, then eastwards through Carnew. It then enters County Wexford for the final 15 km stretch, terminating in Gorey at the R772.
The road is 53 km (33 mi) long.R729 road (Ireland)
The R729 road is a regional road in County Carlow and County Wexford in Ireland. It connects the R702 near Borris to the N30 near New Ross, 22.1 km (13.7 mi) to the south (map of route).The government legislation that defines the R729, the Roads Act 1993 (Classification of Regional Roads) Order 2012 (Statutory Instrument 54 of 2012), provides the following official description:
Borris, County Carlow — New Ross, County WexfordBetween its junction with R702 at Barmona in the county of Carlow and its junction with N30 at Macmurroughsisland in the county of Wexford via Coolnamara and Glynn in the county of Carlow: Pollmounty Bridge at the boundary between the county of Carlow and the county of Wexford: and Ballynabanoge in the county of Wexford.R730 road (Ireland)
The R730 road is a regional road in County Wexford, Ireland. From its junction with the R702 in Kiltealy it takes a southeasterly route to its junction with the R741 in the centre of Wexford Town, continuing south to Blackhorse to its junction on a roundabout with the N25 Wexford bypass.
The road has subsumed short sections of the N11 and N25 which formerly passed through Wexford Town, prior to the opening of the Wexford bypass. This section of the road also formed part of the former Trunk Road, T8.
En route it crosses the N30 national primary road.
The road is 35 km (22 mi) long.R731 road (Ireland)
The R731 road is a regional road in County Wexford, Ireland. From its junction with the R730 it takes a route along the southeasterly flank of the Blackstairs Mountains to its junction with the R729 north of New Ross, where it terminates.
En route it passes through the villages of Killann, Rathnure and Ballywilliam.
The road is 17 km (11 mi) long.R741 road (Ireland)
The R741 road is a regional road in County Wexford, Ireland. From its junction with the R772 in Gorey it takes a southerly route to its junction with the R730 in the centre of Wexford Town, where it terminates.
The road is of good quality, well surfaced and lined, throughout. It is used as an alternative route to the N11 national primary road for traffic between Gorey and Wexford Town.
In the vicinity of the R744 at Castle Ellis, the road is known locally as "the new line", constructed in the 1820s.
The traditional iconic view of Wexford Town is the bridge over the Slaney sweeping across in the foreground with the town behind it (for an example see ). The bridge is the final stage of R741 southwards.
The road is 40 km (25 mi) long.R742 road (Ireland)
The R742 road is a regional road in County Wexford, Ireland. From its junction with the R772 in Gorey it takes a southerly route to its junction with the R741 north of Wexford Town where it terminates.
Though the road passes through many popular seaside resorts and villages undergoing extensive growth, it remains virtually unchanged since it was first paved with long stretches of narrow, winding, unmarked and worn surfacing (as of 2007).
The road is 45 km (28 mi) long.R769 road (Ireland)
The R769 road is a regional road in Ireland, located in County Wexford. It forms the pre-bypass route of the N25 into Wexford town.R772 road (Ireland)
The R772 road is a regional road in Ireland which comprises disconnected sections of road which once formed part of the N11 but which have now been by-passed, joined together by some new road sections and some former local roads.Wexford
Wexford (Irish: Loch Garman) is the county town of County Wexford, Ireland. Wexford lies on the south side of Wexford Harbour, the estuary of the River Slaney near the southeastern corner of the island of Ireland. The town is linked to Dublin by the M11/N11 National Primary Route; and to Rosslare Europort, Cork and Waterford by the N25. The national rail network connects it to Dublin and Rosslare Europort. It had a population of 20,188 according to the 2016 census.Wexford Park
Innovate Wexford Park is a GAA stadium in Wexford, Ireland. It is the home of Wexford GAA's Gaelic football and hurling teams. After a recent development the ground has a capacity of about 25,000.
It is located in the Clonard area on the outskirts of Wexford Town, and although the ground does not have floodlights it regularly hosts evening matches during the brighter summer months. In 2015 a local technology company, Innovate Business Technology, signed a deal for the naming rights to the stadium. The new name unveiled was Innovate Wexford Park.