With its brighter weather and longer evenings, summer is the season for a road trip, where you can explore hidden landmarks, meet interesting locals, and visit little towns that you never knew existed. One of Ireland’s greatest road trips is an exploration of Wexford’s movie-star beaches.
A surfer’s paradise, Wexford boasts over 25 different beaches, some of them renowned for their Hollywood status, others for the title of longest stretch of golden sand in Ireland, and other equally impressive accolades. Hop in the car and follow the coast to discover your first beach of the day – Courtown Beach. This long stretch of sandy beach is less than 90 minutes from Dublin and makes an ideal starting point for a barefoot morning walk, deep in your own thoughts.
Most of Wexford’s beaches are plump with soft sand, and because there’s such a wide choice within a short driving distance, you won’t find them overcrowded. Continue south and you’ll find half a dozen glorious beaches to choose from. Morriscastle beach, which is sheltered by sand dunes, bears the distinction of being Europe’s longest continuous stretch of beach, extending for over 15km. You can’t go past Ballinesker Beach, which is best known for its filming of Saving Private Ryan, or Curracloe Beach right next door which is a 13km oasis of golden sand that’s nicely sheltered from the wind. Here you’ll find a tiny little surf shack which is the gateway to Wexford’s surfing scene and as good a beach as any for a first taste of the salty sea!
By now you’ll be ravenous for lunch, so make your way south to Rosslare Strand for a gastro pub lunch or for waterfront dining in one of its many seafood restaurants. The town is a hub of activity for the sporting enthusiast, so after lunch try your hand at kayaking, sailing, or windsurfing amongst other water sports.
The real surfer’s paradise lies in Ballyhealy Beach, 20 minutes south of Rosslare, where the onshore breeze makes a great spot to catch a break. Hug the coast a little further south and you’ll find your way to Kilmore Quay, which is a bustling fishing village steeped in maritime history and a hub of activity for fishing. Here you can spot playful seals in the harbour or enjoy an ice-cream as you watch the boats come and go.
By now you’re an hour south from your starting point, but if you haven’t had your fill of ocean breezes and new discoveries, Duncannon Beach is a designated bathing area that offers great views from the beach over to Hook Head and across the river to the Waterford coast line. Just a short stroll away you’ll find Duncannon Fort, one of the best vantage points to take in the beautiful Waterford Estuary from, which is where you can soak up the last of the day’s rays before turning the car tiredly towards home!