Walk back in time in County Wexford.
County Wexford is the cornerstone of Ireland’s Ancient East, so it is no surprise that there is a little bit of history wherever you turn. One of the best ways to discover Wexford’s heritage is to literally walk back in time! Many of the walking trails around the county have pieces of history scattered along the way so you can learn about Wexford’s heritage as you get out and about for fresh air.
Our #TravelTuesday tip: Please stick to the travel restrictions in place at the time of visiting. With more and more people getting out and about to rediscover Wexford, some trails may be busier than usual. If a trail is busy, there are many others to discover so do not set off if it is not safe to do so. Remember to maintain social distancing at all times when visiting these trails.
Check out Wexford’s heritage trails below:
The Tintern Abbey trails are popular among walkers in South Wexford. There are four trails in the area varying from a very doable kilometre-long trail to just over 7km. The Gardener’s Trail is the shortest and takes walkers past Colclough Walled Gardens. Pop in on your way past and see the beautiful gardens bursting with colour. The Tintern Demesne Trail and the Foxboro Trail both run alongside the Tintern River and wind through the woodlands where you can really immerse yourself in nature.
The longest of the trails is the Bannow Bay Trail which winds around Tintern Abbey, a Cistercian abbey founded back in the 1200s. Many of the structural elements of the abbey are still standing and it is an impressive sight on your walk. Before you set off, why not organise a guided tour and hear the story of the abbey that was occupied for many years until the 1960s?
The village of Ferns is just 15 minutes from Enniscorthy and is a significant place full of Irish history. It was once the ancient capital of the kingdom of Leinster and later the ancient capital of Ireland. There are points of interest that signify Fern’s importance through different points in history from the medieval times to the 1798 Rebellion.
The Ferns Village Heritage Trail is just under 2.5km in length, so it takes about 40 minutes to immerse yourself in sites like Ferns Castle, St. Mary’s Abbey and the Fr. Murphy Monument – dedicated to one of the leaders during the 1798 Rebellion. There’s so much to see in Ferns that you will feel like you are walking back in time, where new and old meet.
#ThrowbackThursday – Ferns Castle was built in the 13th century & the ruins are just half of the original building which formed a square. The OPW site is a fantastic sight in the centre ofFerns 😍https://t.co/caxUJVo0Pk 💜💛#RediscoverWexford #StaySafe #IrelandsAncientEast pic.twitter.com/eyNvLEcogi
— Visit Wexford (@visitwexford) January 14, 2021
Oulart Hill is the site of one of the main battles during the 1798 Rebellion and features the largest 1798 monument – Tulach a’ tSolais. Take your pick of three trails in the area because all of them are steeped in history! The Cosán na Glóire Trail brings you right up to Tulach a’ tSolais and you may spot some commemorative memorials to those who died in battle here during 1798 along the way.
The Jean Kennedy Smith Walk brings walkers to the village of Oulart which is full of 1798 sites and monuments, including the Mise Éire monument in the heart of the village. The final trail is The Unyoke Walk and 3km of it is the actual medieval Wexford to Dublin coach road!
Lacken Hill is just 10 minutes from the historic town of New Ross and from the top of the hill, you will have panoramic views of the town, the surrounding countryside and the River Barrow. This hill was once a camp for the rebels during the 1798 Rebellion and a cross stands on the summit to commemorate those who died during the rebellion.
The four walking trails here vary in length from less than 2km to almost 14km but you may spot some sites of historical significance along each one. The Lacken Hillside Trail takes you to the summit of the hill and the Scarke Loop passes the forge where pikes for the Battle of Ross were made. The Forest of Dunbrody Trail winds through the forest where trees were replanted to replace the trees that were felled for wood for building the Dunbrody Famine Ship.
Venture down to the town of New Ross to learn even more at the Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience, The Ros Tapestry and The Kennedy Homestead.
Wander around Wexford this Wednesday 👣 Check out the Lacken Hill trail which is made up of 4 individual trails, varying from just under 2km to 14km.
— Visit Wexford (@visitwexford) September 30, 2020
Three Rocks Trail Forth Mountain
Part of the trail follows the route taken during the 1798 Rebellion and the trail itself is a journey through Wexford’s history. From the Ferrycarrig Castle to a significant 1798 battle site, you will discover Wexford’s history as you traverse the countryside on the Three Rocks Trail.
The 13km waymarked trail takes about 4 hours in total to complete, but there are over 20 points of interest along the way so it is well worth the journey. The trail gets its name from the Battle of the Three Rocks that occurred here during the 1798 Rebellion and you will find the campsite, battle site and burial site along the trail.
If you wish to immerse yourself further in County Wexford’s extensive and colourful history, the Irish National Heritage Park is not far from the beginning of the Three Rocks Trail at Ferrycarrig Castle.
The stunning #ForthMountain and the amazing views from the top. 😍 🥰
Plan your autumn at https://t.co/caxUJVo0Pk 💜💛 #BestforSun #BestforFun #BestForTrails #GetLostInWexford #IrelandsAncientEast #FailteIreland #WexfordTogether #MakeABreakForIt #FeelsBigger pic.twitter.com/MpQPWLvRTc
— Visit Wexford (@visitwexford) August 24, 2020
So if you’re heading out on a walk, why not check if one of these trails are within your 5km? If not, make a note to pay them a visit when restrictions have been eased.
Don’t forget to get out and get some fresh air within your 5km this week and if you take any photos on your way, tag us on social media @VisitWexford!