Blazing a trail
IRELAND'S largest Heritage Trail was officially launched last week at one of the landmark houses in the county.
Minister for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring was invited to Wells House to launch the new Wexford Heritage Trail which features 32 historic sites and attractions around the Model County.
Minister Ring said he was very impressed by the range of attractions on offer in the county, and with the way they are now being presented to visitors.
'This heritage trail should be a great success in persuading overseas and domestic visitors to come and visit,' he said. 'The key thing now is to market this on the internet and internationally, and to persuade tour operators to include it on their itineraries.'
The trail was compiled with the support of Wexford Local Development which funded a three-month training programme for the attraction operators who planned and designed the trail.
Chairperson of the Wexford Heritage Trail Jacqui Hynes explained that the trail spans the entire county. 'It really has something to offer to those hugely interested in history and also to families and children looking for a fun day out,' she said. 'We are very much looking forward to welcoming new visitors to our county to explore the heritage of Wexford.'
The trail will lead visitors to castles and battlefields, churches and abbeys, historic towns and villages, great houses and gardens, windmills and forts, and to Ireland's National Heritage Park and the National 1798 Rebellion Centre.
Trail followers can explore the world's oldest lighthouse; Ireland's biggest open-air museum and its most famous Famine Ship; the ancestral homestead of President Kennedy; or they can discover a landscape rich in biodiversity; from coastal habitats to the famous Wexford Slobs, a haven for wildlife and one of the most important wild bird reserves in the world.
The 32 sites on the new trail include:
The OPW sites: Ferns Castle; Colclough Walled Garden; Tintern Abbey; Ballyhack Castle; and Selskar Abbey.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service managed Wexford Wildfowl Reserve.
Wexford County Council initiatives: Enniscorthy Castle; National 1798 Rebellion Centre; Vinegar Hill Battlefield; Irish National Heritage Park; Duncannon Fort; Browne Clayton Monument; and Hook Lighthouse (in association with Commissioners of Irish Lights).
Other attractions including: Enniscorthy town; Fr. Murphy Centre; Gorey Town; Johnstown Castle (Teagasc) and the Irish Agricultural Museum; Wexford town; Our Lady's Island; Loftus Hall; Ros Tappestry; Dunbrody Famine Ship; New Ross Town; Dunbrody Abbey; Oulart Hill; Kilmore Quay and Saltee Islands; Ballymore Historical Features; Ferns Village; Wells House; Tacumshane Windmill; Craanford Mill; and The Kennedy Homestead.
Full details of the Wexford Heritage Trail are available on visitwexford.ie