Wexford Festival Opera Tours in association with Wexford Festival Opera and the National Opera House are organised by Bernard Browne and Nicholas Furlong on behalf of Wexford Historical Society. The Festival tours, which have been running since 1951, are led by expert guides who take you to interesting and intriguing places throughout Wexford town and county, some known, some lesser-known. The tours are open to everyone and are free of charge. The tours leave the Talbot Hotel car park at 10:30 am sharp and are scheduled to return to Wexford at 1:00pm, in time to enjoy the afternoon Festival events. If you don’t have a car, don’t worry. People with cars make room for those without; an opportunity to explore Co. Wexford’s ‘Hidden Gems’ and make new friends. That is what Wexford Festival Opera is all about.
Friday October 20
A visit to Ardcavan’s early promontory fort, Wexford reclaimed land ten feet below high water level, the Begerin Island mystery and the National Bird Sanctuary with history teacher, John McCormack. (15km/return)
Saturday October 21
A walking tour of Wexford Quays, home to a rich shipping and military history with author and musicologist Liam Gaul.
Monday October 23
A tour of Enniscorthy: Co.Wexford’s historical, cultural and industrial centre, with Enniscorthy Historian David Hasslacher. (60km/return)
Tuesday October 24
A tour of a modern architectural gem: Wexford’s County Hall with its superb Art Collection with Chief Executive Officer of Wexford County Council, Tom Enright. (5km/return)
Wednesday October 25
Explore the 19th century emigrant ships, the old dockyard, and railway connections. A walking tour with local businessman, Ray Corish.
Thursday, October 26
Viking Wexford: Wexford or Wexfjord, was one of Ireland’s original Viking towns from 850-1170. Author and historian Nicky Furlong takes you on this fascinating walking tour.
Friday October 27
A visit to the Ballyteige Burrow Walking Trail in the picturesque seaside fishing village of Kilmore Quay with its ancient rocks, magnificent sand dunes, beach and extensive drainage works with author and local naturalist Jim Hurley. (30km/return)
Saturday October 28
The Life and Times of William, Earl Marshal of England, who married the granddaughter of the King of Leinster, Diarmait MacMurrough, was responsible for much of the development in medieval Co. Wexford. Historian Greg Walsh takes you to one of his many foundations, Tintern Abbey (sister to the famous Welsh Abbey). (50km/return)
Monday October 30
2017 marks the centennial of the death of Major Willie Redmond, M.P. at the Battle of Messines. This guided walking tour of sites associated with the Redmond family with the leading expert on this unique Wexford family, local Historian and author, Jarlath Glynn.
Tuesday October 31
In the 18th and 19th century Wexford town was home to a thriving malting industry. Follow the walking trail of Wexford Malthouses, particularly the O’Keefe family of the Faythe who commissioned stained glass artist Harry Clarke to create the O’Keefe memorial window in the Church at Bride Street with author and historian Eithne Scallan.
Wednesday November 1
A World War I Royal Air Corp Airship base was located in the grounds of Johnstown Castle. Peter Miller, Chairman of The Irish Agricultural Museum provides a unique insight into the operation of the base. (10km/return)
Thursday, November 2
Alderman Richard Corish, T.D. (member of Dáil Éireann National Parliament) (1886-1945), and the longest consecutively elected serving Mayor of Wexford was instrumental in developing Wexford town and helping its people during one of the most turbulent periods in Ireland’s 20th century. Learn more about the life and remarkable times with his grand-daughter, historian and tour guide Helen Corish-Wylde.
Friday November 3
The 19th century internationally renowned architect A.W. Pugin, designed many churches in Co. Wexford. Author and historian Bernard Browne explores one such Neo-Gothic chapel, St Peter’s College and the Ferns Diocesan Archives. (4km/return)
Saturday, November 4
The first aero-flight across the Irish Sea landed in Co. Wexford in 1912. Visit the site and a museum collection of memorabilia in a local pub with Wexford Historical Society historian Brian Matthews. (30km/return).