The Wexford Festival Tours have been an integral part of the Festival since 1951. In association with Wexford Festival Opera and the National Opera House, the tours are organised by Bernard Browne on behalf of Wexford Historical Society. These expert-led tours are a wonderful way to explore and discover some of the hidden gems of Wexford. These Festival Tours are free of charge and open to everyone. Please be advised that transport is not provided as part of the tour.
Start Location: Talbot Hotel Car Park
Departure Time: 10:30am sharp
Return Time: 1:00pm
Wednesday, October 25th
Wexford Town: South End.
Small in size, but vast in history, Wexford’s colourful past includes Viking settlement, Norman invasion, and Cromwellian rule. From castles to prisons, Wexford has it all. Join author Monica Crofton for a walking tour through the centuries of Wexford’s past.
Thursday, October 26th
A visit to Oulart Hill is always a fulfilling walk through history. The Tulach a’ tSolais monument envisions of the 1798 rebellion through the context of Enlightenment. Alongside this are the 25 memorial stones, each with a unique story, as told by author and historian Brian O’Cleirigh. (Round trip 42km)
Friday, October 27th
Our Lady’s Island.
Our Lady’s Island has long held significance in the rich history and heritage of Wexford. A pre-Christion settlement, the Island remains a site of pilgrimage and prayer to this day. Local naturalist Jim Hurley leads the walk along the grass path that encircles the island. (Round trip 40km)
Saturday, October 28th
Carne and Coast.
A first for the Festival Tours, this visit to Carne pier brings spectacular coastal scenery and the old village of Churchtown nearby. This tour is guided by Peter Miller, Chairman of the National Agricultural Museum at Johnstown Castle. (Round trip 40km)
Sunday, October 29th
Tintern Abbey’s walled gardens were built by members of the Colclough family in the 1830s. An intensive restoration of the gardens began in 2010 and is definitely a sight worth seeing. Veteran Festival guide Brian Matthews leads the walk. (round trip 60km)
Monday, October 30th
Wexford Town Heritage Tour.
The Vikings who sought safety in the shelter of Wexford harbour once called the settlement Waesfjord, the bay of mud flats. This flat bay and the Slaney River that flows into it served as a vital mode of transportation for the Norse explorers. Discover the fascinating Viking history of Wexford town with expert Cllr. Maura Bell.
Tuesday, October 31st
The Historical Architecture of Wexford Town.
Examine the rich and varied architecture that gives Wexford its unique personality. This walking tour is led by distinguished author and local historian Jarlath Glynn.
Wednesday, November 1st
Another first for the Festival Tours, a visit to Bree and Ballybrittas to view the magnificent portal tomb and majestic woodlands that surround it. The site of the portal tomb has recently been made accessible for the first time. Leading local historian, author, and member of the historical society Willie French guides this tour. It is recommended to wear sturdy walking shoes.(Round trip 36km)
Thursday, November 2nd
Polehore to Browne’s Castle.
Explore the boundary of the Wexford Pale from Polehore to Taghmon village, and learn how the topography of the area affected the creation of the boundary. This fascinating tour includes the role of the Furlongs in the creation of this boundary. The Tour is led by author and historian Greg Walsh. (Round Trip 40km)
Friday, November 3rd
History teacher John McCormach leads this walking tour around Rathmacknee Castle. Discover within the shadow of the castle church the magnificent Tower, five-sided Bawn Wall, ruined church and historical graveyard. (Round trip 15 km)
Saturday, November 4th
Wexford Town Heritage Tour.
Discover the heritage of Wexford, one of Ireland’s oldest towns. The exploration of Wexford’s hidden heritage is always full of historic surprises, led by experienced tour guides Ray Corish and Anne Gubbins.