Read More - Castles in County Wexford
Enniscorthy Castle - in the centre of Enniscorthy town is an excellent place to begin to understand Wexford's varied and complex history. The castle has been home to English gentry, Anglo-Norman royalty and Gaelic Irish Lords. Thanks to the efforts of a local men, Fr Ranson and Michael Tobin, the castle has been a dedicated museum since 1960. The castle recently received funding and major restoration and refurbishment has taken place. In the castle dungeons Elizabethan graffitti can be seen. The guided tours are highly recommended.
The downstairs rooms of the castle tell the story of medieval Wexford and of the building's links to Strongbow and subsequent surrender to Oliver Cromwell. The interior of the upstairs rooms, now restored have been designed to give tourists an idea of how the most recent residents at the castle would have lived- furniture of that period and family portraits are to be viewed these rooms.
The Roche family (owned the castle up to 1960) earned their living by running a malting business. The dungeons of the castle were used to store coal up until the family moved out in 1950. Some members of the family had been booked to travel on the Titanic to America in 1912 however one of the younger members of the family became ill with chicken pox and they were forced to cancel their journey. The dungeons were used to store coal when the castle was occupied by the Roche family.
From the rooftop of the castle visitors can view the sites of the 1798 rebellion including Vinegar Hill and other buildings used during the 1916 rising.
Today as well as being a museum and a tour destination for visitors, it also hosts an Eileen Gray exhibition which includes replicas of some of her most well known designs - chairs, mirrors and tables as well as a screening of her life.
Ferns Castle and Tapestry - a 13th century castle featuring a circular chapel.
Ferns castle was built in the 13th century. Half of the castle remains today. The original design was square shaped with large corner towers. The most complete tower remaining contains a circular chapel, with carved ornament. This tower also has many of the original fireplaces and a vaulted basement.
Ferns Castle is one of a number of historic sites in Ferns. Others include St. Mary's, a 12th century Augustinian Priory; the remains of a 13th century cathedral, part of which is incorporated into the present Church of Ireland Church; St. Peter's, a small nave and chancel church; and some High Crosses and parts of crosses, which stand in the cathedral grounds.
Guided tours of 40 minutes duration are available from May to September from 10.00 - 18.00 hours. Telephone No: +353 53 936 6411
Ferrycarrig Castle, located outside of Wexford Town on the Enniscorthy Road, is one of the earliest Norman castles to be built in the country and the first Norman stronghold in Ireland. The castle was erected by Robert FitzStephen in 1169 and excavations so far, indicate extensive occupation during the 13th century. An 18th century tower can be found on the south bank of the river it was erected by relatives and friends of Co. Wexford soldiers who fell in the Crimean War (1854-56). The Earl of Carlisle, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, laid the first stone at Ferrycarrig in July 1858. Taking the form of an Irish round tower, it stands 85ft and is located 9ft above ground level.
Johnstown Castle - located not far from Wexford Town the gardens of are of Gothic style construction.
Johnstown Castle Estate has been home to two prominent Wexford families. The first owners were the Esmondes; a Norman family who settled in the county in the 1170s. They constructed the tower houses at Johnstown and Rathlannon during the 15th or 16th century. During the Cromwellian period of 1640s the estate was confiscated and changed hands several times before being acquired by John Grogan in 1692, whose descendents remained at Johnstown up until 1945. In this year Maurice Victor Lakin presented Johnstown Castle estate as a gift to the Nation.
By 1863 Johnstown Castle estate. at its peak of development, comprised of a large demesne of over 1,000 acres. It was divided in two with a deer park to the north, and the castle, pleasure grounds, home farm and two lakes (with a third lake under construction) to the south.
Today Teagasc, the Agricultural and Food Development Authority, is the owner of the Johnstown Castle estate and has a research facility on site.
Johnstown Castle is home to the Irish Argrictultural Museum - housing agriculture machinery and tools from earlier eras. Many of the items on display were donated to the castle by local farmers.
Slade Castle, Co Wexford, the building comprises a tower house built in the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century, and an attached two-storey hall of slightly later date. The tower, stands at 56 feet high and gracefully tapered, contains a mural stair in the south-east angle and barrel vaults over the second and fifth floors; above the latter rises a turret accommodating the stair head, a small apartment and the base of what was once a tall chimney-stack.
Dunbrody Abbey, was founded in 1170 on the instructions of Strongbow, by Herve de Montmorency (his uncle), after the Norman invasion of Ireland, (Bannow Bay in 1169). It was completed around 1220 and may have had additions added throughtout the years. Herve de Montmorency made a grant of the lands to the monks of Bildewas in Shropshire (England), on condition that they should build the Abbey, for some monks of the Cistercian, or White Order (they wore white robes), and upon condition that there should be a Sanctuary in the Abbey for all malefactors. Dedicated to "St. Mary the ever Blessed Virgin, and St. Benedict" it has sometimes been called the Abbey of St. Mary de Port, for the refuge it contained by the express condition of its founder.
Duncannon Fort is a star shaped fortress at the entrance to Waterford Harbour. It was built in 1588 in the expectation of an attack on the area by the Spanish Armada. The Fort is surrounded by a 30 ft high dry moat and has one of the oldest lighthouses of its kind in Ireland. All the major buildings in the Fort surround a parade ground. Spectacular views across to the Waterford estuary & Hook Head can be had from the ramparts. The Fort today hosts a Maritime Museum which charts the maritime history of one of the most dangerous coastlines in Ireland, the Wexford coast.
Each year military re-enactments take place at the Fort during the summer months. Artist studios displaying local artists work are also hosted on the fort grounds throughout the year.
Tintern Abbey was founded around 1200 by the Earl of Pembroke, who promised during a treacherous sea journey to build an Abbey if he reached land safely - giving the Abbey its name - 'Tintern de Voto' - 'Tintern of the Vow'. The Cistercian monks from the Tintern Abbey in Wales, colonised the Abbey in Wexford.
Visitors can view the remains of the nave, chancel, tower, chapel and cloister as well as having the choice of a guided tour of the remains of the living quarters and the very beautiful walled Colclough Gardens - ancestral home of the Colclough family.