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5 Driving Routes from

WEXFORD Detailed route maps, places to see & driving tips


The South East driving brochures were compiled in collaboration with travel writer Pól Ó Conghaile. Pól has written for National Geographic Traveller, The Irish Independent and Cara Magazine amongst other publications, and has three times been voted Irish Travel Journalist of the Year. “There’s something about the South East that makes you want to get behind the wheel,” he says. “Be it sandy beaches or craggy coves, wild mountains or winding rivers, ancient heritage gems or the tingle of excitement as you arrive into Kilkenny, Wexford or Waterford. It could be old. It could be new. But there’s always something different around the next bend.”

Pól Ó Conghaile

Th e River Barrow ! For full details on visitor attractions featured in this guide and a detailed regional map, pick up your copy of the South East Pocket Guide, or download from www.discoverireland.ie Every care has been taken in the compilation of this brochure to ensure accuracy at the time of publication. The publishers cannot accept responsibility for printed errors or omissions, or alterations occurring after the brochure has been published.


Driving Routes from

WEXFORD The open road. Rolling mountains and river valleys. Brushing hedgerows, Blue Flag beaches, lingering lunch stops and random detours leading to discoveries you’ll talk about for years to come. There’s nothing like driving in Ireland. And there’s nowhere like the South East for doing it. Within the space of a leisurely few hours here, you can cruise from cliff-craggy coastlines to cobbled streets, from fishing villages to lush farmland, from heritage highlights like Kilkenny Castle and Waterford’s Viking Triangle to buzzing pubs, delicious food and dynamic arts and crafts.

Th e Sou th East is forev erford is its h appenin g – an d Wex age! su rprise pa ck

Wexford is Ireland’s quiet kid, a medieval town that packs a world-class opera festival, an airy quayside that seduces you into tight-knit streets, a coastal town that seems to squirrel away as many boutique shops and restaurants as it does portals to a fascinating Viking and Norman past. From here, Waterford, Kilkenny, Carlow, Tipperary and mile after mile of tantalising coastline and countryside are just a short drive away. So why wait? It’s a perfect base for your South Eastern safari.


Route 1

approx.

180 km

approx.

160 km

app

Route 1

Route 2

Route 3

THE URBAN TRIANGLE

BY HOOK OR BY CROOKE

THE ISL DRIVE

Tantalise yourself with a taste of Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford and all the countryside in-between on a drive lasting one or several days…

Follow in the footsteps of Henry II, JFK’s greatgrandfather and 18th century fishermen on a driving tour undertaken by Hook or by Crooke.

Explore Ire South Eas corner bef a deep-se charter or around the Islands fro famous fis Kilmore Q


Route 4

Route 5

Route 3

Route 2

prox.

75 km

LAND

eland’s sternmost fore catching ea angling a trip e Saltee om the shing port of Quay.

approx.

165 km

approx.

102 km

Route 4

Route 5

THE THREE RIVERS

CASTLES & COAST

From Duiske Abbey to the Dunbrody Experience, the heritage highlights come thick and fast on this enchanting journey along the Slaney, Nore and Barrow.

Movie star beaches, aerial trekking adventures and the heritage hotspots of Ferns and Enniscorthy are pick of the attractions along this excellent driving tour.

An en ch an tin g jou rn ey – be it a day trip or a sev eral day tou r. You ch oose!


7 5 6

R700

4

R448

R700

2 3

10 8 9

R733 R683

The Urban Triangle Tantalise yourself with a taste of Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford and all the countryside in-between on a drive lasting one or several days‌


Route 1

THE URBaN TRIaNGLE

10 places to See

R733

1

1

Johnstown Castle Gardens & Irish Agriculture Museum

2

Dunbrody Experience

3

Ros Tapestry

4

Woodstock Gardens

5

Rothe House

6

Kilkenny Castle

7

St. Canice’s Cathedral

8

Waterford Crystal

9

Reginald’s Tower

10

Bishop’s Palace Scenic viewpoint

Dunbrody Experience

Follow the footprints of Ireland’s past


The Urban Triangle If you’re the town and country type, this is the driving route for you. The Urban Triangle not only passes through some of the sweetest countryside in the South East, it takes drivers right into the thick of things in WEXFORD, WATERFORD and KILKENNY too. After starting out from WEXFORD (via N25), keep your eyes peeled for rocky outcrops north of Carrigbyrne. These are actually the plugs of extinct volcanoes. In NEW ROSS, swap your vehicle for a replica famine ship at the Dunbrody Experience, where costumed actors and interactive elements combine in an adventure evoking famine times (you’ll even receive a ticket issued as if it were 1849). Continuing through the River Nore valley (via R700), pass through INISTIOGE, THOMASTOWN and BENNETTSBRIDGE - the kinds of places you might pull into for a mosey, and pull out of carrying a piece of hand-crafted glass, a scrumptious scone, or a photo of an enthralling stone-arch bridge. Watch out for anglers along the Nore too - this winding river is famous for its salmon. Next up is KILKENNY. Ireland’s medieval capital is home to world-class historic buildings like Rothe House and St. Canice’s Cathedral, but also to spirited pubs, cutting-edge culture, and food worth detouring for. It’s a city where you can travel several centuries in several steps. WATERFORD is Ireland’s oldest city, and you can explore its roots in the Viking Triangle, a new historic quarter housing the Viking Museum in Reginald’s Tower, Waterford Crystal and a Georgian Museum in Bishop’s Palace. It’s not all ancient history, of course – funky shops, restaurants and festivals like Spraoi and the Tall Ships ensure Waterford continues to sparkle in the 21st century. On the home stretch towards WEXFORD (follow the R683 and R733), the Passage East ferry offers a lovely postscript, with views stretching south to the Hook Lighthouse. It’s at once a shortcut and a scenic detour.

driving tip

Depending on stop-offs, this route can be undertaken as a day trip or spread over several days. It can also be shortened by taking the N25 from New Ross to Waterford. Return and one-way fares are available on the Passage East Ferry, and the wait is rarely longer than 10 minutes.


Viking Triangle

A thousand years in a thousand steps! Total distance

Time Wexford Town – Kilkenny City

1h 45 mins

approx.

Kilkenny City – Waterford City

40 mins

180 km

Waterford City – Wexford Town

1h 30 mins

All times are best estimates, and do not allow for stop-offs.


9 8

10

7 5 6

2 4

R684

3

By Hook or by Crooke Follow in the footsteps of Henry II, JFK’s great-grandfather and 18th century fishermen on a driving tour undertaken by Hook or by Crooke.

R737


Route 2

BY HOOK OR BY CROOKE

10 places to See

R733

1

1

Johnstown Castle Gardens & Irish Agriculture Museum

2

Tintern Abbey

3

Hook Lighthouse

4

Duncannon Fort

5

Waterford Crystal

6

Bishop’s Palace

7

Reginald’s Tower

8

Ros Tapestry

9

Dunbrody Experience

10

Kennedy Homestead Scenic viewpoint

Hook Lighthouse

The Worlds Flashiest Lighthouse!


By Hook or by Crooke By Hook or by Crooke. It’s a phrase you’ve heard a thousand times, and this drive transports you right back to its origins. In 1170, Henry II was advancing towards Waterford. His options for getting there? Via the village of Crooke, or the Hook Peninsula. The rest, as you’ll discover, is history. Departing from WEXFORD (via R733), this route travels directly to the Hook Peninsula, and particularly the lighthouse that takes its name. Lonely Planet recently hailed this 800-year-old beacon as the world’s flashiest lighthouse, and visitors can climb its spiralling steps to views stretching as far as Wexford’s Saltee Islands. In wintertime, you may even see passing whales. Continuing on a loop of the Hook, you’ll pass DOLLAR BAY, named after pirates reputedly stashed two tonnes of Spanish milled dollars there in the 1700s. Look out for Loftus Hall too, where the devil is said to have been unmasked during a game of cards, and the star-shaped Duncannon Fort. The more you explore this bleakly romantic peninsula, the more exploring there is to do. After crossing the SUIR ESTUARY by ferry from Ballyhack, pause for a moment in the close-knit harbour village of PASSAGE EAST. This was one of the ports fishermen and emigrants left for Newfoundland in the 17th and 18th centuries, creating an indelible cultural connection with North America. Today, Waterford and St. John’s are twinned cities. From here, swing south to the hidden coves and seafood restaurants of DUNMORE EAST, before returning north (via R684) to explore WATERFORD’S Viking and Norman roots. The final stop is NEW ROSS (via N25), where the Dunbrody Experience and nearby Kennedy Homestead highlight another great American connection. On a wet day in 1848, a young man named Patrick Kennedy left the quays here for America. 115 years later, his great-grandson, John F. Kennedy, returned as President of the United States.

driving tip Return and one-way fares are available on the Passage East Ferry, and the wait is rarely longer than 10 minutes. The Kennedy homestead is not accessible to coaches. The gardens at Kilmokea are open from March to November, as are its lovely Georgian tea rooms.


Dunmore East

A little gem of a fishing village! Total Distance

Time

approx.

Hook Peninsula Loop

160 km

Wexford Town – Fethard-on-Sea Passage East – Dunmore East Dunmore East – Waterford City Waterford City – New Ross New Ross – Wexford Town

1h 2 hrs 30 mins 25 mins 25 mins 35 mins

All times are best estimates, and do not allow for stop-offs.


10

9

2

R733

1

4

R739

3

R738

R736

7

R739

6

8

The iSland drive Explore Ireland’s South Easternmost corner before catching a deep-sea angling charter or a trip around the Saltee Islands from the famous fishing port of Kilmore Quay.

5


Route 3

The Island Drive

10 Places to See 1

Johnstown Castle Gardens & Irish Agriculture Museum

2

Tacumshane Windmill

3

Tagoat Church

4

Rosslare Strand

5

Ballytrent Beach

6

Carnsore Point

7

Lady’s Island

8

Saltee Islands

9

Irish National Heritage Park

10

Wexford Wildfowl Reserve Scenic viewpoint Blue Flag Beach


The Island Drive Heading south from Wexford, this charming route ventures towards the South Eastern corner of the country at Carnsore Point, traces a coastline of sandy beaches and marshy lagoons, and breaks in Kilmore Quay, where you can catch a sea-angling charter or scenic boat trip. After leaving Wexford (via N25), your first stop is Rosslare, home to a long, sandy beach as suited to buckets and spades as soulful strolls. From here continue south to Lady’s Island. Once the site of an early Augustinian priory, the area remains a centre of pilgrimage to this day – a token unearthed by a ploughman in 1941 was later found to date from the reign of Pope Martin V (1417-1431). Lady’s Island Lake is, together with nearby Tacumshin, one of two lagoons in the area. Both are separated from the sea by low, narrow dune systems, throwing up birdwatching opportunities that are a perfect complement to the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve further north. A short drive takes you (via R736 and R739) onwards to Kilmore Quay, a famous fishing port by Forlorn Point, and a familiar feature of seafood menus far beyond the South East. Spotted with old cottages and chugging trawlers, a steady procession of deep-sea fishing charters leaves the harbour here, taking anglers out to fish for cod, whiting, ray and tope, for conger eel near the wrecks, and blue shark farther offshore. You can also take a spin around the Saltee Islands, cackling with hundreds of bird species. From Kilmore Quay, head back towards Wexford via the R739 or R738, twisting regional roads passing through the ancient baronies of Forth and Bargy. Yola, a Middle English dialect, was spoken here until the 1920s, and traces of it survive to this day. “Take your stevven”, for example, means take your time or take it easy - apt advice for this short and sweet driving loop.

driving tip Depending on the time at your disposal, this route can take a short half day, or combine with a sightseeing or angling trip out of Kilmore Quay. The return journey can be shortened by taking the R739 directly from Kilmore Quay back to Wexford.


Kilmore Quay

A heritage fishing village!

Total distance

Time Wexford Town – Lady’s Island

25 mins

approx.

Lady’s Island – Kilmore Quay

35 mins

Kilmore Quay – Wexford via Murntown

45 mins

75 km

All times are best estimates, and do not allow for stop-offs.


R724 R705

4 R705

5

R703

2

1 3

6 7

R700

8

9

10

The Three Rivers From Duiske Abbey to the Dunbrody Experience, the heritage highlights come thick and fast on this enchanting journey along the Slaney, Nore and Barrow.


Route 4

THE THREE RIvERS

Enniscorthy

‘The finest place in the World!’ James Joyce

10 places to See 1

Enniscorthy Castle

2

St. Aidan’s Cathedral

3

Vinegar Hill

4

Borris House

5

Duiske Abbey

6

Jerpoint Abbey

7

Woodstock Gardens

8

The Dunbrody Experience

9

Ros Tapestry

10

Johnstown Castle Gardens & Irish Agriculture Museum Scenic viewpoint


The Three Rivers Driving this discovery trail offers a flavour of three famous rivers – the Slaney, the Barrow and the Nore – as well as looping through the most scenic corners of Carlow and Kilkenny. Enniscorthy, your first stop heading north on the N11, recently celebrated its 1,500th birthday – a clue as to the historical gems hidden amongst its hilly streets. A cathedral designed by Pugin, a Norman Castle dating from 1205, and Vinegar Hill - where the decisive battle of the 1798 Rebellion was fought - are just three of the highlights. You can learn more about the rebellion in the National 1798 Centre. Famously, Enniscorthy is referred to in James Joyce’s Ulysses as “the finest place in the world,” though you’ll find plenty of competition on this journey. At Bunclody (via N80), Mount Leinster can be climbed via the prehistoric Nine Stones (also a hang-gliding hotspot), before curving around the Blackstairs Mountains on the R724 towards Bagenalstown, the 17th century Dunleckney Manor and the River Barrow. The Barrow is the second-longest river in Ireland, and a magnet for walkers, anglers, kayakers and boating folk. Watch out for life on the river and its banks as you follow the R705 south through Borris to the waterfront gem of Graiguenamanagh, and the R703 onwards towards Inistioge. The blooming flower boxes at the latter look like a Gardeners’ World cover shot in summer, nearby Woodstock Gardens are home to the longest monkey-puzzle avenue in Europe, and the 10-arched bridge over the River Nore is simply spellbinding. In New Ross (via R700), it’s back to the Barrow, and two wonderful stop-offs in the Dunbrody Experience and the Ros Tapestry. The focal point of the former is a replica famine ship; the Ros Tapestry is a series of panels stitched, knotted and couched by volunteers to tell the story of the town’s Norman origins. It’s a unique tale, literally told in thread.

driving tip The driving on this route is straightforward on the N25 and N80, but pay close attention to signage on the winding local roads between Bunclody and Inistioge. The loop can be shortened by taking the N30 straight from Enniscorthy to New Ross.


Inistioge

View its 18th century 10 span bridge! Total distance

Time

approx.

Bunclody – Bagenalstown

165 km

Wexford Town – Enniscorthy Enniscorthy – Bunclody Bagenalstown – Borris Borris – Inistioge Inistioge – New Ross New Ross – Wexford Town

25 mins 25 mins 45 mins 20 mins 40 mins 30 mins 35 mins

All times are best estimates, and do not allow for stop-offs.


3 4

5 8

6 7

9

10

Castles & Coast Movie star beaches, aerial trekking adventures and the heritage hotspots of Ferns and Enniscorthy are pick of the attractions along this excellent driving tour.


Route 5

CaSTLES & COaST R742

10 places to See

R742

2 R742

R741

1

1

Wexford Wildfowl Reserve

2

Curracloe Beach

3

Ferns Castle

4

Ferns Cathedral

5

Enniscorthy Castle

6

St. Aidan’s Cathedral

7

Vinegar Hill

8

1798 Rebellion Centre

9

Irish National Heritage Park

10

Johnstown Castle Gardens & Irish Agriculture Museum Scenic viewpoint Blue Flag Beach

Enniscorthy

… 1,500 years young!


Castles & Coast Whether it’s ancient history in Ferns and Enniscorthy or artistic license at Curracloe, where Steven Spielberg staged a spectacular reconstruction of the Normandy landings, this route is a whistle-stop tour of a region that is quite simply forever happening. From Wexford, proceed north on the R742, one of the most underrated coastal drives in the country. Thatched cottages, visitor farms and Blue Flag beaches at Morriscastle, Courtown and Curracloe are the highlights here - with dozens of bohareens leading down to the long, sandy shoreline. Ballinesker is where Spielberg filmed the frenetic opening scenes for Saving Private Ryan (1998). Courtown, combining its old stone harbour with a neat beach, nostalgic amusements and aerial trekking adventures at Gravity Forest Park, is where you depart from the coast. Grab a bite at the busy market town of Gorey, before travelling back in time to historic Ferns (via N11). You mightn’t think it today, but Ferns was once the engine room of the Kings of Leinster. Ferns Castle dates from the 13th century (it was trashed by Cromwell’s forces in 1649, though you can still climb one tower), and you’ll also find the ruins of Ferns Cathedral and St. Mary’s Abbey. After Ferns, continue to Enniscorthy (via N11), a town first settled by St. Senan in 510AD. The Norman castle here was home for a time to the poet Edmund Spenser, and legend suggests he got the lease from Queen Elizabeth… after royally flattering her in The Faerie Queen. Also worth a stop in Enniscorthy are St. Aidan’s Cathedral, designed by Pugin, and Vinegar Hill, a critical battle site during the 1798 Rebellion. Interestingly, the hill also played a small role in 1916 – both stories are told in depth at the 1798 Centre on St. John’s Road.

driving tip This is a short and sweet loop, allowing plenty of time for stop offs. If your schedule permits, why not detour from Enniscorthy to New Ross, visiting the Dunbrody Experience, Ros Tapestry or Kennedy Homestead before retuning on the N25 to Wexford?


Curracloe Beach

One of Ireland’s finest beaches

Total distance

Time

approx.

Courtown – Gorey

102 km

Wexford Town – Courtown

Gorey – Ferns Ferns – Enniscorthy Enniscorthy – Wexford Town

1h 10 mins 10 mins 20 mins 15 mins 25 mins

All times are best estimates, and do not allow for stop-offs.


driving TipS For yoUr Trip drive on the left Yes, it’s obvious. Yes, everyone is doing it. But if you’re used to driving on the right, it’s easy to fall into old habits first thing in the morning, after a lunch stop, or pulling back onto a quiet country road after taking that latest awesome photo...

heed the speed limits The speed limit on regional (R) roads is 80kph/50mph, on national (N) roads 100kph/62mph, and on motorways (M) 120kph/75mph. In towns, the limit is 50kph/30mph.

get a good map Irish motorways are straightforward. Country roads… not so much. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a reliable map (such as those available for purchase in Tourist Information Offices) or GPS in the glove box before you set off on your South Eastern safari.

Safety first Whilst Ireland’s roads are improving all the time, N and R routes can still be thin and bumpy, prone to ice in winter, and may not have hard shoulders. For many drivers, of course, that’s all part of the charm. But it’s wise to adapt your speed to the circumstances.

The tractor factor No matter how meticulous your plans, the chance of chugging along at 20mph behind a tractor, or being held to a standstill by a herd of sheep or cattle, is always there. It’s nothing to worry about (it may even make your trip), just be aware that it may occur!


park smart You’ll rarely have to pay to park in the Irish countryside, but pay-and-display charges are commonplace in towns and cities. Keep some coins handy for the meters, and remember to check the signs indicating times during which on-street parking is charged.

Car rental tips Most rental cars in Ireland are manual transmission, so if you prefer to drive automatic, stipulate this when booking. Rental companies provide numbers to call if you need breakdown assistance, and fuel tanks should be returned as full as you receive them.

don’t forget When driving in Ireland, you need to carry a valid licence as well as insurance and vehicle registration documentation. It’s also illegal to hold a mobile phone when driving, so keep those calls, tweets, texts and Facebook updates for when you’re safely pulled in!

Fill up There are very few online services on Irish motorways, and petrol stations can be irregular between towns. Keep your tank topped up!

need to know In case of accident or emergency, call 999 or 112.

999 112


map KeY Tourist Information

Shopping Centre

Railway Station

Art / Craft Centre

Car Parking

Place of Interest

Hospital

Taxi Rank

Walking Trails

Theatre

Castle

Post Office

Church / Cathedral

Library

Yacht Club/Marina

Cinema

Police Station

Small Airfield

Fire Station

Public Toilet

Bus Stop – National

City / Town Hall

Abbey / Monastery / Round Tower

Heritage Centre

places To see 1

John Barry Monument

5

Bull Ring

2

Wexford Opera House

6

Westgate Tower

3

Dun Mhuire Theatre

7

County Hall

4

Wexford Arts Centre

8

The Ballast Bank

ToWN ceNTre


Wexford TOWN map


Discover Ireland Visitor Information Centres For further information on suggested driving routes, visit one of the region’s Discover Ireland Centres and speak to a travel advisor. • Local & National Information • Itinerary Planning • Guide Books, Brochures & Maps • Accommodation Booking COUNTY WEXFORD Wexford Discover Ireland Centre Quayside, Wexford Town. t +353 (0)53 912 3111 e wexford@failteireland.ie

COUNTY WATERFORD Dungarvan Discover Ireland Centre The Courthouse, Dungarvan. t +353 (0)58 417 41 e info@dungarvantourism.com

COUNTY KILKENNY Kilkenny Discover Ireland Centre Shee Alms House, Rose Inn Street/ Mary’s Lane, Kilkenny City. t +353 (0)56 775 1500 e kilkenny@failteireland.ie

COUNTY CARLOW Carlow Discover Ireland Centre College Street, Carlow Town. t +353 (0)59 913 1554 e carlow@failteireland.ie

WATERFORD CITY Waterford Discover Ireland Centre The Quay, Waterford City. t +353 (0)51 875 823 e waterford@failteireland.ie

COUNTY TIPPERARY Cahir Discover Ireland Centre* Castle Car Park, Castle Street, Cahir. t +353 (0)52 744 1453 e cahir@failteireland.ie *Centre opens from April to the end of October

www.discoverireland.ie


FI/11672-11

breathtaking

Fテ!LTE IRELAND 4th Floor Wallace House, Maritana Gate, Canada Street, Waterford. t +353 (0) 51 312 700 f +353 (0) 51 312 710 www.discoverireland.ie


FI_11672_11 Wexford Driving Routes - ALL (Issuu - HR)