Wexford Festival Tours
The Wexford Festival Opera Tours, under the auspices of Wexford Historical Society, visit sites of geographical, historical and cultural importance. They are led by expert guides and are open to everyone. There is no charge but we ask drivers to help by offering places in their cars to visitors. The tours leave the Talbot Hotel car park at 10:30 sharp. All tours are scheduled to return to Wexford at 13:00.
Thursday 25 October
A visit to the beautiful battle site of Oulart, 1798, its associated memorials, graves of the fallen, pre-1798 chapel and Michael Warren memorial masterpiece with 1798 expert historian, Bernard Browne. Round trip 30 km.
Friday 26 October
A visit to Horetown and Balloughton churches to look at the life and times of the last person who escaped from Wexford Gaol (or did he?) in 1798. This person was an antecedent of the tour guide. The tour guide with the prisoner’s DNA is chairman of the Irish Agricultural Museum, Johnstown Castle, Peter Miller. Round trip 34 km.
Saturday 27 October
The Faythe. Ask a Wexford native how to pronounce it. It’s a long triangular square as described by its Irish name ‘Faithe’. At its hilltop entrance was the Norse Church and graveyard of St Michael the Archangel. It developed its own culture, strictly families who sailed the world in deep or shallow waters. Its rivalry with the north end of the town was legendary. It is rich in human interest, described by authors such as John Banville, the son of seafarers who sailed the grain run from Wexford to Odessa or St Johns. Let the stories roll over. The walking tour guide is teacher, author and near neighbour, Monica Crofton.
Monday 29 October
A walking tour along the beach and rocky seashore in the fishing village of Kilmore Quay. Our tour examines a 600 million year old rock outcrop unique in Ireland, a raised beach, and Saint Patrick’s Bridge, which is a walkway allegedly constructed by Ireland’s patron saint to connect the south of Wexford to the offshore Saltee Islands. The entire coastal area is a protected area for its reefs and their marine life. With author and naturalist Jim Hurley. Round trip 48 km.
Tuesday 30 October
This year marks the bicentenary of the birth of Augustus Welby Pugin (1812-1852) who is considered to be the finest exponent of Gothic revival architecture. He was responsible for designing St Aidan’s Cathedral in Enniscorthy and several other churches in County Wexford. Today’s tour visits the collegiate chapel in St. Peter’s College, Wexford, which contains many of the features that distinguish his unique architectural style. Then a visit will be made to St. Alphonsus Church, Barntown. With librarian and President of Wexford Historical Society, Jarlath Glynn. Round trip 12 km.
Wednesday 31 October
The lives, times and locations of the Knights Templar in Co. Wexford, including Templetown, with a visit to the largest and most strategic fortress, Duncannon Fort, with Brian Matthews, Chairman Wexford Historical Society. Round trip 60 km.
Thursday 1 November
Wexford Port is loaded to the gunnels with hidden or camouflaged points of wonder in buildings, homes and designs. Artist and author, Peter Pearson, takes the curious on a walking tour of discovery.
Friday 2 November
This year the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, unveiled a monument to all the people who suffered during a bitter industrial conflict involving the farm machinery giants, Pierces, Wexford Engineering and Doyle’s Foundry in 1911-12. Wexford’s workers, owners, businesses, merchants, skilled-workers and families sunk into stygian gloom and hunger. The dominant national labour leaders Larkin, P.T. Daly, Connolly and Richard Corish of Wexford brought international attention. The drama and events resound in Wexford to this day. The sun shone eventually. The tour is taken to several evocative sites by Dr Austin O’Sullivan. Round Trip 6 km.
Saturday 3 November
Today’s tour seeks to emulate the fame and fiscal success of the ‘The Bridges of Madison County’. It is a walking tour of The Bridges of Wexford Town. Some are obvious, some are totally hidden. Included are Wexford’s waterfront and the covered pier that was constructed in remote pre-history for the commercial and Christian convenience of Loch Garman’s early inhabitants. Conducted by a wise one, Nicholas Furlong.