County Wexford takes its name from its largest town, known in Irish as ‘Contae Loch Garman’. Located on the southeastern coast of Ireland, it was known by its founders, who were of Viking descent, as ‘inlet of the mudflats’, or Waesfjord.
In terms of climate, County Wexford is considered to be the sunniest place in all of Ireland. With its wide, sandy beaches, outdoor activities are popular here. There are also plentiful opportunities for hiking and walking, boating and angling. The towns are historically charming in atmosphere, with museums and historic buildings to explore. Visitors enjoy a wide variety of restaurants, pubs and music venues that feature everything from traditional music to opera.
The dominance of Wexford Town has shifted several times over the centuries, and has been distinguished as the focal point of various historical conflicts. In contrast, the nearby Blue Flag beaches are peaceful and relaxing. This important Irish port city boasts a lively pub and dining scene as well as many historic attractions.
Kilmore Quay offers original thatched roof cottages, arts and crafts markets and festivals, as well as several attractions for those interested in maritime antiquities.
Just off the coast, the tiny Salter Islands provide a haven for birds in the form of large colonies, and for human beings seeking solitude as well. They are uninhabited by humans except for a few small structures, and boat trips are available for those who wish to visit this peaceful bird sanctuary.
New Ross, a port city located just west of Wexford Town, is the ancestral home of the Kennedy family, whose descendant, John F., was president of the United States. The family homestead is open to visitors, along with a cluster of interesting attractions that include a ship like those used for emigration and a memorial arboretum.
The Normans came to County Wexford in 1169, and parts of the region became heavily populated by English settlers during medieval times. In the northern part of the county, people succeeded in retaining their Gaelic culture and traditions.
Confederate support in County Wexford was solid during the seventeenth century, and many citizens suffered the consequences at the hand of Cromwellian forces during the invasions.
In 1798, New Ross and the surrounding area witnessed conflicts at the core of that year’s notable rebellion.
Common surnames in County Wexford include: Doyle, Hartley, Keating, Redmond and Walsh.