Maritime Matters Festival Fun & New Tour on offer at Hook Lighthouse


A fun filled Maritime Matters Festival will get underway at the world’s oldest working Lighthouse on the Hook Peninsula County Wexford this May bank holiday weekend.

An action packed day of festivities will get underway on Saturday April 30th from 11am. Join in the fun and games for all the family with Pirate Pat and Captain Hook.

On Sunday and Monday, May 1st and 2nd learn about safety at sea from members of the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI. Visitors will have the opportunity to have a go at some archaeology with Wolfhound Archaeology learing all about our Viking past. Experience the Exploration Dome to learn about sea life, explore the craft market onsite or join in lawn games and fun adventures with Pirate Pat and Captain Hook or for the ‘bigger adventurous kids’ can try out the Bungee Trampoline.

Commenting on the upcoming festival weekend Ann Waters of Hook Lighthouse said, “We are delighted to host another Maritime Matters Festival, it is always a fantastic weekend of fun for all the family with the added benefit of placing an important focus on safety at sea and reminding us of the great work our emergency service teams carry out alongside the beacon of safety that is Hook Lighthouse. We are also thrilled to be launching our new Ireland’s Ancient East tour and we look forward to sharing this experience with all of our visitors.

The day prior to the festival weekend Hook Lighthouse will launch its brand new Ireland’s Ancient East Tour Experience. Visitors to the 800 year old Lighthouse will be able to take a step back in time on a guided tour and meet St. Dubhan and his fifth Century Monks who first established the beacon at the Hook Peninsula. Meet the greatest Knight that ever lived William Marshall and hear the stories from the Lightkeepers and their families who for well over 100 years were stationed on site protecting all of those at Sea.

This year in conjunction with Maritime Matters, events for Hooked on the Sea 2016 will be running across the Peninsula. Check out Hooked on the Sea 2016 . A host of marine themed events for all ages across the May Bank Holiday Weekend. Activities on and off the water; paddle boarding, boat trips on the estuary, local produce picnic in Colclough Walled Gardens, pirates galley in Kilmokea Gardens, beach foraging, sea themed children’s workshops and outdoor market.

Maritime Matters takes place in conjunction with the Great Lighthouses of Ireland, ‘Shine a Light’ events. Whereby 12 lighthouses including Hook Lighthouse will shine a light and celebrate and share the rich tradition and work that they of carry out across Ireland over the May bank holiday weekend. For hundreds of years lighthouses have helped seafarers find their way. Now they shine their light on truly unique experiences around our stunning coastline.

This will be a special opportunity to get behind the scenes with experts from Irish Lights and learn about technology and Navigation today.  Local historians and Storykeepers will provide tours that showcase the natural and cultural highlights.   

Lighthouse keeping was a way of life for keepers and their families for well over 100 years. However, in the 1980s, advances in technology meant that lighthouses could be automated and there was no longer a need for permanent lighthouse keepers to be stationed on site.  Great Lighthouses of Ireland is a wonderful way of keeping this rich maritime heritage, and the legacy of these Lighthouse Keepers, alive.

For all of the festival details in Wexford see www.hookheritage.ie and for details on the Great Lighthouses of Ireland see www.greatlighthouses.com

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Get your Giggle on at JestFest


JestFest returns this May Bank Holiday Weekend – Wexford’s Comedy and Street Theatre Festival is back in 2016, bigger and better than ever! This May Bank Holiday weekend the spirit of devilish revelry fills the Viking streets as Irish and international street jesters, acrobats and contortionists wow us with their amazing shows. As the sun sets, the finest Irish stand-up comedians take to the stage in atmospheric venues all over town armed with hilarious one liners, anecdotes and monologues to make you laugh and make you cry.

The stellar line-up contains Irish comedy stars such as Neil Delamere, Jason Byrne, Deirdre O’Kane, Al Porter, Colin Murphy, Joe Rooney and Barry Murphy of Aprés Match fame, alongside international stars such as Canadian funnyman Tom Stade and fresh from selling out 3 Vicar Street shows, new sensations Foil Arms & Hog.

This year’s Festival sees the launch of the Comedy HUB, a state of the art 500 seat venue specially constructed on the Wexford Quay front. This venue will be a unique experience for the audience during the weekend, and will see the best comedians take to the stage each night. Comedy gigs will also take place a number of venues across Wexford town including the beautiful surrounds of the Greenacres Art Gallery, Upstairs in Mackens and the Talbot Hotel. The Quay will also be the location for a Street Theatre Arena, where the best of local, national and international talent will perform daily. Wexford’s finest Bui Bolg will be joined by amongst others, the Fanzini Brothers.

For all the detail see http://www.visitwexford.ie/events/jestfest-comedy-and-street-theatre-festival

 

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The Route 57 Car is coming through Wexford – April 23


The Route 57 Car is coming through Wexford on April 23


The 2,500 mile bucket list road trip is being driven for the first time, in an electric car.

The official ‘Route 57’ electric car will be driving through Wexford on the 23rd April as part of its journey through 57 must-see destinations across England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The road trip runs from 6th – 26th April, starting in Plymouth and ending in Galway, visiting villages, towns, and cities along the wayincluding yours!

The car will be stopping for photos and interviews at selected locations at each destination, for local press. If you would like to be notified where and when to get some pictures and comments, please respond to this release via Ardziv Simonian on asimonian@agenda21digital.com

Route 57 was designed as the UK and Ireland’s answer to US Route 66, by Jurys Inn Hotels who are supplying accommodation along the way, to the driver and motoring journalist Jess Shanahan. Jess will be doing the road trip in a KIA Soul EV supplied by electric car leasing company DriveElectric, and stopping at charging stations along the route, mapped out by ZapMap.

As well as promoting local tourism, the campaign’s use of an electric vehicle seeks to challenge common myths around electric cars. A recent survey by the AA (infographic available for use as long as credit with a link to source is given) shows that the ‘range’ of an EV is one of the top reasons why people are not buying electric cars. The Route 57 campaign will show that these perceptions do not match reality with today’s green car technology, and that an electric car can drive more than 2,580 miles across four countries.

Jess will be posting updates on the Route 57 website: www.route57.org.uk along with Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram – and taking driving music suggestions through the Twitter hashtag #route57, or adding them directly Route 57 Spotify playlist. Audiobook suggestions are also welcome – Jess will be fittingly listening to Bill Bryson’s ‘Notes from a Small Island’ to begin with.

https://www.jurysinns.com/electric-route57/

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Commemoration events marking 1916 Centenary in Wexford


The 1916 Rising in County Wexford was the most significant event outside Dublin in terms of longevity, the numbers involved and extent of territorial control exercised. Irish Volunteer forces assumed control of Enniscorthy on the Thursday morning (27th April 1916) and before the weekend extended their influence to the entire northern half of the county. The control lasted until the following Monday (1st May) when Enniscorthy was the last area to surrender in the country.

 

It was little wonder then that the spirit of 1798, nurtured by folk memories and oral tradition and kept alive by the Young Irelanders and the Fenians should be re-awakened at the foot of Vinegar Hill.  The Rising in County Wexford and in Enniscorthy in particular during Easter Week 1916 was the most important contribution to the Rising outside Dublin.

 

On Easter Monday 2016 Wexford County Council lead and co-ordinated a moving programme for the Commemoration of the Centenary of the 1916 Rising.

 

Abbey Square and all of Enniscorthy Town was filled with the people of Wexford who were joined by visitors and dignitaries to mark this momentous date in Ireland’s history. Abbey Square fell silent as thousands gathered to pay tribute to the volunteers of 1916.

 

A fitting programme of events was rolled out throughout the afternoon and enjoyed by everyone as they honoured and remembered.

Well done to everyone involved in the Wexford Centenary commemoration.

Here are some images from the day, captured by Wexford Local Authorities Photographic Society – Images taken by Brian McDonald © Wexford Local Authorities Photographic Society

The Rising of Easter Week marked a crucial turning point in Irish history. Before the Rising Home Rule had been enshrined in law but the world had changed with the Great War. The Rising and the executions of the leaders had a major impact on the public opinion and led ultimately to the victory of republican ideas and to the demand for a separate independent Irish Free State. That was the real victory won in apparent defeat by the men and women of 1916.

http://enniscorthy1916.ie/?page_id=7

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The Earliest Parade and Ireland’s Only ‘Beach Parade’ to take place in Wexford this St. Patrick’s Day


The Earliest Parade and Ireland’s Only ‘Beach Parade’ to take place in Wexford this St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day in Wexford is one of the biggest days of the year, with celebrations and parades taking place throughout Wexford town, New Ross, Enniscorthy, Gorey and even on a beach in Wexford.

Duncannon Parade in Wexford

Pictured at the beach parade in Wexford is Duncannon’s Parish Priest Fr. Nolan in a tricolour wig and shamrock Elton John shades aboard one of the best vintage tractors. The 2016 parade will take place at 4pm on St. Patrick’s Day at Duncannon Beach Ð Photograph Mark Graham

Duncannon beach will host the country’s only Beach Parade this St. Patrick’ Day.  The parade will start outside the Star of the Sea church in Duncannon at 4pm travelling down the Main Street and from there it will go onto the beach and travel down Duncannon beach lead by the 2016 Grand Marshall John Delaney of the FAI. Prior to the parade start time there will be entertainment on offer in the village with live music, zorbing, bungee trampolining and family fun events. The parade will be made up of local scouts, girl guides, and local sporting clubs with prizes on offer for the best walking float and the best business float.

Possibly one of the earliest parades to take place on St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland will get underway in Bunclody town from 10am. Floats, marching groups and entertainers will gather and parade down the towns’ Main Street.

One of the oldest parades in the country will continue its tradition in Wexford town; starting back in 1917 and continued until the outbreak of world war two. In 1946 the parade was re-started.  This year the parade will commence at 11am from the junction at Fisher’s Rowe, William’s Street and weave it’s way through the town to pass the reviewing stand at the Quay Front adjacent to the Bridge. This year’s parade will see many floats and numerous marching bands and will be one of the country’s best parades.

In Gorey the St Patrick’s Day Parade will commence at 3pm under the theme ‘The Green Dream’. Festivities will get underway from the Enniscorthy road on to Main Street and finishing on Esmonde Street.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Enniscorthy gets underway at 2pm. Floats and vehicles will join the parade on The Promenade & there will be lots of entertainment on offer in the Market Square with music, dance, and children’s entertainment and free face painting.

The New Ross town St. Patrick’s Day parade will get underway from 2pm travelling from Irishtown down the town’s quayside to the viewing platform at the Dunbrody visitor centre. Filled with marching bands, floats and entertainers it’s one not to be missed.

At Carraig on Bannow the seventh annual St. Patrick’s Day parade is set to take place at 2pm from the school field, the entertainment is set to be top notch with prizes for ‘best band’, ‘most comical’ and ‘audience involvement’.

For further details on all of the St. Patrick’s Day festival activities in Wexford see www.visitwexford.ie

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Hotelier Colm Neville announced as new Chairperson of Visit Wexford


Hotelier Colm Neville announced as new Chairperson of Visit Wexford

 

Hotelier Colm Neville has been announced as the new Chairperson for the Visit Wexford tourism group. Colm who is no stranger to the tourism industry, the owner and operator of the Riverside Park Hotel in Enniscorthy and the newly opened Crown Bar in Wexford town has ambitious plans for the tourism group and industry in 2016.

 

Commenting on the taking up for the new voluntary role Colm said, “I’m very proud to take the position of chair of Visit Wexford and indeed very proud of all the good work done to date by the combined effort of the Hospitality Trade, The Attractions of Welford and the County Council through Visit Wexford.”

2015 was a very successful year for tourism in Ireland and in Wexford. Nationally there was a 12%growth in overseas visitors numbers and it continues to rise; through Visit Wexford a media spotlight to the tune of €2.5million was placed on Wexford and it’s tourism industry.

 

It is the new Chairman’s goal to help grow these figures even further, “My main goal is to build greater engagement of the various stakeholders involved in, and affected by, Tourism in County Wexford. It’s my genuine belief that individually we can achieve very little but together we can accomplish so much. It’s this co-operation and collaboration between the various stakeholders that will achieve the obvious principal goal of Visit Wexford of exposing all that is so great about our county to those outside it. This will attract more visitors and greater expenditure to improve the fortunes of our county’s people and generating more employment for all.

 

I am acutely aware of and on behalf of everyone involved with Visit Wexford, grateful for the support from Wexford County Council.  Our County Manager, Mr Tom Enright, has in his time of tenure shown himself to be a visionary for the future of our county and has committed substantial resources towards the future of tourism in our county. While this has proved to be a great success with Wexford County’s relative position in the popularity rankings  and we have visitor numbers to Wexford increase more signficantly than many of our neighbours within the last couple of years, we still need more resources if we are to drive on to the next level and continue to achieve growth.” 

An extensive Marketing campaign is set to be rolled out by Visit Wexford for 2016 with activities devised to promote the county nationally and internationally; Wexford County Council and the tourism industry in Wexford have jointly funded this campaign. It includes a number of national radio competitions along with a multi-site billboard campaign at high traffic areas in Dublin and Cork Cites, a new Visit Wexford welcome billboard at Rosslare Port, features on the TV national events guide, TV advertising, attending key trade and consumer shows promoting Wexford and producing two new brochures for Wexford which will be distributed at over 500 locations across Dublin, the Southeast and at Dublin Airport, Waterford Airport and the Ferry Ports.

 

A focus on Ireland’s Ancient East will also take place throughout 2016 and beyond, according to the new Chairman, “Irelands Ancient East is a hugely significant piece of marketing work currently being undertaken by Failte Ireland following the hugely successful Wild Atlantic Way initiative on the west coast. There is great excitement and anticipation throughout all the counties of the East coast about this long awaited initiative and never before do we need as a county to be well organised and unified in our efforts to influence and direct the substantial national effort in this regard towards the stories and history that abound in our county.”

 

Over 50 festivals took place in Wexford during 2015 and it is expected that 2016 will also be a significantly busy year for the sector. The VisitWexford.ie website had over the course of 2015 traffic of over 150,000 unique visitors with those visitors browsing the site for over 3 minutes on each occasion.  60% of the website users are from Ireland with the remainder coming from overseas.

 

I hope to be able to secure the engagement of even more to achieve this and ensure that the tourism sector in our county can be seen to stand up and be counted in promoting its own industry for all our benefit throughout our county.” Colm concluded.

The call to action for all marketing of Wexford is to VisitWexford.ie the tourism group is encouraging everyone involved in the industry to ensure their business is listed on the website; a free listing can be created online, see http://www.visitwexford.ie or get in touch via hello@visitwexford.ie

Colm Neville

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A real Game of Thrones in Ferns!


A real Game of Thrones in Ferns!

 

Gaelic kings and Norman warlords will be the subject of a major conference to be held in Ferns on March 12th – 13th. The conference is entitled ‘Gaelic Capital and Norman Stronghold – Ferns and the transformation of Ireland’. The two day symposium will explore Wexford’s transformation from Gaelic kingdom to Norman lordship.

Ferns was central to the events which took place in the 12th century and which transformed the ancient Gaelic kingdom of Leinster and changed the course of Irish history. “This was a real Game of Thrones”, according to Catherine MacPartlin, one of the organisers of the conference. “A King of Leinster elopes with (or kidnaps!) a rival king’s wife and ends up ousted from his realm by the High King of Ireland. Hungry for revenge, he sails overseas to enlist the help of yet another King, Henry II of England, which resulted in the arrival of an army of Norman mercenaries.” The Norman Invasion had begun and Ireland was changed forever.

 

The Conference is being organised by local community group Ferns Heritage Project, a Sub Committee of Ferns Development Association. It will explore the various dimensions of the events of this turbulent period of Irish history and will reveal new findings from the most recent geo-physical study of the ancient monastic centre.

 

Archaeologists and historians from Ireland and Scotland, all experts in their individual fields, will deliver papers on topics ranging from Gaelic royal landscapes to Anglo Norman settlement and William Marshal, the greatest knight in Christendom. Speakers will include Dr. Edel Bhreathnach, CEO, The Discovery Programme; Gerard Dowling, also of The Discovery Programme, who led the recent geophysical project in Ferns; Professor Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, University College Galway; Dr Stephen Harrison, University of Glasgow; Dr Adrian Empey, an expert on William Marshal, and Dr Eamonn McEneaney, Waterford Museum of Treasures.   Question and Answer sessions will give conference attendees a full opportunity to participate.

 

The conference will take place in Ferns Castle Visitors Centre on Saturday, March 12th. Because seating is limited, with just 50 seats available, booking is essential and seating will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

 

Conference fee €25 (including lunch). Optional extras include a Conference Dinner on Saturday evening at a cost of €25 and Field trips on Sunday @ €15.

 

For more information and to book your place email: fernsheritageconference@gmail.com or ph 087-4189740.   Visit the Ferns Heritage Conference page on www.fernsvillage.ie for full details of the conference programme.

 

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A very Old but a very New Norman Trail for Wexford


A new heritage and leisure trail that highlights Wexford’s historic Norman links got off on the right track when it was launched by Chairperson of Wexford County Council Tony Dempsey.

At a special ceremony in the Irish National Heritage Park, Cllr Dempsey introduced guests to the ‘Norman Way Tourism Trail’, a plan which will link remains of authentic Norman settlements in Wexford. The initial phase of the trail will extend from Our Lady’s Island to Kilmore Quay and includes New Ross town and the Ros Tapestry. Speaking at the launch, Cllr Tony Dempsey said that the trail will help local people to ‘reconnect with their origins’.

 

‘I’d say if you looked at the DNA of many Wexford people, they are bound to be of Norman origin,’ he said. ‘We know about our history around World War II and of course,1916, but we aren’t as familiar with our Norman history. This will give people a chance to visit places that are not often recognised and reconnect with the past.’

 

The trail is expected to provide a huge tourism boost to the county. Wexford County Council has received €180,000 from Failte Ireland for the development of the initiative as part of the New Ideas in Ancient Spaces fund under the Ireland’s Ancient East programme. Funding will go towards interpretation panels, signage, bicycle racks and access to the sites. Executive Planner with Wexford County Council Sonia Hunt is one of the key people involved in getting the trail off the ground. She said that it will help to resurrect some of Wexford’s sites that are currently not in use.

 

‘There are a lot of Norman sites that are just sitting there doing nothing at the moment,’ she said. ‘A lot of people don’t even know the significance of these sites or know that they are there. The trail will help to bring many of these places to life.’

 

Work is already underway on the trail, with the first phase set to be in place by March or April of this year. The aim of it is to create a unique visitor experience which brings people through Our Lady’s Island, Tomhaggard, Kilmore Quay, Bannow, Tintern, Fethard, Hookhead and to New Ross.

The first phase of the plan will develop the town of New Ross as its tourism centre through utilising the story of William Marshall. Several additional features will boost the trail’s tourism potential further.

‘There is also going to be a cycle route for European tourists who arrive on the boat in Rosslare,’ explained Ms Hunt. ‘We will probably advertise this on the boat itself. Hopefully it will give people a reason to stay in Wexford rather than go elsewhere right away.’

An app that pinpoints historic sites, cafes and other places of interest in Wexford is also due to be launched. ‘It’s endless what you can offer on it because Wexford has so much to offer,’ said Ms Hunt.

Director of Services for Economic Development and Planning Council Tony Larkin said that although they don’t expect the trail to create to a huge amount of direct employment in Wexford, it will have a knock-on effect on business in other areas such as hotels and bed and breakfasts.

‘The development of the Norman Way will give hotels a hook and lead to expansion for them,’ he said. ‘It will help them to expand their tourist season outside of the summer.’

Although this first phase is not yet completed, Mr Larkin already has his sights set on the next phase which will centre on Ferns.

‘We hope to develop Ferns as the next core hub,’ he explained. ‘We are working with local people and will hold a seminar in February where we will speak with top historians and piece together the most important pieces of Ferns history.’

 

The Ireland’s Ancient East programme is geared to maximise the history and heritage in the region and bring it to greater international attention. Speaking at the launch, Client Services Officer with Failte Ireland Eimear Whittle said that the initiative has the potential to deliver an extra 600,000 overseas visitors to the region and increase visitor revenue by almost 25 per cent to €950 mn by 2020.

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Multi Attraction discount Pass launched for top attractions in Wexford


‘Visit Wexford Pass’

 

Multi Attraction discount Pass launched for top attractions in Wexford

 

The ‘Visit Wexford Pass’ is a brand new multi-attraction discount card and it has been launched today (January 22nd) by Visit Wexford. The ‘Visit Wexford Pass’ aims to encourage residents to enjoy the attractions on their doorstep and it offers visitors an additional incentive to enjoy even more of the sites that the county has to offer.

Visit Wexford pass 1

 

Over 30 attractions and retail businesses across Wexford have signed up to be part of the discount card initiative, sites include the world’s oldest working Lighthouse at Hook Head to the Irish National Heritage Park to the great Victorian Wells House to Wexford Lavender Farm and many more. A full list of the participating attractions and retail businesses can be viewed along with the Visit Wexford Pass offers are detailed on visitwexford.ie

 

The discount pass, which is available to locals and visitors alike is an incentive for locals to get to know better and enjoy the gems on their doorstep and for visitors to enjoy additional value for money with increased reason to visit more sites than they may have already planned to. It can be used for every visit to each participating business and once during each visit.

 

Offers differ across the participating attractions; they include incentives like 10% off entrance fees, a complimentary tea or coffee and discounts on lessons and experiences plus discounts on crafts and gifts at retail outlets. All of the participating attractions and businesses will feature a Visit Wexford Pass window sticker.

 

Commenting at the launch of the ‘Visit Wexford Pass’ County Wexford Tourism Officer Siobhan O’Neill said, “This is a fantastic incentive for locals and visitors to get out and about and enjoy the abundance that County Wexford has to offer. We have asked all participating to offer a minimum value of a 10% discount on their entrance fee in whichever format they wish, so the value to the user of the pass Is really worthwhile, the pass can also be used more than once thereby encouraging repeat visits in what is typically the tourism shoulder season. We currently have over 30 attractions and businesses signed up to participate in this initiative and we hope to grow this even further.”

 

The ‘Visit Wexford Pass’ is currently operational and valid until April 2016. The discount card is available as a download from http://www.visitwexford.ie/visit-wexford-pass or as a cut out from Wexford’s local newspapers.

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Visit us at Holiday World


Holiday World Show 2016 is taking place in the RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin, for three days from Friday 22nd January until Sunday 24th January.  With over 50 countries represented, almost 1,000 travel and tourism professionals will be ready to give advice and detailed, expert information on how to make the most of a holiday and how to get the best value.

Visit Wexford is at the Holiday World Show this weekend following a successful weekend at the Belfast show last week.

Pop by stand S8 for all you need to know about holidaying in Wexford

http://www.visitwexford.ie

2016 Show Dates & Times

Friday 22 January 2016 1.00 pm – 6.00 pm Public & Trade
Saturday 23 January 2016 11.00 am – 5.30 pm Public & Trade
Sunday 24 January 2016 11.00 am – 5.30 pm Public & Trade

Where?

RDS Simmonscourt
Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
t: +353(0)1 668 3070
f: +353(0)1 240 7245
w: http://www.rds.ie

Dublin Admission Prices
Adults €7
Senior Citizens €4
Students €3
Special Family Price 2 Adults & up to 4 children – €14

wexford - hol world1

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