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Rosslare city guide

Rosslare in County Wexford is a pretty seaside area famed for its beautiful, long sandy beach and is situated in Ireland's 'Sunny South East' - so-called due to the area having more sunshine than anywhere else in Ireland.

It's been recorded that Rosslare, on average, gets up to 300 hours more sunshine each year than the national average. So it's no surprise that the beach at Rosslare Strand is one of the most popular in the area. Or that Rosslare has been a tourist destination throughout the last century.

The village of Rosslare Harbour grew up around what is now the Europort when the port was built here in the early 20th century. The Great Western Railway in Britain and The Great Southern and Western Railway in Ireland connected the port via steamships, creating a popular trade route that set sail to Fishguard in Wales.

A walk around the village will take you past various buildings showing the maritime and railway heritage of the area.

Top attractions

Rosslare beach

This largely sandy, blue-flag beach is always a hit with families with its timber breakwaters that divide up the long stretch of beach and help to stop erosion. A great beach for swimming, especially when it is patrolled by lifeguards during the summer months, it's also perfect for a seaside stroll to get some sea air.

Irish National Heritage Park

Perfect for a family day out, the Irish National Heritage Park is a short drive from Rosslare towards Wexford town. Bringing over 9000 years of Irish history to life, you'll take a journey through Pre-Historic Ireland, Early Christian Ireland and the Age of Invasion when the Vikings and Normans arrived.

Wander along trails through 40 acres of beautiful woodland and discover settlements, ring forts, stone circles and more. You can also meet some birds of prey at the Falconry Centre, enjoy a guided tour with a costumed tour guide or take part in some of the park's fun activities and experiences.

Wexford town

The county capital, Wexford, has a rich and tumultuous history thanks to the Vikings and Normans. Visit the old gate tower at the West Gate Heritage Centre, then walk along the battlements to Selskar Abbey where there was once a pre-Christian temple to the Norse god, Odin.

Or, if you're keen to explore the waterfront, head to the Raven Point Centre at the harbour. Inside you'll learn about the wildlife of the area but the best part is to take one of the centre's boat trips. Head out into the harbour to see some of the local sea birds and continue to Raven Point where grey seals live on its sandy banks.

Our Lady's Island and Lake

Our Lady's Island is an ancient place and today many still make pilgrimage here to worship the Virgin Mary. Its beautiful lakeside location has been sacred for many thousands of years - the Irish name for the area, Cluain-na-mBan, 'the meadow of the women', makes it likely that it was an area once inhabited by female druids.

It's the perfect spot for a peaceful walk to relax, reflect and reconnect with nature as you admire the gliding swans and many other birds that call the lake home.

Tacumshane windmill

Built in 1846, this is the oldest surviving windmill in Ireland. Most of the timber used to build the windmill came from shipwrecks in the local area and the rare, revolving straw-thatch cap on top of the windmill make this a remarkable building.

Repaired in 1952 and designated a national monument, you can get the key to go inside from the adjoining Millhouse bar and restaurant.

Johnstown castle

This restored 19th century castle and its stunning ornamental gardens are a great day out. The inside of the castle is a gem of Gothic Revival architecture with lavish rooms upstairs but you can also explore the kitchens downstairs by following what is believed to be the longest servants tunnel in the country - at an incredible 86 metres long.

Outside, enjoy the spectacular lakeside walks or head into the farm courtyard buildings to discover the Irish Agricultural Museum with its exhibits about life in rural Ireland throughout the ages. 

Dunbrody famine ship, New Ross

The Dunbrody Famine Ship & Irish Emigrant Experience is one of the biggest attractions in South East Ireland. This authentic reproduction of an 1840s emigrant vessel is a window into what life was like for many Irish people who emigrated to America during these years when famine was rife throughout the land due to the potato blight.

Step on board for a guided tour of the ship and learn what life was like during the arduous, and often deadly, six-week voyage to America.