Golden Years Blog
Near The Riverside Park Hotel
This Blog is written by Patricia and her Husband John of things they love to do in Wexford.
There are plenty of great adventures that myself Patricia and my husband John love to do when we are visiting the sunny South East. Some our favourite places to visit are Hook Lighthouse, Johnstown Castle, Well’s House, The Dunbrody Famine Ship and also the historic 1798 centre. We always go off peak to avoid the busy season and avail of the golden year breaks the Riverside Park Hotel offers, we normally go for 2 or 3 Nights and take our time.
Hook Lighthouse is one of our favourite places to visit when we stay in wexford. It takes us about an hour to drive down there from the Riverside Park Hotel, depending on how slowly John decides to drive that day. To me the best way to describe it as a hidden Irish gem sits at the top of breath-taking Hook Head, rich in history, character and natural beauty. The lighthouse is located in the south-western corner of County Wexford and forms the eastern boundary of the great estuary known as Waterford Harbour.
An interesting fact for you is the Lighthouse is the oldest intact operational lighthouse in the world at 800 years old. It is an amazing experience where we always get a unique guided tour of the medieval tower, which after climbing up too many steps to count we finish off on the Lighthouse Balcony where we are always mesmerised gazing over the spectacular view of the county coastline.
It is great to be able sit down in their Café and can sit down and relax the feet after all the walking. We are always greeted with a big smile by the team that work in the Visitors Centre which provide both indoor and outdoor exhibits. They also have some arts and crafts there too which will be perfect for the grandchildren when we bring them with us the next time. It does not surprise me at all that The Hook Lighthouse has been voted the number one lighthouse in the world and is an enduringly popular attraction in south-east Ireland.
Another firm favourite of ours is Johnstown Castle & Gardens which is situated South of Wexford town. Johns favourite thing about it is the intriguing Irish Agricultural Museum, as it displays one of the most comprehensive exhibits of farming and rural life in Ireland. My favourite part of our visits to Johnstown Castle are the magnificent ornamental garden walks with a stunning picturesque lake. Walking through the path way with the trees draping over us reminds me of stories about people trekking places with lanterns over 100 years ago, I almost feel like I am experiencing it for myself.
We always come prepared with our cheese sandwiches to sit in the picnic area and treat ourselves to a cup of tea and a treat from the café. It is great to see that it is very family oriented with lots for all ages with a woodland children’s play area.
On our way back we always stop in to the fabulous La Cote Restaurant on the Quay. Our favourite type of food is seafood which makes it the perfect fit as it is a contemporary seafood restaurant.
1798 Rebellion Centre
For the rainy days in Ireland and outdoor attractions are weather dependant, The 1978 Rebellion Centre in Enniscorthy Town is full of history and a must visit during your stay. On your visit, you will meet key figures of the Rebellion and get to participate in the 4D battle of Vinegar Hill experience which is quite spectacular! There is a display of weapons that were used in the battle which you will learn how they worked as well as learning what the soldiers went through during this time in history. We were really impressed with the staff’s passion and knowledge of the history in the centre and and had a great chat with them. The centre is open all year round and no pre-booking is required. Afterwards, we enjoyed a delicious coffee and cake in the Wild’s Café just up the road from the centre.
Dunbrody Famine Ship
The Dunbrody Famine ship is a major attraction in the South East. Located in New Ross, the famine ship is a reproduction of the 1840’s vessel of the famine emigrant experience. We really loved how the guided tour incorporated costumed performers which really added to the experience and made you feel involved in the whole experience. The Captains Table Restaurant is New Ross’ most unique dining experience overlooking the River Barrow and serve delicious Java Republic Coffee and some light bites. Our favourite was a cappuccino and fruit scone! New Ross is ideal for a brief stop, a day trip and is only a 30 minutes’ drive from the Riverside Park Hotel. We booked a few days in advance which is recommended.