Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Wexford: A 48-hour visit

Wexford: A 48-hour visit 

Cuan Aingeal. A remembrance garden for children who have died in tragic circumstances

Arriving in Wexford around lunchtime on Thursday, we immediately headed for La Vista, the restaurant with a view and pretty decent food also, nestled in the renovated Opera House. Took in those views over the city and estuary and, suitably refreshed, headed down to Kilmore Quay with its thatched cottages and colourful murals.

Pavilion at Japanese Gardens

And a busy harbour also, with ferries coming and going to the Saltee Islands just offshore. Returning passengers were carrying their footwear in their hands. You do get your feet wet when transferring to the Island shore!  We took a stroll around the village then and saw quite a bit of unexpected colour on the walls of a local restaurant and the coffee shop next door.
I wonder what kind of spirits?

Back to the car then - there is a fair bit of parking here - and headed to our hotel for the first of two nights. With just seven or eight rooms in service, the Riverbank Hotel is currently relying mainly on its food and drink offering. And that offering seems to be quite popular, including in their sheltered outdoor area. The hotel is well situated, just across the bridge from Wexford town and also if you are heading to Gorey or Enniscorthy.

Pier 52 Restaurant, Kilmore Quay

It suited us fine. We enjoyed our stay, the hearty breakfasts and a drink or two in the bar. That first night we walked across the bridge (ten minutes in windy conditions!) to the lively Crown Quarter. All kinds of nooks and rooms here and no shortage of people enjoying the food and the drinks, sometimes music.

Saltee Ferry. Notice shoes in hands of returning passengers.


Riverbank Hotel
We almost got lost trying to find Jaspers, their main restaurant here, but a helpful staff member got us through the maze. It would have been no problem had we entered from the Monck Street entrance, Ireland's only fully roofed street! Friendly staff and excellent food (along with local Yellowbelly beer) added up to a good night in Jaspers.

The following day saw us heading to Johnstown Castle. Here we spent a few hours, including a guided tour of the castle, a walk around the grounds, and a look at the museum. Of course, lunch was on the agenda and we enjoyed a light one in the Peacock Restaurant.

We had an hour or two to spare and strolled around the town and did a little shopping before heading off to the Glenavon Japanese Gardens which are close to Gorey. Here we were greeted by its creator Iris Chekett. The one-acre garden depicts the four seasons and is centred around a beautifully recreated Japanese pavilion. Stone lanterns, statues and other features accentuate this theme and a Liquidambar walk flanks one of the perimeters. A fascinating chat with Iris who started the gardens some twenty years ago.

Full Irish at Riverbank
Time then to head back to the Riverbank and soon we were crossing that bridge again, this time heading for dinner at the superb La Côte where Chef Paul Hynes works his magic, mostly on the fish, fresh in from Kilmore Quay. It didn't disappoint. Be sure and book ahead if going to Wexford. If you are unlucky, Paul also has a classy fish and chip stall just across the way on the quay.

Another excellent breakfast in Riverbank before we checked out on Saturday morning, after a leisurely chat with the friendly staff. Soon were were heading back to Cork in the morning sun, stopping only to get a supply of the local strawberries from a roadside stand and get a photo of the splendid bridge on the New Ross Bypass. The journey from Wexford to Cork is much easier these days thanks to this bypass and the one at Waterford (which also has an eye-catching bridge). It is a journey I'm hoping to make again soon!

Links to places visited:

Lâ Côte


La Vista

Johnstown Castle

Wexford born John Barry, founder of the US navy.

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