The seaside town of Courtown makes a great base to explore County Wexford from.
It developed after the harbour was constructed in the mid-19th century. Fishing became the primary economy and helped stave off hardship during the Great Famine.
Today it is a scenic holiday destination with miles of sandy beaches, championship golf and a host of lively pubs and restaurants.
Below, you’ll discover everything you need to know about the town, including things to do along with where to eat, sleep and drink.
Some quick need-to-knows before visiting Courtown
Although a visit to Courtown in Wexford is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
2. A staycation favourite
People understandably flock to Wexford in the summer, and where more beautiful than Courtown! Not for nothing is the area known as the “sunny southeast”. Wexford is officially Ireland’s sunniest county. It has 1,600 sunshine hours per year, compared to Waterford (1,580) and Mayo trailing with just 1,059 hours of sunshine annually. Pack your sunhat, folks!
3. Home to a fine bit of history
Courtown has been on the map since 1278, but the development of the harbour in the mid-1800s allowed it to develop economically as a fishing hub. Built by Lord Courtown during the Great Famine, it cost £25,000 The seaside town grew in popularity as a holiday resort when the railway opened from Dublin to nearby Gorey.
Courtown is known for its miles of sandy beaches, championship 18-hole golf course and local attractions. It was the seat of Lord Courtown from the 18th century. The church and private cemetery can be see in the town, but Courtown House itself was demolished in 1962.
The nearby Courtown Harbour was built by Lord Courtown in the mid-1800s and the associated canal was constructed under a Famine Relief Scheme in 1847. The fishing harbour is now the site of a Class D inshore lifeboat.
New development as part of the “Celtic Tiger” years merged Courtown with the neighbouring village of Riverchapel. It now has many caravan parks and holiday homes, catering to the demand of summer visitors.
Being less than 90 minutes’ drive south of Dublin via the M50 and M11, Courtown is a popular commuter town.
Local attractions include the Dinky Take-Away (Voted best chips in Ireland by 2FM radio), crazy golf, Courtown Golf Course, amusements, 10-pin bowling, beaches and a forest park.
Things to do in Courtown (and nearby)
Although we have a dedicated guide to the best things to do in Courtown, I’ll show you some of our favourites below.
You’ll find everything from beaches and coves to forests, hikes and castles in and near the town.
1. Courtown Beach
Of course, one of the biggest tourist attractions in the town the beautiful Courtown Beach. The fine sand is separated from the inland dunes and woodland by extensive coastal protection works.
The are several access points to the beach which gets wider the further north you go. There are lifeguards on duty in summer and informational notice boards regarding tide times and conditions.
This popular beach was awarded the Blue Flag for its clean waters.
2. Courtown Woods
Courtown Woods offers peaceful walks in unspoilt natural surroundings. Bounded by the Owenavorragh River and the canal, the 25 hectare woodland was bought by the state in the 1950s and planted with conifers for commercial timber.
There are four way-marked trails in the woodland that are all relatively flat: The red way-marked River Walk is an easy 1.9km stroll which takes about 40 minutes to complete.
The green markers follow the 1km Canal Walk which is easy and takes 25 minutes walking time. The blue way-markers follow the Top Walk, another easy 1.2km walk.
Finally, the brown markers indicate the High Cross 1km walk which is an easy 30 minute amble.
3. Seal Rescue Ireland Visitor Centre
Seal Rescue Ireland operates as a registered charity dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of sick, injured and orphaned seals found along the Irish Sea coastline.
They offer a series of programmes aimed at education, research and community outreach. Visitors are welcome to attend the one hour Seal Feeding and Enrichment experiences costing €20.
Places are limited so pre-booking is required. You can also adopt a seal or join one of the volunteer programmes to restore habitats and plant trees.
4. Wexford Lavender Farm
The fragrant fields at Wexford Lavender Farm are a stunning sight with neat rows of light purple blooms in summer.The farm is the only commercial lavender farm in Wexford and re-opens to the public every May.
The attraction has 4 acres of various different lavender plants along with a cafe, children’s playground, train ride, distillery tours, woodland walks and plant sales.
There’s also a Maze and an Artists’ Attic. Come and pick your own lavender or buy fresh bunches along with lavender products sold in the Gift Shop.
5. Tara Hill
Not to be confused with Tara in Meath, Tara Hill in Wexford (252m elevation) offers two scenic way-marked trails with panoramic coastal and sea views.
The shorter Slí an tSuaimhnais Red Trail (5km) takes an hour and ascends 110m. The trail begins from the car park near Tara Hill cemetery just beyond the village. See the 1798 graveyard and Stations of the Cross on trees marking historic prayer points.
The rocky outcrop offers a more demanding Slí na n-Óg trail. This 5.4km Blue Trail is moderately difficult, ascending 201m total and takes 75 minutes to complete.
Starting from The Crab Tree at Ballinacarrig car park, it heads to the summit cairn, passing a ruined famine village and Table Rock.
6. Pirates Cove
Pirates Cove is a pirate themed family attraction in Courtown. Play mini golf in the sub-tropical gardens, discover giant caves, a waterfall and a shipwreck of a treasure galleon!
Bumper boats, paddle boats, 10-pin bowling, electric go-karts and a games arcade keep little scallywags occupied for hours.
The colourful Pirate Cove Express Train transports you to and from Courtown seafront in the summer. Toot-toot!
7. Wells House & Gardens
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the historic Wells House and Gardens. The elegant red brick house has a history dating back to the days of Cromwell.
House tours are available on weekends when guides reveal the 400-year history of this intriguing family home and its residents.
Set in 450 acres, the estate includes fairy trails and a Gruffalo Walk for young explorers along with landscaped gardens, water features, a petting farm, playground and craft courtyard.
Courtown hotels and nearby accommodation
So, we’ve a guide to the best B&Bs and hotels in Courtown (as there’s plenty), but I’ll give you a quick look at our favourites below:
1. Harbour House B&B
Relax in the comfortable surroundings of Harbour House B&B, just 2 minutes from the beach. Rooms showcase vintage furnishings, comfy beds, TV and bathroom with toiletries. Breakfast is a treat to look forward to after a sound night’s sleep. Sample home-baked goods or a freshly cooked Irish breakfast to set you up for the day.
2. Forest Park Holiday Home No 13
Enjoy the stunning location of Forest Park Holiday Home No. 13. Set in a courtyard location surrounded by forest walks, it’s an easy walk to the beach, restaurants, shops and amusements. This modern luxury property has 4 beautiful bedrooms and 2 bathrooms for 8 guests. Bright rooms are tastefully furnished including a modern kitchen, living room with open fire and a garden.
3. Ardamine Holiday Homes
Another modern holiday gem, Ardamine Holiday Homes are detached units with open plan living/dining, leather sofas, and a fitted kitchen with dishwasher, oven and more. There are 3 bedrooms (a double, twin and single) for 5 guests. Onsite amenities include tennis courts and a playground. It’s just 2.5km from Roney Bay Beach.
Places to eat in Courtown
There’s a handful of casual restaurants in Courtown for those of you in need of a post-adventure feed. Here are some worth checking out:
1. The Dinky Takeaway
Home of the “best chips in Wexford”, the Dinky Takeover is a crackin’ chippyer on The Strand in Courtown. Chips are piping hot and melt-in-the-mouth. Fish is crisply battered and not greasy but they also do excellent burgers, pizza, kebabs and sides. Take out or enjoy at picnic tables in the garden.
2. Alberto’s Takeaway Courtown
Another take-away with an excellent reputation, Alberto’s at Courtown Harbour is a delightful fish and chip shop that offers a wide range of food to take away or have delivered. Open daily 4-10pm, it does wonderful cod and chips, battered burgers, sausages, chicken feasts and pizza. Try the Munchy Box with a taste of everything!
3. Old Town Chinese Restaurant
The Old Town Chinese is a top restaurant known for its fast service and courteous staff. The extensive menu features plenty of fresh top quality ingredients in favourites such as Chicken Fried Rice, Stir fries, noodle dishes, Sweet and Sour and Vegetable Chop Suey. Open 3-11pm daily; closed Mondays.
Pubs in Courtown
There’s also some lively pubs in Courtown for those of you that fancy a pint or three. Here are three of our favourites:
1. Ambrose Moloney’s Public House
Ambrose Moloney’s offers European cuisine, live music nights and tribute acts for a great night out at Courtown Cove. Relax with drinks from the bar and look forward to talented singers, DJ nights and lively craic.
2. Shipyard Inn
The Shipyard Inn is a lovely local pub known for its fold music, ballads and beers. It’s also the home of live sports on TV so come on down and give support to your local team. Located on Main Street, we hear this lively Irish pub also serves great food.
3. The 19th Hole
After a day on the fairways, the 19th Hole in Courtown is the place to celebrate or commiserate your score. This traditional bar at Courtown Harbour has a great atmosphere for music, drinks and live sports. Meet up with old friends – Jack Daniels, Arthur Guinness and Captain Morgan and you’ll fit right in!
FAQs about visiting Courtown in Wexford
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What’s worth seeing in the town?’ to ‘Where’s good accommodation wise?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
Is Courtown worth visiting?
100% yes. You’ve the forest walks, the beach, Pirates Cove and the brilliant Seal Rescue Ireland to visit while you’re there (see more activities above).
What is there to do near Courtown?
You’ve heaps of places to visit nearby from Tara Hill and the Lavender Farm to hikes, more beaches and lots of historical attractions.
Gillian Birch is a travel writer and published author. She has travelled the world and uses her personal journals and memories to write about her many travel experiences, particularly those that involved adventures in Ireland.