The lively town of Gorey is an excellent base to explore County Wexford from.
Below, you’ll discover everything you need to know about the town, from places to visit to where to eat, sleep and drink.
Some quick need-to-knows about Gorey
Although a visit to Gorey is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Gorey is a market town located in north County Wexford. It’s a 20-minute spin from Arklow in Wicklow and less than a 10-minute drive from Courtown.
2. A good base to explore Wexford from
Gorey is a lovely little base to tackle many of the best things to do in Wexford from. It’s close to heaps of walks, hikes and historical attractions and the town has everything from great restaurants to highly rated hotels,
The exact origins of Gorey town aren’t known but some early records show it there in 1296 when the Normans recorded an existing town on the site. Later in 1619, the town was granted a charter as a borough and called Newborough, though the name never chimed with the locals who didn’t use it.
The Ram family built a large estate north of the town in the 17th century, which was later burned during the Irish rebellion of 1641 and again in 1798. It was rebuilt in the 19th century.
Many of the larger buildings in the town date to that same mid-19th century time. Gorey was centre to several conflicts in 1798 and there’s a memorial to them in the town centre.
In the 21st century, Gorey’s population has increased thanks to its proximity to Dublin and desirability as a commuter town. Its population and that of the surrounding areas, grew 23 percent between 1996 and 2002, with the town doubling in population size to just over 9,800 inhabitants between 1996 and 2016.
It has a thriving sports and cultural scene, with football clubs, a rugby club, hurling club, two local newspapers, a theatre group, musical society and choral group. Close by is the holiday resort of Courtown, popular with weekenders visiting from Dublin.
Things to do in Gorey (and nearby)
Although we have a dedicated guide to the best things to do in Gorey, 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. Beaches galore
There’s also Kiltennel Beach, another 10-minute drive, Ballymoney Beach, 12 minutes away and Kilgorman Strand, a 20-minute drive.
2. Courtown Woods
This woodland is situated immediately north of the village and covers 25 hectares. In recent years, much work has been carried out to improve the walk ways, so visit here for some healthy exercise and the great scenery.
3. Kia Ora Mini Farm
The Kia Ora Mini Farm describes itself as hands-on, a place where children get to interact with, hold and feed farmyard animals as well as the more exotic breeds, such as llamas, emus, alpacas and pot-bellied pigs.
If you fancy a full day-out, the farm has an onsite coffee shop that specialises in home baking, but you can bring along your own packed lunch as there is outdoor seating a-plenty.
Other things to do include football, go-karting, fire engine rides and more.
4. Wexford Lavender Farm
Wexford Lavender Farm is a working farm that has been in the family since the 1950s. All of the lavender grown on the farm is organic, meaning it is produced without pesticides, herbicides or fertilisers.
The farm is open in the spring and summer months, and you can visit there to walk in the woodlands, pick the lavender, find out how it is turned from buds into oil or book your kids in for some of the workshops on offer.
Don’t forget to buy some fresh lavender to take home – the smell is aaamazing.
5. Tara Hill
Tara Hill is a handy 15-minute drive from Gorey and it’s a great spot for an early-morning ramble. While the hill itself isn’t that high (some 253 metres), it commands breath-taking views of the surrounding countryside.
A climb to the top rewards the patient and fit climber with extensive views of the Wexford coastline. There are two walking trails around the hill, which might be better for family-friendly outdoor exercise options.
6. Seal Rescue Ireland Visitor Centre
Who couldn’t be charmed by rescued seal pups? The Seal Rescue Ireland Visitor Centre is a registered charity that rescues, rehabilitates sick and injured seals and promotes the crucial message of marine conservation.
You can visit the hospital, help prepare and feed the seals and find out more about these wonderful creatures.
So, we’ve a guide to the best hotels in Gorey (as there’s plenty), but I’ll give you a quick look at our favourites below:
1. Ashdown Park Hotel
This award-winning boutique hotel is one of the more popular hotels in Wexford. It’s a five-minute walk from the centre of Gorey and offers a selection of contemporary and comfortable bedrooms that will suit couples and families alike.
2. Railway Country House
Railway Country House is a cosy little spot situated on 3 finely manicured acres just outside of Gorey. Rooms are bright and spacious, a top-notch breakfast is on offer and the reviews online are excellent.
3. Seafield Hotel & Spa Resort
Seafield is one of the more popular spa hotels in Wexford. There’s a bar and a restaurant on site, extensive grounds to explore and a popular spa with a heated outdoor pool.
Restaurants in Gorey
So, as was the case with the hotels, we’ve a dedicated guide to the best restaurants in Gorey. However, here are our favourites:
1. Katie Daly’s Bar & Restaurant
Whether you want a quick lunch, an evening meal or a few pints supped to the accompaniment of live music, this long-time local’s favourite is the place to go. There is a small, intimate dining area that focuses on simple, tasty meals.
2. Table Forty One
Table Forty One by Andrew Duncan is fine dining eating that showcases the best of Wexford local produce. The menu changes on a weekly basis and consists of three starters, three main courses, two deserts and a cheese board. Check out the signature fillet steak.
3. The Bistro
Prime Irish Hereford beef and Wexford seafood are just some of the treats on the menu at The Bistro along with an extensive wine list. Starters include deep-fried Brie while mains include scallops seared with white wine and garlic and served in a cream sauce.
FAQs about visiting Gorey in Wexford
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What is there to do in the town?’ to ‘Where’s good for food?’.
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 Gorey worth visiting?
If you’re looking for a base to explore Wexford, then yes! It’s near many of the county’s attractions and it’s home to great places to eat, sleep and drink.
What is there to do in Gorey?
There isn’t a whole lot to do in the town itself. But it is very close to heaps of places to visit, which is why it makes a good base for a weekend away.
Emma Baird is a lifestyle editor and novelist. She has worked in the communications industry for more than 25 years, and loves animals, the countryside and lingering in a great pub for the food and the craic.