Day 5 of our Ireland road trip takes us back to the coast to County Wexford.
We’ve a busy day ahead, so make sure you’re not out too late the evening before.
1 – The Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience
// Kilkenny to The Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience in New Ross – 50-minute drive (arrive for 09:00) //
The Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience is an authentic reproduction of an 1840s emigrant vessel located in the town of New Ross.
Visitors to the ship will follow in the footsteps of the those who left during Ireland’s Great Famine, via an interactive tour that takes you through the journey made by so many Irish people.
For those of you following this Ireland road trip that are interested in learning more about Irish history, then this stop will be right up your alley.
The tour provides an insight into a significant period in Irish history that shaped our culture forever.
2 – A coffee and a stroll at Tintern Abbey
// New Ross to Tintern Abbey – 25-minute drive (arrive to Tintern at 10:40) //
You’ll find Tintern Abbey on the west shore of Bannow Bay in Wexford.
Once one of the most powerful Cistercian foundations in the South East, the Abbey is now a big (and incredibly well maintained) crumbly ruin.
Although the Abbey is the big attraction for visitors, the majority of the people that I chat to that have visited mention the walled garden as being the highlight of the trip.
If you fancy taking a guided tour and learning about the history, it’ll cost you €5 (Adult price) and lasts around 45 minutes.
3 – Loftus Hall (one of the most haunted houses in Ireland)
// Tintern Abbey to Loftus Hall – 20-minute drive (arrive for 12:00) //
You’ll find the intimidating structure known as Loftus Hall on the wild and windy Hook Peninsula, close to Hook Lighthouse.
It’s an enormous, old mansion house that was built in the mid-1300s during the time of the black death.
According to legend, the mansion is haunted by both the devil and by the ghost of a young woman.
Note: Loftus Hall no longer run tours, so you’ll have to admire it from afar.
4 – One of the oldest operational lighthouses on earth
// Loftus Hall to Hook Lighthouse – 10-minute drive (arrive for 13:30) //
Hook Lighthouse was once voted the number one lighthouse in the world.
The current structure has been marking the entrance to Wexford Harbour for at least 800 years, yet its history goes back a whole lot further.
Monks kept a warning beacon to warn sailors of the dangers of shipwreck on the rocky headland during the period 500-1000 AD.
Grab a cup of coffee in the café after your drive before climbing the 115 steps to the top of the lighthouse to enjoy the mighty view of the Wexford coastline.
5 – A ramble along the walls of Waterford City
// Hook to Waterford City – 1 hour and 10-minute drive (arrive for 16:00) //
Our first day in Waterford is going to be spent wandering around Waterford City – Ireland’s oldest, as it happens.
One of the most impressive features of Waterford City is its historic walls and towers.
The city, which was founded by the Vikings way back between 856 and 914, is over 1,000 years old and boasts the largest collection of medieval defensive towers and walls on our island.
Head off in the direction of Reginald’s Tower.
Reginald’s Tower is the most impressive of the six towers that are still standing and can be found at the highest point of Waterford City’s Viking Triangle.
Inside the tower, you’ll find an exhibition on Viking Waterford that houses 9th-century swords and weapons from a Viking warrior’s grave and a magnificent Waterford Kite Brooch.
Take a bit of time to have a float around the tower and soak up some of the city’s rich past.
6 – The Medieval Museum
Take the short stroll to the Medieval Museum. Here, you’ll be able to soak up the story of what life was like in the historic City of Waterford many years ago.
Waterford City centre was excavated between 1986 and 1992 and the many unique discoveries that were found during this time are housed in the Museum.
Take a look inside by hitting play on the video below.
Spend some time wandering around the museum, and head off on the guided tour if you fancy.
7 – Rest the legs and get ready for the evening ahead
When you finish up in the museum, head to your accommodation for the night.
For this trip we’re going to recommend that you stay in Dooley’s Hotel, as it’s nice and central and the reviews are amazing.
Check in, rest the body for a bit and then get out for food and a drink.
8 – Food and a pint
// It’s been a busy aul day. We’re going to round it off with food and a few pints //
We’re going to recommend that you grab a bite to eat in Bodega!, followed up by a drink in the Gingerman.
We’ll be doing a lot of active exploring tomorrow, so do your best to avoid lashing in too many pints and giving yourself a thunderous hangover.
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.