Of all the monuments and statues dedicated to the 1798 Irish Rebellion, the Tulach a’ tSolais Monument in County Wexford is perhaps the most unique.
And a great bonus about visiting the monument is that you can enjoy a cracking little ramble to get there before being presented with some fine views too!
Although it’s one of the less-trodden walks in Wexford, it’s well worth doing. Below, you’ll find info on everything you need to know about the trail.
Some quick need-to-knows about rambling up Oulart Hill
Although a visit to see the Tulach a’ tSolais Monument is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Lying next to the tiny village of Oulart, Oulart Hill rises to the modest height of 587ft. It’s a 15-minute drive from Enniscorthy, a 25-minute drive from both Gorey and Courtown and a 30-minute drive from Wexford Town.
While there are several trails to choose from, in this article we’ll be looking at the Jean Kennedy Smith Walk which clocks in at around 4.8km. Allow yourself around an hour and a half to complete it.
This is a moderately difficult trail that shouldn’t pose any problems for experienced hikers but novices should take the usual precautions before setting out. While Oulart isn’t the biggest of Irish hills, the elevation of over 500ft means that it isn’t a cakewalk either! Wear weather-appropriate clothing and boots and bring a snack and bottle of water too for the journey.
5. The Tulach a’ tSolais Monument
The reward for reaching the top of Oulart Hill is the chance to see the unique Tulach a’ tSolais Monument. Built to commemorate the bicentenary of the 1798 Rebellion and, in particular, the Battle of Oulart Hill, it opened in 1999 and has been a popular attraction in County Wexford ever since.
6. Home to a fine bit of history
So what happened at the Battle of Oulart Hill? Simply put, a rebel gathering of between 4,000 and 5,000 United Irishmen convincingly defeated a detachment of 110 British militia sent up from Wexford. It was a resounding victory over the British forces and, while the nationwide rebellion ultimately failed, the battle is something that has lived long in the memory of Wexford locals.
About Oulart Hill
As we mentioned, Oulart Hill isn’t huge, but it’s perhaps the most significant hill in Wexford. The British Army sent a militia of around 110 men up north from Wexford town to suppress the rebellion on the morning of the 27th of May, 1798.
What they found was a mass of “from four to five thousand combatants” occupying the high ground of Oulart Hill at around 2pm. Foolishly deciding to charge, they found themselves vastly outnumbered.
Only around 5 of the 110 men managed to escape and make it back to Wexford. Following the rebel victory, almost all of North Wexford joined the rebellion.
200 years after this momentous event, the Tulach a’ tSolais Monument was unveiled and its unique design and appearance has drawn wide praise. So why not check it out yourself and enjoy a good walk on the way!
The Oulart Hill Walk
- Length: 4.8km
- Format: Loop
- Time: 1.25 hours
- Grade: Moderate
The Jean Kennedy Smith Walk is in a loop format and begins from the village of Oulart and the ‘98 Chapel next to the car park (look for the blue arrows on a white background).
Head southwest in a clockwise direction before turning north then west, when you’ll come up towards the Tree of Liberty (planted by Jean Kennedy Smith in 1995 in honour of the ideals of the United Irishmen).
Continue southwest again before turning north across Parklands lower up towards Tulach a’ tSolais. Enjoy the monument in all its splendour, as well as taking in some deadly views across the beautiful Wexford countryside.
Get back on the trail and northeast past the battlefield and when you reach Oulart Hill car park, turn south and start making your way back towards the village.
This is a straightforward ramble down a narrow leafy road that gives some nice views of the rolling landscape on either side. Finish back at the village car park.
Things to do near Oulart Hill
One of the beauties of the Oulart Hill walk is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit in Wexford.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Oulart.
1. Wells House & Gardens (10-minute drive)
Voted Ireland’s #1 family day out by the Irish Hospitality Awards, Wells House and Gardens is a Victorian Tudor-Gothic country house museum and is around a short 10-minute drive from Oulart Hill. Dating back to the 1830s, there’s a ton of things to do here including a tour of the house, an animal farm and woodland walks.
2. Talbot Lake and Nature Walk (10-minute drive)
If you want another easy ramble but with less historical conflict, head to Talbot Lake and its Nature Walk . Set on the grounds of a sprawling Georgian estate, the trail is a 1.5km lakeside nature walk around a beautiful man-made lake. Just a 10-minute drive from Oulart Hill, it’s a pleasant and leisurely stroll around a unique landscape.
3. Curracloe Beach (20-minute drive)
Located just north of Raven Wood Nature Reserve, Curracloe Beach is a gloriously sandy white beach that’s great for a brisk stroll full of sea air. Curving gently up the Wexford coast, it’s around a 20-minute drive south from Oulart Hill and is a nice way to finish off a day in the great outdoors.
4. Courtown Woods (25-minute drive)
If you want to see what north Wexford has to offer in terms of outdoor activities, you could do a lot worse than the many trails of Courtown Woods. Located a 25-minute drive north of Oulart Hill, it’s populated by a ton of different trees so look out for Californian redwood, swamp cypress, Japanese cedar, cedar of Lebanon and several pine, yew and true cypresses.
FAQs about the Tulach a’ tSolais Monument walk
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Where does it start?’ to ‘Which trail is the easiest?’.
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.
Where do you start the Oulart Hill walk?
There are several places to start, depending on the trail you’re tackling. For the trail above, start in the town near the church.
Is the Oulart Hill trail hard?
This moderately difficult trail that requires a good level of fitness. You’ll need around an hour and a half to complete it.