There’s some brilliant things to do in Wexford Town and there’s endless places to visit closeby.
Tucked away in Ireland’s “Ancient East”, the cultural coastal Wexford Town dates back to Viking times.
Home to historical sites and the National Opera House, this once-walled community has plenty to discover.
Add in some characterful pubs and first class restaurants and you’re in for a treat! Discover what to do in Wexford Town (and nearby!) below.
Our favourite things to do in Wexford Town
The first section of our guide is packed with our favourite things to do in Wexford Town along with some attractions a short spin away.
Below, you’ll find everything from sweat treats and castles to more ancient sites and some excellent tours.
1. Kick start your visit with a coffee
First things first! Get your day off to a great start with a heart-pumping coffee brewed to perfection. There are quite a few to choose from in Wexford. Start at the D’lush Cafe, TripAdvisor’s #1 spot for a hearty organic breakfast to accompany your coffee.
Located on John’s Gate Street, it’s a little gem. Next up, Trimmers Lane Cafe has cushioned sofas and bookshelves. It’s more like visiting a friend’s house than a coffee shop! Cream Cafe is another well-recommended cafe for grabbing a coffee to go.
2. Step back in time at Westgate Heritage Tower
One of the more popular things to do in Wexford Town is to have a nosey at the Westgate Tower. Westgate is a landmark tower and arched gateway – the last surviving of seven gates that once provided access into the medieval walled town.
It was constructed by Sir Stephen Devereux in the 13th century. It had a toll room and jail cells for offenders as part of the defensive walls. The restored tower and adjoining coach houses now accommodate the magnificent Heritage Centre.
Climb the stairs to explore the Norman rooms and battlement walk leading to Selskar Abbey. Where better to start your visit to Wexford and learn about its complex and colourful history?
3. Have a nosey around Selskar Abbey
If you thought Westgate was old, wait till you see the remains of Selskar Abbey. This Augustinian Abbey was built in the 1100s as the Priory of St Peter and St Paul. It is thought to be on the site of an even older Viking temple to the Norse God Odin.
The site once overlooked the River Slaney but the surrounding land has since been reclaimed. Parts of the Abbey were outside the city walls with a gate directly into the abbey complex.
This allowed the clergy to smuggle in goods and avoid the tolls at the main gate.
4. Step back in time at the Irish National Heritage Park
The Irish National Heritage Park is a fascinating must-see with its wooded trails, craft demonstrations and falconry centre. The 40-acre site sits just outside the town and includes a fascinating Visitor Centre, playground, restaurant and shop.
The big attraction, however, is the collection of replica historic buildings including a castle, Viking house, monastery and hill fort. Explore at your own pace or join one of the themed heritage tours.
5. Explore Johnstown Castle
Just six miles outside Wexford Town, Johnstown Castle Estate has a host of attractions including gardens, lake walks and the Irish Agricultural Museum. The big draw is of course the impressive Johnstown Castle.
Book a place on the one-hour guided tour and enjoy exploring this impressive furnished castle with its grand rooms and amazing history. Built in Gothic Revival style, the castle’s history dates back to 1170 when the Esmondes settled in the area.
The estate was confiscated by Cromwell in the 1650s and eventually became the home of the Grogan family from 1692 to 1945. Explore the 86-metre-long servant’s tunnel before enjoying the beautiful gardens, cafe and gift shop.
6. Whittle away an evening at The Sky and The Ground
If you’re looking for things to do in Wexford Town with a group, see the places above, first, and then tackle the local pub scene.
The Sky and The Ground is one of our favourite pubs in Wexford. Inside the red and white exterior you’ll find a traditional Irish pub with a lively atmosphere and a warm welcome. The wood-panelled bar is well stocked with beer, wine and spirits.
There’s a large heated beer garden with colourful murals, live music and great trad sessions – everything you expect from a good local.
Other popular things to do in Wexford Town and nearby
The next section of our guide looks at a mix of things to do in Wexford Town and places to visit a short spin away.
Below, you’ll find everything from walks and hikes to tours, rainy-day attractions and more.
1. Conquer Forth Mountain (15-minute drive)
For a bit of exercise and a blast of fresh air, head up the 10km Forth Mountain Trail that rises to a height of 235m. The trailhead is just southwest of the town. As you tackle the steep start from the car park, consider the history of this Cambrian quartzite mountain and its part in the 1798 Rebellion.
Coastal views appear across to Rosslare, the Saltee Islands and Hook Head Lighthouse when you reach Skeator Rock. The best time to visit is autumn when rare lichens, heather and gorse brighten the fir forest.
2. Catch a show at the National Opera House
The National Opera House is one of the town’s more notable attractions. If you can, try and visit for either for the world-famous Opera Festival in October or to attend a performance at any time of year.
Rebuilt in 2008, it has a main auditorium with horseshoe balconies, a smaller theatre and several multi-use spaces for concerts, exhibitions and events. The state-of-the-art design ensures perfect acoustics and sight-lines from every seat.
From pop-up performances, concerts, musicals and comedy theatre to world-class performances, it’s an unforgettable treat for music lovers. Don’t miss the third floor cafe!
3. Head for a ramble around Raven Point Woods (20-minute drive)
If you’re looking for forest walks in Wexford, our next stop should tickle your fancy. Another lovely 4.4km walk just 12km from Wexford Town is Raven Point Wood Walking Trail. It has a car park just behind the popular Curracloe Beach.
This coastal loop route runs through sand dunes and woodlands of Corsican pines within the nature reserve. It’s an easy walk for all ages and has stunning views of Wexford Harbour.
Check out the plants that have trapped sand blown onshore to create an area of grasses and wild flowers.
4. Visit one of the beaches near Wexford Town
Stretching for 7 miles, it borders the Raven Nature Reserve (see walk above). Just north of Curracloe is Ballinesker Beach (20-minute drive), a 3-mile sandy beach that’s known for its seashells and windsurfing.
Ballynaclash Bay Beach is north of Ballinesker, extending the scenic beach walk even further.
5. Polish off an evening at the fabulous Cistín Eile
There’s some stunning restaurants in Wexford. For top-notch nosh, book a table at Cistin Eile. This Good Food Ireland restaurant specialises in Irish food using the best artisan produce.
Chef Owner Warren Gillen is passionate about Wexford produce and believes that the food he serves speaks for itself when it comes to taste and quality. His menu changes daily to reflect local supplies of seafood and meat.
Tuck into corned beef sandwiches stuffed with onion relish and red cabbage salad or try the catch of the day.
Mini road trips from Wexford Town
After you’ve ticked off the various things to do in Wexford Town and nearby, it’s worth heading off on a mini road trip.
1. The Hook Peninsula (35-minute drive)
The Hook Peninsula is the southernmost point of Wexford County and the natural beauty is well worth the drive. It is famous as the site of the striped Hook Lighthouse, but also offers coastal walks, bike rides and chilly dips in the sea if you’re up for it.
2. Enniscorthy (25-minute drive)
Dating back to 1205, this Norman Castle has stood the test of time and weathered many fierce battles during the Cromwell era and 1798 Rising.
There’s also the Vinegar Hill walk (see the views above) and a handful other attractions to have a nosey around.
3. Waterford City (1-hour drive)
Take a tour of Waterford Crystal, which carried the name of Ireland’s oldest city all over the world.
FAQs about the best places to visit in Wexford Town
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What are the best beaches near Wexford Town?’ to ‘What are some good things to do in Wexford Town when it rains?’.
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.
What are the best things to do in Wexford Town?
Kick start your visit with a coffee and then have a mosey up to Westgate Tower followed by a visit to Selskar Abbey.
Are there any good beaches near Wexford Town?
Ballinesker Beach (20-minute drive) and Curracloe Beach (20-minute drive) are two excellent options.
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.