16 May Wexford Town , County Wexford
Wexford was founded by the Vikings as a base for raids , a flourishing port grew up here and it was the first town to be captured by the Anglo-Normans in 1169. In 1649 Cromwell slaughtered its residents , breaking its terms of surrender , and it was the site of a month-long rebellion in 1798. Try and visit on your tours of Ireland …….. a half day would be enough.
The town is renowned for its opera festival and its narrow winding streets and lanes. The huge Westgate at the top of Slaney St is the only surviving town gateway. It was Henry II who ordered the fortification of the town during his visit here in 1172 but on his death the wall , which was only half completed , fell into disrepair. It was not until the local Knights of the Third Crusade returned in the 14th century that the wall , including the Westgate , was finished.
Under an urban-renewal scheme the tower , walls and adjoining coach house have been renovated. Nearby are the remains of the Abbey of the Holy Sepulchre , or Selskar Abbey , which was destroyed by Cromwell. It was near here that Henry II spent the Lent of 1172 doing penance for the murder of St. Thomas a Becket in Canterbury Cathedral. For food there is a wide range of good pubs and small restaurants to choose from.
Wexford is a real hidden gem on any Ireland tours.