Bray to Wexford Harbour

ByRoute 1.1 Co. Wicklow – Co. Wexford (E)

Cahore Point & Wexford Bay

The outcrop is mainly comprised of the geologically interesting local grey-green Cahore Group greywacke bedrock, formed from muddy sediments laid down on the floor of the Iapetus Ocean during the Cambrian Period some 550 million years ago. Loose stones of the same material are common on the beaches in the vicinity.

Wexford Bay stretches southwards from Cahore Point to Greenore Point southwest of Rosslare Harbour.

The section of Wexford Bay between Cahore Point and Wexford Harbour is also known as North Bay. Most of its 25km length comprises sandy beaches.

Cahore (Co. Wexford / East)

Cahore (Cathóir), a popular family seaside resort, centres on a small fishing village. While the area is dotted with family holiday homes, some occupied seasonally over several generations, and the Celtic Tiger era saw several new developments, the majority of vacationers stay in the local Caravan & Camping Park. (Feedback required, please leave a comment.)

Cahore pier wes extended by 90ft in 1908 for schooners to unload coal phosphates and salt. Today it remains in active use for catches of herring and mackerel (and also, tragically, for car driver suicides, of which there have been several in recent years).

Cahore Beach is a mixture of sand and pebbles, stretching from Cahore pier at one end to rocks at the other, and has a lifeguard station and in-shore lifeboat. It is very popular for boating and other water Gilligan’s Cave is reminiscent of the smuggling days of two hundred years ago or more. The beach is ovelooked by pleasant cliff walks

Cahore Castle was built in 1861 by the former MP and Solicitor General for Ireland, Judge J George. It was run as a hotel for some years in the C20th, and is due to reopen as one in 2013.

The old coastguard station in Cahore, now a private dwelling, once employed eight men whose services were very often required.

Many ships sank off Cahore down through the years, including the Pearl of Cork, the Eliza, the John R. Skiddy in 1850 and the best remembered the Irrawaddy in 1895, from whose timbers the seats in the local chapel were made.

The Cahore River is a small watercourse that at one point runs parallel to the sea shore near Cahore Point.

The Cahore Polders / Marshes are a proposed Natural Heritage Area (NHA) because of the wild birds they support. Significant species include Greenland White-fronted Geese and Golden Plover together with lesser numbers of Bewick’s Swans, Whooper Swans, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard and Lapwing.

Oldbawn / Newtown Beach has miles of golden sand adjoining Ballteigue Bog and the Fodagh, both abundant with birdlife.

Kilmuckridge, Ballinoulart & Morriscastle (Co. Wexford / East)

Kilmuckridge, Ballinoulart & Morriscastle share a beautiful beach known as the Golden Mile, on a bay curving gently for almost three miles and featuring several secluded coves. The beach is well sheltered by grassy sand dunes that host a wide range of wildlife, and in the spring and summer are covered with wild flowers, perhaps the most common being Yellow Ladies Bed with it’s spicy pungent smell; also to be found are Sea Buckthorn, Marram, Bracken, Hawkweed, Portland Spurge, Bramble, New Zealand Flax, Wild Carrot and several mosses.
Morriscastle Strand, like many other stretches of Co. Wexford’s east coast, is a popular camping and caravanning area.

Kilmuckridge Village, formerly known as Ford / The Ford, has become quite built up in recent years with commuter homes, holiday houses and self-catering cottages; there are several good pubs and eateries locally, and also a large windfarm. (Feedback required, please leave a comment.)

St Mary’s church (RC), a simple cruciform edifice, was constructed in 1796, when non-Anglican clergy were not allowed to perform ceremonies in buildings with bells, towers or steeples, so the elegant belfry is presumably from a later date.

The annual Kilmuckridge Drama Festival is well regarded.

Kilmuckridge is quite close to Oulart on ByRoute 2.

Blackwater & Curracloe (Co. Wexford / East)

Blackwater, a surprisingly densely populated village on the small river of the same name, has several decent pubs and a hotel. It is close to Blackwater Harbour, a broad bay with a sandy strand, and Ballyconnigar beach, which suffers exceptionally high levels of erosion due to tidal forces.

Curracloe is a small but rapidly growing satellite community of Wexford Town.

The Curracloe Hotel is very welcoming to birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts visiting the nearby Nature Reserves on The Raven and the North Slobs of Wexford Harbour. (Feedback required, please leave a comment.)

Curracloe Strand is extremely popular with locals and campers, and ever summer sees a huge influx of holidaymakers, who mostly stay in mobile home / caravan parks.

Ballinesker beach was made famous by the D-Day Normandy Landing scenes in Stephen Spielberg‘s Saving Private Ryan (2002).

Kame & Kettle is the name given to a complex of sand and gravel hills known as Kame and small lakes and ponds known as Kettle, spectacular results of the ice age to be found in The Screen Hills, best viewed from the road known as the Sandy Lane between Curracloe and Screen.

Screen & Castlebridge (Co. Wexford / East)

Screen is a small rural community on the Garrylough River, which joins the River Sow in Castlebridge Marsh to flow into the River Slaney just north of Wexford Harbour.

The Garrylough Mill, Ireland’s last working water-powered flour mill, has recently been restored, with an evocative Museum, a restaurant / all day café,  and a shop selling artesan goods, homemade food etc. The 1km millrace path through woods and fields overlooks the impressive oak mill wheel and sluice gates. There is also a vintage motorcycle museum. In addition to the first “glamping” (“glamour camping”) resort in Ireland, eco-tourism chalets with hot tubs now dot the surrounding area. A farmers market is held each Saturday morning in front of the mill.

The Edenvale Trail provides a pleasant riverside walk through mature woodlands in the grounds of an old estate, taking in a scenic waterfall.

Castlebridge (Droichead an Chaisleáin) (pop. 1700), an affluent and rapidly expanding satellite of Wexford Town, is on a stretch of water which was originally a man-made canal contructed to replace a stream in order to facilitate access to local factory docks.

Castlebridge church (CoI) was built in 1766 to replace Ardcolm church, which had been erected on the site of the castle giving the village its name.

Castlebridge was the birthplace of Fr James Dixon (1758 – 1840), a Salamanca-educated priest convicted of participation in the 1798 Rebellion and transported to the penal colony at Botany Bay, who celebrated the first public Mass on antipodean soil in May 1803 and was appointed Apostolic Delegate to New Holland (Australia) in 1804. He returned in 1809 and is buried in the grounds of nearby Crossabeg parish church (RC).

The village’s only other claim to fame is that in 1951 Sir Hugh Beaver, managing director of the Guinness Brewery, while on a hunting expedition on the nearby North Slob, got into a debate as to whether the fastest game bird in Europe was the golden plover or the grouse. The idea for The Guinness Book of World Records was born that night in a Castlebridge hostelry.

Dr. Seán MacBride planted a tree in the small town park in the 1970s. Although it is unmarked, it has split into 2 equal halves, making it easy to find.

Maple Lodge B&B is highly rated. (Feedback required, please leave a comment.)

The Castlebridge Gospel Choir was founded in 2003.

Castlebridge is south of Ballymurn and southeast of Killurin on ByRoute 2.

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