ByRoute 2.1 Co. Wicklow & Co. Wexford

Camolin & Ballycanew (Co. Wexford / North)

Camolin (Cam Eolaing) (pop. 330) is a pretty rural village and parish with a surprisingly well-developed tourism industry, including several good pubs, eateries and accommodation options.

The surrounding countryside (the barony of Scarawalsh) is exceptionally scenic, and the stretch of the River Bann on the outskirts of the village is noted for brown trout.

The Bay Garden, created by Frances and Iain MacDonald from a neglected orchard, has an impressive array of different garden spaces.

Camolin Park Forest, extending over 600 acres of Coillte woodlands, occupies the former Mountnorris estate of Camolin Park, until 1858  seat of the Annesley family, whose titles included Earl of Mount Norris and Viscount Valentia. The early C18th mansion, in ruins for many years and finally demolished in 1974, was the birthplace of James Annesley, the model for Sir Walter Scott‘s novel Kidnapped. The forest is popular with walkers and pony trekkers.

Teach Ar mBreacha is a House of Storytelling where young and old gather to tell stories, play music, sing and dance on the first Tuesday of every month and every Tuesday in July and August, bringing food and refreshments to share together over the evening.

Ballymore Farm


Ballymore is a working farm that has been the home for over 300 years of the Donovan family, who welcome interested visitors to its eccentric charms.

 

A large C18th hayloft, farm yard and period outhouses have been converted in order to display a range of objects  illustrating many different aspects of earlier occupation and activity, including old household items, farm accounts and records, toys, lace, embroidery, costumes, children’s clothes, a late-C19th wedding dress, old dairy equipment, horse-drawn farm vehicles and machinery. A “walkabout” open-air museum takes in a Norman motte, an old church, a graveyard and a Holy Well.

 

An Exhibition focusing on the 1798 Rebellion is particularly interesting, as family members fought on both sides of the conflict, and the house was occupied by rebels who had a camp for some weeks in the meadow surrounding the Castle site.

 

There is a Tea Room and a fine Picture Gallery run by Phoebe Donovan.

Belmount and Butterfly Farm are two reputable Equestrian Centres in the area.

Camolin is near Ferns on ByRoute3.

Carrigroe Hill (232m) was occupied by insurgents at the outbreak of the 1798 Rebellion. When General Loftus sent two divisions to attack them, the defeat of Colonel Walpole at Tubberneering placed Gorey in the rebels’ hands. (Photo by Jonathan Billinger)

Ballycanew is a picturesque rural village and parish on the Ounavarra River, which has a great reputation for fishing.

The village was once known as Ballyconway. The earliest reference is from 1247 when Theodore de Nevel held lands here. The Great Famine and its aftermath reduced the population from 1094 to 361.

Another old Irish name for Ballycanew is Baile Gan Uaigh – “Town without a grave”. Ironically, the parish is best known in archaeological circles for a burial site excavated in 1965, containing broken human bones and a slightly damaged food vessel, thought to date from the Bronze Age about 3000 years ago.

Ballycanew Riding Centre, run by Sandra Maguire, has a good range of equestrian facilities and regular ride-outs through the surrounding counryside as far as the beach.

Ballycanew is not far from Ballygarrett on ByRoute1.

The Harrow (An Bráca) was the site of an incident during the 1798 Rebellion. According to the loyalist yeomen of the Camolin Cavalry, on 26th May of that year they were on their way to see if there was any truth in a report that “an entire family of Protestants had been murdered by the Insurgents near Scarawalsh”, when they “met a large party of Insurgents armed with Pikes and some Arms. The Lieut. rode before the Party, and ordered the rebels to surrender, and deliver up their Arms, on which they discharged a volley at the Party, accompanied with a shower of stones, some of which brought Lieut. Bookey from his horse, as also John Donovan, a private in the Corps. The party after firing a few shots, finding themselves overpowered by the Rebels, retreated to Ferns, where they remained ‘till day break, melancholy spectators of the devastation committed by the Rebels. The information of the Murders at Scarawalsh found to be true.”

Boolavogue (Co. Wexford / East)

Boolavogue village is famous for its part in the 1798 Rebellion, when the local parish priest Father John Murphy, enraged by the local yeomen’s wanton destruction of his chapel and of parishioners’ homes, led his congregation into battle on 26th May 1798.

The Father Murphy Centre


The Father Murphy Centre is in the restored Donohoe family house where the priest lived during his residency in Boolavogue. The main building and a number of out-houses vividly recreate the way of life on a late C18th Irish farm.

 

Traditional cottage fireplace (Photo by Aidan+Marian)

 

The Haggard is an interesting museum of agricultural implements, animal equipment etc.

 

The Garden of Remembrance is a place of tranquillity where inscribed Stones are dedicated to the memory of the many who died in the Rebellion.

 

Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann has a Regional Archive in the centre, and there is also an extensive exhibition of the Folklore of County Wexford, Aon Sceal Eile Agus Cuimneachain, a real treasure collected by the young people of Wexford. Story-telling sessions are held at the centre on the second Thursday of every month.

Boolavogue is the name of a famous ballad about the 1798 Rebellion.

Boleyvogue is near Ferns on ByRoute3.

Wells House is a splendid Victorian Gothic mansion designed by architect Daniel Robertson (d.1849) for the Doyne family, who lived in the area for over 250 years. The property was acquired by German industrialist Gerhard Rosler in 1965, and is now open to the public, offering house tours, terraced gardens, woodland walks, archery courses and falconry displays.  It is a popular wedding venue.

Oulart Hill


Oulart Hill is massive, whaleback shaped and well signposted.

 

The Battle of Oulart Hill was a key point of the 1798 Rebellion: on 27th May insurgents routed attacking Crown forces and Yeomen. Only four soldiers survived, while only 6 rebels lost their lives; they are buried locally.

 

Tulach a’ tSolais (“Mound of Light”), designated the national 1798 memorial, is an austere commemorative monument erected on Oulart Hill in 1998 by sculptor Michael Warren in collaboration with architect Ronald Tallon.

Oulart (Co. Wexford / East)

Oulart (An tAbhallort), a picturesque village at the centre of events during the 1798 Rebellion, has a commemorative Centenary Monument and a reconstructed 1798 house.

St Patrick’s church (RC), built in 1909, has a 1798 Chapel.

Meelnagh Cemetery, located nearby, has some interesting early C18th headstones.

Oulart is within reach of Kilmuckridge and Blackwater on ByRoute1.

 

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