ByRoute 2.1 Co. Wicklow & Co. Wexford

Ballymurn (Co. Wexford / Central)

Ballymurn (Baile Ui Mhuruin) is best known for its GAA club, which has enjoyed notable hurling successes over the years.

Ballinkeele Manor House


Ballinkeele Manor House, designed by Daniel Robertson in 1840, has a lofty columned hall with a big open fireplace, beautifully proportioned reception rooms, large comfortable bedrooms with wonderful countryside views, and a lovely old cut stone stable yard at the back.


Owned by the Maher family since the early C19th, the estate is still a working farm, but also includes game-filled woods, mature gardens, a croquet lawn and a lake, while the historic mansion is now also run as a Guesthouse.


The property was previously owned by the Hay family, historians, patriots, soldiers and politicians, inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution to take part in the 1798 Rebellion. After the defeat John Hay, a former French army officer, was hanged in the grove in front of the house, while his brother Philip attained the seemingly impossible for one of his kind, a commission in the British Army. Edward Hay, the historian, instigated from here the gathering of the first competent census by Edward Blake in 1811.

Ballymurn church (RC), built in 1832 to replace an earlier structure erected in 1774 and burnt on the same day as the Battle of Vinegar Hill in 1798, and magnificently endowed by the Maher family, is well worth a visit to see the  Pieta by John Hogan,  one of only three in Ireland, and some beautiful stained glass.

The Maher Morturary Chapel beside the church was designed by AW Pugin.

Ballymurn is within easy reach of Blackwater and Castlebridge on ByRoute1.

Edermine (Co. Wexford / Central)

Edermine was the venue for the first Quaker meeting in County Wexford in 1657.

Edermine House


Edermine House, on the east bank of the River Slaney, was the residence of the Baronets Power of Edermine, who made their fortune as distillers of Powers Whiskey. They recruited most of their workers from nearby Oylgate / Oilgate (Maolán na Ingaghar), where a terrace of houses built for their employees can still be seen today.


The Powers had a private chapel designed by AW Pugin c.1858. Nowadays it is closely identified with the Latin Mass movement.


Benedictine friars from Maredsous in Belgium, widely presumed to be cowardly and / or unpatriotic WWI draft-dodgers, occupied the house from 1916 to 1920. Contemporaries said it resembled a youth hostel more than a monastery. It was closed by the Congregation for Religious in Rome following a mysterious crisis involving “young Fathers [who] oppose the letter of Canon Law to the spirit of the Holy Rule“.


The controversial Abbot, Dom Columba, born as Joseph Marmion in Kildare on 1st April 1858, died in 1923; now officially Blessed, having been Beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2000, he is halfway to Sainthood. Glenstal Abbey, Co. Limerick, founded four years after his death, is dedicated to his memory, as is Marmion Abbey in Illinois, USA.

Eileen Gray (née Kathleen Eileen Moray) (1878 – 1976), born in nearby Brownswood House, settled in Paris in 1906. Largely self-taught, she emerged in the 1920s as a lacquerwork, furniture and carpet designer of note, and later emerged from the shadows of her male contemporaries to be recognised as an architect of distinction. She counted Walter Gropius, José Luis Sert and Frederick Kiesler amongst her friends, while her most famous building, the holiday home E1027, was a favourite haunt of Le Corbusier. Her work has been described as an extensive critique of the Modern Movement itself. Models of her designs are now housed in the Irish Architectural Archive in Dublin.

Edermine Bridge, officially called Dom Marmion Bridge, was inaugurated in 1975, spanning a scenic stretch of the river Slaney. The mysterious looking round tower on the west bank is a Mausoleum associated with the Pounder / Pounden family.

Edermine Ferry Rowing Club

Borodale House, near the junction of the Rivers Boro and Slaney, was the ancestral residence of Admiral Earl Beatty, most famous for his WWI victory at the Battle of Jutland in 1916.

Castleshort, Borrmount Manor, Borrmount, Enniscorthy, is the address of The Baron James Shortt, who has a most interesting and unusual Wikipedia entry.

Edermine is close to Enniscorthy on ByRoute´3.

Bree // Killurin (Co. Wexford / Central)

Bree is the Hobbit-like name of a pleasant rural community.

The church of the Assumption of Mary (RC), begun in 1837, was the first in Ireland to be designed by AW Pugin. It was built on an acre of ground given rent-free forever to Fr. Philip Devereaux by Harry Alcock of Wilton Castle, whose estate covered most of the parish and employed most of the local population.

Wilton Castle

Wilton Castle was the Alcock family home from 1695, was extensively remodelled and extended by Daniel Robertson, c.1843, but burned down by vandals on 5th March 1923. The once beautiful gardens are no more, but the gaunt ruins still stand.

According to local legends the castle is haunted. Weird lights are sometimes seen in the remains of the castle tower where a former actress died in a fire. It is said that the shade of Harry Alcock, who died in 1840, is seen every year on the anniversary of his death, driving slowly away from the castle in a ghostly carriage. Crowds once gathered in anticipation of the event, and a local shoemaker claimed to have spoken with the phantom.

Even stranger is the tale of neighbour Archibald Jacob, a magistrate and captain of the local Militia Company at the time of the 1798 Rebellion, who flogged and tortured many people in the parish. He was killed by a fall from his horse while returning home from a Ball at the castle, and his spectre was seen for years afterward at the scene of his death and the castle itself, until exorcised by a Roman Catholic priest, when his ghost allegedly appeared in the fireplace, then disappeared in a cloud of smoke.

Celtic Roots, a talented group of Irish dancers, singers, musicians and storytellers, are based in Bree.

Bree is within easy reach of Clonroche on ByRoute 3.

Clonmore, according to Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary (1837), was anciently called Cluain dicholla gairbhir, and “is of great antiquity; St. Maidoc having founded a monastery here in the 6th century, ………….. which in 740, was burnt. In 832 it was plundered by the Danes, and in 833 they burnt the abbey on Christmas night, killed many of the monks, and carried others into captivity. Dermot Mac Moilnambo, Lord of Kennselach, plundered and destroyed CLonmore in 1040, and in 1041 it met a similar fate from Donogh, the son of Bryan“.

The church of St John the Baptist  (CoI) in Clonmore was erected in 1827 in the late English style of architecture, with an embattled tower, on a site provided on part of the Wilton Castle estate, chosen after some contention between Mr Alcock, who wished to have it near his home, and Mr Shepard of Clonmore, who wanted it on the old site near his residence. The compromise was to build halfway between both places, an English mile from the old site at Clonmore in the townland of Ballybuckley, but with the old parish name of Clonmore. It is the final resting place of well-known historical parish names such as Alcock, Beatty and Lett.

Ballybrittas Dolmen, dated to 1800 BC, is situated classically on the side of a hill close to a river (the Boro), but can be difficult to find as it is tucked away in the corner of a field. As the unusually slim capstone has slipped off the portal stones and now rests horizontally on the chamber, it has been said to resemble a megalithic ironing board. It is one of two Portal Tombs in the parish; the other, a ruin, is sited at Barmoney, near Galbally. (Photo by Anthony Weir)

Galbally church was built in 1829 for 2000 pounds, provided by John Hyacinth Talbot MP of Talbot Hall.

Bellevue House

Bellevue House on the west bank of the river Slaney was built in 1737 by George Ogle, rumoured to have had royal parentage. He died at Bellevue in 1746. His son, George, MP for Wexford from 1768 to 1796, was Grand Master of the Orange Institution of Ireland and commander of the local Shelmalier Volunteer infantry, aka “Ogle’s Bloody Blues” for their exploits during the 1798 Rebellion.

In 1825 the house and demesne were purchased by New Ross banker Anthony John Cliffe, who is believed to have employed Daniel Robertson to modernise the mansion. The Cliffes, who unlike their predecessors were benign and popular landlords, shocked “Society” by converting to Roman Catholicism in 1856.

Anthony Loftus Cliffe died in December 1921. His widow, the former Lady Frances Power of Edermine House, went to live in London, leaving Bellevue unoccupied except for a caretaker family in the basement.

On the night of 28th January 1923, a group of armed men ordered them out before torching the house. One neighbour recalled that “every local man and woman who went to Bellevue that night was crying. They looked on helplessly as the flames leaped a hundred feet into the sky. They knew that that was the end of Bellevue where their families for generations before them had worked. The light from the flames could be seen for miles. In a short time the once beautiful mansion was reduced to a smouldering ruin.”

The demesne walls, gate lodges and entrances are all that remain, together with Bellevue chapel (RC), built in 1859 as a private chapel by JJ McCarthy to a design by AW Pugin, which now serves the parishioners of Ballyhoge. The vandals who destroyed the house were careful not to damage a consecrated edifice.

Macmine Castle was built by the Norman Fitzhenry family, who held the castle and land until the Cromwellian period, when it passed to the Richards family. A 1798 map shows Macmine Castle in the possession of Pierce Newton King, whose name is perpetuated by King’s Island; his descendants added a large mansion, but were forced to sell the property for financial reasons in 1860. Fully restored, the castle was later leased to the Benedictine Nuns of Ypres, and then bought by the Flood family of Castleboro, who never lived there but farmed the lands, stripping the castle of its lead roof and anything of value. Since 1965 the property has belonged to the Dunne family.

The short-leafed water-starwort, Ireland’s rarest plant, was found once locally in 1897, but has never been spotted again in the River Slaney Valley or anywhere else on the island.

Killurin is a picturesque little village surrounded by attractive countryside.

Killurin church (CoI), a handsome rural edifice with an imposing tower, dates from 1785.

The Deeps / Kyle Castle, a medieval Tower House on the eastern bank of the River Slaney, was owned in the C16th by a branch of the Devereux family, passed after the Cromwellian land redistributions into the hands of the Randalls, associated with the introduction of Quakerism to the area, and is said to have hosted King James II on his flight south after the 1690 Battle of the Boyne; it is now  in ruinous condition.

The railway line that runs through Killurin along the west bank of the River Slaney was frequently the target of the local IRA unit, the Kyle Flying Column, commanded by Bob Lambert, during the War of Independence and the Civil War. Several trains were derailed and rolling stock was destroyed during attempts to disrupt the communication between Dublin and Wexford.

The Bridge of the Deeps spanning the River Slaney used to have a lifting section in the middle, now sealed by tar / asphalt.

Killurin Lodge B&B is very highly recommmended on the Internet.

Killurin is quite near both Castlebridge on ByRoute1 and Wexford Town.

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