Enniscorthy - all things for all tastes

Whatever you want to do on holiday, you can do it in Enniscorthy and in the countryside around the town. There's fishing for salmon and trout in the Slaney River, boating, swimming, horse-racing, squash, pitch and putt,twice-weekly greyhound racing, hurling, football, rugby, soccer. tennis, cricket, snooker and golf. There are numerous resorts and beaches near Enniscorthy including Curracloe, Blackwater and Ballyconniger Strand. It also provides beautiful forest and river walks near Enniscorthy and has very ancient history in Dolmens and Bronze Age remains at Bree and Newbawn, and medieval sites at Motabeg and Brownswood.

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For Further information you may contact :
Tourist Information Office : Bord Failte Tourist Office,Enniscorthy Castle.
                           : (open from June to mid - September).                                                     
Phone                      : 054 35926.

Enniscorthy Castle

Enniscorthy Castle, a square towered castle rebuilt about 1586, is in perfect preservation and is now a folk museum which is open to the public. The original castle here may have been erected by Raymond le Gros. Later it came into the hands of the MacMurrough Kavanaghs, who granted it to the Franciscan monastery.

After the suppression of the monasteries the castle and lands were held by a succession of owners, including the poet Spenser. The castle was damaged by Cromwell's guns in 1649. During the 1798 Rising it was used as a prison, and in the nineteenth century it was restored for use as a residence.

Enniscorthy Highlights in its History

510 AD A Saint pays a call

Less than 20 years after St. Patrick came to Ireland, St. Senan, from Slattery Island in the Shannon Estuary, visited Templeshannon on the east bank of the beautiful River Slaney. Clearly he liked what he saw because he est

1205 AD The Castle on the hill

When the Normans built a castle they built it to last. Enniscorthy Castle, in the centre of the town and overlooking the Slaney River, proves the point. Nearly 800 years after its construction, the huge castle is still in remarkable condition. Though restored and modernised in recent times many original features remain. The three drum towers which flank the castle are classics of their kind.

Down the centuries the castle had many owners, including the poet Edmund Spenser. It is said that he was given the castle by Elizabeth 1 of England in gratitude for his epic 'The Faerie Queen' which said many flattering things about her. Nowadays, Enniscorthy Castle is the home of the County Wexford Historical and Folk Museum which features a fascinating collection of artifacts. One of its nicest features include the 1798 and 1916 rooms for memorabilia of those famous uprisings.

1798. Vinegar Hill and the pride of Enniscorthy.

Of all the battles in Ireland's history none grips the imagination and stirs the blood more than that of Vinegar Hill during the rebellion of 1798. The rebels captured the town and the so-called impregnable castle and set up their headquarters on Vinegar Hill, on the east bank of the Slaney River. Using a ruined windmill on the summit as a makeshift fort, they held out for over 30 days against vastly superior forces. In the end they were compelled to withdraw after considerable loss of life, but the heroism displayed on Vinegar Hill is celebrated in song and story to this day. Today, in quieter times, you can enjoy a spectacular view of Enniscorthy and the winding Slaney river from the site of the old windmill. They say that if you stand on Vinegar Hill in the twilight on a summmer evening, you may hear the sound of cannons and the clash of steel all around you. But that may be just a story...

Enniscorthy wears its history like a medal of honour

The town planners have taken care to preserve the historical integridity of Enniscorthy. In Market Square, close by the huge 13th century Norman Castle you will find Oliver Shephard's classical memorial in bronze to the heroes of Vinegar Hill and the 1798 insurrection. The streets, still steep and irregular, wind down charmingly to the slaney. While over on the West bank of the river, the beautiful Gothic church of St. Aidan's reminds us that Enniscorthy is the Cathedral town of County Wexford. Designed by Pugin in 1847. St Aidan's tall spire, fine doorway and exquisite east window are recommended viewing. But there is lots more to Ennicorthy than history .......

Strawberry Fair

Enniscorthy lies in the heart of soft-fruit farming territory in county Wexford. To coincide with the harvest, the spectular Strawberry Fair 'explodes' into action in the first week of July. Thousands of people from Ireland and abroad join in the festivities as strawberries and cream - and the odd pint - are consumed with maximum enjoyment.

Pottering About Enniscorthy

In Enniscorthy and the area local crafts abound, including knitwear, leather and coach-building. But it is the art of pottery that has brought Enniscorthy so much international fame in recent years.

Hillview Pottery

There is no greater exponent of the potter's art than Paddy Murphy of Hillview whose family have been 'working the potteries' in the Enniscorthy area for 400 years. Star of the television series 'Hands' and 'Ireland's Eye' and with appearances on the 'Late, Late, Show', Paddy's skill at the potter's wheel is legendary. So much so that every year hundreds of people come to his premises, just to see him work. But now, Paddy has a new apprentice - his nephew Derek O'Rourke. Working at his own specially designed potter's wheel, Derek is fast earning a reputation as an expert pot-maker. Yet another generation of this famous pottery family comes into its own!. Hillview pottery products include a range of over 80 decorative and ornamental flower pots, as well as chimmey pots and cowl's, lamp bases, hanging bowls, fruit bowls, vases - you name it, Paddy or his nephew will make it!. Paddy's door is always open to visitor.

Kiltrea Bridge Pottery

The Blackstairs mountains and the Urrin river provide an inspirational background for the award-winning work of Michael Roche of Kiltrea Pottery. Since returning from Finland in 1980, he has contributed enormously to the revival of Enniscorthy's ancient pottery tradition. Combining the skills of the craft potter with modern ceramic practices, Michael and his assistants produce patio, conservatory and interior terracotta plant pots which have won an unrivalled reputation for craftsmanship and distinctive glazes. The Kiltrea range can be seen in many of Ireland's prestigious offices, shopping complexes and hotels, such as Dublin's Hibernian Way, Dromoland Castle and the Custom House Dock project.

As well as their famous garden and patio range of hand-thrown pots, Kiltrea produces a range of kitchen accessories and other items. Included in the Kiltrea Pottery complex is a newly opened hand weaving studio. Visitors can buy directly from Kiltrea's recently re-designed pottery shop which is open throughout the year, Monday to Saturday (10am - 5.30pm).

Carley's Bridge Pottery

This famous pottery, the oldest in Ireland, was founded in 1650 by the two Carley brothers from Cornwall. They had travelled to Enniscorthy in search of a local supply of clay which they found just outside the town. Carley's Bridge first made its name by producing bricks, tiles, drainage pipes and country kitchen ware. Indeed many of these 'antique' items can be seen in the Agricultural Museum in Johnstown Castle and the County Historical and Folk Museum in Enniscorthy Castle. Nowadays Carley's Bridge specialises in hand-thrown teracotta pots for the home and garden. Using ancient skills, blended with new creative ideas and designs, a range of pottery which is attractive, original and beautiful, is functionally produced. Working in Ireland's oldest pottery provides the potter with a wealth of tradition and history from which to create new and unusual designs. Just 2km from Enniscorthy town, Carley's Bridge is open Monday to Friday 8.30 am - 4.30 pm.

Badger Hill Pottery

1991 brought another pottery to Enniscorthy. Bill Connor has returned from many years abroad and now makes stonewear oven to table pots at his home studio, Badger Hill, Ballinavary, Davidstown.
to Wexford to RTC Carlow
AK 19th September 1997