If you follow the Ring of Hook drive, you will inevitably arrive at Hook Head and accordingly Hook Lighthouse.
I visit here regularly as it's a magnificent place to come at any time of the year.
Even on a Summer's day it's a bit blustery and the wind whips up the waves around the dramatic rock formations here.
The lighthouse is right at the end of the peninsula and it's still operational. In fact, it is oone of the oldest operational lighthouses in the world. It was built over 800 years ago in the 1300's. Many of the ancient Norman structures in Ireland remain standing today.
In recent years the lighthousekeeper's houses have been renovated and turned into a great visitor's centre. More of that in a seperate tip.
There are guided tours of the lighthouse all year round at the cost of 6 euro per adult with reduced fees for children and Senior citizens.
I didn't venture up there today, but I took several really nice pics.
Next time I plan to climb to the top and look across to the sister lighthouse at Dunmore East in Co. Waterford.
Great Views, the water is so clear and you can see for miles, There are guided tours hourly there are also restrooms, a gift shop and Cafe, You can also go to the rocky beach area and look for live shells, have a picnic etc, there were also numerous people diving there.
As you drive from Enniscorthy towards New Ross, you will pass the silver tree just sitting there in a field about five kilometres outside Clonroche. When I first saw it I thought I was imagining things, so I went off about my business and drove back two hours later. It was still there!
It is literally in the middle of the field, there is nothing to explain why - but it looks simply beautiful. There are musical instruments, fruit and other items (also in silver) hanging from the tree. I am sure it's meant to symbolise something and I'll see what I can find out. I took six pics, but only two were clear. I think the bright sunlight created a dazzling affect around the tree.
There is a fairly modern legend that tells the tale of a game of cards at Loftus Hall. This was a fine and elegant stately home (and indeed still looks that way....from a distance) and noblemen and other members of the gentry would stop by here on their travels through Ireland.
The story goes that one night one of many card games was being played at the Hall. As you can imagine, in such a fine house copious glasses of wine and snifters of brandy were being imbibed.
One of the card players dropped his hand and bent to collect his cards from the floor. As he did, he noticed that the luckiest player had cloven (hoofed) feet. It was the Devil himself! As soon as Lucifer was recognised, he shot out of his chair and through the roof of Loftus Hall, leaving a hole which cannot be repaired.
I don't know the truth of the story, but the place is indeed really spooky and I believe that there is indeed an irreparable hole in the roof.
In recent times the Hall was a pub and restaurant, but it was never successful and is now closed up.
Today I stopped to take pics for this tip. I was snapping away and suddenly a very strange thing happened - my camera went completely our of focus. I simply could not get the camera to refocus, so I gave up and went back to the car - at that point, the camera once again focused perfectly.
This is a true story, I kid you not!
Loftus Hall is on the Ring of Hook road about a mile from Hook Head.
Many tourists come through County Wexford going to or from any of the big ferries that dock in Rosslare Harbour.
However, it's mainly the locals that will know of Hook Head and the Ring of Hook drive. I'll do a seperate tip (maybe even a Travelogue) on the drive (including directions), but when you get right down to Hook Head it's spectacular.
Have you ever heard the expression "By Hook or by Crooke?" Well, that expression originated here and refers to a historical threat to take Ireland "By Hook or by Crooke" - meaning, by way of Hook Head, or across the bay at Crooke in Passage East, Co. Waterford.
Hook can be a wild spot, especially when the weather is stormy. On those occasions, drive down and sit in your car just watching the wild sea as the waves crash over the rocks and the cliffs. If you venture outside to feel the sting of the sea spray on your face, be wary of freak waves in the wild weather.
On milder days, such as today, walk along the seafront over the cliffs and marvel at the rock formations and the rock pools below as the wind whisks your skirt up and blows wildly through your hair. I'm posting a pic of myself, taken today - I felt a bit like Cathy in Wuthering Heights....windswept.
When I was younger, there were notices here warning of blow holes in the cliffs. Those notices are gone now, so I think they must have filled in the holes.
On a clear day you can see right across to the lighthouse at Dunmore East, Co. Waterford.
I'd advise you to bring walking shoes and comfortable clothes. I arrived in a skirt and sandals today, and all I wanted to do was climb down onto the rocks and photograph the rock pools.
There are lots of poeple here as it's a popular spot, but somehow you'll still manage to feel exposed to the elements and almost alone.
Desolate is the word that springs to mind.
I heard about Curracloe years ago when my sister was a trainee nurse in Wexford.
Years later I heard about it again when I became involved in a big conservation project with an American guy who subsequently became a great friend of mine.
As a result, Curracloe is a place very close to my heart.
It is situated seven miles from Wexford in the Gorey direction, and is a very pretty beach resort. In my opinion the most noteable thing about this resort is the spectacular sand hills which become overgrown with wild grasses in the Winter and look like something from a wilderness movie.
It is in an area of great natural beauty, adjoining the Wexford Slobs, and subject to a protection order by the Local Authority.
Naturally it is a haven for birdwatchers, and also for several protected species of animal and insect.
Take a drive along the Ballinesker road, along by the sandhills adjoining the beach, and marvel at the beauty of nature.
By the beach and sandhills there is very little that has spoiled the natural beauty. The houses in the main blend in perfectly, and there is the cutest thatched cottage at one end of that road overlooking the dunes. There are no shops or bars in this area, and the shops etc that exist are suitably located a short distance away.
Well worth a visit and be prepared to fall in love with nature.
This picture was taken by a local pilot who kindly took an ariel picture of my daughters house. As you can see they do gave quite a bit of land with the property, this was taken before they finished having it landscaped.They live in Bannow Bay.
Here is my youngest great grand child Dominic he is seven going on 30 something! A wonderful place for the children to grow up,here he is trying to catch a nap in his grandads hammock, but finding it to hard in case he missed something.
This is my second home, so very quiet and peaceful that is until all three great grand children come to visit!! As you can see in the picture she has quite a large garden with plenty of room for them all to run around in. Even the dog is laid back!!
This is my sisters house so it is very special to me ( and her I should imagine ) hehehe. She moved to Ireland about 5 years ago, as she is married to a true Wexford man, her son and daughter have followed in her footsteps and have never looked back. Wish I had the courage to up sticks and go ..............
Ballyhack is the tiny village where the Passage East ferry travels from, it is nice to park here and watch the ferry travelling to and fro, beware of the very steep hill on the left of the ferry especially if you are on a push bike.
We came across this Garden Centre by mistake and not choice, so I cannot tell you how to find it, all I know is we were on our way from Cork to Waterford, and saw a small sign saying Garden Centre. We went up a very steep lane and it looked as if we were going no-where , then we came to it, and had a very pleasant couple of hours there.
The beach at Bannow, just up the lane is the old church, well worth a visit, and carry on up the lane to the Brandarn Inn (m spelt wrongly I think ) you cannot miss it, it is painted bright PINK, but Mary will make you very welcome especially if you can play an instrument- go along on a saturday night it sure is an experience that everyone should have at least once!!!!!!!
Courtown harbour is about 30 km north of Enniscorthy, just another 6 km from Gorey. It's very popular with Dubliners in the summer and you can walk up to Roney Point...sometimes you can see seals there.
Talk about off the beaten path, if it wasnt for the fact that I was with a local, I'd never be able to find the place!! :) But follow the Bannow drive and you'll come across a sign eventually for Cullenstown strand and just drive slowly down the windy narrow roads to get there.
It's a nice beach and there are excellent views of Hook head to the west and the ferries from Rosslare in the east. Off in the distance you can see the Saltee Islands.