Where does a time traveller begin but at the Stone Age, and so my first listing is about the National Heritage Park in Ferrycarraig. Here the story of Ireland begins. It is rather appropriate this wonderful park is based in Wexford as this is most likely one of the first places our Stone Age ancestors reached due to it close proximity to Britain and mainland Europe. Of course back that far the landscape was a little different !
The park is spread out over a number of acres just outside Wexford town and has 16 sites of interest including forts, stone circles, a mini monastery and a water mill. They recommend giving at least 2 hours for a visit but you could easily spend the best part of a day here. The visit begins with a fantastic optional audio-visual presentation explaining a little of the islands early history before you set off into the park itself with a guide or by yourself. If you are self- guiding you can avail of one of the audio tours available in a number of languages. The guides though, are really great, dressed in period costume they are extremely passionate about their jobs, many of them are also working in areas such archaeology and heritage conservation and the park is often used for experiments based on archaeological findings. For example, the Fulacht Fiadh is a pit filled with boiling water used for cooking, making beer, washing ect and on certain days throughout the summer they cook large hunks of ham wrapped in straw for visitors to sample, fantastically tender and beautifully cooked!
Children will love being able to explore the houses, running across the ramparts on the ringfort and taking advantage of the more child-friendly activities such as panning for gold in the river. Adults will enjoy the simply beautiful walk around the park, the woodland trail, a boardwalk, while not very long, leads you across the muddy swamp-like grounds you would never normally get to see and explains the darker story behind the wishing well! You can also stay overnight in the Ringfort, the park providing you with food and beer!
Make sure you make it up the hill and try out the archery, its only €3 per person and should you arrive at a quiet time, they will happily let you have as many tries as your fingers can take!
When you have finished I would really recommend their restaurant, they do a particularly good Irish Stew and always have locally sourced fish and deserts on the menu too. It is not hugely expensive and very convenient if you’re touring the area.
On a final note, I want to acknowledge how accessible the park is for wheelchairs, buggies and for the visually impaired. For the most part, all the sites can be accessed with only one or two with doorways too narrow, and the trails are clearly marked if they are or are not wheelchair accessible. Guide dogs are welcome and a number of the sites have audio units to help people with visual impairments enjoy the sites even further.
It is worth giving the park a ring before making your visit to see if there are any special events on, as they often have re-enactments and other things such as using the cooking pits, hawk displays, and even Viking metalworkers camp out in the park occasionally!
Oh, and by the way, if the last time you were here was on a school tour back in the 80s, the park has grown up just like you have so give it another go!
Adults/ Families / Groups
Varies according to the size of the group but it is €9.50 per adult or €25 for a family
1st May – 31st August 9.30am-6.30pm (last Admission time 5pm)
1st September – 30th April 9.30am-5.30pm
(due to daylight hours last admission time 3pm)