Wexford Waters Tour
With more than 200 km of coastline, much of it blanketed in fine, golden sand, Wexford has few rivals when it comes to amazing beaches! Clean, safe and sandy these beaches are ideal for families, particularly as the waters off the Wexford coast are much calmer than those around the south and west of the country, creating the perfect environment for swimming, surfing, kayaking and sailing.
In fact our beaches are so good, they have even attracted Hollywood, with Stephen Speilberg filming Saving Private Ryan here on Curracloe Beach back in 1998!
This tour takes you along our coastline visiting some of our more famous spots and even giving you the opportunity to head out onto the water for a whistle-stop tour of the Saltee Islands, read on for more information!
Boat Trip in Kilmore
Our first stop is at Kilmore Quay. This area is steeped in history, so much that it leaks into the modern world, it is the home of the old Yola dialect, it has one of the oldest graveyards in Ireland, the old customs are still strong here, you’ll see wooden crosses tied to trees and the village itself, thanks to 4 locals determined to keep the past present, is filled with thatched cottages each one prettier than the next. When you come into the harbour, the sea stretches out before you, an area known as the “graveyard of a thousand ships”. And just off shore you will see in the distance the Saltee Islands, a world renowned bird sanctuary.
The Karen Ann is a charter boat used for all day fishing tours, but today you will be getting a shortened trip around the area. After a safety briefing, you will set sail along the coast and out around the Saltees as your skipper tells you about the kind of fish that can be caught here, a little of the history of the area and the wonderfully eccentric Prince Micheal 1, ruler of the Saltees!
Coming on shore, with all that fresh air you will be starving! So its now time to try some of the fish for yourself. And Kehoes Bar, just a short stroll up the hill is the perfect place
The pubs previous owner, a keen amateur diver spent over 3 decades diving down to the wrecked ships beneath the waves, every wonderful piece of nautical treasure he found is now on display in the bar. Ships doors serve as tables, the fireplace is made from old masts, and across the walls are many drawings and photos of Kilmore’s past.
You will have plenty of time to admire these artefacts as you tuck into one of Kehoes famous seafood platters featuring that morning’s catch. Crab claws, prawns, herrings, smoked mackerel and salmon and much more, served alongside thick slices of homemade bread and homemade butter.
Hitting the road again we travel along the Norman Way down the coast towards the Hook Peninsula. Scattered along the route are ruined Castles and Abbeys, Your guide will entertain you with stories of the Pirates of Dollar Bay and the “Creek of Baginbun, were Ireland was lost and won”
The landscape changes from lush green agricultural land to the medieval salt fields to incredible sea views as we make our way further down the coast.
Ballyhack Smoked Salmon
We will arrive eventually in the small seaside village of Ballyhack, here to meet Micheal Walsh of Ballyhack Smokehouse. This fascinating man has grown up in the fishing industry, out fishing on the trawlers, filleting and gutting like a pro before he had cut his back teeth! He now runs one of the last remaining Smokehouses in Wexford and using an 80 year old Smokehouse, his Salmon has won many national and international awards. The salmon can talk up to three days to be smoked to perfection using a special blend of beech chippings. Unlike modern smoked fish which can be done in a matter of hours, the difference is in the taste!
You will have an opportunity to watch the fish being filleted, hear about the industry, what sells and why and to whom. You will also get to sample some of the salmon direct from the smoker and take a 100gm packet home to enjoy later.
Our final stop for the day is out on the very end of the famous Hook Peninsula, Hook Lighthouse.
A World Heritage Site, this lighthouse is the oldest functioning lighthouse in the world! For 800 years this stout tower has stood here. Inside each floor tells a different stage of its history, from the first keepers of the tower 800 years ago, the medieval hero Sir William Marshal that commisioned the tower and the keepers that saw the introduction of oil and in turn electricity.
The views from the top are exceptional, and if the skies are clear, you may even spot the Saltees Islands in the distance!
Before we leave, you can purchase a locally brewed craft beer, tea or coffee and enjoy the last of the day before we depart for home