Now that the beautiful Garden County of Wicklow is behind me it was time to head into very familiar territory for me - Wexford. I skipped past the areas around Courtown that I know very well and moved on to my first port of call in Ballygarret. This village is very close to our holiday home, so I did not stay long. However, I did discover from locals that the church has six Harry Clarke Studio stained glass windows and that the pews are made from the wreck of a ship. Such scraps of local history are what I hope to glean a lot more of as I go around Ireland.
|Coastal erosion at
Coastal erosion is a constant feature in Wexford and my first stop at Knocknasillogue (near Blackwater) demonstrates this is stark detail. Here I saw a huge wall of sand left behind from an easterly storm. All along the coast there are many situations similar to this - both the Council and local groups have spent massive amounts of money on coastal protection. Evidence of this can be seen in Cahore and in Ballyconnigar beach where large boulders have been arranged as coastal defences against the sea. Residents' groups, including our own in Skuna Bay, are constantly watching out for erosion - but the sea is relentless and if nothing is done, Wexford will a shrinking county for many years to come.
|Coastal protection at
Blackwater is famous for its Ballyconnigar beach, but this now suffers from the necessary but ugly coastal protection works that unfortunately detract from its former glory as a wonderful Wexford beach. In the picture to the right you can just about see the remains of a building that has largely fallen into the sea.
Curracloe is next as I neared Wexford town. This fantastic beach was also used for the 1998 movie -Saving Private Ryan, as it is similar to the Normandy beaches from D-Day. The beaches here seem endless, with only a few people using them. I can't help thinking that the sand dunes to the left in the photo would be full of high rise apartment blocks if this was in a sunnier climate. It is unspoilt, but lovely and quiet.
|Wexford Wildfowl Reserve.
The final part of this stage of my trip was to the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve which is situated just north of Wexford town. This was a first for me as I had never been here before. The North Slobs in Wexford lie three metres below sea level, so need to be pumped out on a regular basis to stop flooding. A pump house built in the early 1850's serves the purpose, with new pumps provided over the years.
While there are a lot of birds here, you really need proper binoculars to enjoy this location. I had basic ones (8x) which at least allowed me to see a bit more - but stronger ones are needed. I loved the "Geese Only Beyond This Point" sign!
That's it for today - I'm off to South Wexford and Waterford tomorrow.