From countryside trails to mountain summits, here are the five best hikes in County Wexford.
Wexford isn’t just the home of delicious strawberries and great sunshine (when we are lucky enough to get it!). This model Irish county is also proudly home to many beautiful and scenic hikes and walks.
As the cornerstone of Ireland’s Ancient East, Wexford has dramatic landscapes rich with heritage and history just waiting to be discovered by the adventurous hiker.
Whether you are looking to stroll by stunning beaches, get lost in the woods, or discover picturesque mountain views, the trails that make up the best hikes in County Wexford contain them all in abundance.
Here are, in our opinion, the five best hikes in County Wexford to experience and explore.
5. Mount Leinster – for the highest point in Wexford and Carlow
Mount Leinster is situated between the counties of Carlow and Wexford; at 794m it is easily the highest point to be found in both Carlow or Wexford. What makes Mount Leinster unique to most Irish hikes is that there is a road that runs the whole way up to the top of the Mountain.
On the summit, there is a transmission site with a mast height of 122m that tops the peak. It is a landmark that can be seen for miles and is in fact Ireland’s highest transmission site.
The transmission site is a popular location that is widely used for hang gliding enthusiasts to launch from. Mount Leinster is also popular with cyclists and has been used in the past on stages of the Tour of Ireland.
4. Ballyteige Burrow, Kilmore Quay – for dreamy dunes and seabirds
The burrow is one of many attractions in the idyllic tourist town of Kilmore Quay, famous for its three routes that give you the choice of walking along the beach, on the manmade path, or even through the dunes themselves.
Views to watch out for from the highest dunes on this hike are Forth Mountain, Ballyteige Castle, Hook Lighthouse, and the Saltee Islands. If you are an avid birdwatcher, make sure to look out for the many seabirds that call the burrow their home.
After your successful hike, why not reward yourself with some fish and chips from the famous Saltee Chipper in Kilmore Quay, commonly known as being one of the best chippers in Ireland.
3. Lacken Hill – Dunbrody Forest – for a beautiful hiking landscape
Lacken Hill offers hikers a beautiful landscape that overlooks the historic town of New Ross. Upon reaching the 198m-high summit, you can expect to see picture-perfect views of Brandon Hill, the Comeragh Mountains, and the Blackstairs Mountains.
On a clear day, you can even see the Barrow Estuary in the far distance. There are four trails to choose from, which will all take you deep through the forests that are rich in wildlife and history, all accompanied by the peaceful sound of Maudlins Stream as an atmospheric backdrop.
Watch out for the three ringforts, which locals say are still under the protection of the fairy folk to this day. Approach these at your own risk!
2. Forth Mountain – for amazing viewpoints
Forth Mountain rises to the height of 235m and is just southwest of Wexford town. It is the only mountain in Ireland that can claim to have a 500-600-million-year-old rock. Forth Mountain, like Vinegar Hill in Enniscorthy, has had its own brush with history and played a very important part in the 1798 rebellion.
While making the ascent up Forth Mountain, be sure to take in the breath-taking views at Skeator Rock of the Wexford coastline, from which you will be able to see panoramic views of the Saltee Islands, Our Lady’s Island, Rosslare, and the Hook Head Lighthouse.
If you decide to go on the Tincurra trails route, you will earn yourself the scenic view of Barntown and the Blackstairs Mountains. There are also the remains of houses built in the early 20th century to look out for and a grotto, which itself also offers a unique viewing point.
1. Carrickbyrne Hill – for stunning views of Wexford countryside
Carrickbyrne Hill is a public woodland steeped in historic significance. The oak wood of Carrickbyrne Hill is known by locals as the “Camp Field.” This name was earned during the 1798 rebellion when insurgents gathered here to prepare before marching off to the battle of New Ross.
Other important historical landmarks to watch out for are the sites of a hedge school and a mass rock from penal law times. It’s well worth taking a moment to explore these sights while undertaking your hike, as you can feel the atmosphere change as if history is coming to life once again.
Carrickbyrne Hill contains four looped trails of approximately 12.5km of moderating difficulties to suit anyone from the most ardent hiker to the humble beginner. The 5km forest walk will bring you to the summit, which will give you a great viewing point to take in the stunning views of the entire Wexford countryside.
Whether you’re looking for exercise, adventure, or just something fun to do this weekend, we believe you can get it all from the best hikes in County Wexford.
By Conor Wickham