Wexford - Irish Pictures (1888)

From Irish Pictures Drawn with Pen and Pencil (1888) by Richard Lovett

Chapter II: The Garden of Ireland … concluded

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The railroad from Wooden Bridge to Wexford passes through a country which, if not quite equal to the Vale of Avoca, yet presents much to charm the eye. Wexford itself is a quaint, busy little seaport, inseparably associated with Oliver Cromwell, by reason of the terrible assault and capture in 1649, and interesting to the stranger now. It has also unhappy memories connected with the outbreak of 1798. The massacre on the Bridge of Wexford, and the Battle of Vinegar Hill, testify both to the passionate desire on the part of the insurgents to throw off the English yoke, and to the stern suppression of the rising by the Government of that day. Like its neighbour Waterford, Wexford owes its foundation to the Danes, and commemorates that fact in its name.

The town of New Ross and the city of Waterford are both well worth a visit. The sail along the Barrow from the one to the other is very enjoyable, and at the junction with the Suir a fine view of Dunbrody Abbey is obtained. The approach to Waterford from the sea is striking. As the Milford Haven steamer draws near the entrance to Waterford Harbour, Hook Head, with its prominent lighthouse, juts boldly out into the sea. A few miles to the north-east another promontory can be seen, known as Bag-an-bun Head. On the Hook Head side of this, in the year 1169, Robert Fitzstephen and his companions landed, and began that long strife between English and Irish which has not ceased although nearly seven hundred years have passed since, to use the rhyming legend that has become current—'At Bag-an-bun Ireland was lost and won.'

Waterford is the chief port of South-eastern Ireland, and a great centre of the cattle trade. It is prettily situated on the Suir, the quays stretching for over a mile along the south bank of that river. But it must be admitted that its claims upon the traveller's attention are soon exhausted, however engrossing they may be upon the man of business. The only structure in it that presents a somewhat ancient appearance is Reginald's Tower, on the quay, and this can hardly make good its claim to an existence of over eight hundred years.


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