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Owing to its strategic position across St George\u2019s\nChannel from south Wales, the south-east of Ireland is one of the country\u2019s\nmost colonised areas. The Vikings founded Ireland\u2019s first major towns on the\nRiver Slaney and the Anglo Normans also had a big say on the way the region\ndeveloped, building castles across County Wexford\nand neighbouring County Kilkenny.
Reminders of the county\u2019s Viking and Norman past\nare revealed in the meandering lanes off Main Street in Wexford. The Bull Ring\nwas originally a beach that took delivery of the town\u2019s provisions before\nbecoming a bull-baiting venue. Nearby, St Iberius\u2019 Church is worth visiting for\nits superb Georgian interior and acoustics.
The fascinating past of the county\u2019s second biggest\ntown, Enniscorthy, is inextricably tied to the famous 18th century Irish\nuprising against British rule. The compelling story is retold at the National\n1798 Rebellion Centre, its exhibits chronicling Wexford\u2019s\nfailed efforts to free itself. Most of the events unfolded on nearby Vinegar\nHill, while Enniscorthy Castle was used as a prison by the rebels \u2013 today it is\nhome to a museum.
The beautiful Hook Peninsula is best explored by\ncar. The Ring of Hook coastal drive takes in secluded beaches, historic ruins\nand fine seafood restaurants, while the world\u2019s oldest working lighthouse can\nbe found at the tip of the peninsula. Built in the 13th century, a tour will\ntake you to its top via 115 steps. Other sights include ghostly Loftus Hall and\nsecluded Tintern\nAbbey.
Ireland\u2019s largest bird sanctuary, the Saltee\nIslands, can be enjoyed from Kilmore Quay while a fantastic Blue Flag\nbeach can be found at Rosslare.\nThe village of Carne is home to another fine stretch of sand and is a great\nplace to sample some of the best seafood in Ireland.
The treacherous journey across the Atlantic Ocean\nto America, undertaken by a generation of Irish in the wake of the 1840s potato\nfamine, can be relived with a visit to the Dunbrody Famine Ship, docked on the\nwaterfront in New\nRoss.
Johnstown Castle and Gardens, near Wexford,\nis the site of a striking 19th century house, lovely wooded gardens and the\nIrish Agricultural Museum, while more than 9,000 years of\nhistory are packed into the Irish National Heritage Park in Ferrycarrig.
Located in Dunganstown, the Kennedy Homestead is\nthe birthplace of Patrick Kennedy, great-grandfather of one of America\u2019s most\nrevered presidents. John F Kennedy paid a visit to the farm in 1963 and, today,\nthe outbuildings house exhibits examining the family\u2019s history on both sides of\nthe Atlantic. JFK is also honoured at an idyllic arboretum just over a mile\naway.