Wexford, the main town of Co. Wexford, was established by Viking settlers
in AD 850. It was an important port for Norse raiding parties into the
surrounding counties of Wicklow, Carlow, Kilkenny and Waterford
and soon became a key maritime port. This logistic pattern was
followed centuries later by the Norman invaders of Strongbow in 1169 and
today Rosslare Harbour in County Wexford is one of the main entry
points to Ireland with ferry crossings from mainland Europe and the UK.
Outside of the town, Wexford is a county of low lying fertile land and
scenic sandy coasts stretching from Courtown in the north of the county,
to Kilmore Quay in the south and right around the timelessly scenic
Hook Peninsula. On the tip of the peninsula is Hook lighthouse the oldest in Europe.
Throughout its history Wexford stood as a rebellious county to outside
authority. During the Cromwellian Wars, Wexford town was laid siege by
English troops. Fresh from massacring the population of Drogheda,
they overcame the town and put some 1,500 of the town's inhabitants to
the sword. County Wexford again was the scene of an Irish massacre
during the rebellion of 1798, at Vinegar Hill close to Enniscorthy.
Famous names connected to Wexford include John F. Kennedy whose greatgrandfather emigrated from here. There is a memorial centre to JFK, and
the Kennedy Homestead which outlines the Kennedy heritage, is still farmed
by relatives of the late president.