We’re blessed to have so many wonderful things to see and do in the area around Spellcast Cottage. We’ve also included our favourite places to eat or get take away…
Nearby is the beautiful town of Bunclody, with a tiny river running through the main street and onto the Blackstairs Mountains where there are many hiking trails.
We highly recommend Altamont Gardens as a way to spend a few hours wandering through beautiful formal gardens and wild woods leading down to the river and up 100 stone steps set in the hill, or take the winding easy route back up. Take a picnic and enjoy. It’s free with only a car park charge of €2.
A 20 minute drive away is Mount Leinster. Its views are stunning. The gated walk on the left of the car park coming up from Bunclody is very, very steep whereas the right hand hill is perfect for families. Bring a picnic and a jacket as it gets very windy but the views are beautiful. Be careful of the steep windy road. There are spots to pull over and allow cars to pass.
6km away is the historic Ferns Castle. Pre covid the free tour took you inside the castle and up to the roof, but now there are outside tours run by the amazing Larry who is a font of knowledge and so friendly. The tours usually last 10 mins. The visitor centre has an amazing tapestry woven by local people depicting the historic events at the castle. Just across the road you can get snacks drinks and ice creams and sit on the grass for a picnic before visiting the rest of historic Ferns.
Take a stroll in the stunning gardens, lake walks and woodlands or enjoy the woodland play area. Watch the peacocks strut by at the castle lakeside with its Gothic towers, waterfall and statues. You can also book a tour inside Johnstown Castle itself which has been lovingly restored and includes a unique 86 metre long servants tunnel. The estate also contains the Irish Agricultural Museum which displays one of the most comprehensive exhibits of farming and rural life in Ireland, as well as an exhibit detailing the great famine.
Wild and beautiful, Hook Lighthouse is one of the must-see places in Wexford. We recommend visiting Tintern Abbey and Loftus Hall on your return journey…
Historic and beautiful, the grounds are amazing for a great wander around. And why not do the 15 minute walk to Vine Cottage Bar for an outdoor lunch?
The most haunted house in Ireland. We recommend checking their website before visiting, for any covid restrictions.
A trip to the Saltee Islands is a popular day out. It’s advisable to book your place on the ferry well in advance, especially during the peak summer months of July and August. The Saltee Islands are one of the most recognizable landmarks of the south Wexford coastline. The islands are home to an array of seabirds, as well as many other species of wildlife.
We chose a hybrid and 2 electric bikes and picked them up from Kilmacthomas. If you give them a time of arrival, your bike will be waiting for you. The electric bikes are great fun. Ours were set to 3 and I cycled happily while being assisted. When I felt I needed more help, I pushed the button to 4 or 5.
We only went one way to Dungarvan but it took about 2 hours, as we took our time, stopping for a roll and coffee at Signal Box takeout cafe, with picnic benches. We cycled down to the pier to Dungarvan Castle and walked the bikes into and around the yard.
Then we dropped the bikes to the Greenway shop opposite the pier and walked up to the bus stop. The bus charges €5 each, back up to the Kilmacthomas car park. Book online
Alba Italian Restaurant
In Enniscorthy, a short drive from the cottage. Great food, friendly staff, nice atmosphere and they have outdoor dining also.
Also in Enniscorthy, this is an excellent takeaway. It and their staff are spotlessy clean and very efficient. The food is always fresh and tasty and the firm favourite with us is the slices of takeaway pizzas which are huge and delicious!
Located in Ferns, a short drive from the cottage. If you’re looking for tasty takeaway chinese food then this, in our opinion, is the best. I prefer to pick up the order myself but they do deliver. The easiest place to park is in the petrol station across the road.
Tasty food and located in Fethard, Neville’s Bar is a handy stop-off if you’re exploring nearby Tintern Abbey, Hook Lighthouse or Loftus Hall.
Vine Cottage Bar
Just a 15 minute walk from Tintern Abbey, Vine Cottage Bar is a traditional Irish pub that has been in the same family for over four generations. Soak up the atmosphere, relax and enjoy the hospitality. Built on the sunny banks of Bannow Bay, the pub also has a spacious beer garden with a dedicated enclosed child safe area. On those chillier days, warm up by the cosy open fire. Fresh tea and coffee with homemade scones are available daily. We love the pizza here and the large courtyard garden.
Pot Belly Cafe
If you’re visiting Wexford Town, Pot Belly Cafe is a handy place to stop in for some tasty takeaway food and a tea or coffee.
Curracloe beach is beautiful, very long and we go there to swim and surf. The Winning Post is the only shop/takeaway/arcade at the beach and at the side is The Surf Shack, see below for details. Or why not go swimming at dawn and watch the sunrise?
The Surf Shack
At Curracloe beach. Suitable for all levels of experience, especially first time surfers! Ages 6 and up. Call them or book online as the time slots fill up very quickly. Get there 20 mins beforehand and the staff will help you with picking a wet suit and shoes, which are all disinfected and cleaned. You are put into groups with 2 or 3 staff and head down to the beach.
After being taught the correct way to stand and move on the board, you take to the water and the fun begins. I cannot stress enough how great the staff are with everyone, of all ages and abilities. They encourage you and push the boards, so you can get up and running. Sessions are 2 and a half hours. If the sea is flat we go sand boarding down the large sand dune or stand-up paddleboarding. Book online
Blackwater Open Farm
A great day out for the kids. They’ll meet animals of all shapes and sizes, pet rabbits and guinea pigs on their laps, and bottle feed the kid goats. There’s lots more to do too, including a playground, giant bouncy castle, go karts and zip line. Book online
Go with the Flow River Adventures
We just tried the Clashganny to Graiguenamanagh canoe trip. It was €30 per person and we booked for 10.30am for 3 hours, for 3 people in a 3 seater canoe. Don’t worry if there’s no one there when you arrive as it’s just the car park and he will arrive at the very last minute. There are toilets and changing rooms.
We wore our wetsuits but long leggings and long sleeve t-shirts and old runners would be fine. I wore a helmet as I had a Go Pro mounted on it but there’s no need for one. Be sure to wear bug spray and take some with you to spray around the canoe.
There is a canal lock about 10 mins in. You have to get out at the wooden deck and lift the canoe out with the rope and carry the canoe around the lock and back into the water but it’s not too heavy and you can rest and take your time.
Going downriver was fun and took about 50 minutes. Follow the arrows to ensure you don’t go on the weir. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery and arrived to Graiguenamanagh village. It is very picturesque. We tied up our canoe to the rail at the stone steps and walked down to the cafe to sit outside and have a drink. They are used to wet suits there!
Then we returned to start back upriver. This was harder but satisfying. There’s no rush though and when we arrived back we lifted the canoe out and left it on the grass. We had a great day and we will try the 6 hour St. Mullins stretch next… but there are 5 locks on that! Book online
A one hour drive from the cottage, Squirrel’s Scramble in Bray is a great place for aerial climbs and zip lines through the trees. It’s in the grounds of Kilruddery House where the Netflix series Winx Saga and Ireland’s Fittest Family are filmed.
You get geared up, taught how to use the safety clips and off you go. It starts off low and gets higher and higher, but you can take a break. It takes about 2 and a half hours.
Afterwards, when we’re out of our gear, we get a pizza delivered from Four Star Pizza, also in Bray. We sit and eat in the covered areas inside or on one of the picnic benches outside. Squirrel’s Scramble is suitable for ages 5 and up. Book online
Rosslare beach is in a typical seaside town. Parking is limited so we advise getting there early. Sandy beach with dunes and an easy walk to local shops and cafes.
The Irish Experience
Located on the Hook peninsula. Let them take you on a journey hiking to the summits of stunning mountains, kayaking down through the picturesque valleys on beautiful yet exciting rivers, or even into the recesses of incredible sea caves. They cater to all levels of experience and provide all the equipment you need. Book online
Irish National Heritage Park
Set on 40 acres of magical woodland, the Heritage Park is a stroll through 9,000 years of Irish history. Explore historic buildings and settlements and see how Ireland’s earliest settlers lived, worked and fought. Get involved in some family activities for an unforgettable Irish history experience. Forage like a pre-historic farmer, meet the birds of prey and complete the Trials of Tuan. Book online
Nine Stones Cycling Loop
A total of 118 km of signposted cycle route across some of the most breathtaking scenery in Ireland. Cyclists will encounter 1,600 metres of climbing but will be rewarded with some fabulous scenery and stunning views, most notably Sliabh Bhuí and the Nine Stones at the summit of Mount Leinster. The cycle trail is on public roads and there are several villages along the way where you can take a well-earned break.
Clonmine Horse & Pony Trekking
A lovely way to spend time. There is a forest walk and a beach ride. If you have children who are inexperienced, the trainer will take the horse on a lead rein and teach them the basics. They’re very nice and professional. The area is wild and beautiful and when the tide is in, it’s incredible. It’s popular, so book ahead of time.
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