Wexford Harbour, Town & Environs

The Raven & The Slobs

 

The Raven is a long sandy peninsula protecting the north side of the entrance to Wexford Harbour from the Irish Sea. (Photo – www.discoverireland.com)

 

The Raven Nature Reserve is important for its large number of dune slacks and is a site for four species of rare vascular plants and other interesting species including Helleborine, Wintergreen, Pyramid and Bee orchids as well as the richly coloured Northern Marsh-orchid.

 

The Raven is home to Ireland’s three amphibians, the Common frog, the Smooth Newt and the Nutterjack Toad, plus a wide range of butterflies, moths and other interesting insects.

 

 

Natterjack Toad (Photo by Paul Edgar)

 

One of Ireland’s rarest breeding sea birds, the Little Tern, nests on sand banks at the southern tip of the Reserve. The Raven also provides secure high-tide roosting places for large numbers of waders throughout the year.

 

Mammal species occurring at the Reserve include Ireland’s smallest mammal, the Pigmy Shrew, as well as two endemic species, the Irish Hare and the Irish Stoat.

 

Raven Wood is the starting / finishing point of an exceptionally pleasant Loop walk that takes in part of Curracloe Beach. (Photo – www.irishbutterflies.com)

 

The Raven is easily accessible from Curracloe on ByRoute 1.

 

Wexford Wildlife & Nature Reserve, part of the North Slobs, has an interesting Visitors Centre, an Observation Tower and well-camouflaged hides.

 

Over 260 avian species have been recorded here, many of them rare. (Photo – Heritage Southeast)

 

The variety of migrating birds in spring and autumn can be truly spectacular. In winter, as many as 10,000 Greenland White-fronted Geese, a third of the world’s population, feed here by day and roost on the Raven. Other habitués include Brent Geese, Bewick swans and widgeon.

 

Access is gained via Ardcavan Lane off the R741 north of Wexford Town.

Drinagh is a district between Wexford Town and the South Sloblands.

Killiane Castle, originally erected c.1470 by a branch of the Cheevers family, was annexed to a C17th house that was subsequently extended and altered on several occasions, is now  Killiane Castle Country House & Farm, run by the Mernagh family as an exceptionally elegant Guesthouse offering full, B&B and self-catering  accommodation facilities.

St Helen’s church, a small medieval edifice that was already in ruins by 1835, shares its enclosing wall with a cemetery reputed to be the burial place of the Cheevers family.

Rosslare Point

 

Rosslare Point, no matter what the maps say, no longer exists!

 

It used to be a long spit of sand stretching northwards, almost touching Raven Point, giving Wexford Harbour a very narrow entrance. At the end of the spit was a small fort called Rosslare Fort.

 

In the winter of 1924-25 a storm breached the spit and it was gradually washed away. The fort was abandoned and now all that is left is an island at low tide. Most maps of Ireland, however, still show the long spit of sand.

 

Rosslare Point was the site of an early lifeboat station from 1838 to 1851, re-established as Rosslare Fort in 1859 following the wreck of the American emigrant ship Pomona, with the loss of 386 people. The station has since been replaced by a modern facility at Rosslare Harbour.

 

The section of Wexford Bay between Rosslare Point and Greenore Point has long been called South Bay / Rosslare Bay.

 

Rosslare and Greenore Point are on ByRoute 1.