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Irish National Heritage Park, Ferrycarrig (County Wexford)

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating
User Rating 4 Star Rating (1 Review)

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The Bottom Line

Unless you are prepared for a lot of travel and to conjure images from ruins you will get no better comprehensive glimpse into Ireland's past than in the Irish National Heritage Park. Located north of Wexford and near an imposing tower house, the park aims to present a few thousand years of Irish history. And actually succeeds - the reconstructed buildings, arranged in chronological order in fabulous wood- and wetlands, convey a unique sense of the past. You will, however, get the best out of your visit on a guided tour and especially at times when re-enactors are active.

Pros

  • Fascinating glimpse into Ireland's past in a spacious natural setting.
  • Authentic reconstructions of buildings allow "hands-on-experience" of the past.
  • Guided tours offer inside knowledge.

Cons

  • Park can feel a bit deserted outside the tourist season.

Description

  • Reconstructed Irish, Viking and Norman buildings from prehistoric to Norman times bring the past to live.
  • The Irish National Heritage Park includes tracks through woodlands and wetlands.
  • Construction methods and building materials are as authentic as possible.
  • Curious fact - the park is bisected by the Wexford-Dublin railroad, leading to occasional anachronistic photo opportunities.

Guide Review - Irish National Heritage Park, Ferrycarrig (County Wexford)

I visited the park twice - once on a hot summer day, joining a tour, seeing re-enactors bring the buildings alive. The other visit was in winter, comprised some flooded areas, no guide, no re-enactors and virtually no other visitors. Where both visits worth it? They certainly were ... the loneliness on a wet winter day allowing for more thorough inspection, the drip-drip-drip from roofs conveying a feeling how life really must have been between half-starvation and rheumatism.

Basically the park is worth a visit whatever the season and/or weather.

Visitors should, however, be aware that this is a theme park but no Disneyland - building materials and methods used are as original as possible. Starting with the pathways (irregular and "dirty" at times) and ending with the buildings themselves (low doorways and dark interiors abound). Instead of a sanitized version of Ireland's heritage you get a presentable, yet authentic, open-air museum.

As the reconstructions cover a wide period and everything from megalithic tombs to a Norman fortress picking favorites is hard. Among the highlights are

  • a crannog, a Bronze Age homestead on an artificial island,
  • a rath or ring-fort,
  • a horizontal watermill,
  • a monastic settlement complete with painted high cross and
  • a Viking boatyard and farm on the lakeshore.

The museum has a souvenir shop and a restaurant to round off your visit.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 4 out of 5
Guide is the key, Member clyde.loflin

Our visit to the park was a year ago on a bus tour of Ireland. Even though it had rained the walking trails were not bad and the villages or houses were not bothered. The enjoyment of the park was due to our guide, Jimmy O'Rourk. His explanations were well done and clear and he answered all questions easily. Jimmy had a great sense of humor which was a plus factor. Historical information can be quite dry,but our group seemed to have absorbed the history and been entertained as well. Jimmy reminded me of Barry Fitzgerald.

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