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Posted by on Jul 23, 2009 in Festivals, Music, Southeast | 1 comment

Wexford and Its Glorious Opera Festival

Fireworks 2008 3, Opening of last year’s Wexford Opera Festival originally uploaded by Alan Rossiter.

Phil says…

Wexford is a vibrant town located on the southeast coast of Ireland. It is full of independent shops, gourmet restaurants, great pubs and a variety of accommodation options, so it is no surprise that the town has been drawing large crowds of tourists for some time now.

The nearby 74 miles (120km) of sandy beaches and its moderate climate put the icing on the cake to make Wexford a must-see stop. The town is steeped in history and originally got its name from the Vikings, though its main development occurred under Norman rule, after they invaded Ireland in 1169. The Norman influence is still present today with half the names of the town’s inhabitants being of Norman origin.

The town is full of winding, narrow streets and laneways but also has more modern touches such as the long attractive quayside.

For those who love the arts, the best time of year to make that visit is during the Wexford Opera Festival which is held for two weeks at the end of October. Now in its 58th year, the Opera festival is well established and has a dedicated following.

This year the festival boasts the European Premiere of the new version of John Corigliano’s “Ghosts of Versailles.” A co-production with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, the opera is set during the era of Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution. In total, there will be three main operas and a number of ever popular lunch time recitals held throughout the festival; immersing residents and visitors alike in this beautiful art form.

The Opera Festival should provide all the entertainment you need for you stay in Wexford, but don’t forget there are still lots of other things to explore. Take time out to walk the winding streets and alleyways and pop into the shops and craft centres.

When your tummy starts rumbling, head to one of the many fine restaurants which serve fresh local produce. Then hop into one of the many great bars in the town centre for some pre-opera before the evening begins.

Getting around once you get to Wexford is simple. The award winning Wexford Opera House is located on a quaint back street which is easy to locate. The best tip for finding it is to always keep the fly tower in sight which is the main view point on entering the town.

To get to Wexford town itself there are a number of options. The Europort and Rosslare Habour are only 15 minutes away by car and are well signposted from the port. If you are flying in from abroad or from other parts of Ireland, Dublin airport is where you should land. For an easy and hassle-free option you can hire a car from Dublin airport and drive down to Wexford. There are a number of good car rental companies in Dublin that will be able to offer you competitive deals. From Dublin you need to follow the M50 southbound and then join the N11 heading towards Wexford / Rosslare. Signs for the city centre will appear which will then guide you in.

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1 Comment

  1. I’d add, while opera is the focus, there are usually several other sorts of music and at least one Irish music focused act as part of the festival schedule. This year the main Irish music act is Anuna, a vocal/choral group who are very popular in Europe.

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