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| Wexford (Irish: Loch Garman, Old Norse: Veisafjorðr or Waes Fiord, Latin: Menapia) is the county town of County Wexford in Ireland. It is situated near the south-eastern tip of Ireland, close to Rosslare Europort. The town is connected to the capital Dublin via the M11/N11 National Primary Route (European route E1), and the national rail network. Recently Wexford enjoyed a building boom resulting in new developments across the county and town.
The town of Wexford closely follows the quays, which run northwest to southeast and are built upon reclaimed land. The main street runs more or less parallel to the river and is about a mile long from Redmond Square at the northwest end to Barrack Street at the southeast end. It starts as Selskar Street, then North Main Street from the junction with George's Street, runs into the square called the Bull Ring, then proceeds as South Main Street. Almost all the shops in Wexford lie along this one line, although new retail centres on the town's outskirts are now attracting the larger multiples. Wexford serves a large hinterland in South County Wexford, including townlands and villages such as Ballycogley and Castlebridge.
A modern bridge connects Wexford town with the northern part of the county. At 480 metres, it is one of the longest bridges in Ireland.
Over the last decade, Wexford has witnessed some major developments such as the Key West centre on the Quays, the redevelopment of the quayfront itself, Whites Hotel and the huge new residential development of Clonard Village, roughly 4km. from the town centre. Recently, Tesco opened up a new store in the town, on the former site of the Pierce Foundry. The store is the supermarket chain's largest in Ireland outside Dublin.
Wexford lies on the south side of Wexford Harbour, the estuary of the River Slaney. According to a local legend, the town got its Irish name, Loch Garman, from a young man named Garman Garbh who was drowned on the mudflats at the mouth of the River Slaney by flood waters released by an enchantress. The resulting lake was thus named, Lake of Garman. The town was founded by the Vikings in about 800 AD. They named it Veisafjorðr, inlet of the mud flats, and the name has changed only slightly into its present form. For about three hundred years it was a Viking town, a city state, largely independent and owing only token dues to the Irish kings of Leinster.
However, in 1169 Wexford was besieged by Dermot MacMurrough Kavanagh, King of Leinster,and his Norman ally, Robert Fitz-Stephen. The Norse inhabitants resisted fiercely, until the Bishop of Ferns persuaded them to accept a settlement with Dermot. It is largely accepted that the Murphy Clan of Wexford descended from the King's brother.
Ruins of Selskar Abbey, Wexford.Wexford in the Middle Ages was an Old English settlement. An old dialect of English, known as Yola, was spoken uniquely in Wexford up until the 19th century.
By a disputed theory, Mary Seymour - daughter of Thomas Seymour, Baron Seymour of Sudeley, and Catherine Parr, widow of Henry VIII of England - was removed in infancy to Wexford and raised under the care of a Protestant family there, the Harts, who had been engaged in piracy off the Irish coast under the protection of a "profit-sharing arrangement" with her father Thomas Seymour.
County Wexford produced strong support for Confederate Ireland during the 1640s. A fleet of Confederate privateers was based in Wexford town, consisting of sailors from Flanders and Spain as well as local men. Their vessels raided English Parliamentarian shipping, giving some of the proceeds to the Confederate government in Kilkenny. As a result, the town was sacked by the English Parliamentarians during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in 1649. Many of its inhabitants were killed and much of the town was burned.
County Wexford was the centre of the 1798 rebellion against English rule. Wexford town was held by the rebels throughout the fighting and was the scene of a notorious massacre of local loyalists by the United Irishmen, who executed them on the bridge in the centre of Wexford town.
Redmond Square, near the railway station, commemorates the elder John Edward Redmond (1806-1865) who was Liberal MP for the city of Wexford. The inscription reads: "My heart is with the city of Wexford. Nothing can extinguish that love but the cold soil of the grave." His nephew William Archer Redmond (1825-1880) sat as an MP in Isaac Butt's Home Rule Party from 1872 until 1880. The younger John Redmond, son of William Archer Redmond was a devoted follower of Charles Stewart Parnell and leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party till his death in April 1918. He is interred in the Redmond family vault, St. John's cemetery, Upper St. John's Street. Redmond Park was formally opened in 1931 as a memorial to Willie Redmond, younger brother of John Redmond. He was also an Irish Parliamentary Party MP and was killed in 1917 while serving with the 16th (Irish) Division on the Western Front during the Messines offensive, where he was buried. Willie Redmond had sat as a Parnellite MP for Wexford from 1883 until 1885.
Wexford's success as a sea port declined in the twentieth century, because of the constantly changing sands of Wexford Harbour. By 1968 it had become unprofitable to keep dredging a channel from the harbour mouth to the quays in order to accommodate the larger ships of the era, so the port closed. The port had been extremely important to the local economy, with coal being a major import and agricultural machinery and grain being exported. The port is now used exclusively by mussel dredgers and pleasure craft. The woodenworks which fronted the quays and which were synonymous with Wexford were removed in the 1990s as part of an ambitious plan to claim the quay as an amenity for the town as well as retaining it as a commercially viable waterfront. Despite the bankruptcy of the contractor, the project was a success. In the early 20th Century, a new port was built, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) south, at Rosslare Harbour, now known as Rosslare Europort. This is a deepwater harbour unaffected by tides and currents. All major shipping now uses this port and Wexford port is used only by fishing boats and leisure vessels.
Tenpin Bowling -
November 2007 will see a new state of the art Bowling & leisure centre opening in the town.[dated info] The Leisure Max Centre is due to open by the end of November. The centre is planning to offer a pro shop & coaching from former GB Bowler Simon Brown.
Wexford Golf Club has an extensive membership and boasts a top-class course and clubhouse, both of which were built in 2006, while the course was completed in 2007. It is regarded as one of the best parkland courses in the south-east.
In 2007 a new football team, Wexford Youths, was admitted to the FAI National League. This is the first time Wexford has had a team in the competition. Wexford Youths are the brainchild of construction magnate Mick Wallace, who has funded the construction of a state-of-the-art complex for the new team's home at Newcastle, Ferrycarrig.
Gaelic games -
Wexford is also home to several Gaelic Athletic Association clubs. Though the town was traditionally a Gaelic football hotbed, with six teams providing ample outlets for its youngsters, it wasn’t until 1960 that hurling took its foothold, with much due to local man Oliver “Hopper” McGrath’s contribution to the county’s All-Ireland Hurling Final triumph over the then-champions Tipperary. Having scored an early second-half goal to effectively kill-off the opposition, McGrath went on to be the first man from the town of Wexford to receive an All-Ireland Hurling winner’s medal.
The town’s local hurling club, Faythe Harriers, holds a record fifteen county minor championships, having dominated the minor hurling scene in the 1950s, late 1960s and early 1970s. However, the senior side has only enjoyed briefly successful periods, having won just five county senior championships.
Although the team has not achieved county senior football success since 1956, Volunteers (“the Vols”) of Wexford town hold a record eleven county senior titles, as well as six minor titles. Other notable Gaelic football clubs in the town are Sarsfields, St. Mary’s of Maudlintown, Clonard and St. Joseph’s.
Ireland’s boxing head coach and former Irish Olympian Billy Walsh is native of Wexford town and has contributed greatly to the success of underage level boxers with local club St. Ibars/Joseph’s.