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Historic Town Walks

Historic Town Walks

New Ross Self Guided Historic Town Walk

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Dunbrody Heritage Centre
New Ross
Wexford
Republic of Ireland

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Set on a sharp hill over the River Barrow, New Ross was the site of the first Norman landings on Irish shores in 1169. Over 840 years later, the town retains its medieval feel, with fragments of the old town walls, a tholsel and tight-knit streets evoking the Anglo-Norman port of old.

New Ross’s historic walking trail measures 2.4km, taking about 90 minutes to complete. First stop is the elegant replica famine ship, Dunbrody. The original 19th-century barque carried thousands of emigrants to the USA and visitors can learn about their 45-day journey through a living history experience on the replica. Even the tickets are copies of old passenger contracts.

Next stop is the JFK Memorial on the quays. President Kennedy addressed townspeople here on his Irish visit in 1963 - near the spot where his great-grandfather, Patrick, left for America in 1848. South of New Ross, you can also visit the original Kennedy Homestead at Dunganstown.

Following the success of its port, New Ross was walled in the 13th century. A fragment of the wall, dating from 1265, can be seen along Lower William Street - as can remnants of Maiden Gate and Three Bullet Gate (named after three cannonballs which were fired at it by Cromwell’s forces).

New Ross is also home to the unique Ros Tapestry. Based on designs by painter and embroiderer, Ann Griffin-Bernstorff, its 15 panels tell the story of the town’s origins and were recently completed by some 100 volunteers using a beguiling array of stitching, knots and couching.

Amongst the buildings depicted in the tapestry is St. Mary’s Abbey, one of the first Gothic churches built in Ireland and today a roofless ruin whose soaring proportions look more like a cathedral. A small heart tomb here bears the legend 'Isabel Laegn', suggesting that it was founded by Isabel, grand-daughter and heiress of Dermot MacMurrough and her husband William.

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