We set out on our trip to Wexford bright and early on the lovely summer morning of May 19, 2018.
We planned to stop in the Viking city of Waterford for breakfast and a walk around the Viking triangle
As we sped on our way through the highways and byways I gave some of the relevant local history to everybody on board.
As we drove through Carrick on Suir we were soothed by the honeyed voice of liam Clancy whom Bob Dylan described as the greatest ballad singer he had ever heard. Our hearts swelled with pride.
In Waterford some of us partook of a lovely breakfast under the glittering crystal of Waterford Glass. Others made their way to the Granville hotel, birthplace of the patriot Thomas Francis Meagher, a Tipperary family no less.
We walked around the wonderful Viking Triangle with its replica Viking boat, Reginald’s Tower, the old Franciscan abbey Bishops Palace etc. We entered the 18th century Anglican cathedral where once stood the medieval church where Strongbow and Aoife married and the crown of Ireland was handed over the Normans to do with as they wished..
On reaching New Ross we had a tour of the famine ship the Dunbrody. How sad, how devastating, but how strong the Irish spirit which overcome this social catastrophe, this appalling tragedy of the great Hunger of 1845- 1849. So many people left from here seeking a new life in another far land sailing on those coffin ships including some whose ancestors went onto become United States Presidents.
On leaving we sang the Fields of Athenry outside the wall..
By a lonely prison wall
I heard a young man calling
‘Nothing matters Mary, when you’re free’
Against the famine and the crown,
I rebelled, they brought me down
We sped on our way past Enniscorthy on our way to Buoolavogue to meet with Fr. Murphy , that hero of the 1798 rebellion. We listened to his story and we walked in his footsteps around the old farmstead where he had lived while a priest in the parish.
We then stepped onto Vinegar hill where he called on his community to stand and fight for Irelands freedom against the oppressor.
At Vinegar Hill o’re the pleasant Slaney our hero’s vainly stood back to back.
And the yeos a Tullow took Fr. Murphy and burned his body upon the rack.
God grant you glory brave Fr. Murphy, and open heaven to all your men,
The cause that called you, may come tomorrow, in another fight for the green again.
Dinner followed at the Riverside Hotel in Enniscorthy.