I recently had the pleasure of spending a couple of nights in the beautiful Dunbrody Country House Hotel in County Wexford and have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone in search of peace and quiet in beautiful surroundings.
The Dunbrody Country House hotel is about half an hour from Wexford and is also within easy reach of Waterford via the nearby Ballyhack to Passage East car ferry. Renowned for its exquisite cuisine, the hotel is owned by Kevin & Catherine Dundon and has an adjacent cookery school and spa.
Friendly and comfortable, Dunbrody House is welcoming and don’t be surprised if you find it difficult to leave at the end of your stay.
My room — a back bedroom on the first floor — was elegant, had a comfortable writing desk which, for me, is a definite bonus, and a large separate bathroom with a big bath on a raised platform — perfect for relaxing at the end of a day’s walking.
South Wexford is often forgotten in the travel guides yet it is a beautiful part of Ireland — very accessible for drivers — and with many interesting historical sites to visit nearby.
Dunbrody Abbey is being renovated at the time of writing. Not to be confused with the nearby Tintern Abbey, Dunbrody Abbey lies north o f Ballyhack on the New Ross road and is directly opposite Dunbrody Castle and Maze. Although the site was not open to visitors when I visited in March 2012, you can see from the photo that renovation is underway. I will be returning to take a closer look over the summer.
Also within easy striking distance of Dunbrody House is the dreamy Tintern Abbey, another Cistercian abbey, where there are some good walks. Tintern was a significant settlement in its hey day and had connections to the Tintern in Monmouthshire in Wales. Nearby is the Colclough walled garden which is currently undergoing restoration.
The famous Hook Lighthouse is a short drive from Dunbrody House and has tremendous views. Here there is an onsite cafe where you can get a simple lunch before taking in Duncannon Fort on a wonderful sandy beach with excellent views on your way back to the Hotel.
The JFK Arboretum at New Ross is a short drive from Dunbrody House and offers good signposted walks but, for my money, the garden not to be missed in the area is the dreamy and sensuous Kilmokea which also offers B&B accommodation.
If your budget doesn’t stretch to Dunbrody House, the nearby B&B at Glendine House also looks inviting and promising.
All in all, this is a wonderful area for a restful break far from the madding crowd.