THE NORMAN WAY
The Norman Way is a heritage trail that runs along the south coast of County Wexford. Along this Wexford Trail you will discover authentic medieval sites which will help you to understand the Norman way of life. These hidden gems of The Norman Way are waiting to be explored by you down quiet country lanes, in beautiful seaside villages and alongside stunning beaches.
The Norman Way in Wexford is a true treasure of Ireland’s Ancient East. Lose yourself in this beautiful, ancient landscape as you discover the Norman way of life in the place where it first took hold in Ireland over 800 years ago.
The tracks, trails, and most importantly tales of Ireland’s Ancient East are prevalent at every turn in historic County Wexford. This most southeasterly corner of Ireland boasts history like no other part of the country; the entry point for Ireland’s first settlers is teeming with riches and treasures waiting to be explored. It is thought that the arrival of the first humans to Ireland was to County Wexford in the Mesolithic period between 5000 BC – 3000 BC. Age-old Portal Tombs known as ‘Dolmens’ can be found across the county along with many artefacts from the later Bronze Age. Heritage runs deep in Wexford; exploring this Cornerstone of Ireland’s Ancient East and journeying through the unspoiled landscape, hearing first-hand the stories that built Ireland is a must. Meet our ancestors - Celts, Christians, Vikings, Normans, French, Welsh and English - who have left us a remarkable heritage, unrivalled anywhere else in Ireland.
Vikings certainly made their mark in Wexford. Bearing down from Scandinavia, these hordes of wild wayfarers first arrived in the 8th century to loot and pillage. But we’ve a lot to thank them for too. They laid the foundations of many Irish towns including Wexford Town, which was founded by the Vikings in about 800 AD. They named it Veisafjǫrðr meaning 'inlet of the mud flats' and it remained a Viking town for about 300 years!
In 1169 the Normans first arrived in Ireland at Bannow Bay in Wexford. Diarmuid McMurrough, the High King of Leinster (whose seat was located in the village of Ferns, Wexford) and his Norman allies battled the Viking inhabitants who resisted fiercely until the Bishop of Ferns persuaded them to accept a settlement with King Diarmuid.
Today, Norse and Norman influences combine in Wexford, a town that has retained its compact, medieval feel – though the only invading hordes you’re likely to encounter these days are the opera buffs descending on the annual international Wexford Festival Opera. The Norman town of New Ross, heritage town of Enniscorthy, and bustling Gorey all combine to provide a historic trail with fascinating visitor attractions, beautiful coastline and everything you need to enjoy your visit.