I had heard great reports of the park from hordes of pupils and teachers who had visited it, so was delighted to finally see it for myself.
We spent nearly two hours there in the 35-acre park, totally enthralled by this outdoor museum that depicts 9000 years of Irish history, re-created with outstanding accuracy and workmanship. We opted for a self-guided tour, but I believe that the costumed guides are superb, particularly if you have children with you, who might not be bothered to read the explanations.
A clearly marked route, with excellent signage in abundance, leads you chronologically from the prehistoric times to the early Christian era to the age of invasion by Vikings and finally the Normans in the 12th century.
Celtic crosses, ringforts, crannogs and many many other features of times past are in evidence throughout the park which is cleverly based within natural forestry and wet woodlands.
The Early Hunter Gatherers lived in dwellings like these. They were obviously much smaller than we are. Cannot see Devin Toner getting in and out too easily!
The Ringfort (below) is modeled on that of a middle-ranking member of the Gaelic nobility. It is surrounded by a strong oak palisade with a tall watch tower. If you want an authentic experience, you can spend a night in the big house in the ringfort. You dress in clothes from the era and if you wish, you can cook on the open fire. If any of you are up for it, I will join you.
I loved the monastery and you can see the church below and the monk’s cell. But that is only a fraction of what is inside that area. Graham was very taken with a mortar maker, which he explains very well on my Instagram stories.
The medieval crannog (below), which includes a Royal House, was particularly interesting.
There is also the chance to go for a little wander in the wet woodlands and listen to the birds, which were in full song on the morning in February when we were there.
I also loved the replica of a Viking boat, which was built onsite by a team from Denmark, using the original methods and tools.
When we were there February, the ‘Fulacht Fia’ (an ancient field kitchen of the Fianna, the legendary soldiers of the High Kings of Ireland) was under renovation, but I know that seeing the food cooked, and sometimes getting to taste it, is considered a highlight.
I cannot recommend this highly enough to visitors and Irish alike. There are also numerous courses on offer throughout the year from weaving, wood-carving to pottery and many more.
The Irish National Heritage Park is worth a visit if you are in Wexford – only €9 for senior citizens – as it takes you on a journey that lets you experience the stories, sights and sounds that shaped Ireland.