Walk along Morriscastle Beach South to Tinnaberna

Turn right in Morriscastle and cross the Rusk River. Just beyond the river the dune system opens out into acres of sandy beach. Take a detour especially in spring and early summer. The floors of the dunes are patterned with wild flowers. Some are very delicate like Heartease and others like Sea Holly more assertive and robust. The heady spicy scent of Lady’s Bed Straw perfumes the air and the carpet of wild thyme releases its own fragrance. Lady’s Bed straw was often used as bedding in years gone by. Look closely you will be rewarded by the delicacy and beauty of what you find including the soft pastel colours of the sea snail shells.

As you walk further North the terrain changes, the beach becomes more shingly and the dune system gives way to quite high cliffs and a new vista opens up to South Wexford far into the distance. The holes you will see in the cliffs here are the nests of the Sandmartin. Sit quietly for a while you will see lots of Waders foraging along the shore. They are pretty timid little fellows and sudden movement will disturb them. The cliffs are home to several species of flowers including a rare orchid.

It is difficult to believe a very active fishing fleet operated out of Tinnnebearna in the mid-19th century. It now seems such a quiet and isolated place. Lewis’s History of Wexford records 48 fishing Boats in 1837. The boats fished for Mussels Oysters and Herring. The dangerous lives of the fishermen is recorded in a folk song The Tinnebearna Fisherman which tells of the wreck of their boats blown across the Irish Sea to Wales. Only one of the 7 boats was saved.

Sand Martins Nests in the dunesTurn onto the small lane which leads from Tinnebearna the Killincooley Road. The perfume of the bordering gorse is heady in spring and summer and the variety of the wild flowers in the hedge rows magical.  Killincooley was a thickly  populated area before the famine with its own church. The locality had a thriving market for food produce which was exported to Liverpool and even to Spain and Norway through Wexford Port. Geese, butter, honey, mead and barley were actively traded. Soya beans were grown for fodder for horses in the British army and were also exported to The West Indies.  These beans were a factor in moderating the worse effects of the famine.  Lewis in his journey through Wexford commented on the industry of the farms particularly along the east coast which was in contrast to other parts of Ireland at the time. Some of the old farm houses can still be seen on the road, solid and secure.

Tinnaberna Walk MapHaving turned right onto the Killincooley road watch out for an iron gate into an old cemetery on the left. To the right of the gate is a path to a holy well. It is a peaceful lovely old place of pilgrimage. Continuing along the road brings you to Saint Mary’s Church built in the mid-19th century and a little further to  the village itself. The Hub is a lovely cafe in the supermarket at the top of the village. Try the lemon and poppy seed cake.

At this stage you have walked about 5 miles. Take the road through the local village and back down to Morriscastle and home.

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