With a visit to the Wexford Tourist Office, we departed with numerous pamphlets, so we could plot the remainder of our Irish visit. Our rough itinerary is typically determined prior to leaving home, but with Ireland we had an arrival and departure date and a hotel in Dublin. The pamphlets led us to our first stop. Located on the outskirts of Wexford, we visited the Johnstown Castle Gardens and Irish Agricultural Museum, on the same grounds. The castle is not open for viewing at this time but is surrounded by beautifully maintained gardens. The Museum covers all aspects of rural life in Ireland but also has an extensive and sad commentary on the Irish potato famine. We were surprised to learn that oat and barley crops continued to be produced throughout the famine years, but these 'cash crops', which came from fields held by large landowners, were exported even as people starved. No well-organized social welfare systems existed. Official attempts to provide relief were short lived and inadequate. Private charities and religious groups (especially the Quakers) provided food and money, but were unable to meet the tremendous needs.
|Slade Castle (late 15th century) near Hook Lighthouse|
|On the drive to Hook Lighthouse|
|Dunbrody Abbey in Wexford County built in 13th century|