Windy waves washing away Cahore beach

Dan Walsh

I always liked a visit to Cahore. It was always one of my favourite places, although I miss the closed doors of Cahore Castle where once we ate, drank, danced and lost our way home in a fun way on so many occasions, although The Strand Bar still retains some vestiges of the traditional hospitality.

CAHORE HARBOUR today. Rainy overcast conditions didn’t deter a few visitors.

The sea was choppy today and could be observed eating away at the beach which is receding into the car park. Climate change in action and a contributory factor to coastal erosion which is no stranger in this part of the south-east.

The beautiful and visitor friendly Wexford coastline is 250kms long and 90% consists of sandy soil which is easy fodder for storm and tempest that takes its share with each passing year.

We hear about the ‘lost’ beach at Courtown where it was found necessary to place rock armour, just south at Donaghmore a house tumbled into the sea after the garden disappeared. More reports from Kilpatrick, in the Castletown district in the north of the county, the constant erosion over many years at Ballyconnigar, just a few kilometres from Blackwater village, has been well documented, there are problems at Rosslare, and only last year a roadway disappeared from the landscape near Kilmore Quay.

Storm Ophelia is regarded as the worst storm to affect Ireland in 50 years when it made landfall over Ireland on October 16th 2017 with wind speeds of up to 115km/h recorded at Johnstown Castle weather station. The storm caused major power outages, lifted roofs, felled countless trees and caused coastal flooding in Ireland, and sadly, the tragic loss of three lives was also attributed to Storm Ophelia.

Major storms contribute hugely to coastal decimation and living with climate change into the future augurs negatively against the situation getting the better of the occasional angry waves of the sea driven by an intense breeze onto the exposed eastern coastline.

The estimated cost of coastal protection is between €2,000 and €3,000 per metre!

Senior Engineer with Wexford County Council Gerry Forde said that it is a difficult situation to combat but the emphasis is on protecting the towns, villages, public roads and places where people live. The best defence appears to be the rock armour that reinforces much of the coastline, but even so, in some places, this mechanism sometimes fails, and the erosion can is seen to reappear behind the defence lines.

Eight routes under consideration for motorway

By Dan Walsh

Huge concerns are simmering across south Wexford as Wexford County Council commenced a  public consultation process on the proposed N11/N25 Oylegate to Rosslare Harbour Scheme that has been extended until August 3rd and offers an opportunity for members of the public to voice their opinions and to contribute to the overall development of the project.

Putting the final touches to the M11 at the Scourlocksbush roundabout near Oylegate ahead of the official opening in 2019.

Various debates have been aired on local radio with most concerns been fuelled by the option of eight potential routes under consideration for the new motorway and no announcement yet of the preferred route.

A public meeting is planned for Glynn Community Centre this Thursday night at 7.30 pm and the public are invited to attend in social distancing to raise their concerns and objections and a document will be submitted to Wexford County Council. Local Cllr Garry Laffan, Vice-Chairman of Wexford County Council, is representing the concerned parties in this area on the western side of the River Slaney.

Another public meeting is planned for Piercestown Community Centre on Monday, July 13th at 7.30 pm where concerns for people living in that community affected by the motorway plans will be addressed. Social distancing will apply but it is hoped to have representatives from as many households as possible.

Speaking at the recent meeting of Wexford County Council, incoming Chairman Cllr Ger Carthy said; “This is almost 21 years going on. We need to know if this is going ahead and we need a date for when the route will be chosen.”

Cllr Lisa McDonald had concerns about residents living close to the identified routes. “In 2004 a preferred route was chosen and a number of houses in the preferred corridor were essentially sterilised. The owners can’t sell them,” she stated.

Cllr Jim Moore said; “if we don’t start here now, we’ll be back here again in ten years’ time having the same discussion.”

Director of Service at Wexford County Council, Eamonn Hore, said, “Rosslare Europort has become increasingly busy over the last few years, resulting in increased pressure on the infrastructure serving the Port and communities across south Wexford. This scheme aims to address this by upgrading the transport corridor from the current M11 motorway to Rosslare Harbour, resulting in safer, easier access.”

“We want to hear the views of the public with regards to the proposed scheme options. With the current restrictions on large gatherings in place due to Covid-19, we cannot hold an information session, as we would during normal times. However, the public will be able to express their views and have direct contact with the project team via phone conversations, as well as on-line and email services” he concluded.

Zero tolerance for anti-social seaside menace

By Dan Walsh

 
It is not unusual for public representatives to bring matters to public attention relating to serious public concerns about anti-social behaviour at seaside resorts along Wexford’s 250km beautiful coastline which are normally within the remit of the local authority bye-laws.

A visit to the seaside should be a positive family day out experience and in most situations that is the norm. However, occasionally the nasty side of anti-social behaviour spoils the holiday and now is the time to aim towards zero tolerance.

Unsavoury practices such as excessive litter scattered around, erecting campsites at unauthorised sites, damage to private property and general trespassing, not forgetting injury to the good name of the seasonal amenity, and occasionally crime and criminal acts committed are reported annually.

Nobody wants their holiday or one-day family day in the sun ruined by anti-social activity. So now is the time to bring matters of the unsavoury kind to the ears of the local authority.

Wexford County Council  has plans to regulate the use of piers, harbours and car parking areas under its custody and control at Arthurstown, Barrystown, Ballyhack Harbour, Cahore Pier, Carne Pier, Courtown Harbour, Duncannon Harbour, Fethard Harbour, Kilmore Quay Harbour, New Ross Marina and Town Quay, Rosslare Strand Moorings, Slade Harbour, St. Helen’s Pier and Wexford Harbour.

The draft bye-laws are in accordance with Part 19 of the Local Government Act 2001 and Section 89 of the Harbours Act 1996 and are available for public inspection from today, Tuesday, July 7th until Monday, August 10th during normal working hours at Wexford County Council Offices at County Hall, Wexford, Civic Square, The Avenue, Gorey, Courthouse, Court Street, Enniscorthy, and The Tholsel, New Ross.

Byrne and D’Arcy share seats in Seanad

By Dan Walsh

As the long-awaited new government gets down to the serious business of running the country the 60-member lower chamber, Seanad Éireann, will also be out of the starting blocks with large amounts of legislation to be considered and recommendations passed for Dáil Éireann to conduct its business.

Hard hats and shoulder to shoulder. New Gorey-based Senators Malcolm Byrne and Michael D’Arcy pictured at the official Ballyminaun Water Treatment Plant sod turning ceremony last November. Pic; Patrick Browne.

There has been considerable ‘noise’ surrounding the fact that the new Taoiseach, Michéal Martin, failed to award any Wexford Teachta Deala with a ministry or a junior role at the cabinet, but there is some compensation from his lapse and omission  as two Gorey representatives will be part of the 26th Seanad Éireann. And both were elected through the existing electoral parliamentary system. No Taoiseach nominations!

Senator Malcolm Byrne was elected on the Culture and Education Panel in April having lost his seat in the February General Election after only 71 days in the Dail. He had secured a seat in the November by-election and in the 2019 European Parliament elections he was unsuccessful but performed extremely well on the Fianna Fail ticket before elimination on the 16th count.

Senator Michael D’Arcy also takes his seat in the Seanad having been elected on the Agricultural Panel last April. The Fine Gael representative served in Dail Éireann from 2007 to 2011 and again 2016 to 2020 and was Minister of State at the Department of Finance until losing his seat in the February General Election.

Both Byrne and D’Arcy represent the Gorey district and are members of the government partners (with the Greens) and it can be expected that both will work diligently for the good of Co. Wexford within the power base of their new political careers and it is imperative that the people of the constituency use their good offices and influence to bring progress and growth to the ‘sunny South East’. 

Bertram Allen back to winning ways

Enniscorthy-born international showjumping star Bertram Allen, based in Germany these days, is back amongst the winners with a five-star victory in France last Friday.

BERTRAM ALLEN and Lafayette Van Overis jumping to victory. Pic courtesy of Horse Sport Ireland.

At the first five-star international showjumping fixture since the lifting of the Covid-19 restrictions, Allen took the top prize of €6,350 in the 1m50 speed event from a field of 54 riding the nine year old gelding Lafayette Van Overis by two seconds.

Churches re-open under strict guidelines

By Dan Walsh

Parish churches across the Diocese of Ferns opened their doors for Saturday and Sunday Mass for the first time in three months this evening, albeit, under strict public health guidelines regarding physical distancing and the maximum number of congregation for any liturgy is reduced in line with the size and capacity of each individual church.

ST AIDAN’S CATHEDRAL, Enniscorthy, designed by Augustus Welby Pugin and first opened in 1846.

Over the past week church groups have been preparing for Mass with signage and closing of seating to facilitate the existing guidelines. However, some parishes have the benefit of live streaming into homes, a practical solution that has been widely used and appreciated to facilitate family funerals.

At St. Aidan’s Cathedral, Enniscorthy, Administrator Rev. Odhran Furlong said; “Before the lockdown, the number participating in daily Mass here in the Cathedral was about 50-60 so accommodating those who came back this week was not a problem. However, a challenge comes with Sunday Mass as we expect that more than 50 people will come to the Cathedral for each of the three weekend Masses.”

“With that in view, we priests want to do our utmost to ensure that anyone who wants to come to Mass in the Cathedral this Sunday can do so. Therefore, beginning from this weekend we have added to the number of weekend Masses. On Saturday evening there will be two vigil Masses at 6pm and 7.30pm. On Sundays there will be three Masses: at 8am, 10am and 12 noon. Please note that this is a temporary adjustment to our Mass schedule and will be reviewed as things develop,” added Fr Furlong, speaking to parishioners through social media.

For those who do attend the following four steps must be complied with:
Please wear a mask
Please use Hand Sanitizer provided as you enter the Cathedral
Please sit alone or with members of your household
Please maintain proper social distancing.

“At each Mass clear instruction will be given as to other requirements during the liturgy. This process will require a great deal of patience, understanding and willingness to comply on behalf of us all and we thank you in advance for this,” concluded Fr Furlong.

Drugs and cash seized in Wexford

The Wexford Divisional Drug Unit assisted by Gardaí from Enniscorthy district have carried out a successful search of a house yesterday morning.

Pic; An Garda Siochana Facebook page.

Seized was approximately €11,500 worth of drugs in the form of ecstasy and cannabis. €6,000 worth of cash was also discovered in the search.

One male was arrested at the scene and a court appearance will follow.

If you wish to report drug related matters please contact your local Garda Station or call the Garda Confidential line on 1800 666 111.

Farewell to Wexford hurling legend Jack Harding

The Funeral Mass takes place today of John ‘Jack’Harding, Kilmacoe, Curracloe, who played a hero’s game at full forward on the Wexford team that beat Tipperary 2-15 to 0-11 in the 1960 All Ireland senior hurling final at Croke Park. He recently celebrated his 87th birthday and was a member of Shelmalier GAA Club.

Wexford hurling legend JACK HARDING is presented with his All-Ireland hurling medal at Croke Park in 1960.

In its coverage of the victorious final, The Wexford People said Harding has played his greatest game against the much more experienced Tipperary opponent Mick Maher. “His undoubtable courage saw him come through a testing hour with honours.”

The Evening Press reported; “Jack Harding was an astute leader, he distributed the ball cleverly and made several openings which produced vital scores.”

Many fine tributes have been paid to Jack, who was a popular member of the community, including a social media message from Shelmalier GAA Club that said; “It is with a heavy heart that we learned of the passing of Jack Harding. The club would like to extend our sympathies to the Harding, Harding Kenny, Lanigan and Roche families at this this sad time.”

FAMILY NOTICE; Harding (Kilmacoe, Curracloe), July 2, 2020, John (Jack), beloved husband of the late Mary and loving father of John, Tommy, Christine, Theresa, Eddie, Paddy, Caroline and Seamus, brother of the late Peg and Annie and children who died in infancy; sadly missed by his family, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends.
Due to recent HSE guidelines regarding public gatherings, those who would have liked to attend the funeral, but due to current restrictions cannot, please leave a personal message in the ‘Condolences’ section on RIP.ie.
The celebration of Jack’s Funeral Mass via the parish webcam, on the link Castlebridge Screen Curracloe Parish Facebook page at 12 noon on Saturday. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

Visit Wexford to rediscover the magic

By Dan Walsh

Wexford’s champion of tourism promotion across County Wexford is VisitWexford who has launched a fresh campaign to encourage holidaymakers to make ‘the Sunny South East’ the ideal place to celebrate the Irish summer this year.

Dancing on Curracloe beach and celebrating the launch of VisitWexford are Paul Finnegan, Ashdown Park Hotel; Damien Lynch, Faythe Guesthouse; Colm Neville, Riverside Park Hotel; Chair of VisitWexford; Tom Birmingham, Wexford Local Development (WLD); Billy Byrne Tourism Development Officer Wexford County Council; Catherine McPartlin, Wexford Trails; Emma Hewlett, Kilmokea House & Gardens; Aileen Dowling, Fáilte Ireland, Ireland’s Ancient East; Cllr Michael Whelan Chair Economic Development and Enterprise Strategic Policy committee (SPC) and Chairman of Wexford County Council, Cllr Ger Carthy. 

The newly elected Chairman of Wexford County Council, Cllr Ger Carthy attended his first official engagement at the launch on Curracloe Beach where Tony Larkin, Director of Services for Economic Development of Wexford County Council and member of the National Tourism Recovery Sub Group said; Wexford County Council can support the tourism industry to drive the economic recovery with this extremely important, well timed and creative VisitWexford marketing campaign.” 

Colm Neville, Chairman of VisitWexford said Wexford is ready to welcome visitors from across Ireland for their staycation holiday to the Sunny South East. “We are so lucky to have such an extensive list of outdoor attractions that are spread right across County Wexford. With cycling and walking trails, stunning beaches as well as our iconic heritage and garden sites.”

Wexford is Ireland’s sunniest destination and includes over 250km of amazing coastline which harbours some of the most spectacular beaches, adventure trails, lush gardens, heritage sites, great hospitality, and of course, excellent food. 

From Castletown just north of Gorey right down to Ballyhack outside of Arthurstown, Wexford has an alluring coastline full of sandy beaches, walking and cycling trails, boat trips and kayaking adventures, and scenic picnic spots.

Everyone might know about Wexford’s iconic attractions like Hook Lighthouse, Ireland’s National Heritage Park at Ferrycarrig, just outside Wexford), the Dunbrody Ship on the quayside at New Ross, Wells House in the Ballyedmond area of Gorey, and famed Vinegar Hill overlooking the River Slaney at Enniscorthy.

But Wexford is dotted with some unfamiliar attractions like The Irish Experience Kayaking at Fethard-On-Sea, Kia Ora Farm on the outskirts of Gorey, the Irish Agricultural Museum at Johnstown Castle, Oulart Hill of 1798 fame, the Lavender Farm at Inch, Gorey, and Wheelock’s Village Fruit Farm near Enniscorthy. 

Colm Neville of the Riverside Park Hotel and Chair of VisitWexford and the New Chairman of Wexford County Council Cllr Ger Carthy enjoying the ice cream on the beach at Curracloe.

VisitWexford would like to remind all holiday makers to follow the national safety guidelines set by the HSE and that many attractions and hospitality spots will have pre-booking facilities in operation to manage visiting numbers. Please avoid crowded areas and respect the local community who all want you to have a safe and happy holiday in Wexford. 

See visitwexford.ie for further details. 

Restoration of speed limits on old N11

There is positive feedback from road users towards the re-introduction of the 100 km per hour speed limit along the old N11 which comes into effect in mid-July. The speed limit had been adjusted when the M11 opened last summer causing consternation to some road users.

The old N11 south of Enniscorthy where the speed limit will be restored to 100km/h

“The change to the Speed Limits is something that I have been calling for since July 2019 when against all common sense the Speed Limits were changed following the opening of the new motorway. I want to pay tribute to all those who wrote to the Council expressing their views as part of the public consultation process,” said Enniscorthy District member, Cllr Cathal Byrne.

“However, it is now imperative that Wexford County Council provide adequate signage along the road from Scarawalsh Roundabout to the Blackstoops Roundabout so that drivers know that the speed limit on that stretch of the road is remaining at 80km/h and I am calling on Wexford County Council to do so,” he added.

The County Wexford Road Traffic Special Speed Limit (Amendment) Bye Laws 2020 were adopted by Councillors at the monthly meeting of Wexford County Council.

The new rules would see the speed limit return to 100km/h as follows from Wednesday, July 15th.

R772 (Old N11); Clogh Roundabout to Camolin village.

R772 (Old N11); Camolin village to Ferns.

R772 (Old N11); Ferns to Scarawalsh Roundabout.

R772 (Old N11); Enniscorthy to Scurlocksbush Roundabout (Oylegate).

The road from Scarawalsh Roundabout to Blackstoops Roundabout will remain at 80km/h to allow for economic development of that part of Enniscorthy given the links to the M11 motorway.

“This was a major issue for the people of the Enniscorthy District over the past twelve months and I am glad that from the 15th July we will see the restoration of common sense applied and the speed limits restored.” concluded Cllr Cathal Byrne.