Wexford


Wexford
/weks"feuhrd/, n.
1. a county in Leinster province, in the SE Republic of Ireland. 99,016; 908 sq. mi. (2350 sq. km).
2. its county seat: a seaport. 11,396.

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Irish  Loch Garman 

      seaport and county seat, County Wexford, Ireland, on the River Slaney. The name Wexford derives from the Norse settlement of Waesfjord. It was an early colony of the English, having been taken by Robert FitzStephen in 1169. The town received a charter in 1317, which was extended in 1411 by Henry IV and in 1558 by Elizabeth I; subsequent charters were granted in 1608 and 1686 by James I and James II, respectively. It was besieged and sacked by the forces of Oliver Cromwell in 1649 and captured and garrisoned for William III in 1690. Wexford lost its charter under the Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Act, 1840, but was granted another in 1846.

      Some remains still exist of the old walls and of one of the five towers of the town. The deconsecrated Protestant church, alongside the ruins of the ancient abbey of St. Sepulchre, is said to occupy the spot on which the treaty was signed between the Irish and the English invaders in 1169. Wexford Harbour, formed by the Slaney estuary, is large, though a bar prevents the entrance of vessels drawing more than 12 feet (4 m); an artificial harbour was opened in 1906 at Rosslare, which is connected with Wexford by rail and is served by passenger vessels from Fishguard, Wales. Wexford's principal exports are livestock and agricultural produce. The town's industries are based on agriculture and light engineering. Wexford is a base for salmon- and sea-fishing districts, the centre of a tourist area, and the seat of the Roman Catholic diocese of Ferns. Pop. (2006) 8,854.

Irish  Loch Garman 
 county in the province of Leinster, southeastern Ireland. It is bounded on the east and south by the Irish Sea and from west to north by Counties Kilkenny, Carlow, and Wicklow. The Blackstairs Mountains—which have two main peaks, Blackstairs Mountain (2,402 feet [732 metres]) and Mount Leinster (2,602 feet [793 metres])—form a striking range rising from lowlands on all sides. Between the two main summits is the deep Scullogue Gap. Most of the county consists of a lowland between the mountains and the sea, with a maximum width of about 20 miles (30 km) and scattered hills of igneous rock and several hills over 1,000 feet (300 metres) high. Much of the lowland is covered with glacial deposits, including the moraine formed during the last glaciation of Ireland. The coast is composed of wide, sweeping bays with rocky headlands, sand dunes, and cliffs.

      Less than two-fifths of the population live in towns and villages. The county council meets at Wexford, and there is a county manager. Wexford town is a borough, and Enniscorthy and New Ross are urban districts. Farming is the main occupation in the county, and most farms are of medium size, averaging 70–80 acres (28–32 hectares). Much of the land is in pasture, and about two-fifths of the farmland grows cereal crops, half of it wheat. Sugar beets also are an important crop. The chief economic staple is cattle, exported through Dublin or Waterford, and there is some dairying.

      The chief industrial towns are Wexford, Enniscorthy, and New Ross. Rosslare is a seaside resort, with fine sandy beaches. From Rosslare harbour, the port of call for passenger ships from Fishguard, Wales, there are railways to Wexford town, Dublin, and Waterford.

      Anglo-Norman adventurers landed in Wexford in 1169. By Tudor times (16th century), the northern area was dominated by the MacMurrough Kavanagh family. A continuous tradition of town life dates from Norse times. Wexford town as a fortified place was involved in several episodes of warfare: it was stormed by Oliver Cromwell (Cromwell, Oliver)'s forces in 1649, and in May 1798 it was the scene of a major popular rising that met with defeat near Enniscorthy. In 1964 an estate on the slopes of Slieve Coillte, overlooking the River Barrow, was given to the government and was developed as the John F. Kennedy (Kennedy, John F.) Park as a memorial to the former president of the United States. Area 914 square miles (2,367 square km). Pop. (2002) 116,596; (2006) 131,615.

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Universalium. 2010.

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