Kilmore Quay is a fishing village on the south coast of County Wexford, with a population in 2016 of 372. It's a centre for yachting and sea-angling, and boat trips sail to the nature reserve of Great Saltee Island. Small as it is, Kilmore Quay is the main settlement on this coast, between the River Bannow estuary to the west, and Tacumshane to the east where the coast turns away from the Atlantic to face the Irish Sea. Sights and amenities across that district are described here.
Bus 390 / 383 runs four times M-Sa, taking 30 min from Wexford to Kilmore Quay 1 harbour.
By road from Wexford take N25 towards Rosslare, and after 5 km turn onto R739.
The village is small, but you need wheels to reach outlying attractions.
- Village centre has several thatched cottages along R793, and the attractive St Peter's Church.
- The harbour is authentic rather than picturesque - it's a working fishing port. Seals may haul out here, or approach any likely source of fish scraps.
- 1 St Patrick's Bridge is a spit of shingle and stones, 1 km long at low tide. Many of the stones are "erratics" - not local - indicating that the spit is glacial rubble. It continues underwater to the Saltee Islands, a hazard to boats approaching from the east.
- 2 Great Saltee is the larger of the two Saltee islands, 5 km off Kilmore Quay. April to Sept a ferry plies 4 times a day, weather permitting, adult fare €30. There's no landing stage and you may need to wade ashore onto slippery rocks. The island is a wildlife reserve, with a ranger post but no habitation, amenities or shelter. Watch for seals, puffins, razorbills, guillemots, gannets, fulmars, shearwaters, kittiwakes and great blackbacks. Here and there are traces of the former farmstead. The island is owned by the Neale family: Michael Neale (d 1998) bought the place in 1943 with his cattle-dip fortune, proclaimed himself Prince and the island an independent micro-state, and didn't condescend to pay mainland taxes. Look for the ceremonial investiture throne whereupon his descendants take up their reign.
- Little Saltee 1 km north can't be visited. It's privately owned by the Bellew family, who have a cottage there.
- 3 Ballyteige Burrow is the long spit of sand dunes, marram grass and mudflats stretching west of Kilmore Quay. As the name implies, it's riddled with rabbits, which try as they might cannot eat all the rare plantlife. It was an island until drainage / reclamation in the early 1800s created a polder that joined it to the mainland. There's lane access and a car park by the lagoon behind it.
- 4 Keeragh Islands are a pair of islets some 150 m long; they're a nature reserve. But they're just the visible tips of the dangerous reef below: in 1800 a shelter hut was built here for survivors of shipwrecks. It was already derelict when in Feb 1914 the Mexico, a Norwegian barque, hit the rocks. The Fethard lifeboat was launched but smashed by the waves with the loss of 9 of its 14 men. The survivors clambered onto the rocks to join the 8 survivors of the Mexico. Another lifeboat crew came for them but their dinghy in turn was holed. Nevertheless they made six trips and rescued the survivors two at a time, plugging the leak in the dinghy with a loaf of bread wrapped in oilskins. The stirring ballad written about the rescue omits any mention of the loaf, since the men's mothers would have murdered them for wasting precious food.
- 5 Bannow Island became attached to the mainland in the 14th century. The ruin of St Mary's Church is all that is left of a substantial medieval town.
- 6 Wellingtonbridge and Clonmines medieval village: see Fethard-on-Sea for points west of the Owenduff estuary.
- 7 Ballycross Apple Farm is a show farm, with kiddy attractions. It's open Sa Su 12:00-17:00, adult €5.50, child €4.50.
- 8 Tacumshane lake: see Rosslare for this and other features further east along the coast.
- Stella Maris Centre is the community centre, with various local events, and a cafe open Tu-Sa 09:00-14:00, Su 09:00-12:30.
- See local boat operators for fishing trips.
- Mace is the village store, opposite the caravan park and open M-Sa 07:00-20:00, Su 07:00-19:00.
- Silver Fox, Kilmore Quay Y35 E922, ☏ . Daily 12:00-20:00. This harbourside seafood restaurant gets great reviews.
- Kehoe's (opposite the church) does good pub grub. It's open 12:00-20:00 daily.
- The Saltee Chipper has won awards for its fish and chips.
- Stella Maris Centre (see Do) does a reasonably-priced fry-up breakfast in the mornings.
- Others in the village include Lick' Ice Cream, and Sunshine Chinese takeaway.
- Kehoe's (as mentioned above) is the village pub.
- Kilmore Quay Camping & Holiday Park, Kilmore Quay Y35 R596, ☏ . Clean well-run campsite near harbour open Mar-Oct. Caravan €30, tent €15.
- The Wooden House, Kilmore Quay Y35 EE00, ☏ . Comfy modern hotel and restaurant overlooking harbour gets mostly good reviews. B&B double €90.
- Quay House is a pleasant B&B 500 m from the harbour.
- Coast Kilmore Quay, Kilmore Quay (700 m from harbour), ☏ . Smart modern hotel with a good restaurant. B&B double €120.
- Other B&Bs include Harbour Lights, and Groveside Farm 5 km north.
Last place you might expect it, but Kilmore Quay has 5G from Three. As of Jan 2021, there's 4G from Eir but no signal from Vodafone. Coverage in the countryside around is poor, and there's no signal on the Saltee Islands.
- Wexford for its ruined abbey, National Heritage Park, and Johnstown Castle which houses the Agricultural Museum.
- New Ross for the Dunbrody Famine Ship, Kennedy Homestead and JFK Arboretum.
- Waterford has a rich Viking, medieval and Georgian heritage.