If the weather is nice and it’s not pissing down rain; we like to take a Sunday afternoon drive. We try to find a new road or area to explore. I remain amazed at how many little side roads and laneways are found in this little area of Enniscorthy. Oylegate is just one small village in the townland area.
As you can see from this map insert, there are many villages within the Enniscorthy Townland. the 2016 Census listed the population as 11,381…it may be more now due to a slight increase in economics here in this very rural area. 9, 757, 976 is the population for all of Ireland.
We were going to drive to the Edemine area yesterday to go to Wilton’s garden center. Edemine is just south of Enniscorthy near the Slaney river, a bit north of us in Oylegate.
There are lots of rivers and streams in Ireland. While we have one main river the Slaney, there are miles of little rivers,streams, and creeks all coming and going.
First, to get to the garden center you have to drive over the Slaney River. The bridge is one skinny lane of concrete on metal and concrete pillons over the river. I find it extremely frightening to go over this bridge. I am not usually a fear of bridges person. I drove over the Chesapeake bridge in the USA, one of the most fear-provoking bridges in America.
But his bridge really gets me. The Slaney is a tidal river and the largest in Wexford. I can be quite wild or very calm. But there is a strong current or undercurrent in the river most of the time. People have drowned in this river and one of my biggest fears is drowning. The single narrow lane is frightening, you watch from either end to see if it is ok to proceed before you get onto the bridge and I have never seen a crew working or inspecting the structure. All this adds to my unease and I usually hold my breath for the trip over it.
I wanted to buy pansies, a flower that tolerates and blooms in the winter in Ireland. However, the garden center was closed on Sundays for the winter season. Something we forgot.
Because we were out there, we decided to go look at Wilton Castle. An old castle remnant that originally was built in 1247 and underwent many reconstructions and updates until the ruins that were once are now this castle. A few years ago, the area was purchased and the owners began a cleanup and restoration.
Today the Castle is open to the public and the restoration is now open as a hotel. The castle is large enough for wedding events. The renovation information and cost menu are available at the website here.
John and I drove up to the castle and got out to look around the outside. We did not enter but there were a few people inside, perhaps looking to book the hotel or a wedding. The grounds are massive and set up for outdoor facilities. There is a huge inside dining hall you can find on the website photos.
I was more enthralled with the old unrestored side of the castle. The ruins side is completely hollowed out and you can enter the gateway and look up to the top of a stone wall and see a semi restored fireplace above your head.
The website photos
As you see above this is the entry drive into the castle with the restored on the left and the ruin on the right.
I loved the ruin part…here are some of the photos I took. It was very cloudy and dark, so forgive my poor iPhone attempts.
The old ruin to the side of the castle
The newly renovated castle side
Semi restored fireplace
There was a metal spiral staircase you could climb to get a better view but I didn’t go up.
I loved this setting with the far wall and all the old window cutins
You could see on the the turrents as you approached
There were two little towers on the grounds which led down to the lower level of the castle
The grounds were massive, to the front a large field far ahead had cattle grazing across the filed–quite bucolic.
A bit closer the front gardens had tables and benches set up in the sun.
The Boro river flows behind the castle and they have tables set up on the lower part of the castle grounds for parties and get togethers
We have driven past this beauty and could only glimpse it from the road. I have some pictures someplace from years ago showing the derelict buildings and the foliage overgrowth. The owners have taken on a massive restoration but I am happy they left the ruins for me to enjoy!