This district is much detached from the rest of Ireland, having the sea on its eastern and southern sides, the estuary of the Suir and the river of Ross along the greater part of its western border, the remainder of which and the northern side are hemmed in by a lofty range of mountain land, through which there are but few lines of communication. The mountains on the side of the county of Wicklow extend from Slievebuy, a beautiful conical hill covered with verdure, to the valley through which the Slaney flows, dividing this part of the range from the still more extensive and lofty chain of Mount Leinster and the Blackstairs, three remarkable pointed summits of which are distinguished by the names of the "Leaps of Ossian's Greyhounds."

Except on the confines, there are no high or extensive ridges of mountains, but the surface is diversified with many single hills of considerable height, and, towards the north, the mountain of Forth forms a less elevated ridge of about 500 feet above the level of the sea, extending 5 or 6 miles in a north-eastern and south-western direction. The general surface between these hills does not expand into large plains: the land declines from the primitive mountains on the north towards the sea in unequal elevations, and, where the depositions of alluvial substances are considerable, the surface has a beautifully waving outline, and is enlivened by numerous gently winding streams. The Slaney, which traverses the northern and eastern part, presents a succession of highly picturesque views, beautifully ornamented with remains of antiquity, and with modern mansions, villas, and plantations.

The scenery on the Barrow, in the vicinity of New Ross, which is marked by grander features, can scarcely be surpassed. The southern baronies of Bargy and Forth, which are shut out from the remainder of the county by the Forth mountain, consist of low land that owes its attractions more to human labour and ingenuity than to the gifts of nature.

The entire county presents nothing meriting the name of lake, except Lady's Island lake, in Forth, which claims notice, not from its extent or beauty, but from the singularity of its formation, receiving several small rivulets and having no natural outlet, so that once in every three or four years an opening is cut through the sand bank which separates it from the sea.

The sea-coast on the eastern side presents no opening for shelter from foul weather from Arklow to Wexford harbour, and is rendered still more dangerous to shipping by a range of sand banks parallel to the shore, the most northern of which is marked by a light-ship. Towards the northern extremity of this line of coast a harbour has been formed for small craft at the inlet of Courtown, in Kilbride bay, consisting of two rough piers forming a floating dock.

Wexford harbour is large and capacious, but its entrance is obstructed by a bar, and the navigation is in other respects dangerous. The Tuscar rock lies about seven miles southeast of Greenore Point: it is marked by a revolving light of three faces, two bright, the third a deep red; a bell also rings in foggy weather. In the northern part of Wexford harbour are the islands of Beg Erin, or Little Ireland, and Great Island, both inhabited: the former is of very small extent, but ancient fame; the latter contains about 80 acres.

On doubling Carnsore Point, the Saltee islands, two in number, the larger and the smaller, present themselves off the southern coast. A late return from the resident incumbent of the adjoining parish on the mainland states that these islands are considered to form part of the county of Tipperary. The larger is a mile long and half a mile broad, but not more than one-third of it consists of arable land: the lesser is about a mile in circuit: both are high and contain some rocky pasture.

From the lesser island to the mainland is a ridge of rocks called St. Patrick's bridge, extremely dangerous, having not more than from 7 to 10 feet of water above them at low tide. Farther westward is Bagenbon Head, and near it the small dry harbour of Fethard. What was formerly called "Slade Island" is connected with Bannow by a narrow isthmus of sand.

The extreme south-west point of the county is marked by a lighthouse at Hook head, 140 feet high, with a steady fixed light. On doubling this point the navigator finds himself within the grand and safe estuary of Waterford harbour, into which the united streams of the Suir, Barrow, and Nore are received.

County Wexford | Wexford Towns and Baronies | Wexford Topography | Wexford Climate | Wexford Agriculture | Wexford Geology | Wexford Manufacturing | Wexford Rivers | Wexford Antiquities | Wexford Town

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