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Curracloe Beach (Ballinesker) is one of the most popular, and best loved beaches in Ireland. So popular in fact that it scooped the number 1 spot in The Irish Independent's 2019 Poll for The Best Beach In Ireland. Located mere minutes away from Hotel Curracloe, this soft-sand beach is frequented by sunbathers and nature-lovers alike.
During the summer months, you’ll find that the area is bustling with life, as holidaymakers leave their home counties to take up residence in the holiday homes, campsites, hotels and B&Bs that surround the area. Later on, during the autumn and winter months, Curracloe Beach and its nearby forest become a hot spot for dog-walkers, joggers and anyone else in pursuit of a peaceful stroll.
The area itself is suitable for bathing, as it has a Blue Flag certification. This certification, which is awarded by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), serves as a notice to beach-goers that the area and its surrounding waters have lived up to a number of strict regulatory standards.
Its 7-mile-long beach is famous for its soft and fine white sand, which puts it in contrast with many of the stony beaches that you will find around Ireland. The beach is guarded by a number of large and sprawling dunes, all of which are held together and stabilised by a seemingly-endless blanket of green marram grass. During the warmer months, these sand dunes prove to be extremely popular amongst visitors, many of whom will not pass up the opportunity to roll down them.
Brooklyn is a superb adaptation by Nick Hornby of local author Colm Tóibín’s award-winning book set in Enniscorthy and New York in the early 50s. It tells the story of an Irish girl making her way to New York after being lured into the American dream. But you don’t have to travel to Hollywood to see the set of Brooklyn because it was filmed right here in Enniscorthy. This is what makes the film all the more unique. It was filmed on the streets and in the places that are mentioned in the book! “Nick Hornby adapts Colm Tóibín’s lovely novel of an Irish immigrant finding love in New York, and the result will send shivers down your spine, says Tim Robey of The Telegraph.
It is possible to visit the actual streets and places you read about in the book and that enthralled you when you watched the movie. John St, Court St, The Folly, Mrs Kelly’s shop, and The Athenaeum. St Aidan’s Cathedral was also used as was the church in Taghmon Village which is about a half hours drive away.
Want to wander a little further then why not take a trip to Curracloe Beach no stranger itself to movie making. This beautiful pristine beach was the setting for the film Saving Private Ryan! Whether you choose to do the Brooklyn Movie Tour by foot or by bus you will be transported back to an earlier time in history which is still very much alive on the streets of Enniscorthy town.
While visiting Enniscorthy you can pick up a copy of the Brooklyn Movie Tour map at your hotel reception or the tourist information centre in Enniscorthy Castle. If you prefer you can download it here to your phone or device. Leave the car in one the many car parks signposted throughout the town and immerse yourself in Brooklyn the movie.
Saving Private Ryan
On 3 July 1997 the filming of the now epic opening sequence of the film ‘Saving Private Ryan’ at Curracloe beach, Co. Wexford took place.
Members of the Reserve Defence Force dressed in Second World War US Army uniforms and carrying weapons from the period marching on a beach, take part in a £40 million Steven Spielberg war epic. Curracloe beach is the location for recreating the D-Day landings at Omaha Beach, Normandy, during the Second World War on 6 June 1944.
Lieutenant Colonel Pierce McCorley talks about the serious nature of the film's production which depicts one of the bloodiest battles in history. Denis Cloney, who owns the land on which the filming is taking place, talks about buying the land from a German in 1960. The film’s producer Ian Bryce talks about Spielberg’s choice of location for filming.
The film went on to win five Oscars, including the gong for Best Director for Steven Spielberg.
The Raven Nature Reserve
The Raven Nature Reserve is situated approximately 8km NE of Wexford Town and adjacent to Curracloe beach. Like the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve it is owned by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. In addition, Coillte, the state forestry company, owns the forestry timber.
The Reserve started its existence as a long narrow sand spit sheltering the entrance to Wexford Harbour (the name Raven comes from ‘Rabhainn’ meaning a spade shaped piece of land), in the mid 1880s the creation of the adjacent North Slob landlocked the sand spit on its western side.
The Toole family of Curracloe House owned The Raven in the 19th Century and there is a belief that trees were planted there during their ownership.
By 1920, ownership had been transferred to George M.Grogan, Sir E.W.B Grogan, Elizabeth Grogan and Amy Isabelle McClintock amongst others but it was George Colloton of Castlebridge who was the title holder in 1930 when The Raven was sold to the Minister of Agriculture with the planting of conifers starting soon after.
Covering approximately 600 acres of land and 3.6km in length, the woods are planted with many trees, the commonest being the Corsican Pine; there are also Douglas Fir, Maritime Pine, Shore Pine, Scots Pine, Monterey Pine and others. Most trees were planted for coast protection and timber production. Some trees have grown naturally including the Grey Willow, Creeping Willow, Burnet Rose and Sycamore.
The woods are an important habitat for the native Red Squirrel. The Pine trees are important for these mammals as they prefer to feed on pine cones rather than big seeds like acorns or hazelnuts. Grey squirrels have not yet established themselves in the Raven which might be down to the presence of the Pine Marten, a cat sized animal known as the Cat Crainn in Irish meaning ‘Cat of the Trees’.
Visit www.pinemarten.ie to learn more about this fascinating animal.
The Nature Reserve is a Special Area of Conservation for its habitats and a Special Protection Area under the Birds Regulations with the Greenland White-fronted Goose, Common Scoter, Red-throated Diver, Cormorant, Grey Plover and Sanderling being of particular interest.
Other species of interest include the plants Round leaved Wintergreen, Yellow Birds Nest, Sand Sedge and Lesser Centaury; various species of butterfly and Natterjack toads.
The Raven is a popular destination for walkers and has a looped walk through the woods of 6.5km. This path is a compacted stone surface with little or no incline. There is parking at the entrance to the woods and a County Council car park but please be aware that these may be full at peak times.