Rosslare Strand Loop

Rosslare Strand Loop

Rosslare Strand Loop is a fantastic 9km walk that starts and finishes in the quiet seaside village of Rosslare in County Wexford. The majority of the route (about 75%) is alongside the sea as the trail mostly follows the perimeter of Rosslare Peninsula.

Despite being a relatively short walk, I encountered plenty of interesting sites along the way. Plus, the sea views were amazing. I completed the Rosslare Strand Loop at sunrise. I would really recommend this if at all possible as Rosslare Beach faces to the east. As a result, this offers you the opportunity to see some beautiful dawn views stretching out across the sea in front of you.

Rosslare Stand Loop Details

  • Distance: 9km
  • Time Required: I took just over two hours to complete the full trail. I stopped frequently along the way to admire the views and generally took a nice leisurely pace.
  • Elevation: 53m – as you’d expect from a beach walk, the trail is more or less flat. I did come across regular instances of needing to clamber up a few metres into the dunes to get past the sea erosion breakers along the beach. 
  • Grade: Easy – a nice flat walk. The only cause for watching your step is when passing over the above mentioned breakers. None of these should cause any major problems though.

Getting to Rosslare

Two bus routes serve Rosslare Strand. The 370 from Waterford (via Wexford town) and the 387 from Wexford town. Rosslare Strand also has a train station located a few hundred metres from the beach.

If you are driving, the village car park is right beside the beach.

My Trip to Rosslare Strand

I visited Rosslare Strand as part of a family stay in the wonderful Kelly’s Hotel. My wife’s sister Maria and her two beautiful children were returning to Ireland from the United States for a short holiday. With the return of the prodigal daughter, the patriarch of the family wanted to spend as much time as possible together as a family. For us, rather than butchering a fatted calf, this meant a few days holiday together in Kelly’s.

Seven adults and four children made the trip to Wexford and we had a fantastic stay. I can only say good things about the Hotel which is the perfect spot for a family getaway.

The Beach

With Kelly’s Hotel being right on the beach, we had plenty of opportunity to explore. The children loved playing on the sand. A couple of the adults even got in a morning run along the seashore too (although that was a once off!). 

The Route

Whenever I get away in Ireland, I’m always itching to get out for a nearby walk or hike. The below trail passed right by my door while staying in Kelly’s. As such, I looked forward to getting a chance to try it out.

Starting My Rosslare Strand Loop Walk

Shortly after 6a.m. on a very quiet morning, I set out on my Rosslare Strand Loop Walk. I left the comfort of my bed in Kelly’s Hotel and snook out trying not to walk anyone up. No issues on that front as everyone was fully conked out!

Leaving Kellys, I walked through the sleepy village and towards the main public entrance to Rosslare Strand. I walked past the deserted car park and out onto the beach.

I felt a beautiful feeling of complete isolation as I looked out towards the sea. For a short period, I would have the whole place to myself. The lights in the nearby Rosslare port being the only sign of human activity.

On the Beach

I turned left and northwards along the beach. This meant the rising sun was to my right out over the horizon.

The Rosslare Strand Loop continues northwards for around 4km. Underfoot is sandy beach for the majority of this leg of the trail. The beach is interspersed with breakers of rock every 250 metres or so. 

The rock breakers go fully back into the sand dunes. However, I found it quite easy to follow the well worn paths over the rocks. In some cases, you need to be a little careful with your footing but I didn’t face any major issues on this front.

Wildlife Along the Rosslare Strand Loop

On crossing one of the breakers, I got a lovely glimpse of a lone seal out on the water. Other than that, I had encounters with plenty of ducks and geese and even a solitary cormorant fishing in the sea.

Sunrise Vistas on the Rosslare Loop

The real highlight for me along this lovely walk had to be the sun rising over the sea as I ambled along the beach. I spent a lot of time trying to capture photographs of the beauty of it all. Pictures don’t do justice to just how fantastic the views were.

Being alone on a secluded beach watching the morning light creep over the surroundings is such an amazing feeling. 

Turning Back for Home

After around 4.5km of walking, I reached Rosslare Point – the end of Rosslare Strand. Across the Bay, I could see The Raven Nature Reserve which sits alongside Curracloe Beach. I have previously completed a lovely walk on that side of the Bay. As such, it felt nice to see it from a distance.

Rosslare Fort

Rosslare Point marks the end of the peninsula. Up until relatively recently, the peninsula stretched further, ultimately ending in a human settlement called Rosslare Fort – a defensive structure built in the 1600’s to protect against sea invasions. The fort also operated as a customs port and lifeboat station. 

Erosion and heavy storms in the 1920’s led to the abandonment of the area as a place of human habitation. The remains of the fort now lie under the sea and the waves. The fort can sometimes be seen at low tide but unfortunately I didn’t get to see any remnants of the community that once lived here. Interestingly, the ruins of the fort are actually closer to The Raven side of the bay – indicating the water channel at the mouth of Wexford Harbour must have been much narrower 100 years ago.

I found the trail straightforward to follow as I rounded the head of the peninsula. The beach sweeps around to reveal a sandy path to follow. The path widened as I moved back in the direction of Rosslare village.

Having a Whale of a Time

The end of Rosslare Point marks the place of an interesting piece of history. Here in the late 19th century, a blue whale (25m in length!) washed up on the sandbanks of Wexford Harbour. The response to this astonishing site was for members of the Rosslare Lifeboat to sail out to investigate. They put the poor mammal out of her misery and claimed the remains for the British Crown – the whole of Ireland being occupied at this point in time.

Local man Willie Armstrong purchased the remains for 100 guineas (about €20,000 in today’s terms!!). While this seems like a huge amount to pay for a dead blue whale – Willie extracted over 600 gallons of oil from the animal and then went on to sell the whale’s bones to the Natural History Museum in London for twice what he paid for it.

In fairness, the National History Museum got great value from their purchase also – the skeleton can still be seen hanging in the entrance hall in the museum to this day.

Back to Civilisation

The sandy pathway gradual turns more gravelly and eventually into a proper roadway around the 5km mark. The best views now were to my right and across Wexford Harbour. The bird life on show (mostly Brent Geese and Mallard Ducks) and the abundant wild garlic in the hedgerows take centre stage with the sea views in the background.

For anyone interested in birdwatching, a bird hide exists close to the Lifeboat Memorial to catch better glimpses of the local birds on the mudflats of Wexford Harbour.

After about 6km of walking I reached the above mentioned memorial display for the Rosslare Lifeboat crew of 11 plus 6 other men in an accompanying tug boat from Wexford, who took part in an amazing rescue of a Norwegian boat stranded during violent storms on nearby Keeragh Islands.

Further information on this fascinating part of Rosslare’s history can be found at Rosslarelifeboatmemorial.com.

Heading for Home

As I walked back towards the village, I passed a couple of golf courses – The Burrow Links and Rosslare Golf Club. I’m struck by what a nice little village Rosslare is. For example, the Community Garden and other playgrounds I pass must be great amenities for locals and visitors alike.

Arriving back to our holiday home the scene differed greatly to what I had left behind at 6a.m. The children were all up and awake and already making a racket. Plus, the adults were busy trying to prepare breakfast and organise plans and activities for the day. 

The hustle and bustle seemed a complete contrast to the peaceful dawn walk I had just completed. I really enjoyed taking a little break from the hectic nature of a big family holiday but it was great to jump straight back into the chaos as well.

Conclusions on the Rosslare Strand Loop

In summary, the Rosslare Strand Loop is a beautiful peaceful walk with interesting sites along the way. As such, my advice is that if you are in the area or are lucky enough to be staying in the fantastic Kelly’s Hotel, definitely do this lovely walk.