Ireland is a great place to watch and play sports, with football, rugby, Gaelic football, golf and hurling being the most popular sports. The Irish rugby team regularly beats the very best in the world during the Six Nations and World Cup competitions.
There’s also an impressive number of world class Irish boxers and horse riders for the size of our small nation.
Wexford is well known for its beautiful beaches, stunning countryside and wonderful trails. It is also known for its rich history and many things to see and do. But did you know that its also a home to many top sports stars? In this article, we want to celebrate our sports stars from Wexford and tell you how you can enjoy sports and an active holiday in Ireland.
Boxing Heros from Wexford
One of Wexford’s most successful boxers was Derek Roche, who competed from 1994 to 2004. He was a legend on the British boxing scene holding the British welterweight title from 1999 to 2000 and being undefeated for 22 fights.
The highlight of his career was competing for the IBO super welterweight title in 2000. Although Derek Roche lived and fought out of Leeds for most of his professional career, we’re very proud of Wexford’s famous son.
Other Wexford born boxers include Dean Walsh, who won four Irish Elite titles and won a bronze medal at the 2015 European championships, and multitalented James “Jem” Roche who excelled at both Gaelic football and boxing and was the Irish heavyweight champion in 1913.
Horse Racing Jockeys from Wexford
Wexford has a rich history of producing wonderful horse trainers and jockeys. It also has some wonderful stables and equestrian centres where you can learn to ride, and horseback riding tours where you can trek through the countryside on your next holiday in Ireland.
Famous names in the sport from Wexford include horse racing trainer Aidan Patrick O’Brien and Irish National Hunt Jockey Daryl Jacob who has won at the Cheltenham Festival and 2012 Grand National.
If you want to watch horse racing when you visit Wexford, we’d recommend a visit to Wexford Racecourse, one of the finest tracks in the country. Located in Bettyville Park, 45 minutes’ drive away from us in Hookless Holiday Homes, its friendly atmosphere and excellent facilities and fixtures makes it a great day out.
Swimming Olympians and Stars from Wexford
Paralympic swimming star Darragh McDonald was born in Wexford in 1994 and won a silver medal in the 400m freestyle at the Beijing Paralympic Games in 2008. He also won gold at the 2012 London Paralympic Games in the 400m Freestyle and was crowned world champion in the 2013 World Championships in Montreal.
If you want to go swimming during your holiday, we have three swimming pools and leisure centres in Wexford which you can visit no matter the weather and of course, amazing blue flag beaches where you can take a dip and enjoy some Vitamin Sea.
Rugby Stars from Wexford
Rugby is a very important and popular sport across Ireland, and Wexford has produced some real talent over the years. This includes current player Tadhg Furlong who plays as tighthead prop for Leinster and has represented Ireland and the British & Irish Lions. He’s widely considered one of the best front row forwards in world rugby today.
Wexford also produced the outstanding women’s rugby union and field hockey player Jeamie Deacon. She represented Ireland in the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2017 and has won the Irish Senior Cup and Women’s Hockey League in field hockey.
Ross Barbour played rugby union and league in the 2000s at club level for many years, as well as representing Ireland in rugby league in the fullback or wing position.
There are some excellent rugby pubs in Wexford, with a great atmosphere on match days and we also have Wexford Rugby Club, training the new generation of Wexford born players.
Hurling & Gaelic Football Legends from County Wexford
Hurling is the national sport of Ireland and looks a bit like hockey, but is played with a shorter stick and is an ancient and important game here in Wexford. As you may expect, we have some great players who come from Wexford and others who moved here and called the place home.
There is a fantastic article from the Irish Independent highlighting the 125 greatest Wexford players. These include Seán O’Kennedy who inspired thousands as both a player and a trainer, and was one of the heroes of Wexford’s All-Ireland Senior hurling win of 1910. He captained Wexford in many more important games and was involved in the game for many years as a selector, referee and county manager.
Paddy Kehoe represented his country in both hurling and football and played for Wexford for 13 years. he was part of three hurling finals in the 1950s. Matty Forde is the county’s only All Star footballer, who has scored the most for his county in championship history and is considered one of the great forwards of the current era.
Wexford’s other sporting stars include Irish basketball player Tommy Malone who competed in the Summer Olympics in 1948, and Michael Kehoe who was the President of the Gaelic Athletic Association. Who, as well as being active in the Irish language movement, was also involved in politics at council level. Another bright light in the world of sports from Wexford was Bunny Ahearne who was President and Vice-President of the International Ice Hockey Federation, as well as managing the GB team which won a Gold at the Winter Olympic Games. He was so important that he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Playing and watching sports in Wexford
If you want to get involved with sports on your next holiday to Wexford, there are lots of excellent options to choose from. We have places where you can learn to ride, swimming pools and leisure centres, incredible cycling trails, watersports and adventure centres and much more.
Golfers are spoilt for choice with nine great courses as well as a pitch and putt course. The top three ranked, according to Top 100 Golf Courses, are Bunclody, Rosslare and Courtown.
At Hookless Holiday Homes we have tennis courts and sports fields for you to get active and we can inform you on the best places to watch your favourite sports during your holiday in Wexford.