a Town and Estuary where the River Slaney meets the Irish Sea
A photographic essay of original photography depicting places of worship, art and entertainment, Wexford Harbour and the River Slaney Estuary.

Soul of Wexford


This high quality 148 page production illustrated with over 200 unique photographs is Hard Covered, 10” x 12” in size with colourful dust jacket. This book, titled “The Soul of Wexford; a Town and Estuary, where the River Slaney meets the Irish Sea” is a coffee table style book and depicts unique images of Wexford Town and its hinterland specially shot by the award winning photographer, John Ironside.

In this compilation of unique photography, world-class photographer John Ironside captures the distinctive aspects of the town of Wexford and its estuary, its architecture, its way of life, and records and exposes for the first time rare, valuable and fascinating secrets. He captures, probably for the last time, the transition from the old to the modern. This is an expression of the soul of a unique town and an estuary.

“Voted Book of the Year” by The Wexford Book Centre (October 2011)

Wexford Town is located in the south east corner of Ireland where the beautiful River Slaney flows into the Irish Sea. The town dates back to the Vikings who formed the town in c.AD 800.Through the years, Wexford has witnessed revolution, strife and great achievement socially, culturally and economically. Once a successful seaport, the dredging of the changing sand banks in the estuary became commercially unviable to maintain and dredging ceased in the late 1960s, closing the harbour to sea-going ships. The port is now being utilised by mussel dredgers and pleasure craft.

Both the town and estuary are rich in resources which include its people, artifacts, flora, fauna and marine life. For many years, the estuary, an area of huge mud flats and colourful changing sand banks provided a habitat for wildlife, and rich resource of Mari culture industry and an export trade. The estuary is also a fantastic area for sailing, fishing and rowing regattas. There has also been a tradition of fowl hunting in the estuary where large numbers of Whitefront geese, Greenland geese, plover and duck gather through the winter months.

Prominent among the town’s resources are its churches of mixed denominations with their fine architectural features. Notable churches within the town include The Friary, St. Iberius church, the Presbyterian Church. the ‘Twin churches’ at Bride Street and Rowe Street with their distinctive spires, and impressive Saint Peter’s College, with a chapel designed by Augustus Welby Pugin. A former Quaker meeting hall is now a band room in High Street. The Adoration Convent, with its magnificent examples of wood work, was added onto Bride Street Church in 1875 and is connected to the church by a cloister.

St John of God Convent has a beautiful chapel and there are fine examples of woodwork and tiles throughout the building. The large walled garden is home to the order’s graveyard, peaceful grounds and vegetable gardens with produce used to complement the convent’s food supply.

The original Clonard Church, was built in 1970. As the congregation grew, an expansion of the church took place in 1998 and is of modern construction. It features an elaborate congregation and altar area, a fine tapestry by Anne Heffernan and modern stained glass windows by the artist Gillian Deeny.

Another church, Selskar Abbey, now a roofless ruin, was ransacked and its priests killed by the troops of  Oliver Cromwell in 1649. It is said King Henry II  did penance for the murder of his friend Thomas á Becket here in 1170.