Wexford – The Opera Festival
If it were not for Compton Mackenzie, many an operatic masterpiece may have been forgotten. The writer, raconteur and commentator came up with the idea for the Wexford Opera Festival back in 1951, but wasn’t satisfied with it being just another opera event. From that first outing over 65 years ago to the present day, the Wexford Festival has operated on the same ideal - introducing audiences to neglected and unjustly overlooked works.
Opera is no longer an escape for the elite only. So, join us in Wexford to discover operatic treasures within a wonderful ancient Viking town, nestled on the banks of the River Slaney. Here, we meet the chairman of the festival, we are treated to a private tour of the city along with Selskar Abbey, and we get to attend impressive performances. There will also be the opportunity to take part in a workshop led by local Irish musicians. This tour offers a unique and exciting immersion into opera.
- Accept a coveted invite to a private reception held just for us at the Opera House
- Pay a visit to one of the world’s oldest working lighthouses, which has stood for almost 800 years now
- Attend a total of three exciting performances on this tour and experience the electric atmosphere of opera
- Spend time with a group of people devoted to the preservation & promotion of Ireland’s musical heritage
- Cultural Excursion
- Special Access
- All Inclusive
We fly to Dublin from London’s Heathrow airport in the morning. Upon arrival, we drive south of the Irish Sea to our base at White’s Hotel, Wexford. After we have checked in, we sit down for our first group dinner at a local restaurant.
In the morning, we are greeted by a member of the Wexford Historical Society, who will lead us on a fascinating guided walk around the town. As part of our tour, we will learn all about the significance of Wexford’s Viking-built harbour and then we will pay a visit to the now-derelict Selskar Abbey, a 12th-century building at which, in 1169, the first ever Anglo- Irish treaty was signed. Later, we are treated to a lunchtime recital amidst the superb acoustics and Georgian interiors of St. Iberius Church, before then accepting an invitation to a private reception at Wexford’s National Opera House. After a convivial dinner in the Opera House itself, we attend our first performance of the tour.
Today we spend some time with the Wexford Comhaltas, a group that is devoted to the promotion and preservation of Ireland’s rich musical heritage. With the friendly members of the Comhaltas as our experienced guides, we are treated to a rousing introduction to the vibrant world of Irish dance, music and tradition. This evening we will attend our second live performance of the holiday.
We begin with an excursion to Hook Lighthouse. The tip of Hook Peninsula protrudes out from Waterford Harbour and the lighthouse itself was established some 800 years ago, making it one of the oldest in the world. A chance to climb to the top of its tower rewards us with views across the water, with the opportunity to spot local wildlife - and possibly even whales. We take an early lunch on the peninsular before returning to Wexford for a free afternoon to explore the town, soaking up the festival atmosphere. This evening we have dinner at our hotel before our final opera performance.
It may well be the last day of our tour, but there’s still time for one final excursion. After checking out of our hotel, we make our way to The Wicklow Mountains National Park. We have Sunday lunch here before continuing on to Dublin airport, where we catch our return flight home.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Opera Tickets - Entry to all performances in the programme. We request the seats in the centre stalls as these offer the best view although seats in boxes are usually more expensive. There is no guarantee that we will get the seats requested as availability is often limited. Where it is possible to avoid boxes as an alternative we will, but in some cases it may be the only option.
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