Wexford – The Opera Festival

Wexford Festival Opera - photo by Patrick Redmond
Wexford Festival Opera - photo by Patrick Redmond
National Opera House, Wexford
National Opera House, Wexford
Hook lighthouse, Wexford
Hook lighthouse, Wexford
Wexford bridge
Wexford bridge
A fiddle (violin) and bodhran (Irish drum made from goatskin and wood) rest on a black silk cloth.
A fiddle (violin) and bodhran (Irish drum made from goatskin and wood) rest on a black silk cloth.

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.

  • A rousing Irish dancing and music workshop with local Irish musicians, who are completely dedicating to promoting and preserving the musical heritage of beautiful Ireland
  • A private reception at the beautiful opera house
  • An excursion to the oldest working lighthouse on the dramatic coastal area of Hook
  • Join the Wexford Historical Society for a special guided walking tour of the town, during which we learn about the significance of its Viking-built harbour and other buildings


  • Cultural Excursion


  • Special Access
  • All Inclusive

Itinerary 2019

Day 1

Fly to Dublin from London Heathrow this morning. Upon arrival, we drive to White’s Hotel in Wexford and stop for lunch en route. After checking in, we dine at a local restaurant as a group.

Hotel: Clayton Whites, Wexford
Meals: Dinner included

Day 2

In the morning, we meet a member of the Wexford Historical Society, who leads us on a guided walk around the town. We learn about the significance of Wexford’s Viking-built harbour and visit the now-derelict Selskar Abbey. Later, we enjoy a lunchtime recital amidst the superb acoustics and Georgian interiors of St. Iberius Church, before a talk on tonight’s opera and a private reception at the National Opera House. After dinner in the Opera House, we attend our first performance of the tour.

Performance: La Cucina by Irish composer Andrew Synnott (WORLD-PREMIERE) together with Adina by Gioacchino Rossini
Hotel: Clayton Whites, Wexford
Meals: All meals included

Day 3

Today we meet the Wexford Comhaltas, a group devoted to the promotion and preservation of Ireland’s musical culture. Later, we attend a talk and enjoy our second live performance of the holiday.

Performance: Don Quichotte by Jules Massenet
Hotel: Clayton Whites, Wexford
Meals: All meals included

Day 4

We begin at Hook Lighthouse, established 800 years ago and now considered one of the oldest in the world. A chance to climb to the top of its tower rewards us with views across the water. We take an early lunch before returning to Wexford for a free afternoon. Dinner and a talk on tonight’s opera is followed by our final performance.

Performance: Dorilla in Tempe by Antonio Vivaldi
Hotel: Clayton Whites, Wexford
Meals: All meals included

Day 5

We make our way to the Wicklow Mountains National Park. After Sunday lunch, we make our way home from Dublin Airport.

Meals: Breakfast & lunch included

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - Private a/c coach
  4. Meals - Most meals included with wine at dinner
  5. Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
  6. Hotels
  7. Flights
  8. 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.

Travel Information

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2019 Tour Details

Wed 23rd Oct - Sun 27th Oct


Guaranteed Departure



sgl supp: £290


Led By: Barnaby Rayfield

Guide Lecturer

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