The fifth and final stage of the Irish section of the route to Rosslare. It is best to start near low tide. Check the tides here.
From the Church of the Assumption, you follow the old pilgrim path to reach Our Lady’s Holy Well. Fill your third bottle with the water from this well and carry it to St Davids.
Afterwards, go up the road to the Cross of the Shad. (‘shad’ is a shed in Yola dialect). The shad was erected over a large stone that once lay here. Secret masses were held at the stone in the open air during the Penal times when celebrating mass was forbidden.
If the tides are favourable, bear right at Shard Crossroads and follow St Margaret’s Lane to the beach. From here, it is possible to walk by beach and clifftop path all the way to Rosslare Europort.
For two hours on either side of high tide, the beach route is impassable, and it is necessary to take an inland diversion that connects to the Rosslare Harbour Cliff Walk with its panoramic views. Then follow the path along the sand dunes and beach until you join the access road into Rosslare Harbour.
HIGHLIGHTS / PLACES OF INTEREST
Our Lady's Well
Our Lady’s Well is surrounded by white walls with a gate on the eastern side. Two stone steps take you down to the well. We are particularly fond of the short but quite charming walk down the old pilgrimage track, with its two delightful stone stiles. A standing stone is located in the nearby graveyard.
Annual Pilgrimage Season
Our Lady’s Island is the home of a mass-participation pattern event of pilgrimage each year from 15th August, the Feast of Our Lady the Assumption, to 8th September, her birthday. Ceremonies begin on the 15th with mass at 3pm followed by a procession, and end after mass on the 8th with a torchlight procession and final blessing.
During the season, pilgrims move quietly round the Island, either in organised groups or individually, reciting the Rosary. Ideally, a pilgrim carries out this exercise nine times during the season. The Order of the Pilgrimage:
- The pilgrim begins with a visit to the Parish Church
- The pilgrim now walks along the causeway to the Shrine at the entrance to the Island and prays there for a few moments.
- Next the pilgrim follows the path to the left of the Island.
- The Rosary with its fifteen decades (the Mysteries of Light are optional) is recited as the pilgrim walks around the Island
As you approach Rosslare along the clifftops, you will have a panoramic view across Wexford Harbour towards the North Slobs. In the 19th century, a seawall was constructed and a large area of the Harbour was reclaimed from the ocean. This low-lying area is now the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve where over 250 species of bird have been recorded. The reserve was established to provide a winter home for the 8500 Greenland White-fronted Geese who arrive each year on annual migration.
The seawall also meant that the former Beggerin Island became part of the mainland and now forms a portion of the modern Beggerin Estate.
Pilgrims on Carne Beach
Facing the Unknown
Lobster pots on Carne Beach
Tree lined road
Welcome Pilgrim Sign
Beggerin Island has long associations with St Ibar, an early Irish saint (also known as Ivor and Iberius), who is the patron saint of Wexford town. Reputed to have been born in Co Down, he journeyed abroad to study Christianity in the 5th century. Returning to Ireland as a bishop, he eventually settled on an island in Wexford Harbour, where he built a church and monastic cell.
Such was his reputation for holiness that followers came from across Ireland to found an early Christian monastery on the island. Ibar later became a disciple of St Patrick, although tradition holds his mission in Ireland initially preceded that of Patrick. The remains of an early Christian settlement are still to be seen at a location on the North Slob, which once formed an island in Wexford Harbour.
If you do get to walk on Carne Beach, look out for the petrified trees which are quite visible along the beach. It is quite interesting to consider that there was a time when what is now beach, sand and sea was in fact soil and solid ground. Proof of how things change around us over time.
Sign up for our Newsletter
Be the first to know about guided events being offered along the route and all the latest developments as we head for a pilgrimage launch in 2023.