Opera fans troop to little Wexford each fall for the Wexford Festival Opera in October , but you can catch interesting theatrical performances here all year-round. Wexford is a town with a fine tradition of music and the arts.
The modern Wexford Opera House (tel. 053/912-2400; www.wexfordoperahouse.ie), which opened in 2008, is an awkward addition to the Wexford skyline, with its large but rather garish copper-plated tower. Seen from the river, the tower stands in tragic juxtaposition to the gorgeous and iconic Twin Churches. Controversially, the old Theatre Royal (dating from 1832) was demolished to make room for the new structure. Love or loathe what it's done to the town's skyline, it is impossible to deny that this state-of-the-art performance venue is, in terms of acoustics and sight-lines, a great improvement on the cramped old theater it replaced. So it all comes down to your priorities in the end: sight or sound?
The biggest event in the calendar of the opera house is, unsurprisingly, the Wexford Festival Opera. Held over 2 weeks each October, this prestigious event attracts aficionados from all over Ireland and beyond. Opera lovers will be in heaven -- but book early if there's something you want to see. Ticket sales are open from early June (although you can book a month early if you become a "friend" of the festival). Tickets start at around €10, rising to about €100 for the best seats. For more details call the Opera House box office at tel. 053/912-2400 or visit www.wexfordopera.com.
There's always something interesting going on at the Wexford Arts Centre, Cornmarket, Wexford (tel. 053/912-3764; www.wexfordartscentre.ie). Built as the market house in 1775, this building is a focal point for the arts in Wexford, and now houses three exhibition rooms and showcases a range of theatrical and artistic events. It's open year-round from 10am to 6pm daily.
To see professional Irish music and dancing, head 16km (10 miles) south of Wexford to the Yola Farmstead, Wexford-Rosslare road (N25), Tagoat, County Wexford (tel. 053/913-2610). For groups, by prior arrangement, the Farmstead stages traditional Irish banquets and céilí evenings of Irish music, song, and dance. If you're on your own, you still might be able to join in if a performance is planned. The average cost is around €32 per person.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.