When planning a visit to some of Ireland's great Manor Houses there can often be the question of whether or not it will appeal to the entire family. At Wells House in County Wexford there is no such question- it's apparent the minute you look at their website that this is a place everyone in the family can enjoy.
Our introduction to Wells House took place last fall at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.
The event was held on the front lawn where guests in craftily created hats milled around tables set for tea, while the Mad Hatter, Queen of Hearts, and Alice welcomed everyone to the Wexford Wonderland. Cupcakes were decorated according to the theme of the day- because you can't serve tea without proper treats!- and activities aplenty kept everyone occupied.
When we weren't stepping through magic portraits, competing in hat contests, or just trying not to run afoul of the Queen of Hearts, we enjoyed the many activities Wells House offers its visitors.
Falconry at Wells House in County Wexford
Jim O'Connor has been a falconer for over 25 years; there's not a lot he doesn't know about hawking and falconry. As Jim introduces you to his birds he offers a glimpse into the amount of time, care, and training each bird receives daily- which will both cure your desire to become a falconer and make you thankful that he is sharing his birds with you.
An hour-long hawk walk at Wells House gives you the opportunity to fly a majestic Harris Hawk through the beautiful gardens, delighting in the bird's powerful wings, yet incredibly light weight, as it lands on your outstretched and gloved hand to take it's treat.
For families who want a terrific falconry experience but are on a budget, Wells House offers the most affordable hawk walk I have found in Ireland. One note- the birds do eat raw meat so it is best to be preared for that.
Activities in the Gardens at Wells House
From meticulously maintained terraces to the woodland walk, the gardens at Wells House provide a wonderful adventure. Aspiring gardeners will be snapping photos of plants and plots, while the more serene will just enjoy the beauty. The kids, well, they will enjoy it most of all.
You see, there are so many surprises within the gardens. From wishing wells to fairy castles, woodland sculptures to geocached treasures, kids of all ages will delight in finding the surprises hidden in the gardens. You'll even find a fun playground with an adjacent picnic area.
If your children are just too mature for the whimsical attractions (growing up is such a sad and happy event!) make a reservation for archery or clay shooting, both taught by qualified coaches.
Other Activities at Wells House
House Tours Take the time to tour this great Victorian House. The story of Wells House, its inhabitants, designer, and even tenants leads you through 350 years of history, from the time of Cromwell through famine and rebellion. This is a house to explore- you won't see any ‘do not touch' signs. In fact, this is the first historic home tour that I have been invited to sit at a formal dining table, on antique chairs, and enjoy a sweet. A guided tour quiz will keep older children occupied and interested in this tour and all will be in awe of your final stop, the Versailles drawing room.
Animals The Wildlife Sanctuary and Animal Farm is run by volunteers with the goal of promoting education, conservation, and animal welfare in a fun and safe environment. Your basic barnyard animals – pigs, donkeys, and horses- have a home here but you'll also encounter reptiles, rescued raccoons, and a hedgehog!
Shopping The Craft Courtyard is the perfect place to pick up a little something unique from a local artisan. Some shops even offer workshops.
Dining Make time for tea – or a meal- in Mrs Stone's Restaurant. Fresh, local produce is utilized to great delicious treats for all taste buds.
Be Sure to Check the Events Page! From fun kids workshops to live performances of Shakespeare you'll always find something fun happening at Wells House in Wexford!