WEXFORD, a seaport, market-town, and municipal borough, and the chief town of the above county, is finely situated on the south side of the Slaney, where it discharges into Wexford Harbour, on the Dublin, Wicklow, and Wexford Railway and a branch line of the Great Southern and Western, 82 miles south of Dublin and 15 south-east of Enniscorthy. Wexford Harbour, formed by the estuary of the Slancy, is about 3 miles from north to south and about 4 from east to west, and has an area of about 1300 acres. A fine bridge of wood and iron 1500 feet in length crosses a narrow part of the estuary. The harbour affords splendid accommodation for shipping, but its advantages have been in great part lost by a bar at its mouth preventing the entrance of vessels drawing more than 12 feet. The construction of a pier at Rosslare connected with Wexford by a railway has, however, proved of great benefit. The town •consists of the quay, about 1000 feet in length, with two narrow streets running parallel with it, and other smaller ones branching off at intervals. Some remains of the old walls and flanking towers still exist. The Protestant Episcopal church, near the ruins of the ancient abbey of St Sepulchre, is said to occupy the spot where the treaty was signed between the Irish and their English invaders in 1169. The principal modern buildings are the town-hall, the theatre, the court-house, the barracks, occupying the site of the ancient castle, St Peter's College for the education of Catholic clergy, the county infirmary, the union workhouse, and a number of convents. The port has communication by steamer with Liverpool and Bristol. In 1886 the number of vessels that entered the port was 817 of 85,004 tons, the number that cleared 836 of 84,065 tons. The principal exports are agricultural produce, live stock, and whisky. Shipbuilding is carried on, and also tanning, malting, brewing, iron-founding, distilling, and the manufacture of artificial manure, flour, agricultural implements, and rope and twine. The population of the town iu 1871 was 12,077, and in 1881 it was 12,163.
'• Wexford was one of the earliest colonies of the English, having been taken by Fitzstephen. It was the second town that Cromwell besieged in 1649. It was garrisoned for William Ill. in 1690. In 1798 it was made the headquarters of the rebels, who, however, surrendered it on the 21st June. In 1318 the town received a charter from Aldomar de Valence, which was extended by Henry IV. in 1411, and confirmed by Elizabeth in 1558. By James I. it was iu 1608 made a free borough corporate, by the title of " the town and free borough corporate of Wexford." It returned two members to parliament from 1374 till the Union, when they were reduced to one. In 1585 it was included in the South Division of the county.