Renting, buying and holidaying in ‘the real Rosslare’
A summer series on holiday home destinations begins in the sunny southeast
Rosslare Strand: known locally as “the real Rosslare”, during the summer months the village increases from a population of about 1,500 to 17,000
Rosslare Strand is what locals call “the real Rosslare” and should not be confused with Rosslare Harbour, about eight clicks further down the coast and home to the Europort ferry with crossings to Fishguard and Pembroke in Wales and Cherbourg and Roscoff in France.
During the summer months the village increases from a population of about 1,500 to 17,000, says Jodie Dempsey who runs the restaurant Wild and Native on Strand Road with her husband, chef Fergal Dempsey who worked as a sous chef at The Side Door, Shelbourne Hotel and second chef at Halo at The Morrison Hotel who carried out the consultancy at Le Bon Crubeen, Talbot Street.
Once school is out the population influx is mainly mothers with their kids whose partners or husbands remain in the capital heading south to join them only at weekends.
It’s very ordinary and that is its appeal, explains one such mother. “It has a relaxed attitude. The kids have the freedom to get on their bikes and just go or kick a ball all day long. You can walk around in shorts and a t-shirt.”
What’s on offer rental wise?
You can expect to pay between €650 and €899 per week for a three-bedroom house proximate to the beach and all activities in July and August, says Brenda McDermot, a director at locally based rental agency Relax Ireland who laughs at the idea of any availability this summer. “You need to be booking your summer holiday in January as most holidaymakers are repeat guests and many holiday together in three generations so larger properties, four-beds and upwards are rare as hen’s teeth and will cost from €1,250 to €1,900 per week.”
In popular South Bay a five-bedroom detached house costs from €995 to €1,295 per week while another large property, the six-bedroom Leinster Lodge, opposite the entrance to Kelly’s Resort and part of the holiday club, is a brilliant for a big group as all accommodation have en-suite bathrooms and the use of all amenities in the hotel if you’re staying on a full-board basis.
The resort’s repeat business is so high that it operates on a waiting list basis for this property. If you get lucky you can expect to pay about €450 per night on a self-catering basis while half-board is €121 per person.
A three-bedroom property in a small estate with tennis courts on Airbnb costs €75 per night and at the moment there is availability during the week beginning July 22nd.
And if you fall in love and want to buy, what’s for sale?
If you thought renting a house is hard then finding a property for sale is also challenging. The property search engines don’t make any differentiation between Rosslare Strand and Rosslare Harbour so bargain hunters check the map location before getting too excited.
1 Silver Strands is a two-bedroom ground-floor apartment in walk-in condition overlooking the beach and is asking €250,000 through agents Keoghe & Associates. In contrast, The Red House is a five-bedroom property in need of complete modernisation asking €150,000 through the same agent. 11 Rosetown Village is a three-bedroom semi-detached property in a small estate asking €145,000 through REA McCormack Corish.
Rosslare Beach Villas, overlooking the strand, were built in 1983. There are 10 in total and all have views of the port which is about five nautical miles across the bay. One two-bedroom unit is currently on the market asking €265,000 through the owner’s son, Johnny Fox, who can be contacted at 085 721 3621.
Where to eat, where to have a coffee, ice cream, etc
Holidaymakers loved Wild and Native on Strand Road so much that they returned to eat there on three consecutive nights, prompting the proprietors to welcome them with open arms and indeed treat them like there were natives – serving up free drinks at the end of the repast. The fish restaurant serves whitebait, crab claws, oysters, razor clams and lobster linguine, all landed at nearby Kilmore Quay, and served with produce foraged locally. Carnivores are also catered for with favourites like chicken wings and 20oz rib eye on the bone. There’s a kids menu too.
For an early morning coffee the place to be seen is Kelly’s Deli, which is owned and run by the same family that runs Kelly’s Resort, a place where you can drink from a surprisingly well stocked cellar for half of what it would cost you in Dublin (the owner’s brother-in-law is Vincent Avril of Clos des Papes and Bill Kelly travels to France ever Christmas with his wife Isabel to personally select their wines from the cellar door of the region’s caves). The restaurant is also open to non-residents and it is this menu of five-star facilities available to all that lifts Rosslare up from your ordinary Wexford seaside town.
For now though the only place to get a 99 in town is in the local Centra where the popularity of its soft-serve ice-cream is such that you will have to queue to pay and then queue again to get your cone. Most teenagers eat theirs on the green opposite.
You can get a full Irish at Seashells where come evening you can also buy hipster food truck grub like pulled pork buns, while Redmond’s The Bay pub has recently opened a fish and chip shop, Rosslare Bay Fish & Chips, for the nights you don’t feel like cooking. Wildandnative.ie
Eye some art
The Rosslare Gallery on Strand Street is a sister shop to the Denis Collins Gallery in Wexford town. Pick up Paul Moloney, Tony Robinson, Michael McGuire and Jen Myler, prints by Simone Walsh and Lar Joyce, and ceramics by Alan Boyle and Thomas Wollen.
There’s plenty to do. You could sign the kids up for any number of camps at Rosslare Community & Sports Centre from FAI soccer to GAA Cul camps and golf for tweens. Camps for little ones include sandcastle-making competitions and crazy golf, puppet shows and kiddies’ discos. Rosslare Watersports is another great facility. Last summer it set up a bouncy castle at sea and towed kids out to play on it.
Adults can escape to the spa at Kelly’s Resort offering Espa and Caudeline products, and to the resort’s swimming pool, which is also open to kids. You can run or stroll along the Blue Flag beach or, on wet days, head to the community centre’s indoor running track. Rosslareholidayresort.ie, hookedonrosslare.ie
Where you might catch someone’s eye, and what to say to them?
Tides is the local hotspot. Owned by former Irish international soccer star Stephen Hunt, it is the place to see and be seen. The gastro pub has a beer garden where while smirting or vaping you can try out the local line, “How’re ya hun?”.
Souvenirs to bring home
Send an old fashioned postcard. Purchase at the post office.