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Courtown (or Court Town) is situated about 6 km (4 miles) south-east of Gorey, on a wide sweep of coast called Courtown Bay. It is located at the south east coast of Ireland, in County Wexford. Prior to 1820, the village was completely under-developed, but in 1830, the harbour was built by the Courtown family, on whose vast estate it stood. It soon became a thriving fishing village.
The present pier of the harbour was built by the Courtown family as part of famine relief work in 1847. Courtown is especially popular as a tourist resort. The tourists started to arrive in 1863, when the railway line from Dublin reached Gorey. Though Courtown Harbour itself still retains its old world charm and natural beauty, it is today a very modern resort with many amenities.
A village with a population of just under one thousand people, Courtown's real charm is to be found in its great natural beauty and the atmosphere of peace. Courtown is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled seaside resorts on the south east coast yet also offers a wide variety of attractions. Courtown's population rises dramatically during the summer months.
The strand, extending from Ballymoney on the north to Cahore Point in the south, is magnificent, backed by sand dunes that offer shelter and some privacy. The bathing is very good, and the sea water is noted for its excellent qualities. The resort offers all sorts of sporting facilities, including boating, tennis, golfing and dancing. Apart from the sea-angling, a much favoured pastime, brown trout-fishing may also be had on the upper reaches of the Ounvarra River.
The Ounavarra is the river which flows into the harbour. On a trip up the river, the visitor passes through the wooded Courtown Estate with its unsurpassed variety of scenery, past the site of where Courtown House (the seat of the Courtown Family) once stood, and on to Ballinatray Bridge. The bridge which carries the main Gorey to Courtown road, spans a deep gorge, and is reputed to be one of the highest old stone-work bridges in the country.
Within a short distance are the rivers Ahare and Bann. The area of Courtown is very pleasant, and crowning a large wooded area is Tara Hill, about 6 km (4 miles) away, which offers extensive views. Nearby is the resort of Ballymoney, a quiet, unobtrusive place, favoured for restful holidays.
Courtown is a convenient starting point for many trips to places such as Arklow, Avoca and Woodenbridge in Wicklow and back via Clonegal, Carnew and Gorey.
What to see and do
The resort offers all sorts of sporting facilities, including boating, tennis, golfing and dancing. Apart from the sea-angling, a much favoured pastime, brown trout-fishing may also be had on the upper reaches of the Ounvarra River. See the Things to do and Places to go pages for more informationthe wide range of possible holiday activities and the many visitor attractions in and around Courtown.