The village of Rosslare Harbour grew up to serve the needs of the harbour of the same name (now called Rosslare Europort), first developed in 1906 by the Great Western Railway and the Great Southern and Western Railway to accommodate steamferry traffic between Great Britain and Ireland. Rosslare Harbour railway station opened on 30 August 1906.
Although the harbour itself is located close to the previously existing settlement of Ballygeary, it was named after the village of Rosslare, some 4 km away (8 km by road) along the coast.
The village of Ballygeary was divided into two townslands, one known as tin town and the other as straw town. It is believed this was because of the roofs on the houses.
The village has a number of guesthouses, hotels, a Roman Catholic church, a bank and some shops. Just south of the harbour is a small strand leading to Greenore Point, where grey seals are usually to be seen.
Activities in Rosslare Town
Rosslare has been a tourist resort for at least 100 years. It prides itself on being the sunniest spot in Ireland, and records bear this out: Rosslare receives 300 hours more sunshine each year than the average place in Ireland. The long sandy strand is a Blue Flag beach so it attracts swimmers and families, while there are a number of good golf courses in the vicinity. The Dublin to Rosslare Europort railway passes through the village. Rosslare has a few good hotels and a few good restaurants.
Golf - the famous and spectacular links course of Rosslare Golf Club . It has two 18 hole courses, available for non-members. Also St. Helens Bay Golf Club.
Swimming - off Rosslare Strand. Between Rosslare Harbour and Carnsore Point is Carne Beach.
Cycle - the flat south Wexford countryside is perfect for cycling.
Fishing - off the local beaches. Deepsea fishing from nearby Kilmore Quay
Birdwatching - much migratory bird activity around Rosslare Point on the flats of Wexford Bay. Also at the Saltee Islands (accessible from Kilmore Quay).
The village has seen a huge amount of building in recent years, as tax grants became available for building holiday homes in this region. As a result, there are large housing estates of holiday homes near the strand.
A long sandspit stretching north from Rosslare separates Wexford Harbour from the Irish Sea. Until the early 1920s, this spit stretched for many miles north, almost touching the Raven Point and giving a very narrow mouth to Wexford Harbour. At the end of the spit was a small fort called Rosslare Fort. In the winter of 1924-25 a storm breached the spit and it was gradually washed away. The fort was abandoned and now all that is left is an island at low tide. Most maps of Ireland, however, still show the long spit of sand.
Rosslare is commonly known in Ireland as being in the "Sunny South-East", and in 1959 Rosslare recorded 1,996.4 hours of sunshine, the highest recorded in Ireland. However, it is not the warmest or driest place in Ireland.