National Opera House

Places to See | Co. Wexford, Ireland

The National Opera House in Wexford is Ireland’s first custom-built, multi-purpose opera house and home to the world-famous Wexford Festival Opera. The stunning landmark building is nestled into the heart of the beautiful harbour town of Wexford.

If visiting Wexford we recommend stopping by this “secret gem” tucked away behind a reinstated street-front.

A state-of-the-art auditorium is tactfully inserted into a dense, historic urban plan. The John and Aileen O’Reilly Theatre has a seating capacity of 769. The auditorium layout is a stall and two tiers arrangement. The highlight of the auditorium, visually, is the American Black Walnut lining which brings to mind the interior of a stringed instrument.

Horseshoe-shaped balconies, where the audiences in the upper levels are brought into better contact with the stage, enhance the performance experience for audiences and performers alike. This layout, which was largely abandoned in 20th Century design, enhances the atmosphere by populating the side walls of the auditorium, making the audience more ‘visible’ to itself.

Enjoy an intimate behind the scenes tour of the National Opera House with one of our passionate and dedicated tour guides, part of the renowned Wexford Opera Volunteer Corps, who will introduce you to what really happens behind the scenes and describe to you how Wexford came to own one of the most advanced and beautiful small opera houses in the world!

There are lots of kid friendly events and interactive performance plays during the year. A weekly guided tour which explores the Opera House is available and makes for an enjoyable family experience. You and your family can explore the stage and backstage facilities and view the orchestra pit lifts and the horseshoe shaped balconies. You’ll also be escorted up to the top of the fly tower where you can take in the 360 degree view of Wexford’s beautiful harbour.

Wexford is a charming seaside town on Ireland’s southeast coast and since 1951 this town has hosted what has become known as one of the world’s most remarkable festivals. Recognised by the Frommers Guide as ‘one of the best small festivals in the world’ Wexford Festival Opera presents an annual trio of rarely performed operas in the unique atmosphere of Wexford Town. For more than sixty years now many hundreds of thousands of people have made a pilgrimage to Wexford Festival Opera in search of buried operatic treasure.

Address: National Opera House, High Street, Wexford, County Wexford Ireland

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