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Founded in 1951 by a local doctor, Tom Walsh, the Wexford Festival (held over three weeks in October and November each year) has become a fixture in the international opera scene drawing a global audience. The mixture of three rarely performed works delivered in the main by young principals at the outset of their careers has firmly established its very special space in the opera firmament. 2008 saw the opening of a new opera house to replace the cramped but atmospheric old Theatre Royal. The new theatre is one of the finest small opera houses in Europe, modelled on - and every bit the equal of - the Glyndebourne house.