Wicklow Main Towns


Between Roundwood and Laragh is the pretty village of Annamoe, in pleasant wooded surroundings on the banks of the Annamoe River. It has a fun park, trout farm and adventure play area built around the Avonmore River. Past president of Ireland, Erskine Childers, spent much time at nearby Glendalough House and is buried at Derrylossery, close to the village. Ammanoe is associated with a remarkable adventure of the youthful Laurence Sterne. ‘It was in this parish during our stay that I had the wonderful escape of falling through a millrace whilst the mill was going and of being taken out unhurt. The story is incredible, but known for truth in all that part of Ireland, where hundreds of people flocked to see me’.

A seaside resort town with a long tradition in seafaring and related activities – boat building, sea fishing and lifeboat station. Arklow has also a fine tradition in the pottery industry. Situated on the river Avoca, the N11 road and the Dublin/Rosslare rail line and with a good range of accommodation available, Arklow is an excellent base for exploring County Wicklow and neighbouring counties. It has an attractive main street with ornate lighting and a charming riverside walk. The imposing Saint Saviour’s Church impressively floodlit at night, dominates the high ground of the town. Visitor attractions are the tours of Arklow and Wicklow Vale Potteries, the Maritime Museum and the Sport and Leisure Centre.

The picturesque village of Ashford is the home of Mount Usher Gardens. It has a famous collection of plants from all over the world. Spacious tearooms overlook the gardens and Vartry River. Tiglin Adventure Centre is well known for its multi-activity adventure holidays. The Devil’s Glen is an excellent area for walking. Ashford boasts three riding centres; Killoughter has beach fishing for codling, dab and occasional ray and bass. Night fishing.

Aughrim is a neat compact village straddling the Aughrim River. It won the tidiest village in County Wicklow award in 1996. There are a number of charming granite terraced houses opposite Lawless Hotel. Aughrim is an important agricultural, horticultural and timber processing village. The GAA County Ground is located on the edge of the village. The new angling lake is licensed for all year round trout fishing and is open daily to visitors.

The small town of Avoca was born out of the copper mining industry, which thrived throughout the last century, closing however in 1982. Situated on the Avoca River the small town is famous for two reasons. The first is that of Avoca Handweavers, famous for hand weaving looms, and the second is that it is the village where the world famous television series, Ballykissangel, is filmed. About 2km from Avoca is the “Meeting of the Waters” which Thomas Moore immortalised in his song.

Baltinglass, nestling on the banks of the Slaney, in the lee of the Wicklow mountains, is a treasure trove of history, with its 12th century Cistercian Abbey, surrounded by stone age monuments and 1798 sites. An excellent base for historical exploration,fishing, golf and hill walking, it is easily accessible from Dublin (1 hour), car ferry (1.5 hours) and other heritage towns of Kildare, Athy, Abbeyleix and Kilkenny. (Baltinglass – meaning The Way of Cuglas)

The town of Blessington was built by Archbishop Michael Boyle in 1667. The town and countryside have changed dramatically following the planned flooding of the Liffey Valley in 1940 to form the Blessington Lakes. The town is a lively spot particularly at weekends with its own characters and a charming wide tree lined main street. The nearby visitor attractions include the lakes, Adventure Centre, Water Cruiser and Russborough House.

Bray is one of the oldest seaside resorts in the country and still retains much of its Victorian charm with the promenade and the houses facing the sea front. There is a wonderful Aquarium on the promenade with over 700 species of marine life. The Town House has been recently restored, and also the Old Courthouse which now houses the local heritage centre. Bray Golf Club is at the mouth of the Dargle River where it enters Bray Harbour. There is a Martello Tower overlooking the harbour also, one of many which were built to protect against possible invasion by the French. The modern town of Bray is a busy commercial town, which is within easy access of Dublin city. The DART train takes 25 minutes to reach Dublin city centre.

Brittas Bay
Six miles (10 km) to the south of Wicklow is Jack’s Hole, a secluded little seaside place with wide smooth sands. Just beyond is Brittas Bay, where there is a 3-mile (5 km) stretch of sandy beach backed by dunes, very popular with Dubliners.

The old 17th century O’ Toole castle has been modernised and is privately owned. A British garrison occupied the castle during the 1798 rebellion and there is a memorial to 36 rebels who were executed following the uprising. The Croghan Valley is a very scenic drive which dips into Wexford and runs below Croghan Mountain to Coolgreany while Holt’s way Drive runs through the village.

A pleasant refreshment stop just off the main Bray – Wicklow Road near Glen of the Downs. It boasts a magnificent 18-hole golf course. The family of Digges La Touche was associated with the Bellview Estate near the village, and a memorial to David Digges La Touche, dating from 1790 is contained in the Protestant Parish Church. The ruin of Kindlestown Castle, c13th century, lies to the north of the village.

This tranquil village at the foot of Table Mountain has the ruins of a medieval church. Nearby in Derrynamuck is a cottage dedicated to the memory of Michael Dwyer, a celebrated 1798 leader (National Monument). It is popularly known as the Dwyer-McAllister cottage for it was here when the rebels were surrounded by British troops, that one Samuel McAllister died when he drew enemy fire to allow Dwyer to escape. The highest mountain in Wicklow, Lugnaquilla, can be accessed near here.

It is a peaceful village characterised by its unusually wide streets forming an expansive T Junction. Its crowning glory is the Courthouse in the centre of the village. Built in the ancient Doric style of Grecian architecture, it is one of three such buildings in Ireland. Dunlavin is the host to the Dunlavin Arts Festival held from the 19th/21st June, a celebration of the arts and crafts in West Wicklow.

This pretty estate village lies in a beautiful glen of the Cookstown or Glencullen river. It’s origins and life were dominated by the nearby Powerscourt demesne, formerly the property of Viscount Powerscourt. The Catholic Church C1843 by Patrick Byrne is one of the first gothic revival churches in Ireland. The clock tower in the centre of the village is an attractive feature. The wooded country around Enniskerry offers some fine forest walks. Powerscourt Gardens are a major attraction.

Glendalough – The Glen of the Two Lakes – is a valley celebrated for its beauty and its historical and archaeological interest. The valley is home to one of Ireland’s most atmospheric monastic sites, established by St. Kevin in the 6th century. The area also provides excellent rock-climbing, rough scrambling and ordinary hill walking. A visitor centre, located at the mouth of the valley, provides a unique opportunity to interpret the lives and times of the monks who once lived here.

Greystones is a small fishing village which has grown in size in recent years due to its close proximity to the city of Dublin. The village atmosphere has not been spoilt however by this growth and it still has the same charm and ambience of a fishing village. Greystones has a shingle beach which is used by bathers and shore anglers alike. There are two golf courses and a driving range near to the town, and the cliff walks offer marvellous views between Greystones and Bray.

Set at the end of the Wicklow Gap road, Hollywood has long associations with Glendalough and the many pilgrims on their way to the monastic city, up until the last century when the practice ceased. The Protestant church dates from the 17th century, and has a vaulted roof. About 3.5km from Hollywood there is a circle of Bronze Age stones called the Piper Stones.

Kilcoole is a small village which has grown a lot in recent years. Here, the coastline is only accessible by foot from a cul de sac which runs to the railway line. The beach is of shingle and stone, and birdwatchers will greatly appreciate the mud flats. They are part of the nature reserve which runs most of the way to Wicklow town. The beach at Kilcoole is excellent for shore angling. The nearby ruins of a church date from the 12th century, and there are some interesting gravestones dating from the18th century. Perhaps Kilcoole’s biggest claim to fame is the fact that Ireland’s top TV soap opera is filmed here in the village – “Glenroe”.

The village of Kilmacanoge, under the Great Sugar-loaf Mountain (1654 feet). A road goes to within a short way of the summit, from which there are fine views over a wide area.

A pretty village on the R747 Baltinglass/Hacketstown/Tinahely road. It is a friendly village and it won Ireland’s tidiest town in 1973. Humewood Castle is here and the famous Wicklow Rebel leader Michael Dwyer surrendered to Mr Hume.

Many scenic roads meet in Laragh, the most important one being the road to Glendalough. Unless you approach this monastic valley from the Wicklow Gap you must go through Laragh. It is a pleasant village. The Glenmacnass River runs through the village while the Avonmore River runs just south of here under the Rathdrum Road. Further along this road is Clara-Lara Fun Park, a mecca for children and the child in us all. There is boating, an adventure playground, a picnic area and a shop.

A small village with a long place name, it now lies to the west of a new bypass road which has returned the village to the peace it once knew. There is a nice tearoom here and all the best sporting gear can be purchased in a picturesque shop.

The town is pitched high on the western side of the beautiful valley of the Avonmore. It lies at the convergence of many roads and is, therefore, a good centre for touring the surrounding country. North of the town, the Avonmore flows through the Vale of Clara and the Vale of Avoca is only a few kilometres to the south. Glendalough, Glenmalure and Glenmacnass valley and other famous beauty spots are close by also. About 2km south of the town is Avodale house, which was the residence of Charles Stewart Parnell, one of the greatest political leaders of modern Irish history. Rathdrum is the ideal base for exploring mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers and lakes, the whole area is an activity paradise.

A small village providing a good refreshment stop on the main Dublin-Wexford road.

The highest village in Ireland, 238m above sea level, is surrounded by the most spectacular scenery in the country. A lively place on a summer evening, it has a caravan park, restaurant and pubs. On Sundays at 15.00, the Country Market is the place to find all kinds of handcrafts and home baking. The nearby Vartry Reservoir, a shimmering expanse of lakes, mirrors the surrounding hills. A quiet place for fishing or just lazing on a summer day. Fishing permits available at the Waterworks Office.

This village, 5 miles (8 km) south of Tinahely, lies in a wooded valley almost surrounded by hills. The district was once covered by the extensive Shillelagh Wood, which was famous for its oaks (the oak roofing in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin came from here). To the east of the village is Coolattin Park, once the large estate of the Fitzwilliam family with its golf course (9). Near by also, at Aghowle, is an ancient church with a twelfth-century doorway and two small round-headed windows with Romanesque ornamentation. The Tinahely horse fair and agricultural show takes place in August each year.

Tinahely is a market town in the valley of Derry River, a tributary of the River Slaney. Destroyed in the 1798 Rebellion the town was rebuilt in the early 1800s and thrived a s market town. The old markethouse occupies the centre of the square. The 1843 Courthouse has been beautifully restored and is now a venue for concerts, exhibitions, lectures and literary reading throughout the year. The centre also houses a sideplay of historic artefacts from the area and is an introductory point to the famous Coolatin Woods nearby.

The seaside resort of Wicklow town is also the county town. Standing on the lower slopes of Ballyguile Hill, it overlooks a wide bay fringed by a crescent curve of coast. St Mantan, after whose church the town is named, lived at the time of St Patrick. Long after this the town was occupied by the Danes, who called it Wykinglo and made it one of their main maritime bases on the east coast. After the Anglo-Norman invasion in the twelfth century, Wicklow was included in the large grants of land made by Strongbow to Maurice Fitzgerald. Until the seventeenth century the town was repeatedly attacked, as the O’ Tooles and O’Byrnes contended with the English for it. The old town of narrow streets has been considerably modernised, but it still retains much of its old-world atmosphere.