Wicklow Village is the capital of County Wicklow and is just an hour’s travel away from Dublin. It’s a great place for outdoor adventures, beautiful walks and peaceful getaways.
The earliest known history discovered in Wicklow was in 900BC where artefacts from the Bronze Age were discovered. The Irish Celts of the Cauci/ Canci tribe arrived to settle in the area around 600BC. The earliest known map which included Wicklow was in 130AD created by Ptolemy, the Greek cartographer.
Around 795AD the Vikings arrived in the area to raid the Celtic settlements, but it was only in the mid 9th Century when the Vikings settled after having found value with the natural harbour in Wicklow.
Things to do in Wicklow:
1. Start off with a breakfast at “The Coffee Shop”
The Coffee Shop is in the center of town and offers a menu of delicious food at affordable prices. I can recommend the Irish breakfast which offers a good portion for a hungry stomach; or the granola, yogurt and berry which offers a lighter choice for breakfast. Their coffee is also great. It’s in a convenient location in town to kick off your adventure.
The walk along the harbour piers offers a great view of the village, surrounding countryside and boats.
3. Walk along the River Vartry
The River Vartry runs through the village of Wicklow and offers a great nature trail. If you’d like to kayak along the river, there is a Kayak company available: http://www.wicklowkayaking.ie/
If you are interested in learning some of Ireland’s history, there are two monuments worthy of note:
- Michael Dwyer Monument, Main Street
The statue was erected in 1904 to honour the memory Michael Dwyer who in the 1798 Rebellion was a United Irishmen leader. The statue is easy to locate on the Market Square on Main Street.
- Proclamation of the Irish Republic slab
In Easter 1916 a document issued by the Irish Volunteers & the Irish Citizen army, known as the Proclamation of the Irish Republic proclaiming independence from the UK. The beginning of the Raising was marked by the reading of the proclamation in Dublin in front of the General Post Office on O’Connell street.
You can find a slab with the text of the proclamation in the Village along the river Vartry.
5. Black Castle
Once the Norman’s arrived in Ireland, it was Earl Strongbow, after having been granted land on the East Coast, who ordered the building of castles for protection .
The responsibility of building castles fell on Baron Maurice Fitzgerald. The first known mention of Black Castle’s existence was in 1174, although the castle did stand for long before before being destroyed in 1301 after being attacked repeatedly by the local Chieftains, the O’Bryne and O’Toole clans.
Today you can walk around the ruins and take in the stunning ocean views that the castle would have appreciated.
6. Wicklow Gaol
Here’s a bit of a spooky attraction. The Wicklow Gaol is a famous prison which is claimed to be one of the world’s most haunted buildings. The prison was built in the late 18th century but extended in 1822. The last of the prisoners left the prison in 1924.
The Wicklow Goal held prisoners in some key moments of Ireland’s history:
- Holdings prior to penal transportion (1615 – 1870)
- The Irish Rebellion (1798 – 1798)
- The Irish Potato Famine (1845 and 1849)
- Irish War of Independence (1919 – 1921)
- Irish Civil War (1922 – 1923)
Today the gaol is a museum open for visitors.