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Visiting Bray, County Wicklow, Republic of Ireland: dramatic views of Bray Head

Updated on September 14, 2013
Flag of the Republic of Ireland
Flag of the Republic of Ireland | Source
Bray Head
Bray Head | Source
Bray Sea Front
Bray Sea Front | Source
Bray and Bray Head
Bray and Bray Head | Source

A huge geographical feature; and some Republican history

You can't miss it. Bray Head (Irish: Ceann Bhré) looms dramatically 241 metres above the Irish Sea (Irish: Muir Éireann) at Bray (Irish: Bré), County Wicklow (Irish: Contae Chill Mhantáin), in the Republic of Ireland (Irish: Poblacht na hÉireann).

Geologically, Bray Head consists of a combination of a greywacke sandstone and a quartzite which is also present in the nearby Wicklow Mountains (Irish:Sléibhte Chill Mhantáin).

The town of Bray has a 1.6 kilometre Promenade, from which Bray Head looms ever more highly as one walks in a southerly direction.

Historically, Bray was a vacation resort popular with many people from all over the British Isles, and which expanded before air package deals made Mediterranean vacations a low cost option.

Even in the 18th century, prosperous people from Dublin were building residences in Bray. The railroad reached Bray in as early as 1854.

During the Irish War of Independence (Irish: Cogadh na Saoirse), the Royal Hotel in Bray was used as a base for the ruthless Auxiliaries (Black and Tans).

Famous people from Bray include Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh (1911-1978), President of Ireland (Irish: Uachtarán na hÉireann) 1974-1976; he also served as Chief Justice of Ireland (Irish: Phríomh-Bhreitheamh na hÉireann) and, previously, in two terms as Attorney General of Ireland (Ard-Aighne na hÉireann) (1).

September 14, 2013


(1) As Attorney General, Ó Dálaigh notably drafted the bill repealing the External Relations Act in 1948; this bill asserted that Ireland was a Republic, and, while prepared by Ó Dálaigh at the behest of outgoing Taoiseach Éamon de Valera, it was actually sponsored through the Irish legislature (Irish: Oireachtas Éireann) by the government led by de Valera's successor as Taoiseach, John A. Costello.

President Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh
President Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh | Source

Also worth seeing

In Bray itself, its harbour area is noted for the mute swans that are often spotted there; the Old Courthouse dates from 1841; St Paul's Church dates from 1609; the town is a good base from which excursions to the nearby Wicklow Mountains may be made.

Dublin (distance: 20 kilometres) with its large array of architectural treasures and historic sites is conveniently placed for visitors based in Bray.


How to get there: Aer Lingus flies from New York and Boston to Dublin Airport (Irish: Aerfort Bhaile Átha Cliath ), from where car rental is available. Bray is easily accessible from Dublin via the DART suburban rail network. Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

Map of County Wicklow, Republic of Ireland
Map of County Wicklow, Republic of Ireland | Source

For your visit, these items may be of interest


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