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Greystones - Wicklow - Village outlook

Village and harbour

Greystones (Na Clocha Liatha in Irish) is a coastal town in County Wicklow, Ireland, just south of Bray. Greystones has two beaches. The North Beach at the harbour is a stony beach and some of its length is ovelooked by the ever-eroding cliffs of Bray head (south). The second beach is to the south of the 'grey stones'. It is a sandy beach, and is about a half mile long. Due to its expansiveness and quality (it is a Blue Flag beach) the beach receives many visitors and tourists during the summertime. Greystones now has the southern terminal station of the DART line; enabling easier access to and from Dublin, the capital city.

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Photo Details

  • County:Wicklow
  • Town:Greystones
  • Scene:View of beach and harbour
  • Date:1910 (estimate)

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  • Read about Greystones below

Greystones

Greystones (Na Clocha Liatha in Irish) is a coastal town in County Wicklow, Ireland, just south of Bray.

Greystones has two beaches. The North Beach at the harbour is a stony beach and some of its length is ovelooked by the ever-eroding cliffs of Bray head (south). The second beach is to the south of the 'grey stones'. It is a sandy beach, and is about a half mile long. Due to its expansiveness and quality (it is a Blue Flag beach) the beach receives many visitors and tourists during the summertime. Greystones now has the southern terminal station of the DART line; enabling easier access to and from Dublin, the capital city. It is also served by Dublin Bus routes. These good links with the capital foster tourism. The town is surrounded by the Irish Sea to the East, Bray Head to the North and the Wicklow Mountains to the West.

Greystones has kept its town image through the years, and is still widely thought of as a village despite a relatively large and growing population.

History

Greystones is located near the site of an ancient castle of the Barony of Rathdown. The area, now known as Greystones, is first mentioned in 'Topagraphia Hibernia', a 1795 publication. Here it is described as a 'noted fishing place four miles beyond Bray.'

In the early 1800s, there were some families scattered around the harbour and Blacklion. However, Greystones was 'put on the map' with the coming of the railway in 1856: a difficult undertaking which was performed in consultation with Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the famous engineer.

The train station was built on the line dividing the properties of two famous inhabiting landowners: the LaTouche family of Bellevue House (near Delgany), and the Burnaby family of Killincarrig House/Farm (which is now Greystones Golf Club). It ensured good links with Bray and Dublin and left plenty of room for development on the adjoining LaTouche and Burnaby estates.

In the latter half of the nineteenth century, under the ownership of William Robert LaTouche, Greystones' real development started. To the north of the station, Church Road, Victoria Road, and Trafalgar Road were laid out. Many houses were built in the years following the arrival of the railway. Colonel Burnaby; a politician and traveller; and his family also took up residence in the town around the same time. In the early 1900s, it was the turn of the Burnabys to expand the town on their side of the station, and the Burnaby Estate was built. The names of these two families remain important and well-known today, with many roads and housing estates bearing their names. Naturally, the population started to grow considerably.

Not long afterwards, the town first felt the effects of coastal erosion (which is still a major problem); with the loss of houses, fields, a road and the costly relocation of the railway all coming as a result. Between 1885 and 1897, the people of Greystones campaigned for a harbour to aid the fishing industry and imports such as coal. This harbour remains today.

Population and development

Greystones has experienced a huge increase in its population since the 1970s, with the construction of several large housing estates. As of the national census of 2002, Greystones had a population of 7,315, making it the third largest town in County Wicklow. There is currently large-scale construction at Charlesland, including new housing and retail developments just south of the town with over 1,000 dwelling units. Preliminary 2006 Census figures show a small decrease of 209 in Greystones' population leaving it at 7,106. Preliminary Report of 2006 Census

Indeed, the population of Greystones has expanded steadily over the last 25 years. Some residents are concerned that over-population may result, and the town and its surrounding landscapes could be damaged.

Because of continuing housing developments over the years, road networks and facilities have been improved to cater for the growth. The road between Greystones and Bray has been widened and realigned. A new dual carriageway link road called Farenkelly Road (R774) connecting Greystones to the N11, has been completed. The construction of an interchange with the N11 which had been delayed by the presence of an illegal landfill in its path, is underway as of October 2006. A temporary interchange connection came into operation in the Summer of 2006.

Politics

Greystones is part of the Ireland East EU constitueny and the Wicklow Dáil constituency. In local government Greystones has four councillors on Wicklow County Council. It has a town council with nine councillors, headed by the Mayor. Though it is larger in population than Wicklow town, Greystones has been limited to Town Council status while its neighbour enjoys Urban District status, which gives them greater autonomy and control of their own finances. This is expected to change as continued development and population takes place in the town.

Future development

A major topical issue in the town is the proposed €300 million redevelopment scheme for the harbour to be built by the Sispar consortium in a public-private partnership with Wicklow County Council. The proposed development includes a new harbour, 375 apartments, a 230 berth marina , and facilities for local sporting clubs. However the proposed effects of such a developoment have to be carefully considered also. The town is divided on the issue, though a majority appears to be opposed, with 6,210 submissions received by the Planning Appeals Board, over 6200 of which were objections. The oral hearing has been held and a decision which was expected by early August 2006 has now been deferred several times. The Board requested the developers to make certain changes. However it appears that the developer ignored a number of these recommendations. A further 3700 objections were made on these updated plans. The second oral hearing revealed that the developers proposals of digging up and spreading the old dump over Darcy's field was environmentally unsound. It was also clear that the Boards request to completely remove the dump 'preferably by sea' was completely ignored by the developer. A decision on this matter is now expected in June 2007.

Famous residents

Greystones and its environs (including Delgany) are home to several Irish celebrities past and present including:

  • Eamonn De Valera, former Taoiseach and Irish President
  • Ronnie Drew, of The Dubliners
  • Dustin the Turkey, formerly of Irish TV children's show The Den, now seen onDustin's Daily News.
  • Damien Rice, an internationally popular Irish singer/songwriter
  • Eamon de Buitlear, renowned wildlife film maker and naturalist
  • Eamonn Darcy, professional golfer, now operating out of the European Senior Tour
  • Reggie Corrigan, professional rugby player, Irish team member and former Leinster captain
  • John L. Murray, Chief Justice of Ireland

Sport

The town has a plentiful supply of local clubs and caters for many sporting needs. Greystones Tennis, Rugby and GAA (Eire Og Greystones GAA) clubs are located on the Mill Road at the south end of the town and offer well-equipped and modern facilities. The GAA club is currently undertaking major development work with a new clubhouse under construction as well as improved floodlighting.

The town also has a successful soccer club, Greystones United FC, which is based at a new location at Woodlands near the south beach. GUFC is the largest schoolboy/girl soccer club in the country and has in excess of 650 members. GUFC also has the first 3rd generation All-Weather pitch in the country. The pitch is expected to obtain a FIFA 2* grading, which is the highest grading for any All-Weather pitch in the world. In theory, International matches could be played on the pitch.

Due to its sea-side location, Greystones also has many marine based clubs including a sailing club, an angling club, a diving club, a rowing club and Sea Scouts, which is the oldest troop in the country. Greystones is also the home of the Greystones Mariners Baseball Club, catering to ages from 5 years of age to adult. The Mariners adult team compete nationally, and several of the players represent Ireland on the National Baseball Team.

Religion

Greystones has variety of Christian denominations in the locality, with most divisions of mainstream christianity represented. There is a Roman Catholic, a Presbyterian, an Anglican, an Evangelical Reformed and an Evangelical Arminian church in Greystones. There is also a Pentecostal bible college. All the churches and the bible college are within one mile of each other. The exact denominations represented are Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Church of Ireland, Church of the Nazarene and Assemblies of God. The reformed evangelical church is independent. The vast majority of residents are Roman Catholic

Education

Greystones has four primary schools: St. Kevin's S, St. Brigid's NS, St. Laurence's NS and St. Patrick's NS. St. Patrick's is a Church of Ireland school whereas the three others are Catholic national schools.

The town also has a secondary school; St. David's Holy Faith; which is a semi-private, non fee-paying, mixed gender school. It has approximately 500 students, and belongs to the Holy Faith Order (although is now run by a Board of Management).

Trivia

  • The Ormonde cinema in Greystones featured in the Father Ted episode 'The Passion Of St Tibulus'.
  • Greystones also featured as the backdrop for some scenes in the popular BBC series Ballykissangel.
  • Going further back to the early 1980s, many scenes from a series called 'Rose of Dublin' were filmed around the harbour area of Greystones.
  • The town was also commonly used in the Irish programme Glenroe
  • The first Pekingese dogs in Ireland were introduced by Dr. Heuston. He established smallpox vaccination clinics in China. The effect was dramatic. In gratitude, the Chinese minister, Li Hung Chang presented him with a pair of Pekingese. They were named Chang and Lady Li. Dr. Heuston founded the Greystones kennel.
  • Many of the current Road Safety Authority television adverts are based in the Bray/Greystones area.
  • While the stones found on the North Beach are predominantly grey, on rare occasions other coloured stones have been found and are on display in the local council centre.
  • The movie Taffin starring Pierce Brosnan was filmed in Greystones.
  • Greystones also featured in an episode of Dream Team, a popular sky soccer soap series