Féile agus Fáilte
Hospitality and Welcome
WGS-84 (GPS) Coordinates:
Irish Grid Reference
County:County Wicklow
Elevation:18 m
Population (2006)31,901 

For other places named Bray, and other meanings of the word bray, see Bray (disambiguation).
Bray (Irish: Bré, formerly Brí Chulainn) is a town in northern County Wicklow, Ireland. It is a busy urban centre and seaside town of 31,901 people, making it the fourth largest town in Ireland (excluding the five cities). It is situated about  km ( mi) south of Dublin on the eastern coast.

The town is the location of some industry, is home for many who commute to Dublin by car or rail, is a market town for the surrounding area and still attracts tourists particularly from Dublin and at weekends. The town straddles the Dublin-Wicklow border, with a portion of the northern suburbs situated in County Dublin. Bray is home to Ireland's only dedicated film studios, Ardmore Studios.
Enlarge picture
Bray Head summit

Town crest

As is customary in traditional town crests, the arms of Bray are devised to suggest topological features and to commemorate local history. In the shield, the central piece dividing the field in two represents the bridge over the Dargle River, which separates Bray from Little Bray. The bell represents the ruined church of Raheenacluig on Bray Head. The lion represents the arms of the O'Toole clan, who feature heavily in Wicklow's history. The martlet, or swallow is representative of the Brabazon family (the Earls of Meath) who retain a large amount of land and a manor house at Kilruddery in Bray. The mermaid is representative both of Bray's close connection with the sea, and also of the O'Byrne clan, another Irish family involved in the Cromwellian wars. The motto "Féile agus Fáilte" just below the crest means "hospitality and welcome".


In medieval times, Bray was on the borders of the coastal district, governed directly by the English crown from Dublin Castle, known as the Pale. Inland, the countryside was under the control of Gaelic Chieftains, such as the O'Toole and O'Byrne clans. In August or September 1649 Oliver Cromwell is believed to have stayed in Bray on his way to Wexford from Dublin. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Bray was still a small fishing village, but during the latter part of the 18th century, the Dublin middle classes began to move to Bray to escape city life, while still being relatively close to the city. An example of the type of architecture from this era can be found at Powerscourt House in nearby Enniskerry.

The Dublin & Kingstown Railway, the first in Ireland, opened in 1834 and was extended as far as Bray in 1855. With the railway the town grew to become the largest Irish seaside resort. The outbreak of World War II put the industry 'on hold' for its duration. However, during the 1950s tourists from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland returned to Bray in great numbers to escape the austerity of rationing. The town's career as a resort declined from the 1960s onwards when foreign travel first became an option for large numbers of people. However, the town is still popular with visitors particularly from Dublin who come to enjoy the beach, the amusements, ice creams and fast food.


Enlarge picture
The town as seen from Bray Head
Bray is the ninth largest town in Ireland with a population of 31,901 inhabitants, as at the 2006 Census. The River Dargle enters the sea here, from a source near Kippure, in the Wicklow Mountains.

Bray Head is the situated at the southern end of the promenade and a well worn track leads to the summit. The rocks of Bray Head are a mixture of greywackes and quartzite. The coastal railway line continues south from Bray along the seaward slopes of Bray Head. At the summit of Bray Head is a large concrete cross, visible from the famous Victorian promenade, which is regularly walked by locals and visitors.

The town is situated on the coast; Shankill, County Dublin is to the north, and Greystones, County Wicklow is to the south. The picturesque village of Enniskerry lies to the west of the town, at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains.


Bray is governed by a town council, but prior to the Local Government Act 2001 it was an urban district. Part of the northern Bray area lies within the county of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, despite its seamless integration with the rest of the town. The border between County Wicklow and County Dublin lies along Old Conna / Corke Abbey, thereby making all areas north of that point Bray, County Dublin.

Bray and Dundalk are the only town councils to have twelve members in recognition of their size. Like Dundalk, Sligo and Drogheda, Bray also uses a ward system.

The area around the Southern Cross Road to the south of Bray is not included in the area governed by Bray Town Council, but by Wicklow County Council.


Bray is served by a substantial public transport network north into Dublin and south into County Wicklow and County Wexford. Bray is on the DART Rail Network which stretches north to Malahide and Howth and south to Greystones. The town is also on the mainline Iarnród Éireann Rail Network which connects north to Connolly Station in Dublin city centre and further to Drogheda and Dundalk. To the south, the rail line goes through Arklow, Gorey and Rosslare Europort. Bray's train station is named after Edward Daly, an executed leader of the 1916 Easter Rising. Bray Daly Station was opened on 10 July 1854.[1]

There are four bus companies which pass through Bray; Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, Finnegan's Bray and the Glendalough Bus. Dublin Bus are by far the biggest operator with frequent services to and from Dublin city centre and many services within the greater Bray area. Dublin Bus also provide services to Dún Laoghaire, Enniskerry, Greystones, Kilmacanogue, Kilcoole and Newtownmountkennedy.

There are also plans to extend the Luas green line to Bray. It is yet to be decided whether this will connect to the DART in the town centre or whether it will terminate at Fasseroe, an area of new development on the town's western periphery. The old Harcourt Street railway line ran from Harcourt Street in Dublin to Bray, roughly along the same line as the new Luas.

Bray lies along the M11 motorway corridor; an interchange at its northern side links with the M50 Dublin bypass.

Tourist facilities

Today, Bray is a vibrant holiday resort and boasts fine hotels and guesthouse accommodation, shops, restaurants and evening entertainment. The town also plays host to a number of high profile festival events.

Available in the vicinity are fifteen 18-hole golf courses, tennis, fishing, sailing and horse riding. Other features of Bray are the amusement arcades and games centre. There is also a leisure centre on Quinsboro Road, and a National Sealife Centre on Strand Road. Bray is known as the Gateway to Wicklow and is the longest established seaside town in the country. It has a safe beach of sand and shingle to walk on, which is over 1.6 km (1 mi) long, fronted by a spacious esplanade. The scene is dominated by Bray Head, which rises steeply (241 m, 790 ft) above the sea, affording views of mountains and sea. The name of the town means "hill, rising ground", possibly referring to the gradual incline of the town from the Dargle bridge to Vevay Hill.

Bray makes an ideal base for walkers, ramblers and strollers of all ages. Walkers can join the many locals who stroll the mile long promenade which stretches from the harbour with its colony of mute swans to Bray Head at the southern end of the promenade from which a well worn track leads to the summit. Also very popular with walkers is the  km ( mi) Cliff Walk along Bray Head to Greystones.

Other attractions in Bray include the Old Courthouse (1841), Victorian seafront and Bray harbour (1891), St Paul's Church (1609) and Bray Town Hall (1881)(now a McDonald's restaurant).

The annual Bray Summerfest is the lead tourism event in the town. Held over six weeks in July and August each year, Bray Summerfest includes over 100 free entertainment events, including live music, markets, sporting entertainment, carnivals, and family fun. Performers who have headlined at Bray Summerfest include Mundy, Brian Kennedy, The Undertones, The Hothouse Flowers, and Mary Black. In 2006, over 60,000 visitors attended the main Bray Summerfest weekend in mid-July.

Bray also hosts one of the largest carnival and festival events to celebrate the annual St Patrick's holiday. The Bray St Patrick's Carnival & Parade is presented by Bray & District Chamber and is a five-day festival of carnival fun, parades, and live entertainment.

Bray hosts an annual international jazz festival in a weekend in May. The event was established in the Millennium year, and has attracted such luminaries as American performers Steve Coleman, Andrew Hill and Mike Stern, as well as the great French bass player Henry Texier and Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko.

The 2007 event features American trumpeter Dave Douglas, French clarinet player Louis Sclavis amongst others.

Famous residents

Throughout its history Bray has attracted a number of famous residents and visitors. The late Chief Justice of Ireland Thomas Langlois Lefroy spent the last three years of his life (from 1866 to 1869) in Newcourt, Bray[2]. Author James Joyce lived in 1 Martello Terrace, Bray (a house that is now the home of Labour Party deputy leader, Liz McManus) during part of his childhood, from 1887 to 1891. The house next door, 2 Martello Terrace, also had its share of well-known residents, including singer Mary Coughlan, composer Roger Doyle and film director and author Neil Jordan and his then partner Beverly D'Angelo. During the 1980s Bono owned the Martello Tower after which the terrace is named. Other well-known residents of the town include singer Sinéad O'Connor, wildlife filmmaker Éamon de Buitléar[3], broadcaster Brian Farrell, music writer and singer Phil Coulter, opera star Colm Wilkinson and writers Anne Enright, winner of the 2007 Booker prize, and David Wheatley.

Comedian Dara O'Briain is also from Bray. The late comedy star Dave Allen lived in the town for a time as did the RTÉ News journalist Charlie Bird. Ed Joyce, Middlesex and England cricket star started his cricket playing career on the cricket pitches at Aravon school and up and coming young folk singer Fionn Regan was brought up in the area, which frequently gets a mention in his lyrics.

During the heyday of Ardmore Studios, numerous film stars stayed and socialised in the town while filming there.
Enlarge picture
Swans where the Dargle flows into the harbour
Enlarge picture
Bray Head Cross


Primary Schools in Bray

  • Scoil Chualann
  • St Andrew's National School
  • St Fergal's Junior National School
  • St Fergal's Senior National School
  • Bray School Project National School
  • St Cronan's National Boys School
  • St Patrick's Loreto National School
  • St Lee's National School
  • Gaelscoil Uí Cheadaigh
  • St.Peters BNS
  • St Philomena's National School, Ravenswell

Post Primary Schools in Bray


See also

External links


1. ^ Bray station. Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved on 2007-09-08.
2. ^ Lefroy, T. 1871, Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy, Hodges, Foster & Co., Dublin.
3. ^ Éamonn de Buitléar (2006-03-31). The wild charm of Dargle. Irish Independent. Retrieved on 2006-08-21.
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Province Population Area (km²) Number of Counties? Capital
 Leinster 2,292,939 19,774 12 Dublin
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Republic of Ireland

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Politics of Ireland

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County Wicklow (Irish: Contae Chill Mhantáin) is a county on the east coast of the Ireland, immediately south of Dublin. Area: 2,024 km² (781 square miles).
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Bray is the name of several places. And see also Braye.


See Bray (surname)

In France

  • Bray, in the Eure département
  • Bray, in the Saône-et-Loire département

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Official language of: Republic of Ireland
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ISO 639-2: gle
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County Wicklow (Irish: Contae Chill Mhantáin) is a county on the east coast of the Ireland, immediately south of Dublin. Area: 2,024 km² (781 square miles).
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Amhrán na bhFiann  
The Soldier's Song

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The Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART), or Mearlíne Átha Cliath in Irish, is part of the suburban railway network in Ireland, running mainly along the coastline of Dublin Bay on the Trans-Dublin route, from Greystones in County Wicklow, through Dublin to Howth and
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Ardmore Studios is a film studio near Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland which was opened by Seán Lemass on 12 May 1958.

Films made, or based, at Ardmore Studios

  • Shake Hands with the Devil (1959)
  • Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960)
  • The Mark

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Earl of Meath is a title in the Peerage of Ireland created in 1627 and held by the head of the Brabazon family. This family descends from Sir Edward Brabazon, who represented County Wicklow in the Irish House of Commons and served as High Sheriff of Staffordshire.
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The Pale (An Pháil in Irish) or the English Pale (An Pháil Sasanach) comprised a region on Ireland's east coast stretching from Dalkey to north of Drogheda.
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Powerscourt House

Fountain and facade at Powerscourt

Building information
Location Enniskerry, County Wicklow
Country Ireland

Architect Richard Cassels
Client Third Viscount Powerscourt, Richard Wingfield
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Enniskerry (Irish: Áth na Scairbhe, meaning Ford of the rough crossing) is a picturesque village in County Wicklow, Ireland, with a population of 2,672 according to the 2006 census.
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The Dublin and Kingstown Railway (D&KR), opened in 1834, was Ireland’s first railway. It linked Westland Row in Dublin with Kingstown Harbour’s West Pier in County Dublin.
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No official anthem specific to England — the anthem of the United Kingdom is "God Save the Queen".
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