Arklow

From Academic Kids

Arklow (An tInbhear Mór in Irish) is a historic town in County Wicklow on the east coast of Ireland. Founded by the Vikings, it is now a thriving commuter town with a population of 9,900.

The town's English name derives from "Arknell's Low" (Arknell was a Viking leader, a low was an area of land). Its Irish name means "the great estuary". Artifacts from the Viking Period are on display in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.

Arklow is situated at the mouth of the River Avoca, the longest river entirely within County Wicklow. Historically it was a major seafaring town, with both shipping and fishing using the port, and shipbuilding was a major industry. The national sail training vessel Asgard II, and Gypsy Moth III, the yacht that Francis Chichester sailed in the first solo transatlantic yacht race in 1960, were built in Arklow. Recent times have seen large reductions in cargo and fishing and the shipyards have closed. However the town retains its significance to shipping in Ireland as the headquarters of Arklow Shipping Limited (http://www.asl.ie), which maintains a fleet of 37 cargo ships.

Arklow is divided by the River Avoca, which is crossed by the Nineteen Arches Bridge, a stone arch bridge linking the south or main part of the town with the north part, called Ferrybank. Arklow's proximity to Dublin and its consequent attractiveness to commuters have led to much recent expansion. The town is situated on the N11 route from Rosslare to Dublin, as well as having rail connections along the same route – there are commuter services in and out of the capital.

The town has a long history of industry, in particular the chemical industry. In the early part of the 20th century, a large munitions factory, Kynochs, was established on the north side of the town. This factory employed several thousand workers during the First World War but closed shortly after it, all production being moved to South Africa. 17 workers were killed in an explosion at Kynochs in 1917. The town is also famous for its pottery (now closed) and for its shipbuilding industry.

In the 1960s a state-owned fertiliser factory, Nitrogen Éireann Teoranta (NET), was established on the outskirts of the town. This factory complex comprised a number of chemical plants and manufactured a range of fertilisers from basic raw materials. It was one of the first major chemical plants in Ireland and contributed to the present-day success of the Irish chemical industry. It closed in 2002.

The River Avoca is generally held to be one of the most polluted rivers in Ireland as a result of the long history of industry in the area, both from early mining operations, and more recent chemical industries. In previous centuries, Arklow was renowned for oyster beds, however, these were destroyed over a century ago by pollutants from mining operations flowing down the river into the estuary.

Arklow is also the home of a large offshore wind farm known as the "Arklow Bank Wind Park", made up of seven 3.6 MW machines.

See also

External links

  • Arklow Bank Wind Park (http://www.airtricity.com/opencontent/default.asp?id=397&itemId=397&Section=WIND%20FARMS)
  • Arklow railway station (http://www.irishrail.ie/your_journey/your_station.asp?letter=A&action=showdetail&station_id=3)
  • A scalable map of Arklow (http://www.multimap.com/wi/browse.cgi?client=public&X=-685000&Y=6913750&width=500&height=300&gride=&gridn=&srec=0&coordsys=mercator&db=&addr1=&addr2=&addr3=&pc=&advanced=&local=&localinfosel=&kw=&inmap=&table=&ovtype=&zm=0&scale=50000&multimap.x=217&multimap.y=271)
  • National Museum of Ireland (http://www.museum.ie/)
  • The official Arklowwebsite (http://arklow.ie)
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