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Wicklow

From Academic Kids

Wicklow (Cill Mhantáin in Irish) is the county town of County Wicklow in the Republic of Ireland. Located south of the capital Dublin on the east coast of Ireland, it has a population of 9,355. The town lies along the N11 route between Dublin and Wexford. The town is also connected to the rail network with Dublin commuter services now extending to the town. The town of Wicklow also boasts the county's second commercial port.

Contents

Town History

Local history contends that the town of Wicklow was founded by the Vikings. The name 'Wicklow' comes from 'Vikinglow', meaning 'meadow of the vikings'. However, given the town's natural harbour and rich agricultural surrounds, it is not surprising that the area was an established settlement prior to the 9th century.

The original name of Cill Mhantáin is Gaelic in origin and has an interesting history of its own. St. Patrick is said to have attempted to land on Travelahawk beach, to the south of the harbour. Hostile locals attacked the landing party causing one of the Saint's party to lose his front teeth. Manntach (toothless one), as he became known was undeterred and returned to the town, eventually founding a church. Hence "Cill Mhantáin', meaning "Church of the toothless one".

The surrounding County of Wicklow is rich in bronze age momuments. The oldest remaining human settlement in the town is the franciscan Abbey, located within the gardens of the local Catholic parish grounds. Wicklow is also the location of some castle ruins. The 'Black Castle' is the ruins of a Norman era fortification that lies on the coast immediately south of the harbour.

It is interesting to note that the English language 'Wicklow' placename bears no relation to the original Irish of Cill Mhantáin (Church of Mantáin). This is most likely due to the Normans who came to dominate the area and preferred the non Gaelic placename. The Norman influence can still be seen today in some of the town's place names.

Geography

Wicklow town occupies a rough circle around Wicklow harbour. To the immediate North lies 'The Murrough' and the eastern coastal strip. The land rises into rolling hills to the West. The dominant feature to the south is the rocky headland known as 'Wicklow Head'. Wicklow head is the eastern most point in the Republic of Ireland.

A changing town

Since 1995, the town has undergone dramatic change and expansion. This change consists almost entirely of expanding housing estates catering for commuters to the capital, Dublin, which lies 42km to the North. The town, which had a population of just 6,500 in 1990 is due to double that number by 2005.

See also

External links

  • Wicklow railway station (http://www.irishrail.ie/your_journey/your_station.asp?letter=W&action=showdetail&station_id=132)
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