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Greystones

Greystones (Na Clocha Liatha) is a coastal town in County Wicklow, Ireland. It is located on Ireland’s east coast, 8 km (5 miles) south of Bray and south of Dublin (it is within the Greater Dublin Area), with a population in the region of 15,000.

The town’s name is derived from a one kilometre stretch of coastal grey rocks situated between two beaches; this rocky area is known as the sea front. The harbour area and the railway station are at the northern and southern ends respectively. The North Beach, which begins at the harbour, is a stony beach and some of its length is overlooked by the southern cliffs of Bray Head, which are subject to erosion. The South Beach is a broad expansive sandy beach about one kilometre long. It was a Blue Flag beach and receives many visitors and tourists, mainly in the summer.

The town is bordered by the Irish Sea to the east, Bray Head to the north and the Wicklow Mountains to the west.

History

Greystones is located south of the site of an ancient castle of the Barony of Rathdown. There was a hamlet which, like the castle, was known as Rathdown, and which appeared on a 1712 map. This site occupied an area now known as the Grove, about a quarter-mile north of Greystones harbour, but only the ruins of a chapel, St. Crispin's Cell, survive. Greystones is a much more recent settlement and is first mentioned in Topographia Hibernica, 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, Blacklion, Windgates, Killincarrig and Rathdown. Delgany was a more substantial and longer established village. However, Greystones was put on the map with the coming of the railway in 1855, 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 landowners; the La Touche family of Bellevue House (now in ruins, near Delgany), and the Hawkins-Whitshed family of Killincarrig House (which is now Greystones Golf Club). It provided links with Bray and Dublin, and left room for development on the adjoining estates.

In the latter half of the nineteenth century, under the ownership of William Robert La Touche, Greystones' development gathered momentum. To the north of the station, Church Road, Victoria Road, and Trafalgar Road were laid out and many houses were built in the years following the arrival of the railway. Following her father's death, Elizabeth Hawkins-Whitshed was the sole inheritor of his property. In 1879, she married Frederick Gustavus Burnaby; a soldier, politician and traveller. Burnaby died in battle in 1885 and Elizabeth remarried twice, but the property continued to be known as the Burnaby Estate. In the early 1900s, the Burnabys began to expand the town on their side of the station, and the roads and houses of the Burnaby were developed and the population grew considerably. The names of these two families remain well-known today, with many roads and housing estates bearing their names.

Between 1885 and 1897, the people of Greystones campaigned for a harbour to aid the fishing industry and imports such as coal. The pier, dock, sea wall and boat-slip remain but have endured substantial damage. In the early 1900s, the town felt the effects of coastal erosion (which is still a major problem); the loss of fields and most of the houses on the North Beach Road, and the costly inland relocation of the railway have all resulted. In 1968, the old Kish lighthouse foundation was added to the end of the pier.

At the end of World War II, cars and petrol became widely available, allowing Greystones to gradually expand, filling in the space between itself and outlying areas such as Blacklion, Killincarrig, and Delgany. However, the popularity of the railway declined; its very existence being in jeopardy during the 1980s, as government cutbacks reduced the service to just a few trains per day. The 1990s brought a revival of sorts with the arrival of the electrified DART from Bray, and a much more frequent schedule.

Population and development

Greystones has experienced a huge increase in its population since the 1970s with the construction of several large housing estates. A new development at Charlesland, just south of the town, includes over 1,000 dwelling units. As of the 2006 census the population of Greystones, including town and environs, stands at 14,569 making it the second largest town in the county after Bray.

Along with the housing developments, 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 (R774) connecting Greystones to the N11 has been completed. Construction of a full interchange with the N11 is under way.

According to the 2006 census, Greystones has the largest Church of Ireland presence as a proportion of the population (9.77%).

Transport

Road

Greystones is accessible from the N11 Dublin-Wexford road; a new interchange constructed near Charlesland connects with the town via a dual carriageway.

Rail

Greystones railway station, which opened on 30 October 1855, is the southern terminus of the DART railway line, a service which connects thirty stations along Dublin's east coast. Iarnród Éireann diesel Commuter and InterCity trains also serve Greystones, linking the town with Wicklow, Arklow, Gorey, Wexford, and Rosslare Europort to the south, and Dublin's Connolly Station to the north.

Bus

Greystones is served by the 84, 184, and 84X Dublin Bus routes. Air Coach now running everyday from Greystones (starting at Charlesland)

Walking

Bray and Greystones are linked by a Cliff Walk, which follows the route of the railway line around Bray Head. The walk takes approximately two hours.

Politics

Greystones is part of the Ireland East EU constituency 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 a Mayor.

Future development

Marina

This is a €300 million redevelopment scheme for the harbour, being built by the Sispar consortium in a public-private partnership with Wicklow County Council. This is a major topical issue in the town but work has started. The development includes a new harbour, 341 apartments, a 230 berth marina, a new public plaza and facilities for local sporting clubs.

The town is divided on the issue; 6,210 submissions were on received by An Bord Pleanála on initial plans, of which more than 6,200 were objections. Many of the objections came from outside County Wicklow, according to a spokesman for Wicklow County Council. An oral hearing was held and the board requested the developers to make certain changes which resulted in the plans being scaled down by approximately 10%. Some 3,700 objections were made on these updated plans. On 9 August 2007, the board approved the final plans, while imposing 13 conditions on construction works, including the retention of public access to the Cliff Walk during the development period, strict guidelines in relation to dust suppression, the re-use of demolition materials, and limitations on the hours of operation and noise levels. The board also over-ruled an earlier inspector's report, instead permitting an old unlicenced landfill to remain beside the new apartments.

The new breakwaters will result in increased coastal erosion on the soft shorelines of the Greystones North beach area. In an effort to mitigate this adverse impact the developers will dump 12,000 tonnes of gravel each year on the beach in a process called "beach nourishment". Professor Andrew Cooper (University of Ulster) cautioned against beach nourishment at the second oral hearing.

The two beach photographs show how the appearance of the harbour area will be changed by the development. The first is an actual photograph taken from a point along the Cliff Walk to Bray, to the north, the second being the architect's rendition of how their buildings would look from the same vantage point.

Retail centre

Media outlets have recently been reporting plans for a large shopping centre near Charlesland, to the south of the town; reported to be of a similar size to the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre.

Famous residents

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

Sports

Baseball

Greystones is home to the Greystones Mariners Baseball Club, catering to all ages. The Mariners adult team compete nationally and several of the players represent Ireland on the National Baseball Team.

Bowls

A lawn bowling club is located at Burnaby Park.

Gaelic games

Éire Óg Greystones GAA club is located on the Mill Road, at the south end of the town. The club is currently undertaking major development work, with a new clubhouse and improved floodlighting under construction.

Golf

There are two 18 hole golf courses and a driving range within the town. Greystones Golf Club was founded in 1895 and allows fine views over the town, the countryside, and Irish Sea. Charlesland Golf Club is newer, flatter, and located by the sea. These venues can be reached by walking from the train station. There are other courses within short driving distance (no more than five miles) at Delgany, Glen of the Downs, Kilcoole, Druid’s Glen (just outside Kilcoole), Bray, and Woodbrook.

Marine

Greystones has many marine based clubs including sailing and wind-surfing, angling, diving, rowing and Sea Scouts (the oldest troop in the country). Shore angling for cod and plaice at the beaches and the harbour attracts many people, especially during the summer. Swimming is popular in warmer weather, especially on the south beach. The coast is also suitable for jogging and hiking.

Rugby

Greystones RFC are currently in Division One of the AIB League. Over the years the club has produced players that have gone on to represent Leinster, and the Lions. These players have included Nick Popplewell, John Murphy, John Noel Murphy, Paul McNaughton, Tony Ward, Tony Doyle, Brian Rigney, John Robbie, and Reggie Corrigan.

Soccer

The town is home to a successful soccer club, Greystones United, which is based at Woodlands near the south beach. GUFC is the largest schoolboy/girl soccer club in the country, and has in excess of 700 members. Perhaps the club's most famous alumnus is current Irish international Paul McShane. Another successful club, Greystones AFC, is located at 'The Arch Field' just beside the railway bridge at the harbour. Four of their players have represented Ireland at various levels. Ian Horan and Chris Mason have represented the Irish Intermediate team and Stephen Roche and Richie O Hanlon have represented the Irish Colleges team. The Saturday and Sunday sides both play in the top division of the Leinster Senior League.

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. The majority of residents are nominally Roman Catholic.

Education

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

The town also has a Catholic secondary school, St. David's Holy Faith, which is a public, co-educational school with approximately 500 students. There is a Spanish school, School SEK-Dublin, in Belvedere Hall in Windgates.

There is a Carnegie library overlooking Burnaby Park just south of the main street (Church Road).

Entertainment

Greystones has a number of entertainment facilities; Charlesland Sports and Recreation Park which include a skate park, several all-weather football and basketball courts and a playground. A large number of gigs organised by local independent youths take place, played by mostly local bands although international punk and hardcore acts have played in the town such as Latterman, from Long Island - New York, Save Your Breath - Newport, UK, All Or Nothing - Birmingham, UK, and Outbreak - Maine, USA and Verse - Providence, Rhode Island, USA. A theatre suitable for drama, dance, concerts and other events is located in the town centre.

Trivia

  • The Ormonde cinema in Greystones, which closed in July 2007, featured in the Father Ted episode "The Passion Of St Tibulus" and also in an episode of Custer's Last Standup.
  • Greystones featured as the backdrop for some scenes in the popular BBC series Ballykissangel.
  • In the 1980s, many scenes from a series called "Rose of Dublin" were filmed around the harbour area of Greystones.
  • The town was commonly used in the Irish programme Glenroe.
  • The movie Taffin, starring Pierce Brosnan, was filmed in Greystones.
  • Greystones featured in an episode of Dream Team, a Sky One soccer soap series.
  • Parts of George Gently, a 2007 British detective mini-series by BBC, were filmed around the Harbour. Martin Shaw, starred in the production which is set in sixties-Britain (Northhumberland). The Beach House pub was renamed 'The Mariner's Rest' for the occasion.

Gallery

References

See also

External links

Schools

* Gaelscoil na gCloch Liath
* Saint David's Secondary School
* Saint Laurence's National School
* Saint Patrick's National School
* Saint Kevin's National School
* Saint Brigid's National School

Sports

* Greystones Mariners Baseball Club
* Greystones Sailing Club
* Greystones Ridge Angling Club
* Greystones Golf Club
* Charlesland Golf Club
* Greystones Lawn Tennis Club
* Greystones United Football Club
* Éire Óg GAA Club
* Greystones Rugby Football Club

Marina-related

* Wicklow County Council Information about the harbour development.
* Greystones Harbour Official harbour development website.
* The Greystones Protection and Development Association An organisation strongly opposed to the development of the harbour.

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