Walks: Bray to Greystones cliff path

Bray to Greystones cliff path
This walk is popular with locals, Dubliners and other visitors. Near Bray railway... station, turn left down Albert Path to the esplanade. Stroll along the seafront past the kiosks southwards towards Bray Head. Observe the shingle beach and its pebbles washed out from the cliff base.
Continue by the old boat house, now a café. There are amusement arcades across the road from the car park but continue past the old hotel building and start the uphill climb. The first part of the path is suitable for wheelchair users and gives access to panoramic views over Killiney, Howth and Dublin Bay.
After a sharp bend, a narrow path to the right leads by oak, elder and sycamore trees to the summit of Bray Head (241m), marked by a Holy Year cross. The chair lift to the top is only a memory. The main path continues along by the sea above the cliffs, haunts of rooks, herring gulls, fulmars and cormorants.
Look down towards the Brandy Hole, Periwinkle Rocks and Crab Rock, names which evoke the maritime ambiance which is also evident from the fishing boats on the waves. Take care because the cliff walk can be dangerous. Thanks to council and local initiatives, the path has been improved but after rain, some parts become slippery. Fences between the path and the cliffs were repaired but are inadequate in some places. The Dublin-Rosslare railway line was moved away from the sea because of erosion and a disused tunnel is evident. The line was improved when the DART was extended to Greystones.
On the inland side, a ruined cottage points to former habitation, perhaps of fishing families. Picnic spots are scarce near the narrow track. Descending to Greystones, go down steep steps and cross a new bridge over a ravine and stream. Wider paths between the beach and fields lead to the harbour and town. Some walkers choose to retrace their steps back to Bray. Another option is to take a bus or DART from Greystones towards Bray and Dublin. The trek takes about two hours, one way.
Thanks to Na Coisithe for their company on this walk, led by Vera and Sean Fox.
Tony Quinn
More Bray and North Wicklow by Arthur Flynn, illustrated by Val Byrne, Cottage Publications 2005. Map: OS Discovery 56. Access: DART to Bray, buses 45A from Dun Laoghaire; turn off N11 for Bray