Walks: Wicklow town and beach
Visit historic sites in the town. The statue of Billy Byrne, a pikeman of 1798 is sometimes dressed in local football colours. The Old Gaol includes a café, heritage displays and genealogy centre where I traced my Wicklow roots. Captain Halpin's memorial recalls maritime traditions.
Turn northwards across the Leitrim river past the carparks to the beach. Follow a route popular with local people along the Murrough – derived from murbhach, Irish for “salt marsh by the sea”. The Murrough, which continues beyond Newcastle to Kilcoole, is protected because of the habitats, flora and fauna, especially birds. On adjoining grasslands, observe sea holly, burnet rose and kidney vetch. On the shingled beach, watch for grey seals and otters. Notices indicate a wide variety of fish, including codling and sole.
There are gates beside the railway but be careful if crossing the rails. A path leads to Broad Lough, into which the Vartry river flows. This is a great place for bird-watchers. Winter walkers may see mute swans, waders, curlews and lapwings.
Return by the beach or the road through the industrial estate. Thanks to Dalkey Active Retirement Association (DARA) walkers for a great ramble on the Murrough.
More The Wicklow Walking Guide, The Adventure Agency and Wicklow County Tourism. www.wicklow.ie/tourism Map OS Discovery sheet 56. Access from N11. Train and bus from Dublin