5 Best Sights in Wicklow Town, Dublin Environs

Black Castle

Immediately south of the harbor, perched on a promontory that has good views of the coastline, are the ruins of the Black Castle. This structure was built in 1169 by Maurice Fitzgerald, an Anglo-Norman lord who arrived with the English invasion of Ireland. The freely accessible ruins extend over a large area; with some difficulty, you can climb down to the water's edge.

Off South Quay, Wicklow Head, Ireland


Closed down during the 16th-century dissolution of the monasteries, the Friary is a reminder of Wicklow's stormy past, which began with the unwelcome reception given to St. Patrick on his arrival in AD 432. Inquire at the nearby priest's house to see the ruins.

Abbey St., Wicklow, Ireland
040-467--196-for priest's house

St. Thomas Church

Between the River Vartry and the road to Dublin stands the Protestant church, which incorporates various unusual details: a Romanesque door, 12th-century stonework, fine pews, and an atmospheric graveyard. The church is topped by a copper, onion-shape cupola, added as an afterthought in 1771.

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Wicklow Harbour

The town's most appealing area is Wicklow Harbour. Take South Quay down to the pier; Bridge Street leads you to a bridge across the River Vartry leading to a second, smaller pier at the northern end of the harbor. From this end, follow the shingle beach, which stretches for 5 km (3 miles); behind the beach is the Broad Lough, a lagoon noted for its wildfowl.

South Quay, Wicklow, Ireland

Wicklow's Historic Gaol

Just above Market Square, the town's old jail has been converted into a museum and heritage center where it's possible to trace your genealogical roots. The "gruff gaoler" escorts you to your prison cell before computer displays, actors, and life-size models tell the gruesome history of the prison, from the 1798 rebellion to the late 19th century. The new "Gates of Hell" virtual reality experience adds an extra thrill.