The town of Greystones is situated between the Sugarloaf mountain and the sea and lies immediately south of Bray Head. Although only granted official status as a town in 1984, Greystones has a long and interesting history.
A HISTORY OF GREYSTONES
According to the Annals of the Four Masters, Rathdown (as the area around Greystones in known) was established in 500 BC by Heremon, the first King of Ireland. It remained an important seat of political power right through the Norman and Anglo-Irish periods and it was the scene of many conflicts with the O'Tooles and the O'Byrnes constantly contesting the rights of its Norman Lordship. Sadly, Rathdown Castle and the busy hamlet that flourished at its gates, no longer exist, but the name Rathdown is retained in one of the many fine housing parks of modern Greystones. The large group of rocks protruding into the sea south of the harbour give the town it's name (the grey stones) and because of the shelter rocks afforded, a small but thriving fishing village emerged. However, it was not until the coming of the railway to Greystones in 1856 that the town as we know it today
began to take shape. By this time the most important family in the area were the La Touches who were of French (Huguenot) stock. The La Touches, who were pioneers of banking in Ireland, bought most of the lands around Greystones in the middle of the 18th century. Together with the Whitshed-Burnaby family they were responsible for most of the core development of Greystones in the age of the railway. From Victorian times the town has established a fine reputation as a resort. Progressive residential and commercial development has seen Greystones grow to being the second largest town in Co. Wicklow. In so doing, it has lost nothing of its old world, relaxed and charming personality.
MODERN DAY GREYSTONES
Greystones, situated 26km south of Dublin on the east coast of County Wicklow, is an ideal base for touring the most scenic county, popularly known as "The Garden of Ireland". Whether you take the winding road inland to the mountains, or head south to the sand dunes of Brittas Bay, you're sure to find many happy moments to reflect on as later that evening
you relax in one of the many lively pubs in the Greystones area.
Greystones is an ideal holiday centre for those interested in outdoor activities. There are three excellent golf courses in the immediate area where visitors are welcome. Field games such as Rugby, Soccer and Gaelic are well catered for and there is an excellent all-weather tennis court. Bathing is safest at the South Beach and at the men's bathing place along the rocks which gave Greystones its name. There is a very active Sailing Club catering for smaller sailing craft and a Motor Yacht Club for cruisers.
ANGLING - Greystones has always been famous for its fishing. As far back as 1795 it was reported in TOPOGRAPHICA HIBERNICA that "Greystones is a noted fishing village four miles beyond Bray .... the herrings first brought into Dublin are usually taken by the fishing boats of this place". Today it can be said that Greystones is one of the most important sea-angling centres on the East coast. The north beach generally fishes best on evening tides when codling, coalfish, pouting, pollock, dogfish, dab and occasionally plaice, bass and conger can be expected . Pier fishing at Greystones Harbour can yield codling, small pollock, coalfish, flatfish, mackerel and the odd bass. Similarly the South Beach at Greystones and indeed most of the beaches south of Greystones to Wicklow town can
produce excellent sport. The members of the Ridge Angling Club situated at the North Beach are more than willing to help the visiting angler.
WALKING - The Promenade Walk - A thirty minute stroll northwards by the sea. As you approach Greystones Harbour enjoy the panoramic views of Howth, Dalkey and Bray Head and the Little Sugarloaf. As you pass the busy harbour with its yachts and dinghies and fishing boats, head under the railway bridge, on towards the Ormonde Cinema and turn left returning via the tree lined avenue of Church Road, the main thoroughfare.
THE CLIFF WALK - A spectacular 5km walk which stretches around the eastern flank of Bray Head. Dramatic cliff and sea scapes offer the rambler a feast of views on the way. Pass the site of Rathdown Castle, the long since vanished home of Heremon the first King of Ireland.
HILL CLIMBS - The Big Sugarloaf, The Little Sugarloaf and Bray Head all within easy climbing distance for the ardent Hill Climber. The Big Sugarloaf approach is from Kilmacanogue, whilst the Little Sugarloaf approach is from Windgates. Bray Head approach is from Bray Promenade.