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Your Are Here - Home > Counties > Wicklow County > Bray
Bray (Irish: Bré, formerly Brí Chulainn) is a town in north County Wicklow, Ireland. It is a busy urban centre and seaside town of approximately 32,000 people, making it the fourth largest town in Ireland (excluding the five cities). It is situated about 20 km (12 mi) south of Dublin on the east coast.

The town is the location of some industry, is home for many who commute to Dublin by car or rail, is a market town for the surrounding area and still attracts tourists particularly from Dublin at weekends. The town straddles the Dublin-Wicklow border, with a portion of the northern suburbs situated in County Dublin. Bray is home to Ireland's only dedicated film studios, Ardmore Studios where films such as Excalibur, Braveheart, and Breakfast on Pluto have been shot.

History
In medieval times, Bray was on the borders of the coastal district, governed directly by the English crown from Dublin Castle, known as the Pale. Inland, the countryside was under the control of Gaelic Chieftains, such as the O'Toole and O'Byrne clans. In August or September 1649 Oliver Cromwell is believed to have stayed in Bray on his way to Wexford from Dublin. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Bray was still a small fishing village, but during the latter part of the 18th century, the Dublin middle classes began to move to Bray to escape city life, while still being relatively close to the city. The Dublin and Kingstown Railway, the first in Ireland, opened in 1834 and was extended as far as Bray in 1854. With the railway, the town grew to become the largest Irish seaside resort. The outbreak of World War II put the industry 'on hold' for its duration. However, during the 1950s tourists from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland returned to Bray in great numbers to escape the austerity of post-war rationing. The town's career as a resort declined from the 1960s onwards when foreign travel became an option for large numbers of people. However, the town is still popular with visitors particularly from Dublin who come to enjoy the beach, the amusements, ice creams and fast food.

Geography
Bray is the ninth largest town in Ireland with a population of 31,901 inhabitants, as of the 2006 Census.

The River Dargle enters the sea here, from a source near Kippure, in the Wicklow Mountains. Bray Head is the situated at the southern end of the promenade and a well-worn track leads to the summit. The rocks of Bray Head are a mixture of greywackes and quartzite. The coastal railway line continues south from Bray along the seaward slopes of Bray Head. At the summit of Bray Head is a large concrete cross, visible from the famous Victorian promenade, which is regularly walked by locals and visitors.

The town is situated on the coast; Shankill, County Dublin lies to the north, and Greystones, County Wicklow to the south. The picturesque village of Enniskerry lies to the west of the town, at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains.


Attractions
Bray is a long-established holiday resort with numerous hotels and guesthouses, shops, restaurants and evening entertainment. The town also plays host to a number of high-profile festival events.

Available in the vicinity are fifteen 18-hole golf courses, tennis, fishing, sailing and horse riding. Other features of Bray are the amusement arcades and games centre. There is also a leisure centre on Quinsboro Road and a National Sealife Centre on Strand Road. Bray is known as the Gateway to Wicklow and is the longest established seaside town in the country. It has a safe beach of sand and shingle to walk on, which is over 1.6 km (1 mi) long, fronted by a spacious esplanade. Bray Head, which rises steeply (241 m, 790 ft) above the sea, dominates the scene, affording views of mountains and sea. The concrete cross at the top of the head was erected in 1950 for the holy year. The name of the town means hill or rising ground, possibly referring to the gradual incline of the town from the Dargle bridge to Vevay Hill.

Bray is a popular base for walkers, ramblers and strollers. It is notable for its mile-long promenade which stretches from the harbour, with its colony of mute swans, to Bray Head at the southern end of the promenade - from where a well worn track leads to the summit. Also very popular with walkers is the 7 km (4 mi) Cliff Walk along Bray Head out to Greystones.


 
 
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Bray
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Bray
In: Wicklow
People: 27,041
Speak: English
Type: Market Town
GPS: -6.1083, 53.2028