Download GPX file for this article
53.201-6.111Full screen dynamic map

Europe > Britain and Ireland > Ireland > East Coast and Midlands > County Wicklow > Bray

Bray

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

For other places with the same name, see Bray (disambiguation).
Esplanade, Bray, with views of Bray Head

Bray is a historic seaside town, and satellite town of Dublin on the East Coast of Ireland, located in Co. Wicklow. Bray has been a place of importance since the twelfth century, and there were two castles there in mediaeval times, one of which still survives at Oldcourt. It was, at one time, a very fashionable resort for the wealthier of the Dublin citizens and of the gentry from a large part of Ireland. The town underwent rapid expansion in 1854 when William Dargan extended the railway to Bray. There are few surviving buildings from the period prior to 1850. It has begun, over the past 50 years, to rapidly expand as a commuter town.

Understand[edit]

  • Bray Tourist Office (within the Civic Offices off the Main street. Walk down the hill from the Town Hall and the Civic Offices are on your right just after the Bank of Ireland).

Get in[edit]

By train[edit]

Dart trains run every 10 mins or less from Malahide and Howth through central Dublin (Connolly, Tara St & Pearse stations), the southern suburbs, Dun Laoghaire and Dalkey to Bray; some continue south to Greystones. All these stations are within the Dublin "short hop zone" so the standard flat fare is €3.30 adult single, €6.25 day return, €2.40 single with LEAP card.

A further 3-5 mainline trains per day call on the route between Dublin Connolly, Arklow, Gorey, Wexford and Rosslare, which has ferries from Fishguard and Pembroke.

From Belfast, Newry, Drogheda or Sligo, change at Connolly for the Dart train. From other cities (eg Galway, Limerick or Cork) trains run to Dublin Heuston, take the tram to reach Connolly or Bus 145 to Bray.

By bus[edit]

Aircoach 702 runs hourly between Dublin Airport, Greystones & Bray.

Dublin Bus 145 runs between Heuston Station and Bray every 10 mins, taking an hour via city centre Southside, Donnybrook and Cabinteely. It continues to Ballywaltrim.

Inter-city buses bypass Bray so you have to travel into central Dublin and come out again.

By car[edit]

Bray is easily accessible by road from Dublin and south from Arklow or Wexford. N11 links Dublin city centre with Bray, and the M50 allows easy access to other major cities.

From the south, the N11 stretches as far as south County Wexford linking up all major urban areas including Rosslare, Gorey, Wexford, Enniscorthy, Arklow, Wicklow and Greystones.

To the west, several roads cross the Wicklow Mountains to towns such as Tullow, Carlow and Kilkenny.

Get around[edit]

Dublin Bus 84 runs north from Newcastle via Kilcoole, Greystones, Bray, Bride's Glen (for Luas tram) and Cabinteely to Blackrock Dart station. It runs every 30 mins.

See[edit]

Town Hall, Bray
  • 1 Ardmore Studios, +353 1 286 2971. The National Film Studios of Ireland. Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan and My Left Foot were filmed here. Latest productions include the BBC dramatisation of The Tudors. Ardmore Studios (Q4788208) on Wikidata Ardmore Studios on Wikipedia
  • The mile long (2 km) esplanade. Begun in 1881, has a quiet Victorian charm, despite the amusement arcades. Singer Sinead O'Connor owns one of the Victorian houses on the seafront.
  • The town hall (at the south end of Bray's main street). An exceedingly picturesque building. It was built in the quaint olde English style to celebrate the town's prosperity in the nineteenth century. The wyvern in front of the building is the crest of the Brabazon family. The building is now occupied by a branch of the McDonald's fast food chain.
  • James Joyce house, 1 Martello Terrace, +353 1 286-0568. Thursday & Saturday from May - December. Home of the author as a child, from 1887-1891. This house is overlooked by a Martello Tower, owned for a time by Bono (lead singer with Irish rock group U2) during the 1980s.
Kilruddery House, Bray
  • Kilruddery House (on the Southern Cross Road, off the Greystones Road), +353 1 2863405, . Has been the home of the Earls of Meath for 350 years. The garden was laid out by Monsieur Bonet in 1682, and is one of the few gardens to survive the fashion for romantic naturalistic landscaping. The twin canals, known as the Long Ponds, are 152m in length and are similar to those at the Chateau de Courances.

Do[edit]

  • Walk the Cliff Walk from Bray to Greystones which takes around 1 and a half hours and is a beautiful walk with wonderful views and wildlife, you may be lucky enough to see the feral goats. The cliff walk follows the route of the railway line, which was a remarkable feat of Victorian engineering. The tunnels run under Bray Head and were necessary because the Earl of Meath would not allow the railway to run through his lands at Kilruddery. The tunnels were designed by engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the original brick ventilation shafts are still visible along the route of the cliff walk.
  • Go quad biking, clay pigeon shooting or paintballing; there are lots of activity specialists located in the surrounding Wicklow mountains.
  • Bray Harbour (Turn left as you cross the bridge). Bray harbour is now a wildlife reserve where you can see literally dozens of Swans and some Chinese geese.
  • Festina Lente garden. This is a two acre restored Victorian walled garden on Old Connaught Avenue. Wonderful double herbaceous borders and vegetable garden.

Buy[edit]

  • Avoca Handweavers (south of Bray, on the N11 at Kilmacanogue). They have a stylish range of homeware and accessories and a good garden shop. They also have quirky children's clothes and toys and an excellent food hall. The cafe is very popular at week-ends, plan to arrive before 12:30 to avoid the queues.
  • Geoffrey Healy Pottery, Rocky Valley, Kilmacanogue. Limited edition and one-off hand thrown ceramic pieces.
  • Farmer's Market. A small Farmer's Market is held every Saturday outside Mermaid Centre on the Main Street, at the Town Hall end, from 10:30 approx. to 16:00. Excellent locally produced organic vegetables are available.

Eat[edit]

  • Campo de Fiori, 1 Albert Ave (behind the DART Station), +353 1 276-4257. Authentic Italian Restaurant. Booking is essential, even mid-week. The best Spaghetti Cozze e Vongole, this side of Naples.
  • Betelnut Cafe, off Bray Main St (beside the Mermaid Arts Centre). daytime only. For coffee and light meals.
  • Daata Tandoori, Broadway Strand Rd (Walk down to seafront). Amazing Indian food. Quality is always brilliant and reasonably priced. The first and best Indian in bray.
  • The Bistro, In the Heather House Hotel. Early bird special for €20.

Drink[edit]

  • The Harbour Bar, Strand Road (opposite Bray harbour), +353 1 286-2274. One of the oldest, most well known and storied bars in Ireland. The bar is ranked as the "Best Bar in the World" by the Lonely Planet Guide. This bar has an amazingly diverse crowd and a unique look, the bar is littered with original antiques and interesting bric-à-brac, accumulated over 80 years, by three generations of the O'Toole family. The bar itself dates back to the mid 1800s. It offers a truly authentic Irish pub experience. The bar apparently served as the original model for all the worldwide "Irish" superpubs. Over the last century, the bar has been home to a who's who of both an international and national assortment of writers, film makers, actors and musicians. The stuffed moose head in the lounge was a gift from actor Peter O'Toole, when he was filming in Ardmore Studios, (then known as Silverpines) in the 1980s.
  • Duff's, Main St (opposite Town Hall). From 18:00. No televisions and great pint.

Sleep[edit]

If money is no object, then the Powerscourt Estate at Enniskerry.

Go next[edit]

  • Enniskerry — for the Powerscourt Estate which is one of Ireland's most famous houses and gardens, and is located south of Bray in the landlord village of Enniskerry. The house was designed by Richard Castle in 1741, for Viscount Powerscourt, in the style of an imposing Palazzo. The landscaping was remodelled a century later in the fashionable Italian manner. The design is believed to be based on Villa Butera in Sicily. The Japanese garden is an Edwardian addition; look out also for the pet cemetery. The waterfall in the Powerscourt estate is the highest in Ireland at 121 m and there are lots of woodland walks.
  • Glendalough — located within Wicklow Mountains National Park. There are a number of early Christian monastic buildings, including several churches and a round tower. The area around the twin lakes is of outstanding natural beauty.
  • Wicklow Way — explore all or part of Ireland's longest self-guided walking trail, at 127 km long. Expect the complete route to take 5–6 days. The Wicklow Way combines easy accessibility with a wide variety of scenic experiences, some of them in truly remote upland areas.
Routes through Bray
DublinM50 motorway IE.png  N M11 motorway IE.png S  Wicklow TownWexford


This city travel guide to Bray is an outline and needs more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. Please plunge forward and help it grow!