County Wicklow is known as the “Garden of Ireland” because of its great variety of scenery and is located in the province of Leinster on the east coast of Ireland just south of County Dublin.
The County is named after the town of Wicklow, whose name is derived from Viking settlers in the late eighth and early ninth centuries. Some historians believe the origin of the name is from Viking Alo (Viking’s Beacon) or Viking's Meadow.
The County’s Irish name is Chill Mhantáin (kill man-tawn). When St. Patrick returned to Ireland in 432 AD, he landed at Travilahawk. The local chieftain sent his people out to discourage their arrival. Stones were tossed down on them and one of St. Patrick’s monks lost his teeth. The toothless monk later returned to Wicklow Town to build a church and became known as Manntan (Gubby). They called the place Cill Mhantain (Gubby’s Church), which is the Irish or Gaelic name for County Wicklow.
Its length is 41 miles from Bray to the southern corner near Ballingate House and it is 31 ½ miles in breadth from Mizen Head to the boundary near Dunlavin. The area is 781.6 square miles (2,024.4 sq km).
The County was the territory of the O’Brynes and O’Tooles in pre-Norman times. Along its coast, there were also several Viking settlements including Wicklow and Arklow. The Normans invaded the County near the end of the twelfth century and the coastal towns were under their power. In 1606, County Wicklow was formed from land that was previously part of Counties Dublin and Carlow; becoming the last county to be formed in Ireland, about 400 years after the first county. After the Irish Catholic Rebellion in 1641, Cromwell took over the forts and strongholds, but the mountains of Wicklow provided refuge for the rebels until after the 1798 rebellion, when the Military Road was built through the mountains to provide access to end the rebellion.
In 1821, the County’s population was 110,767 and increased to 126,143 in 1841. During the Great Famine of 1845-1847, the population decreased until it was 98,979 in 1851. The population continued to decrease to 57,591 in 1926. In 2006, the population was 126,194. County Wicklow is predominately Roman Catholic. In 1891, the percentage of Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian and Methodist was 79.3%, 18.7%, 0.7% and 1.0%. Overtime, the Roman Catholics increased to 81.8% in 2002, while the Church of Ireland, Presbyterians and Methodists decreased to 6.9%, 0.5% and 0.4%, respectively, with other or no religions increasing to about 5.8%.
The county of Wicklow is a maritime county of the province of Leinster and is bounded by Dublin, Kildare, Carlow and Wexford.
The county is partly in the diocese of Ferns, but chiefly in the diocese of Dublin. The county is divided into the baronies of Arklow, Balinacor, Newcastle, Half-Rathdown, Shillelagh, Lower Talbotstown, and Upper Talbotstown. The county contains the incorporated seaport, market and assize town of Wicklow; the incorporated market-town of Baltinglass; the seaports and market-towns of Arklow and Bray; the disfranchised borough, market and post-town of Blessington; the market and post-towns of Rathdrum, Carnew, Dunlaven, Tinahely, and Stratford-upon-Slancey; the post-towns of Newtown-Mount-Kennedy, Enniskerry, Ashford, Annamoe, Delgany, Glanealy, and Newbridge. The principle villages are Bolinolea, Rathnew, Donard, Kilcoole, Roundwood, and Redcross.
Agriculture includes potatoes, wheat, barley, oats, and turnips.
Information provided by the 1847 edition of Samuel Lewis' "Topographical Dictionary of Ireland."
General County Research Information
Further information about County Wicklow is available at the GenUKI site.
Archives and Libraries
Wicklow County Archives Wicklow Local Authority Archive Wicklow County Council Buildings Station Road, Wicklow Town, County Wicklow Telephone: 353-01-0404-20126 Website: http://www.wicklow.ie/archives/index.html
Abstracts of Some Neale and O'Neill Wills, Administrations and Marriage Licence Bonds from the Diocese of Ferns. Article covers the above title, from years 1621-1816. Article in The Irish Ancestor, vol.XI. Nol.1. 1979, pages 27-30, Family History Library Ref. 941.5 B2i vol.10-11.
Bray Cualaan Historical Society Attention: Claire Crowther 128, Newcourt Road, Bray, County Wicklow
To view a list of Wicklow web sites, visit FHLFavorites.info or click on the following for some great sites.