County Wicklow GenealogyEdit This Page
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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 Mhantain (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 2006, 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%.
General County Research Information
Further information about County Wicklow is available at the GenUKI site.
Civil Jurisdictions and Parish Research Information
A map of the Civil Parishes of County Wicklow is available at Irish Times site.
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