Journal Volume 7 2013

Greystones: topographical and general survey

I.T.A. Topographical and General Survey, undated, but early 1940s

In the decades following Independence, Greystones continued to attract visitors: a guide published in 1932 describes it as a seaside town ‘which has found the true secret of popularity. Set beside a glorious sandy beach, it is a place where berry-brown holiday-makers lounge happily in the warm sunshine between bathes.’ And the Irish Tourist Association Topographical and General Survey, carried out in the early 1940s, noted its facilities: bathing boxes for rent at £1 10s a month, excellent accommodation, and amenities which included a range of sports and cinema ‘nightly’ at St Kilian’s Hall. For further information on this survey, see Ciara O’Brien, ‘The Irish Tourist Association Topographical and General Survey: Co Wicklow’.

Greystones [pop. 1,535] is an improving resort on the east coast, 17 ¼ miles south of Dublin, 5 miles south of Bray and 13 ½ miles north of Wicklow. The main road … from Bray is through lovely country comprising hill and valley and pretty wooded grounds with attractive gardens. On the right clear-cut outlines of the giant coves, the Great and Little Sugarloaf mountains, are a conspicuous and attractive feature of the scenery from whatever viewpoint they may be observed. The road in the vicinity of Windgates passes between the great bulk of Bray Head on the one side and on the other the lesser Sugar Loaf which is close at hand. A network of roads links the town of Greystones with many places of interest, including the Glen of the Downs, Delgany and Newcastle.


Church Road 1940

Church Road, Greystones (1940s)

During recent years [Greystones] has grown in popularity both as a holiday place and as a select residential district. The atmosphere of the former quiet fishing village is retained in the white-washed cottages of the harbour and its environs whilst the Burnaby Estate with its modern residences, wide tree-lined roads and neatly trimmed hedges, exemplifies admirable planning and ordered taste. It is interesting to note that all the roads are named after some member of the Whitshed family. The original residence, an unpretentious building, was at one time an hotel, and is now occupied by the Free-State Military. The La Touche Estate now constitutes the business quarter of the little town and contains numerous furnished houses available for letting during the holiday season.


Burnaby Estate, Greystones

Burnaby Estate, Greystones

Good accommodation is provided for visitors who, according to taste or means, are adequately and satisfactorily catered for at excellent hotels, guest houses and other houses, ranging to tiny cottages. Greystones has a well planned 18 hole golf course and tennis and bathing and offers several other forms of outdoor recreation, not least of which are walking and hill-climbing in the vicinity …

To ascend the Sugar Loaf Mountains is an ambition of many visitors to Wicklow and Greystones is one of the most suitable bases from which to do so. The coast comprises miles of sand and pebble beaches, gently shelving towards the sea and affording opportunities for excellent and safe bathing …

Cherry Orchard, comprising 5 acres of the Killincarrig Estate, is said to have been sown with Spanish cherry seedlings over 300 years ago. In addition to the cherry trees from which it is named, other fruits, flowers and shrubs are grown in the gardens, which, some four years ago, attracted the attention of the Scottish Educational Authorities, who sent an expert photographer to take a colour film of the Orchard – from bud to harvest. The film was exhibited throughout Scotland … Refreshments are supplied to visitors at the Cherry Orchard by the proprietress, Mrs Devereux.

[On bathing, swimming and diving facilities] Mixed bathing is allowed, off rocky promenade special gentleman’s bathing place, provided with spring boards. During the season about 100 bathing boxes – most of which are privately owned. Geo. Archer & W. Sperly rent boxes to visitors @ £1-10-0 per month and pay royalty of 2/6 per box to the Burnaby Estate …

Conveyances for hire: taxis and touring motors from Walker’s Garage and Watson and Johnson; bicycles from Allen C Evans, La Touche Place, 2/6 per day, and horses from John Doyle, Blacklion, operates ‘horse-drawn vis-à-vis’.

[Amenities listed include sea angling, golf, hunting with Bray Harriers, Gaelic football, camogie, soccer, rugby, hockey, lawn tennis, billiards, badminton, table tennis, bridge, athletics and cinema at St Killian’s Hall: 'pictures shown nightly'.]


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