Arklow (from Old Norse Arnkell-lág, meaning 'meadow of Arnkell', Irish: An tInbhear Mór, meaning "the great estuary") is a town in County Wicklow on the east coast of Ireland, overlooked by Arklow Hill. It was founded by the Vikings in the ninth century. Arklow was the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the 1798 rebellion. Its proximity to Dublin led to it becoming a commuter town with a population of 14,353 as of the 2016 census.

Arklow is at the mouth of the River Avoca (formerly Avonmore), the longest river wholly within County Wicklow. The town is divided by the river, which is crossed by the Nineteen Arches Bridge, a stone arch bridge linking the southern or main part of the town with the northern part, called Ferrybank. The Nineteen Arches Bridge is the longest handmade stone bridge in Ireland and is considered a famous landmark. The plaque on the south end of the bridge is testimony to this.

IMG Arklow19Arches1551
Avoca estuary and the Nineteen Arches bridge.

An tInbhear Mór
Avoca River and Bridgewater Shopping Centre
Avoca River and Bridgewater Shopping Centre
Coat of arms of Arklow

Coat of arms
Maoin na mara ár muinighin
Our hope lies in the riches of the sea
Arklow is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 52°47′39″N 6°09′54″W / 52.7941°N 6.1649°WCoordinates: 52°47′39″N 6°09′54″W / 52.7941°N 6.1649°W
CountyCounty Wicklow
20 m (70 ft)
 • Town14,353
 • Urban
 • Rural
Irish Grid ReferenceT240735
Arklow Port 2014


Historical population
Sources: [1] and Histpop

The town's English name derives from Arnkell's Lág (Arnkell was a Viking leader; a "lág" (low) was an area of land). Its Irish name, Inbhear Mór or An tInbhear Mór, means the large estuary. It is also known in Irish as Inbhear Dé, from the River Avonmore's older name, Abhainn Dé. Historically it was a major seafaring town, with both the shipping and fishing industries using the port, with shipbuilding also being a major industry. The town has a long history of industry.

After the arrival of the Anglo-Normans, their leader Theobald Walter, ancestor of the Earls of Ormonde, was granted the town and castle of Arklow by King Henry II. In 1264 the Dominicans were granted a large tract of land, which is now known as Abbeylands, and they built an abbey, which became known as the Priory of the True Cross or Holy Cross.

Some time after 1416, the Manor of Arklow came into the control of the MacMurrough Kings of Leinster, possibly after the death of the 4th Earl of Ormonde in 1452. In 1525, Muiris Kavanagh (McMurrough, King of Leinster 1522–31) returned the manor and castle of Arklow and its lands to his nephew Piers Butler, the Earl of Ormonde.

During the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, in September 1649, Oliver Cromwell arrived at Arklow on his way to Wexford and took the surrender of the town. In 1714, James Duke of Ormonde sold the Manor of Arklow to John Allen of Stillorgan, County Dublin. In 1750, Allen's eldest granddaughter, Elizabeth Allen, married John Proby, who was raised to the peerage in 1752 as Baron Carysfort of County Wicklow and came into possession of the Arklow Estate.

On 9 June 1798, the town was the scene of one of the bloodiest battles of the 1798 rebellion when a large force of Wexford rebels attacked the town in an attempt to spread the rising to Dublin but were repulsed by the entrenched British forces with huge slaughter.


There are eight primary schools located around the town, including one Gaelscoil.[1]

There are four secondary schools serving the town, which are St. Mary's College, St.Kevin's C.B.S., Glenart College and Gaelcholáiste na Mara.[1]

Transport and communications


The M11 from Dublin to Rosslare bypasses Arklow between junctions 20 and 21. A 16.5 km upgrade to the N11 between Arklow and Rathnew began in April 2014 and was completed in July 2015. This connected the then existing M11 Arklow Bypass with the existing M11 Rathnew/Ashford Bypass creating motorway from Dublin to Gorey. This project also included the construction of a service area on the M11 Northbound, just north of Gorey, with direct access from the M11 Southbound via an overpass.


Rail connections are provided by Iarnród Éireann along the Dublin-Rosslare railway line, including commuter and intercity services in and out of the capital.[2] There is also a train to Dundalk available daily. Arklow railway station opened on 16 November 1863.[3]


Bus Éireann provides several routes through Arklow, including the 002, 005, 133 and 384 services.[4] In addition, Wexford Bus operates several services day and night linking Arklow with Dublin Airport.[5]


In 1884, Charles Stewart Parnell rented Big Rock townland from his cousin William Proby, Earl of Carysfort, and commenced quarrying. Parnell was also a supporter of the Arklow harbour scheme. The Parnell quarries closed in the 1920s.

In the early part of the 20th century, a large munitions factory, Kynoch, was established on the north side of the town. This factory employed several thousand workers during the First World War but closed shortly after it, all production being moved to South Africa. 17 workers were killed in an explosion at Kynoch in 1917. The town is also famous for its pottery (which eventually closed after first being taken over by Noritake) and for its shipbuilding industry.

In the 1960s, a state-owned fertiliser factory, Nitrogen Éireann Teoranta, later Irish Fertiliser Industries, was established on the outskirts of the town. This factory complex comprised a number of chemical plants and manufactured a range of fertilisers from basic raw materials. It was one of the first major chemical plants in Ireland and contributed to the present-day success of the Irish chemical industry. It closed in 2002.

There is still a good industry base in Arklow, with Servier and Allergan still remaining, just two of the biggest manufacturers in Arklow.[6][7] Allergan confirmed on 30 January 2008 that they will move their production to Costa Rica. This will take place over the next two years.[7] In 2009, Elavon, a credit card processing company, purchased its business site at Arklow Business Park which signified a long-term commitment to the town.[8]

Shipping and shipbuilding

IMG ArklowBoats1554
Arklow port.
IMG ArklowRock1576c
Quarrying at Arklow Rock.

The former national sail training vessel Asgard II was built by John Tyrrell & Son Ltd in Arklow. Another John Tyrrell & Son boat Gipsy Moth III was sailed to victory by Francis Chichester in the 1st Single-Handed Trans-Atlantic Race in 1960. His time of 40 and 1/2 days was 16 days faster than the previous record crossing.[9] Recent times have seen large reductions in both cargo and fishing. However the town retains its significance to shipping in Ireland as the headquarters of Arklow Shipping, numerically the largest shipping company in Ireland, which maintains a fleet of 49 cargo ships and a subsidiary in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Environmental issues

The River Avoca is classified as seriously polluted by the Irish EPA[10] as a result of the discharge of sewage directly into the river[11] in addition to a long history of industrial pollution in the area from early mining operations and more recent chemical industries. In previous centuries, Arklow was renowned for oyster beds, however, these were destroyed over a century ago by pollutants from mining operations flowing down the river into the estuary.

A few kilometres into the Irish Sea is the Arklow Bank Wind Park, currently made up of a test of seven GE 3.6 MW machines, with 106m turbines. .

A recycling centre is located in one of the town's industrial estates, where a range of materials including cardboard, plastic bottles and paper (amongst other materials) can be brought for recycling. It is run by Wicklow County Council.[12]

Proposed sewage treatment plant

Raw effluent from the entire town still travels through the drainage system built in the 1930s, and spews out into the River Avoca untreated via several sewage outfall pipes along the river between the bypass bridge and the Nineteen Arches bridge, on both sides of the river. The proposed sewage treatment plant was first awarded planning permission in 1993.[13] This was challenged unsuccessfully to An Bord Pleanála, however subsequently no funding arrived from government,[14] and the planning permission was allowed to lapse. A further ten-year planning permission was granted in 1999.[15] Since then it too has been challenged unsuccessfully to An Bord Pleanála.[16] The current situation is that yet another legal challenge has been mounted by the objectors to the plant. Meanwhile, raw human effluence continues to flow untreated into the River Avoca. The Arklow Sea Scout group has started an online petition in favour of the proposed plant.[17] A new planning process is underway.


Club Sport Founded Venue
Arklow Boxing Club Boxing 1971 Arklow Boxing Club
Arklow Geraldines Ballymoney GAA Club Gaelic Football 1999 Pearse Park
Arklow Golf Club Golf 1927 Arklow Golf Links
Arklow Lawn Tennis Club Tennis 1921 Arklow Lawn Tennis Club
Arklow Ravens Ultimate 2011 The Pines (Temporary)
Arklow Rock Parnells Hurling/Camogie 1953 Parnell Park
Arklow Rowing Club Rowing 1990 South Quay
Arklow Rugby Club Rugby 1936 The Oval
Arklow Sailing Club Sailing 1969 North Quay
Arklow Town F.C. Association Football 1948 Bridgewater Park
Arklow United F.C. Association Football 1978 Ferndale Park
Arklow Celtic F.C Association Footbal 1979 Celtic park
Woodenbridge Golf Club Golf 1884 Woodenbridge Golf Course
Arklow Racquetball Club Racquetball 1983 Arklow Sports and Leisure Centre


To many foreign music fans, Arklow is best known as the title setting for Van Morrison's 1974 song "Streets of Arklow", one of eight songs he wrote on a three-week vacation back to Ireland, and featured on his album Veedon Fleece. The "Battle of Arklow" is a well-known hornpipe and non-traditional set dance tune, and is often played at feiseanna and other Irish dance competitions. Arklow is also the home town of pop group Moloko's lead singer Róisín Murphy. The Arklow Silver Band were featured on the track Red Hill Mining Town by U2, on their 1987 album The Joshua Tree. Arklow is known for very talented musicians. Each year "Arklow Music Festival" is held in the town. It was established in 1970. The festival lasts a week and it involves people coming to compete from all around the country. They compete in solo forms and group forms. [18]


Arklow Aerial
An aerial picture of Arklow

The Seabreeze festival is a three-day event in mid-July. The festival is a popular visitor attraction with many live shows and events at various venues throughout the town, ending in a fireworks display.[19]

Arklow has been both the birthplace and place of residence for many artists such as Arthur and George Campbell who were born there sons of Gretta Bowen, a self-taught artist who had a unique and individual style devoid of pretensions or attached to any particular movement.

The seaside town has also been the backdrop for artists and philosophers such a Ludwig Wittgenstein who frequented the town for its beaches and vivid sunsets as lighting conditions here are excellent in particular during winter and summer months. Also the surrounding countryside and valley stretching back to the village of Avoca along the Avoca river is calming, leaving one with a sense of well-being, there is little doubt then as to why it is popular in art and poetry. Later Avoca village and the surrounding area were popularised in the T.V. show Ballykissangel, drawing many visitors from abroad who come to see where the show was filmed.

As a haven for inspiration and recuperation, Arklow was popular with artists such as Lilian Davidson, A.R.H.A. born in Bray in 1893 died 1954, who painted subjects such as Jack B. Yeats, Sarah Purser, 'AE' George Russell, Austin Clarke and Joseph Holloway. She would visit the town regularly as it was and still is a popular beachside resort; during her many trips there she drew many sketches and painted scenes of the town and beaches in particular "The Netter, Arklow" which depicts a scene of a man repairing a net by the harbourside with the harbour in the background; on the reserve-side of the painting is a sketch of children playing on the south beach.

Percy French, artist and poet, was also known to visit Arklow and Avoca so much so that he married there, He made many sketches and wrote poems describing his feeling for the place.

Politics and Government

Arklow is part of the South European Parliament constituency and the Wicklow Dáil Éireann constituency. In local government, Arklow and the surrounding areas has six councillors on Wicklow County Council, representing the Arklow Municipal District.

The following elected representatives are based in and around Arklow and the Arklow Municipal District:

County Councillors:

  • Cllr. Sylvester Bourke (FG; Cathaoirleach of Arklow Municipal District)
  • Cllr. Pat Kennedy (FF; Leas-Cathaoirleach of Arklow Municipal District)
  • Cllr. Tommy Annesley (FF)
  • Cllr. Pat Fitzgerald (FF)
  • Cllr. Mary McDonald (SF)
  • Cllr. Miriam Murphy (Ind)

Twin towns

Arklow is twinned with:


Born in Arklow:

See also


  1. ^ a b "Education". The Official Guide to Arklow. Archived from the original on 16 March 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  2. ^ "Dublin-Rosslare-Dublin Timetable" (PDF). Irish Rail. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 September 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  3. ^ "Arklow station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Retrieved 8 September 2007.
  4. ^ "List of Bus Éireann timetables". Bus Éireann. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  5. ^ "Wexford-Dublin Airport Express". Wexford Bus. Archived from the original on 22 January 2009. Retrieved 14 January 2009.
  6. ^ "Allergan Arklow to close, 360 jobs to go". Retrieved 1 February 2008.
  7. ^ a b "360 Allergan jobs in Arklow to go by 2009". RTÉ. 30 January 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2008.
  8. ^ "Elavon commits to Arklow by purchasing site off IDA". Retrieved 12 June 2012.
  9. ^ Chichester, Francis (1979). Alone across the Atlantic (1st American pbk. ed.). New York: D. McKay. ISBN 0679509011.
  10. ^ "EPA (Ireland)" (PDF). EPA. 2011. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  11. ^ "Arklow Sea Scouts". Arklow Sea Scouts. 2011. Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  12. ^ "Arklow Recycling Centre". Wicklow County Council. 2007. Archived from the original on 1 February 2009. Retrieved 14 January 2009.
  13. ^ Wicklow County Council Planning Enquiry Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Seanad Éireann – Volume 160 – 19 October, 1999 – Adjournment Matter. – Water and Sewerage Schemes Archived 18 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Wicklow County Council Planning Enquiry Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Green light for Arklow sewerage plant". RTÉ News. 25 January 2005.
  17. ^ Guestbook Archived 18 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^
  19. ^ Seabreeze Festival
  20. ^ "Arklow link sees Aber twinned with fourth partner". Retrieved 12 April 2018.

External links

Arklow Maritime Museum

The Arklow Maritime Museum opened in 1976 in the old technical school on Saint Marys Road in Arklow, County Wicklow. Its original purpose was to celebrate the town's rich seafaring heritage, described by the late maritime historian John de Courcy Ireland in a letter to the museum as "Ireland's Most Maritime Town". In 2009, the museum moved to its current location at the Bridgewater Shopping Centre.

Arklow RFC

Arklow RFC is an Irish rugby team based in Arklow, County Wicklow, playing in Division 2B of the Leinster League. The club colours are black and red. They have 1st and 2nd Senior team, ladies team the Arklow Amazons, Under 18s Girls, Under 14's (Boys and Girls),Under 13's boys and an array of minis teams.

Arklow Rock Parnells GAA

Arklow Rock Parnells GAA is a Gaelic Athletic Association club located in Arklow, County Wicklow, Ireland. The club is solely concerned with the game of hurling.

Arklow Town F.C.

Arklow Town Football Club are a football club from Arklow, Wicklow in Ireland. The club's two senior teams are members of the Leinster Senior League and the Wicklow & District Football League, and play at Bridgewater Centre Park.

Arklow railway station

Arklow railway station (Irish: Stáisiún an tInbhear Mór) is a railway station in Arklow, County Wicklow, Ireland.

Battle of Arklow

The second Battle of Arklow took place during the Irish Rebellion of 1798 on 9 June when a force of United Irishmen from Wexford, estimated at 10,000 strong, launched an assault into County Wicklow, on the British-held town of Arklow, in an attempt to spread the rebellion into Wicklow and to threaten the capital of Dublin.

Battle of Arklow (1649)

The Battle of Arklow took place at Glascarrig on the coast road through Arklow in County Wicklow during November 1649. It was fought between the armies of Confederate Ireland (allied with the Royalists), and the English Parliamentarians during the Irish Confederate Wars.

County Wicklow

County Wicklow (Irish: Contae Chill Mhantáin, [ˈkɔnˠt̪ˠeː ˈçɪl̪ʲ ˈwanˠt̪ˠaːnʲ]) is a county in Ireland. The last of the traditional 32 counties to be formed, as late as 1606, it is part of the Mid-East Region and is also located in the province of Leinster. It is named after the town of Wicklow, which derives from the Old Norse name Víkingaló, which means "Vikings' Meadow". Wicklow County Council is the local authority for the county. The population of the county was 142,425 at the 2016 census.

Wicklow is colloquially known as "the Garden of Ireland". It is the 17th-largest of Ireland's 32 counties by area, being thirty-three miles in length by twenty miles in breadth, and 16th-largest by population. It is the fourth-largest of Leinster's twelve counties by size and the fifth-largest in terms of population. The adjoining counties are Wexford to the south, Carlow to the south-west, Kildare to the west and Dublin to the north.

Cymric (schooner)

Cymric was a British and Irish schooner, built in 1893. She joined the South American trade in the fleet of Arklow, Ireland, in 1906. She served as a British Q-ship during the First World War; she failed to sink any German U-boats, but did sink a British submarine in error.After the war, she returned to the British and, later, the Irish merchant service. In Ringsend, Ireland, she collided with a tram, her bowsprit smashing through the tram's windows. In 1944, during the Second World War, sailing as a neutral, she vanished without trace with the loss of eleven lives.

East Coast FM

East Coast FM (formerly known as BLB, Horizon FM, then East Coast Radio) is an Irish local radio station broadcasting from Bray, County Wicklow under a sound broadcasting contract from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland

The station operates in County Wicklow and into the adjoining counties of Dublin, Kildare, Carlow and Wexford, broadcasting on the following frequencies: 94.9 FM, 96.2 FM, 99.9 FM, 102.9 FM and 104.4 FM in Arklow. To achieve coverage of all of its franchise area, it requires six transmitters including stations at Bray Head, Wicklow Head, Avoca, Arklow, Baltinglass and a transmitter located at Slieve Thoul in Saggart County Dublin where the Wicklow, Kildare and Dublin borders meet.

List of townlands of County Wicklow

This is a list of the townlands in County Wicklow, Ireland. There are approximately 1,370 names in the list, and duplicates occur where there is more than one townland with the same name in the county. Names marked in bold typeface are towns and villages, and the word Town appears for those entries in the Acres column.

N11 road (Ireland)

The N11 road is a national primary road in Ireland, running for 129 km (80 mi) along the east side of Ireland from Dublin to Wexford. It passes close to Bray, Greystones, Wicklow, Arklow and Gorey and also passes through Enniscorthy, amongst others. Beyond Wexford, the route continues to Rosslare as the N25. The road forms part of European route E01. As of 2015 the N11/M11 is of dual carriageway or motorway standard from Dublin as far as Gorey in County Wexford.

The road is a busy commuter route, being the only dual carriageway passing through the south eastern suburbs of Dublin, as well as close to the many commuter towns along the east coast as far south as Gorey. Summer Friday and Sunday evenings also see very heavy traffic as Dubliners decamp to and return from their many holiday home locations along the Co. Wicklow and Co. Wexford coastlines.

Pearse Park (Arklow)

Pearse Park or Pearses' Park is an GAA stadium in Arklow, County Wicklow, Ireland. It is the home of the Wicklow hurling and camogie teams. The ground has a capacity of about 5,000.

R747 road (Ireland)

The R747 road is a regional road in Ireland running north-west/south-east from the M9 near Ballitore in County Kildare to Arklow in County Wicklow, a distance of 66 km (41 mi).

From its junction with the M9 it heads east to the former N9. It crosses this at a staggered junction and enters County Wicklow almost immediately and 10 km (6.2 mi) southeast it crosses the N81 in the town of Baltinglass. It continues southeast through Kiltegan before crossing into County Carlow for a short distance where it passes through Hacketstown. Back in County Wicklow it crosses the Wicklow Way and enters the southern end of the Wicklow Mountains near Tinahely.

From Tinahely it heads northwest for 14 km (8.7 mi) to Aughrim, and then east along the valley of Aughrim River to Woodenbridge where it is joined by the R752. The final leg of its eastward route is through the valley of the River Avoca which takes it under (though not connecting to) the N11 before terminating in the centre of Arklow.

The official description of the R747 from the Roads Act 1993 (Classification of Regional Roads) Order 2012 reads:

R747: Mullamast, County Kildare — Hacketstown, County Carlow - Arklow, County WicklowBetween its junction with M9 at Mullamast and its junction with R448 at Timolin via Ballitore all in the county of Kildareandbetween its junction with R448 at Timolin in the county of Kildare and its junction with R772 at Upper Main Street in the town of Arklow via Portersize Cross in the county of Kildare: Ballycore Bridge at the boundary between the county of Kildare and the county of Wicklow: Rathtoole, Tinoranhill; Belan Street, Main Street, Market Square and Weaver Square at Baltinglass; Woodfield, Barraderry West and Kiltegan in the county of Wicklow: Kiltegan Bridge at the boundary between the county of Wicklow and the county of Carlow: Tinnaclash in the county of Carlow: Borkill More in the county of Wicklow: Porchavodda; Bridge Lane and Main Street at Hacketstown in the county of Carlow: Ballinagilky Bridge at the boundary between the county of Carlow and the county of Wicklow: Bridgeland; Main Street at Tinahely; Lugduff, Killaveny, Mucklagh, Kilpipe, Killarcloran, Coates Bridge, Templelusk, Woodenbridge, Glenart, Ballyraine Lower and Yardland in the county of Wicklow: and Vale Road in the town of Arklow.

R750 road (Ireland)

The R750 road is a regional road in County Wicklow, Ireland. From its junction with the R772 in Rathnew on the outskirts of Wicklow Town it takes a generally southerly route to its junction with the R772 in Ferrybank in Arklow, where it terminates.

An unusual feature of the road (apart from the complete absence of road markings) is a section of several kilometres with a concrete surface south of Brittas Bay.

The road is 30 km (19 mi) long.

En route it stays close to the coast passing many popular beaches, notably at Brittas Bay.

R772 road (Ireland)

The R772 road is a regional road in Ireland which comprises disconnected sections of road which once formed part of the N11 but which have now been by-passed, joined together by some new road sections and some former local roads.

River Avoca

The Avoca (Irish: Abhainn Abhóca) is a river in County Wicklow, Ireland. It is contained completely within the county. Its length is 35 miles (56.3 km).The Avoca starts life as two rivers, the Avonmore (Irish: Abhainn Mhór, meaning "Big River") and the Avonbeg (Irish: Abhainn Bheag, meaning "Small River"). These join together at a spot called the Meeting of the Waters (Cumar an dá Uisce) in the Vale of Avoca, which is considered a local beauty spot, and was celebrated by Thomas Moore in his song of the same name.

The village of Avoca is situated on the river.

The Avoca flows into the Irish Sea at Arklow where it widens into a large estuary, giving Arklow its Irish language name an t-Inbhear Mór (the big inlet).

The catchment area of the Avoca is 652 km2.

The long term average flow rate of the Avoca is 20.2 cubic metres per second (m3/s)

Róisín Murphy

Róisín Marie Murphy (; Irish pronunciation: [ɾˠoːˈʃiːnʲ]; born 5 July 1973) is an Irish singer-songwriter and record producer. She first became known in the 1990s as one-half of the UK-Irish trip hop duo Moloko with her partner Mark Brydon. After the breakup of Moloko, Murphy embarked on a solo career, releasing her debut solo album, Ruby Blue, written and produced with experimental musician Matthew Herbert, to critical praise in 2005. Her second solo album, Overpowered, was released in 2007.

After an eight-year hiatus (which nonetheless included several singles, vocal features, and side projects), her third album Hairless Toys was released in 2015; it was subsequently nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and Ireland's Choice Music Prize. The following year, she released her fourth album Take Her Up to Monto (2016). Throughout her career, she has received critical praise for her idiosyncratic music, fashion, and performance sensibilities.


Wicklow (Irish: Cill Mhantáin, meaning "church of the toothless one") is the county town of County Wicklow in Ireland. Located south of Dublin on the east coast of the island, it has a population of 10,584 according to the 2016 census. The town is to the east of the N11 route between Dublin and Wexford. Wicklow is also linked to the rail network, with Dublin commuter services now extending to the town. Additional services connect with Arklow, Wexford and Rosslare Europort, a main ferry port. There is also a commercial port, mainly importing timber and textiles. The River Vartry is the main river which flows through the town.

Places in County Wicklow

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