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Greystones (Irish: Na Clocha Liatha) is a coastal town and seaside resort in County Wicklow, Ireland. It lies on Ireland's east coast, 3.5 km (2.2 mi) south of Bray and 24 km (15 mi) south of Dublin city centre and has a population of 18,140 (2016).[1] The town is bordered by the Irish Sea to the east, Bray Head to the north and the Wicklow Mountains to the west. It is the 2nd biggest town in the county (after Bray).


Na Clocha Liatha
Greystones harbour
Greystones harbour
Coat of arms of Greystones
Coat of arms
Gníomhach idir Carraig is Crúacha
Active between rock and mountain peaks
Greystones is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°08′38″N 6°04′19″W / 53.144°N 6.072°W / 53.144; -6.072Coordinates: 53°08′38″N 6°04′19″W / 53.144°N 6.072°W / 53.144; -6.072
CountyCounty Wicklow
 • TypeMunicipal District
50 m (160 ft)
 • Total18,140
 • Rank25th
 • Density2,200/km2 (6,000/sq mi)
 • Ethnicity
(2016 Census)
Time zoneUTC±0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (IST)
Eircode routing key
Telephone area code+353(0)1
Irish Grid ReferenceO297122

The town was named after a half mile or one-kilometre stretch of grey stones between two beaches on the sea front. The harbour area and Greystones railway station are at the northern and southern ends respectively. The North Beach, which begins at the harbour, is a stony beach, and some of its length is overlooked by the southern cliffs of Bray Head, which are subject to erosion. The South Beach is a broad sandy beach about one kilometre long. It is a Blue Flag beach and receives many visitors and tourists, mainly in the summer.

In 2008, Greystones was named as the world's 'most liveable community' at the LivCom Awards in China.[2]


Greystones is located south of the site of an ancient castle of the Barony of Rathdown. There was a hamlet which, like the castle, was known as Rathdown, and which appeared on a 1712 map. This site occupied an area now known as the Grove, north of Greystones harbour, but only the ruins of a chapel, St. Crispin's Cell, survive. Greystones is a much more recent settlement and is first mentioned in Topographia Hibernica, a 1795 publication. Here it is described as a "noted fishing place four miles beyond Bray."

In the early 19th century, there were some families scattered around the harbour, Blacklion, Windgates, Killincarrig and Rathdown. Delgany was a more substantial and longer established village. However, Greystones was put on the map with the coming of the railway in 1855, a difficult undertaking which was performed in consultation with Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the famous engineer. The railway station was built on the line dividing the properties of two landowners: the La Touche family of Bellevue House (now in ruins, near Delgany), and the Hawkins-Whitshed family of Killincarrig House (which is now Greystones Golf Club). It provided links with Bray and Dublin, and left room for development on the adjoining estates.

Elizabeth Hawkins-Whitshed (better known as Lizzie Le Blond) owned the Hawkins-Whitshed estate from 1871 and she developed Ireland's first planned housing estate, an area currently known as the Burnaby. Lizzie was a trailblazing mountaineer and explorer, a photographer, author of mountaineering books, fiction, travel writing and a film-maker. She donated for a nominal rent the site upon which the library in Greystones is built. Her first marriage to Frederick Gustavus Burnaby was short lived and he is only known to have visited Wicklow once/ However the area is still given his surname. An adjoining estate to that of Elizabeth Hawkins-Whitshed was owned by the La Touche Family. It was during the time William Robert La Touche owned the estate that Greystones' developed rapidly. To the north of the station, Church Road, Victoria Road and Trafalgar Road were laid out, and many houses were built. In the early 20th century, the Burnabys began to expand the town on their side of the station, and the roads and houses of the Burnaby were developed and the population grew considerably. The names of these two families remain well known today, with many roads and housing estates bearing their names.

Between 1885 and 1897, the people of Greystones campaigned for a harbour to aid the fishing industry and imports such as coal. The original pier, dock, sea wall and boat-slip remained pre-2009 but had endured substantial damage. In the early 20th century, the town felt the effects of coastal erosion (which is still a major problem); the loss of fields and most of the houses on the North Beach Road, and the costly inland relocation of the railway have all resulted. In 1968, the old Kish lighthouse foundation was added to the end of the pier.

At the end of World War II, cars and petrol became widely available, allowing Greystones to gradually expand, filling in the space between itself and outlying areas such as Blacklion, Killincarrig and Delgany. However, the popularity of the railway declined; its very existence being in jeopardy during the 1980s, as government cutbacks reduced the service to just a few trains per day. The 1990s brought a revival with the arrival of the electrified DART from Bray, and a much more frequent schedule.

Greystones panorama

Population and developmentEdit

Greystones Harbour

Greystones has experienced a huge increase in its population since the 1970s with the construction of mainly large housing estates. The first of these periods lasted for around a decade seeing the development of estates like Hillside, Applewood heights, Redford Park and many other smaller ones like Burnaby Park. The second boom in construction came during the Celtic Tiger period of the early 2000s which saw developments such as Charlesland (the biggest) just south of the town, which includes over 1,000 dwelling units. Following the 2008 Financial Crisis little development took place, evident in the difference from the 2011 to 2016 census' ; an increase of only 1000. This is compared to previous increases like 2006 showing 3000-4000 in growth. Other projects such as the harbour redevelopment stalled or completely halted during this time period.

As of 2018 Greystones is experiencing a 3rd major housing boom. Many large-scale developments are taking place, mainly of the western fringes of the town, in the harbour area and around Charlesland. The main schemes being; Seagreen and Waverly in Blacklion, Glenheron beside Charlesland and Marina village at the harbour which will also have many apartments and is part of the massive harbour redevelopment plan started in 2009 (explained in detail below). These equate collectively to over 1000 dwellings currently in construction. There are also multiple other similar schemes approved or pending approval. Greystones is the only town in Co. Wicklow with this scale of growth.

As of the 2016 census the population of Greystones town stood at 18,140 while the Greystones Municipal District Population stood at 26,323 making it the second largest town in the county after Bray.[3]

Wicklow County Council and Greystones Municipal District Council plan for at least 24,000 by 2028 in the town itself.

Along with the housing developments, road networks and facilities have been improved to cater for the growth. The road between Greystones and Bray has been widened and realigned. A dual carriageway link road (R774) connecting Greystones to the N11 has been completed to the south of the town. Construction of a full interchange with the N11 has also been completed. Chapel road has been connected with Blacklion Manor Road forming a new section of wide higher capacity road from the junction at Lidl to the junction with the top of Applewood Heights. Estates like Seagreen access from this road.

The Massive Harbour redevelopment is ongoing since starting in 2009, currently houses and apartments are the focus of the work, with the new public park coming next. More detail in 'Future' section.

According to the 2016 census, Greystones has the largest Church of Ireland presence as a proportion of the population (8.2%) anywhere in the country, has the largest proportion of Protestants overall (10.5%), and is the least religious town in the country (18.3% 'no religion').

Greystones is also the most expensive town in the Country in terms of property.



Greystones is accessible from the N11 Dublin-Wexford road; an interchange (Junction 11 on the N11) near Charlesland connects with the town via a dual carriageway. This quickly changes into the M11. This then joins onto the M50 (Dublin's orbital motorway) about 10km north.


Greystones railway station, which opened on 30 October 1855,[4] is the southern terminus of the DART railway line, a service which connects thirty stations along Dublin's east coast. Iarnród Éireann diesel Commuter and InterCity trains also serve Greystones, linking the town with Wicklow, Arklow, Gorey, Wexford, and Rosslare Europort to the south, and Dublin's Connolly Station to the north.


Greystones is served by the 84, 84N, 84X and 184 bus routes whilst route 702 Aircoach service starting at Charlesland links the area with Dublin Airport.


Bray and Greystones are linked by a Cliff Walk, which follows the route of the railway line around Bray Head. The walk is 6 km long and takes approximately two hours.[5]


Greystones is part of the Wicklow Dáil constituency and the South European Parliament constituency. In local government, the Greystones local electoral area (LEA) elects six councillors to Wicklow County Council who sit as Greystones Municipal District. This LEA also includes the neighbouring villages of Delgany, Kilcoole and Newcastle Lower[6]

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


Greystones LEA Councillors
Social Democrats Jennifer Whitmore
Independent Tom Fortune
Green Party Lourda Scott
Fianna Fáil Gerry Walsh
Independent Mags Crean
Fine Gael Derek Mitchell

Future developmentEdit

Main Street wirescape


This is a €300 million redevelopment scheme for the harbour, being built by the Sispar consortium (Sispar is a joint venture consortium of Sisk and Michael Cotter's Park Developments) in a public-private partnership with Wicklow County Council. This has been and remains a major topical issue in the town. Objections revolved around the privatisation of public beach front land without broad public agreement,[7] but work started. The development includes a new harbour, 341 apartments, a 230 berth marina, a new public plaza and facilities for local sporting clubs.[8]

On the granting of planning permission, 6,210 submissions were received by An Bord Pleanála on initial plans, of which more than 6,200 were objections.[9] Many of the objections came from outside County Wicklow, according to a spokesman for Wicklow County Council.[10] Many objected to specifics of the plan while approving the general idea. An oral hearing was held and the board requested the developers to make certain changes which resulted in the plans being scaled down by approximately 10%.[11] Some 3,700 objections were made on these updated plans. On 9 August 2007, the board approved the final plans, while imposing 13 conditions on construction works, including the retention of public access to the Cliff Walk during the development period, strict guidelines in relation to dust suppression, the re-use of demolition materials, and limitations on the hours of operation and noise levels. The board also over-ruled an earlier inspector's report, instead permitting an old unlicensed landfill to remain beside the new apartments.[11][12]

In February 2010, it was announced that development of the marina would be paused indefinitely due to conditions in the Irish property market.[13]

After the development plans stalled, the loans attached to the development were transferred to NAMA. Sispar insisted that it needed funding from NAMA to finish the project.[14] In September 2012 it was reported that NAMA had written off €50m owed for the troubled development of Greystones Harbour. It appeared that it was not the Sispar consortium but Sisk alone that controlled the loans.[15]

The Marina was completed in 2015 as is now available to the public, the main harbour structure is also complete, the boardwalk is in place but is not in use yet.

Most of the 3,4 and 5 bedroom houses are now complete, with work on apartments commenced in Jan-Feb 2018.


Greystones and its environs (including Delgany) are home to several celebrities including:


Association FootballEdit

The town is home to a successful association football club, Greystones United,[17] which is based at Woodlands near the south beach. GUFC is the largest schoolboy/girl football club in the country, and has in excess of 700 members.[17] Perhaps the club's most famous alumnus is current Irish international Paul McShane. Another successful club, Greystones AFC, is located at 'The Arch Field' just beside the railway bridge at the harbour. Five of their players have represented Ireland at various levels. Ian Horan, Chris Mason and Stephen McCann have represented the Irish Intermediate team and Stephen Roche and Richie O'Hanlon have represented the Irish Colleges team. The Saturday and Sunday sides both play in the top division of the Leinster Senior League


St. Kilian's Badminton Club plays in Shoreline Leisure Center on Mill Road every Thursday. Their website may be found at St. Kilian's Badminton Club


Greystones is home to the Greystones Mariners Baseball Club, catering to all ages. The Mariners adult team compete nationally and several of the players represent Ireland on the National Baseball Team.


A lawn bowling club is located at Burnaby Park.


Cricket returned to Greystones in 2012 with the formation of Greystones Cricket, who currently practice (nets) at Greystones RFC and play their home matches at the Greystones United F.C. grounds. They have three senior men's teams and one ladies team playing in the Leinster Cricket Union competitions, a taverners and two junior teams.

Gaelic gamesEdit

Éire Óg Greystones GAA club is located on the Mill Road, at the south end of the town. The club has recently undergone a major reconstruction which saw improvements made to the club house, pitches, lighting and parking facilities. It is now one of the most used club facilities in the Greystones area.


There are two 18-hole golf courses and a driving range within the town. Greystones Golf Club was founded in 1895 and allows fine views over the town, the countryside, and the Irish Sea. Charlesland Golf Club is newer, flatter, and located by the sea. These venues can be reached by walking from the train station. There are other courses within short driving distance (less than eight km) at Delgany, Glen of the Downs, Kilcoole, Druids Glen (just outside Kilcoole), Bray and Woodbrook.


Greystones has many marine based clubs including sailing and wind-surfing, angling, diving, rowing and Sea Scouts.

Greystones rowing club was established 1920 and still going today.

Shore angling for cod and plaice at the beaches and the harbour attracts many people, especially during the summer. Swimming is popular in warmer weather, especially on the south beach. The coast is also suitable for jogging and hiking.



Greystones Lawn Tennis Club is a club with 12 outdoor floodlit courts and a large clubhouse. Located on the Mill Road, on the south end of the town near the rugby and GAA clubs, it regularly hosts regional and national competitions.

Town twinningEdit

Greystones has town twinning agreements with:


Greystones has variety of Christian denominations in the locality, with most divisions of mainstream Christianity represented. There is a Roman Catholic,[19] a Presbyterian,[20] an Anglican (Church of Ireland),[21] an Evangelical,[22] and an Evangelical Arminian[23] church in Greystones.

Carraig Eden Theological College is the premier Pentecostal centre for theological study and ministerial training in Ireland, offering BTh and MTh degrees in Applied Theology[24]

The majority of residents are Roman Catholic, however Greystones has the largest Church of Ireland presence as a proportion of the population (8.2%) anywhere in the country, has the largest proportion of Protestants overall (10.5%), and is the least religious town in the country (18.3% 'no religion'). (according to the 2016 census).

Education and researchEdit

Greystones has eight primary schools:

The town also has two secondary schools:

There is also a top IB World School authorized to offer Middle Years Programme (MYP)and Diploma Programme (DP), SEK-Dublin, in Belvedere Hall, which opened its doors in 1981 and caters for students looking for a premium international experience. Students are offered a residential experience with personalized care and English language intensive experience.

Nevertheless, it is relatively common for local young people to attend schools in neighbouring localities such as Bray, Dublin and Wicklow.

Wicklow County Council manages a Carnegie library opposite Burnaby Park on the main street (Church Road).


Greystones has a number of entertainment facilities; Charlesland Sports and Recreation Park which include a skate park, several all-weather football and basketball courts, a running track and a playground.[25] A large number of gigs organised by local independent youths take place, played by mostly local bands although international punk and hardcore acts have played in the town. The Whale Theatre, suitable for drama, dance, concerts and other events, is located in the town centre and is supplemented by Greystones Studios, which provide classes, performance space, practice rooms and AV studios.[26]

Film and televisionEdit

  • The Ormonde cinema in Greystones, which closed in July 2007, featured in the Father Ted episode "The Passion of St. Tibulus" and also in an episode of Custer's Last Standup.[27]
  • Greystones featured as the backdrop for some scenes in the popular BBC series Ballykissangel.
  • In the 1980s, many scenes from a series called "Rose of Dublin" were filmed around the harbour area of Greystones.
  • The town was commonly used in the Irish programme Glenroe.
  • Parts of the movie Taffin, starring Pierce Brosnan, were filmed in Greystones.
  • Greystones featured in an episode of Dream Team, a Sky One soccer soap series.
  • Parts of George Gently, a 2007 British detective one-off by BBC, were filmed around the Harbour. Martin Shaw starred in the production, which is set in 1960s Britain (Northhumberland). The Beach House pub was renamed 'The Mariner's Rest' for the occasion.
  • The movie Yesterday's Children, starring Jane Seymour, was filmed in Greystones.


Greystones is the home to several local businesses that were founded in the town and are now recognised nationally. The Happy Pear organic food company,[28][29] headquartered at its restaurant on the Main Street (Church Road); Goldfish Telecom [30][31][32] the telecoms firm headquartered on Church Road; and RTÉ Dragons' Den-winning company Smart Storage, based in nearby Newtownmountkennedy[33][34]. Also based in Greystones is international bottle top manufacturer United Caps, which has 6 production plants and 16 sales' offices across Europe.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Greystones (Wicklow, Counties and Towns, Ireland) - Population Statistics and Location in Maps and Charts". Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Greystones 'world's most liveable community'''". RTÉ. 10 November 2008. Retrieved 3 February 2009.
  3. ^ "Census 2016 Sapmap Area: Municipal District Greystones". CSO. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  4. ^ "Greystones and Delgany station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Retrieved 8 September 2007.
  5. ^ Greenwood, Margaret; Connolly, Mark; Wallis, Geoff (2003). The Rough Guide to Ireland. London: Rough Guides. p. 158. ISBN 1-84353-059-7.
  6. ^ "S.I. No. 638/2018 - County of Wicklow Local Electoral Areas and Municipal Districts Order 2018". 19 December 2018. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  7. ^
  8. ^ The proposed development Greystones Retrieved on 23 May 2006. Archived 22 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Proposals for town's €300m marina 'have serious flaws' Archived 18 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine Irish Independent, 28 March 2006. Retrieved on 24 May 2006.
  10. ^ Greystones Marina plan generates 5,500 submissions Archived 4 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine The Irish Times, 16 February 2006. Retrieved on 9 August 2007.
  11. ^ a b €300m Greystones development to go ahead RTÉ News, 9 August 2007. Retrieved on 9 August 2007.
  12. ^ Greystones development gets go-ahead The Irish Times, 9 August 2007. Retrieved on 9 August 2007.
  13. ^ Greystones development paused The Irish Times,22 February 2010. Retrieved on 20 March 2010.
  14. ^ Burke, Roisin (8 April 2012). "NAMA firm struggles to survive as Cotter sails €1m yacht". Business. Dublin. Sunday Independent.
  15. ^ Burke, Roisin (2 September 2012). "NAMA agrees to debt write-down". Business. Dublin. Sunday Independent.
  16. ^ Heffernan, Breda (22 December 2012). "Sean FitzPatrick released on bail after facing fresh charges". Irish Independent. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  17. ^ a b "Greystones United". Greystones United Football Club. Retrieved 3 February 2009.
  18. ^ Williams, Ffion (18 January 2012). "Holyhead to be officially twinned with Irish town Greystones on Friday". Bangor and Anglesey Mail. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  19. ^ "Welcome". 30 January 2006. Archived from the original on 5 April 2009. Retrieved 3 February 2009.
  20. ^ "Welcome – Greystones Presbyterian Church". Greystones Presbyterian Church. Retrieved 2 February 2009.
  21. ^ "Church of Ireland – A province of the Anglican Communion". Retrieved 3 February 2009.
  22. ^ "Hillside Evangelical Church – Home". Retrieved 3 February 2009.
  23. ^ Northern Europe Field Director Philip McAlister. "Ireland † Nazarene Northern Europe Field". Archived from the original on 15 February 2008. Retrieved 3 February 2009.
  24. ^ "Carraig Eden Theological College". Archived from the original on 4 October 2008. Retrieved 31 October 2008.
  25. ^ "Charlesland Sports and Recreational Park". Wicklow County Council. Archived from the original on 20 December 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2009.
  26. ^ "Greystones Theatre". Greystones Theatre. Archived from the original on 23 January 2009. Retrieved 2 February 2009.
  27. ^ "Custer's Last Stand-Up Television Show -". Retrieved 3 February 2009.
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^

External linksEdit