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Gaelic: Na Clocha Liatha
County Wicklow
Greystones from north.jpg
Greystones from the north
Grid reference: O297122
Location: 53°8’38"N, 6°4’19"W
Population: 17,080  (2011)
Postcode: A63
Local Government
Council: Wicklow

Greystones is a coastal town and seaside resort in County Wicklow. It lies on Ireland's east coast, five miles south of Bray and 17 miles south of Dublin, with a population of 17,468 (2011) [1] The town is bordered by the Irish Sea to the east, Bray Head to the north and the Wicklow Mountains to the west.

The town was named after a stretch of grey stones between two beaches on the sea front. The harbour area and the 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."

Dublin Area Rapid Transit train at Greystones Station

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.

In the latter half of the 19th century, under the ownership of William Robert La Touche, Greystones' development gathered momentum. To the north of the station, Church Road, Victoria Road and Trafalgar Road were laid out, and many houses were built in the years following the arrival of the railway. Following her father's death, Elizabeth Hawkins-Whitshed was the sole inheritor of his property. In 1879, she married Frederick Gustavus Burnaby; a soldier, politician and traveller. Burnaby died in battle in 1885 and Elizabeth remarried twice, but the property continued to be known as the Burnaby Estate. 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 pier, dock, sea wall and boat-slip remain but have 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.

Population and development

Greystones has experienced a huge increase in its population since the 1970s with the construction of several large housing estates. A new development at Charlesland, just south of the town, includes over 1,000 dwelling units. As of the 2006 census the population of Greystones, including town and environs, stands at 14,569 making it the second largest town in the county after Bray.[3]

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 new dual carriageway link road (R774) connecting Greystones to the N11 has been completed. Construction of a full interchange with the N11 has also been completed.

According to the 2006 census, Greystones has the largest Church of Ireland presence as a proportion of the population (9.77%).


Greystones Harbour


Greystones is accessible from the N11 Dublin-Wexford road; a new interchange (Junction 11 on the N11) constructed near Charlesland connects with the town via a dual carriageway.


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. 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, 184 and 84X Dublin 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 3¾ miles long and takes approximately two hours.[5]

Notable people

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

  • Damien Rice, musician
  • Andrew Hozier-Byrne, musician
  • Éamon de Buitléar, wildlife film maker and naturalist.
  • Reggie Corrigan, former professional rugby player, Irish team member and former most capped Leinster player of all time.
  • Seán Drea, former Irish Olympic rower.
  • Ronnie Drew of The Dubliners lived in Greystones.
  • John L. Murray, Chief Justice of Ireland 2004–2011.
  • George Hamilton, commentator for RTÉ television.
  • Frank Kelly, the actor who portrayed Father Jack in Father Ted.
  • Paul McNaughton, former Irish International Rugby player, ex Leinster manager
  • Sean FitzPatrick, former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank[6]
  • Amy Bowtell, Professional Tennis Player.
  • Marten Toonder, artist, creator of Oliver B. Bumble
  • Paul Dunne, golfer


Association Football

The town is home to a successful association football club, Greystones United,[7] 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.[7] Perhaps the club's most famous alumnus is 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, a vibrant and family-oriented club 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 games

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 railway station. There are other courses within short driving distance (less than five miles) 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 Rugby Football Club was formed in 1937 and play at Dr Hickey Park. They won their first trophy in 1944 when they won the Metropolitan League.[8]


Greystones Lawn Tennis Club is a vibrant, active 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, has a large number of tennis activities and coaching opportunities for children and adults and runs a number of social events throughout the year.


Greystones has a number of entertainment facilities; Charlesland Sports and Recreation Park which include a skate park, several all-weather football and basketball courts and a playground.[9] 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 Greystones 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.[10]

Film and television

  • 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.[11]
  • 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.
  • The movie Taffin, starring Pierce Brosnan, was 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 (Northumberland). 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,[12][13] headquartered at its restaurant on the Main Street (Church Road); Goldfish Telecom [14][15][16] the telecoms firm headquartered on Church Road; and RTÉ Dragons' Den-winning company Smart Storage, based in nearby Newtownmountkennedy[17][18]. Also based in Greystones is international bottle top manufacturer United Caps, which has 6 production plants and 16 sales' offices across Europe.


  1. "Greystones (Wicklow, Counties and Towns, Ireland) - Population Statistics and Location in Maps and Charts". Retrieved 2016-12-02. 
  2. "Greystones 'world's most liveable community'''". RTÉ. 10 November 2008. Retrieved 3 February 2009. 
  3. "Table 14A Persons in each town of 1,500 population and over classified by age group". CSO. Retrieved 3 February 2009. 
  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. pp. 158. ISBN 1-84353-059-7. 
  6. Heffernan, Breda (22 December 2012). "Sean FitzPatrick released on bail after facing fresh charges". Irish Independent. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Greystones United". Greystones United Football Club. Retrieved 3 February 2009. 
  9. "Charlesland Sports and Recreational Park". Wicklow County Council. Archived from the original on 20 December 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2009. 
  10. "Greystones Theatre". Greystones Theatre. Retrieved 2 February 2009. 
  11. "Custer's Last Stand-Up Television Show -". Retrieved 3 February 2009. 

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Greystones)