TRACKS AND TRAILS SERIES 6
Cliff Walk – Episode 2
Broadcaster and Dublin Northsider Jim Sherwin gets a bird’s eye view of Wicklow, along the cliff walk, from Bray to Greystones in County Wicklow, a journey he’s taken very often in the past.
Pearse Station in Dublin was the first commuter station in Ireland when it opened in the 1830’s and is still the busiest today. It’s also Jim’s starting point in central Dublin of an accessible and much loved walk. The train journey to Bray is an event in itself and the view of the sea makes commuting that little bit more enjoyable. Jim is joined on the train journey by James Scannel, a train enthusiast who tells him all about the history of the railway line.
Bray in County Wicklow has a unique character all of its own. Jim walks along the mile long prom which leads directly to the trail head. Mary Davies has written a history of its Victorian past that is still very much present in the seaside town and she walks with Jim along the prom and describes the history of the place. At the end of the prom, heading south, Jim takes the Cliff Walk which closely follows the route of the railway as far as Greystones. The 7km route is much loved and runs alongside the DART line, a modern extension of the 19th Century Dublin Kingstown railway. The rail line ended up in its somewhat precarious location by an accident of history. Bray Head and the surrounding land was owned by the Earl of Meath, who refused to let the railway through the centre of the estate. He offered the headland instead, for free. Jim meets his great grandson, the current Lord Meath, Jack Brabazon, who explains exactly what happened.
Jim continues his walk along the cliff and meets some local experts one of which is Brian Mac Aonghusa who tells him the story about the infamous train disaster that happened due to the relentless erosion of the line and its timber viaducts. He also meets Brian White at the ruins of St. Crispin’s Cell.
At the end of Jim’s walk the path opens up to a view of the marina in Greystones before he strolls down Church Road to the DART station for the return journey to Bray.