“It is through education and awareness of our natural and historical heritage that we can better understand our present day lives and make them interesting and culturally rich”. (Friends of Historic Rathdown, 1993).
- Rathdown / St. Crispin’s has been under development threat since the early eighties. Planning applications for housing in 1983 and again in 1990 would have succeeded were it not for vigorous community action, particularly by residents of the Grove.
- The Friends of Historic Rathdown formed in early 1991 to ensure the site’s survival.
- This impressive community campaign began to bear fruit. An OPW submission in 1983 stated that no development should take place as the area is the site of the ‘lost medieval village of Rathdown’. The County Development Plan stressed the need to maintain a green belt between Greystones and Bray.
- In March 1992, the OPW registered the entire area of the medieval village of Rathdown as a National Monument.
- The proposals put forward by Friends of Historic Rathdown led to the establishment of a Steering Committee under the auspices of Greystones Town Commission and WCC.
- Rathdown’s special importance was further acknowledged in a report commissioned by WCC, in which Rathdown and St. Crispin’s Cell were included within an overall theme of ‘Lifestyles through the ages’ (An Interpretive Plan for Co.Wicklow, Trinity College Dublin, 1992).
- Not only was Rathdown’s potential recognised within WCC’s commissioned report, the ‘Interpretive Plan for Co. Wicklow’, but it was also designated one of Wicklow’s prime archaeological resources in the Council’s publication ‘A guide to the archaeology of Co. Wicklow’(1993)
- Bray Head is an Area of Scientific Interest, with a unique flora and fauna. It is also an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, adjoining an area designated as High Amenity. The Cliff Walk is an amenity well-used and well-loved by many from near and far. Combining all of these qualities with the rich history of Rathdown,Friends of Historic Rathdown have repeatedly called for the region to be designated a Heritage Zone. This concept of a Heritage Zone, combining natural and historical landscapes has already been adopted by Offaly County Council at Clonmacnoise.
- The Friends of Historic Rathdown proposed using Tarrant’s farmhouse as ‘an Educational Resource Centre, incorporating an interdisciplinary study centre, with an archive of historical and archaeological information and artefacts on display, interpretive displays for visitors, and facilities for cultural events and activities’.
- ‘Spin-offs’, such as craft workshops, could be incorporated into this scheme.
- The burial tombs at Carrowmore in Sligo provide a fine example of how preservation of the landscape can lead to the creation of local employment in the area.
- Almost thirty years have elapsed since these plans were first aired. Now, in 2020, two enlightened new plans may finally help bring these ambitions to fruition.
East Coast Tourism Trail
‘A proposed tourism trail from Carlingford Lough to Cobh will have huge economic potential for Ireland’s tourism sector and will benefit towns and villages along the East and South-East coasts, Fine Gael has said.
Nineteen Fine Gael TDs, Senators and MEPs have said that the Irish Sea Way could have the same level of success that the Wild Atlantic Way has had in attracting huge visitor numbers to the West coast of Ireland.
Nineteen FG representatives based in constituencies along the East and South-East coasts, including Simon Harris TD, have voiced their support for the proposed tourism trail, which is contained in the Programme for Government.
The group said, “ The Programme for Government contains a commitment to initiate a consultation process with communities along the coastline from Carlingford Lough in Louth to Cobh in Cork, with a view to creating the Irish Sea Way, to boost tourism in those regions.
Well-known beauty-spots along the proposed new trail that could benefit further include Greystones and Brittas Bay in Wicklow.’
-Wicklow Times, June 30th, 2020
Draft Public Realm Plan : St. Crispin’s and the New Park
‘Thousands of people enjoy the Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk each year, without ever knowing that they tread beside such a fascinating site of medieval history.
The Greystones LAP seeks ‘ to protect the character of this site as a heritage and amenity area for public amenity and education.’
Recent work by Greystones Tidy Towns committee has been successful at helping to maintain the Protected Structures at St. Crispin’s, and to make the site more attractive. Building upon this, sensitively- introduced interpretation elements would help create a local heritage park that shares the fascinating history of the site to visitors, and can be used as an educational resource for local schools.
This heritage park should be integrated with the Cliff Walk, and the proposed new park within the marina development, to create a quality, flexible and inclusive recreational and public amenity space.’
-Greystones Draft Public Realm Plan, February 2020.