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Update of activities of Friends of the Murrough 2016


The Murrough:

In the lead-up to Christmas of 2015 erosion north of the revetments on the Murrough had continued relentlessly to eat away at the grassy amenity area much used by the public. This process had been accelerating over the past couple of years but no preventative measures were ever taken to rectify the problem. It was then within a few feet of Iarnród Éireann property and was threatening to undermine the railway line. The railway company had to act immediately to protect their property and they put down large boulders to form a new revetment where the erosion had caused most damage. Time has shown this repair work to be of a temporary nature as the revetment had begun to collapse over a few weeks.

Friends of the Murrough, first established in the 1980s, was re-established in 2008 and since then has been organising clean ups and heritage walks to draw attention to the vulnerable nature of the area. The group prepared a number of carefully considered reports based on earlier studies and alternative methods of management. These were presented to the council and local politicians at every opportunity to no avail and the predicted erosion came to head with Storm Frank.

December 2015. At this time ‘Save the Murrough, a group of concerned residents was formed and they called a meeting in the Grand Hotel. This was a well-attended meeting of about 200 people. Friends of the Murrough and the newly formed group addressed the meeting, which was attended by many local politicians. There was widespread indignation and criticism expressed from the audience at the loss of such a great amenity and the lack of action which had led to such great damage. Save the Murrough coordinated an excellent protest and succeeded in getting over threehundred submissions to the new draft County Development Plan.

Meanwhile, Friends of the Murrough have been in constant contact with Shane Beacom, an experienced marine engineer who grew up on the Murrough and now works in the USA. Shane has very kindly shared with us his expertise with detailed commentary and drawings showing the correct course of action to be taken in dealing with this level of erosion. We have passed this advice on to the relevant authorities for their consideration.

1st February 2016. Both groups addressed a meeting of Wicklow County Council These talks were accompanied by a slide show illustrating the flora and fauna and the sheer beauty of this unique region, which runs from Kilcoole in the north as far as the most easterly point in the Republic at Wicklow Head.

24th February 2016. A committee member of Friends of the Murrough, Malcolm Spencer, was invited to meet with Cormac Gebruers, a maritime logistics and transport consultancy firm, commissioned by the Council to report on the ports in County Wicklow for the Marine Strategy Group. This lengthy meeting focused on the fragile nature of the environment in Wicklow and the need to factor in the enormous amenity value placed on the Murrough in any cost benefit analysis of developing a new port in this area.

25th February 2016. The committee met with Timothy Morgan, the Environmental representative of the Public Participation Network sitting on the Roads Transport, Water and Environment Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) of the County Council. Timothy was briefed with a detailed account of the circumstances of coastal walks in Wicklow and asked to represent our views at the next meeting of the SPC.

The Cliff Walk:

Erosion had destroyed a small section of the access point to the Cliff Walk at Glen Turn Beach in the summer of 2014 and rendered it unsafe. Access was then firmly fenced off and closed down by the authorities. They had already closed this very scenic area twelve years previously and nothing was ever done in the interim to rectify the problem. Friends of the Murrough had commissioned a number of surveys and reports on the Cliff Walk and, with the assistance of Wicklow County Council, were preparing to seek grants in order to rehabilitate this beautiful and historic walkway but whilst awaiting the next round of LEADER grants the winter storms took away the first few metres at the beach. We are currently seeking professional advice on the feasibility of different solutions.

We feel that this area fits in perfectly with the concept of ‘Irelands Ancient East, which is currently so vigorously promoted by Fáilte Ireland.

Rights of Way

Friends of the Murrough have sought inclusion in the County Development Plan the following rights of way:

The existing pathway from Blackcastle to Glen Turn Beach.

To extend the existing right of way at Bride’s Head. Currently the pathway from Glen Turn Beach on to Brides Head is listed as right of way. FoM proposed to extend this as far as the roadway to the lighthouse and then encircling a stretch of rough scrubland running north, creating a new loop walk back towards Bride’s Head.

A right of way exists from the R750 straight opposite the lighthouse road and ends at the back of the housing estate Seapoint. FoM proposed to continue this path in a semi-circle to join the public roadway at the back of Seafield This walk is known as the old Dunbur Road.

An extension of the River Walk beside the Vartry to continue underneath the bridges and along the shores of Broadlough as far as the wall jutting out into Broadlough.

A loop walk starting at the back of the wastewater treatment plant, following the well-worn path parallel to the railway track up to ‘The Avenue’ heading west towards Broadlough, following its shores back south to the wall jutting out and back east to meet the starting point at the sewage plant.

A right of way from the R 761 going towards the old railway station at Killoughter in order to gain access to the Murrough.

A right of way along the full length of the Murrough from Wicklow Town as far as the beach at Kilcoole.

Special Amenity Area Order (SAAO):

Friends of the Murrough are seeking a Special Amenity Area Order to extend the full length of the Murrough east of the railway line and that area of the Murrough, which is owned by the Council, west of the railway line and extending to Broadlough.

Submissions to the Local Economic and Community Plan and the Wicklow County Development Plan and the formation of a Liaison Group:



•February 2012: Wicklow Town Council opened up a short pathway in order to circumvent a piece of ground where the local landowner was denying entry to walkers going from Lime Kiln Bay to Wicklow Head.

•October 2012: An application for planning permission from Waterbrand for the storage of baled garbage which was opposed by Friends of the Murrough and others was subsequently refused.

•February 2013: A proposal was prepared by Friends of the Murrough for a Feasibility Study on the development of a Looped Coastal Walk along the Murrough.

•January 2013: Friends of the Murrough, together with Wicklow Head Heritage Group and representatives of Wicklow Town Council met with Wicklow Golf Club and discussed the possibility of a land swap with the Golf Club.  The Golf Club could stand to gain about seven acres of Council land in exchange for allowing the up-grading of the Cliff Walk from the Black Castle to Brides Glen.  All three parties together with the Town Clerk and the Chairman of WTC subsequently walked and inspected the area in question in April of that year.  The Golf Club pointed out all of the difficulties they would encounter and were not prepared to accede to our proposal.

•February 2013: Friends of the Murrough contacted the Golf Club with a view to up-grading the central portion of the walk from Brides Glen to Lime Kiln Bay and sought permission from the Golf Club to carry out the necessary work on this right of way; the Golf Club are the landowners of that area.  The Golf Club replied that they would discuss this matter only with the Council.  We never heard any more from either the Golf Club or the Council.

•June 2013: Friends of the Murrough organised an inspection of the last two kilometers of the Cliff Walk from Brides Glen to the Roadway owned by Irish Lights which leads on to Wicklow Head and a Site Assessment Report on the area was subsequently published by The Irish Sports Council and the National Trails Office.  A number of tenders were sought and received from contractors who specialise in upgrading trails of this nature and erecting appropriate signage.

Extract from:

Wicklow town and environs Local area plan 2008-2014

Page 5 Section 4.6 open space  Objective OS4

Wicklow County Council will request the Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government to fund a study into the establishment of a tourist trail from the Glen Strand to Wicklow Head. This study is to establish the need for any safety enhancements for this trail, review any potential erosion threats along the route and to quantify the cost of providing this route. This request is to be made within 6 months of the completion of this plan. The response to this request is to be made known at the following meeting of Wicklow County Council and circulated to all members.

The Harsh Reality:

Despite the availability of grants for projects such as this, nothing whatsoever has been done in this area since it was closed by the Council in 2002.  Friends of the Murrough have tried to enlist the co-operation of both the Council and the Golf Club, in order to have this work done, but to no avail.  The right of way has now been closed once again.


Good to see some coverage in the local paper of the closure of the cliff walk. Read all about it in this week's Wicklow People, story by Myles Buchanan. Hopefully, the council will take note.

Friends of the Murrough facilitated a successful walk as part of the national celebration of Heritage Week. Over 40 people attended the event on Sunday 24th August 2014, despite the county council’s sudden closure of the proposed route from Glen Turn Beach earlier in the week. See this week'sWicklow People for coverage of the cliff walk, story by Myles Buchanan. Participants braved the poor weather forecast and the train strike to walk a longer route via the road. At the lighthouse road walkers turned north and made their way to Lime Kiln Bay, where Fintan Clarke, treasurer of Friends of the Murrough, gave a short talk on the history and geography of the area. It is hoped that the historic walk will soon be re-opened for the enjoyment of visitors and townspeople.  Friends of the Murrough will run another walk north of the town this coming Saturday 30th Aug, meeting at the Murrough carpark beside the new skatepark at 2.30pm. All are welcome.


The increasing intensity of storms like we had last winter is taking its toll on Wicklow town’s amenities.  This week the council has once again closed off the cliff path at the Glen Turn and put up barriers in an effort to stop people walking this traditional route.  Coincidentally and somewhat ironically the decision to close this beautiful and historic part of our natural heritage becomes effective in time for Heritage Week when Friends of the Murrough hold their much publicised annual walk from Glen Turn Beach to Lime Kiln Bay.

An attempt to close the route in 2001 was ignored by the public, in fact increasing numbers have discovered just what an asset Wicklow has here on this stunningly beautiful cliff top walk – one of only two such walks in the county, the other being Bray-Greystones.  There have been no accidents reported since then. Now, some slippages along the first stretch of the path have led to the council’s insurers advising that the path is not safe despite a route being available to walkers just a little higher up the slope. 

Friends of the Murrough, a well supported local group, are well aware that some work is needed on the path as neither the council nor the Golf club have done any maintenance on this part of the walk in the past decade. This despite the Local Authority’s pledge, in their Coastal Management Plan, to “conserve the right of way from Wicklow Town boundary along the coastline to Bride’s Head and Lime Kiln Bay”. Although, to be fair, the council donated land to ensure unhindered access to the walk further south.  After consulting with a number of professional path makers including the National Trails Office who were enthralled by the high quality of the path, the local group costed the minor engineering works that would be required and were expecting European funding for the work. However, a lack of cooperation from Wicklow Golf Club has been a constant brake on progress. 

These new barriers will make it much more difficult for the hundreds of regular walkers to get along to Bride’s Head and has resulted in the Friends of the Murrough rerouting their annual walk for Heritage Week , which usually attracts 50-60 visitors from Dublin and around, bringing with them valuable tourist Euro to local businesses. The potential revenue for the town is difficult to calculate but Wales now has 870 miles of walkways right around their coastline realising £641 million to their economy.

Ned Cussen, Friends of the Murrough chairperson questions “What next?  Will this path be allowed to further deteriorate like the many empty shops along the Main Street?  Will another fabulous asset be left empty and deserted for the lack of just a bit of attention?   Friends of the Murrough have done much of the preparatory work and we now need the council and Wicklow Golf Club to sit down and work out the logistics of how we can get this done before word gets out that Wicklow just doesn’t care”.


Sunday 24th August

Walk from Glenturn Strand to Brides Head Beach

Meet:  Glenturn Car Park, just beyond Wicklow Golf Club south of the town.

Time: 14.00

Duration: Approximately 3 hours

Magnificent scenery and the ruins of an old penal church and lime kiln. Panoramic views of the coast. Seals are a common sight. Walk is not suitable for buggies and very small children! Older children must be supervised at all times as short sections of the walk are along cliffs. Good footwear and binoculars are recommended


Saturday 30th August

Broadlough Loop Walk

Meet: Murrough Car Park, beside new skate park

Time: 14.30

Duration: Approximately 2 hours

Explore the beautiful Broadlough Nature Reserve and Murrough Coastline. Bring binoculars; you never know what bird you might spot! The terrain is flat, although not suitable for buggies. This walk is ideal for children.


Wales Coastal Path

"Wales has become the first country in the world to have a path stretching the full length of its coastline. The Wales Coastal Path, which was officially opened last Friday, runs for 870 miles from Chepstow in the south and the Dee estuary, near Chester, in the north. The project has taken five years and £14m to complete and is expected to attract an extra 100,000 visitors a year. The 2012 Lonely Planet Guide named the Welsh coast as the No.1 region in the world to visit." - The Week, 12th May '12.

Murrough under threat from Dunne’s changes

Read the article from the Wicklow People 13th June 2012

Refusal of Planning Permission by Council

Read the document

Greystones Wicklow Sea Walk

The following news item appeared in the Wicklow Times dated 22nd November 2011 and is a very welcome announcement for all those who are interested in the proper development of the Murrough region.
Greystones Wicklow Sea Walk
There is good news for walkers and bird watchers about the sea walk from Greystones to Wicklow. Cllr Derek Mitchell reports that Wicklow County Council is to hire 2 Engineering Interns to do a study of how to improve this walk. Cllr Derek Mitchell welcomed this and said, “we need to improve this walk to make it more accessible to locals and tourists. When I was Cathoirleach, 3 years ago, I set this as an objective and am glad something is finally happening. This seaside walk, over 20 km long with no road crossings and through a nature reserve is very attractive, and has a train service to both ends”. “Although it is possible to walk it at present there are problems with rail safety, land ownership and the coastal defences, which shift, making a flat path difficult to achieve. Irish Rail are currently fencing parts of it but have agreed to leave the bridge at Newcastle open. Over the next year the Interns will study this and produce a plan, which will be discussed with stakeholders. Following that the Council will apply for funding to implement it.”

Friends of the Murrough AGM

Read the details of our AGM with guest speaker Albert Smith from 'Keep Ireland Open'

Unauthorised development on Broadlough foreshore

Click to see the Fence location and read our correspondence:

An Bord Pleanala Report on Multimetals development

An Bord Pleanala Report states that Multimetals development is a material change of use that is not exempted development. Read full report on:

Family walk and clean-up of the Murrough-Broadlough

Friends of the Murrough will be holding a walk and clean-up all around the Murrough and Broadlough loop walk on Saturday 15th May at 2pm. The walk is family orientated so bring along the kids (sorry, not suitable for buggies). Bags, gloves and litter pickers will be provided, and no heavy lifting will be required. The meeting place is down past the new parking spaces on the Murrough, beside the ruined cottage.

We would like to thank all those who participated in last year's clean-up. We collected 50 bags of rubbish, which was brought downstream in two boats. We hope to see you all there again this year. We would like to thank also Earls Newsagents for printing notices, and Hanley's Tyre Service for their enormous generosity in allowing a direct access route from the new road to Broadlough lakeside. We wish to thank too the Engineers of Wicklow Co Council for their continued assistance in facilitating access routes for us all to enjoy.

Fundraising Pub Quiz on Thursday, 22nd April at 9 PM in Ernie’s Bar, Market Square

Dear all,
Friends of the Murrough have been working very hard on your behalf to ensure that the Murrough is kept clean, accessible and enjoyable for the residents of Wicklow and for our tourists. From cleaning up the overgrown ragwort and lakeside clean-ups, to landscape and access consultations, to lodging comprehensive objections regarding damaging developments and making submissions to the Co Development Plan, we have been on the ball, ensuring that all works carried out have a minimum effect on the enjoyment of the area. While the area is still quite a mess, we will continue to maintain contact with the contractors until all of the work is completed satisfactorily.
Although all our friends work in a voluntary capacity, from time to time we incur expenses such as website maintenance, payments for submissions to the Councils and An Bord Pleanala, stationery, postage etc. We're now low on funds and need your help.
Please support our Fundraising Pub Quiz on Thursday, April 22nd at Ernie's Bar, 9pm sharp. A table of four is only €20.
If you can't make it but would like to offer some donation, please send it to our Treasurer, Fintan Clarke, "Palma", Friarsfield, Wicklow Town.
Kind regards
Pat Kavanagh
086 2771871

Talk on the Murrough by Vincent O'Reilly

Vincent O' Reilly will give a talk on the Murrough on 23/3/10 @ 8pm in St. Pats Boys National School. This talk is a follow up to the one given last year to Friends of the Murrough. This year's talk will focus on local business, the tramway and the man who saw the big picture for Wicklow's future

Chronology of Correspondence Regarding Multimetals Application for Permit

See the chronology of correspondence. Refer to the docments in turn below.

Terms and Provisions of the Waste Facility Permit

See the Terms and Provisions of the Waste Facility Permit granted to Multimetal Recycling Limited by Wicklow County Council. Download the document here (197 KB).

Appeal to An Bord Pleanala by Friends of the Murrough

Seee the Section 5 Query Appeal to An Bord Pleanala by Friends of the Murrough. Download the document here (524 KB).

Proposal for Wicklow Town Council

Cllr. Pat Kavanagh put the following proposal before Wicklow Town Council on Monday 7th December 2009 This proposal was defeated at the Town Council meeting when only two Councillors supported the motion and the remaining seven voted against it.

Appeal to An Bord Pleanala

Friends of the Murrough are appealing the decision of Wicklow Co Council to exempt Multimetals Recycling Facility from requiring planning permission.

Expenses for Year 2009

Friends of the Murrough have had a particularly expensive year as can be seen from this table. All of our committee members give of their time voluntarily and while some of our supporters have been generous in their contributions, our resources have dwindled considerably where we now find that our account is in debt. We would appeal for some extra funding from all those who value the work which we are doing in trying to preserve this wonderful amenity.
Contributions can be sent either to the Secretary, Cllr. Pat Kavanagh, 14 Dunbur Glen, Wicklow Town or to the Treasurer, Fintan Clarke, 8 Friarsfield, Wicklow Town

Proposed Scrap Yard for Lakeside on Murrough

Multimetals Recycling Ltd. Hempstown, Blessington, who currently operate their business dealing in various kinds of scrap metal including scrap cars have applied for a licence to operate on the Murrough at the rear of the Industrial Waste Recycling Centre and down towards the river. Anyone concerned about a scrapyard in this scenic area can examine a file that is available for public observations on/before 30th October 2009 file number WSPWW09001301 in Wicklow County Council buildings.

Walk and Clean-up of the Murrough, Broadlough, Vartry River Loop Walk, 2009

Friends of the Murrough and Wicklow Coast Care are having a walk / clean-up of the Murrough - Broad Lough - Vartry River around the so called Loop Walk (from railway crossing up by the coast, down by ‘the Avenue’ and return by the lake edge) on Saturday 17th October 1pm.

The walk is family orientated, so bring along the kids (sorry, not suitable for buggy) and dogs (on a lead please). We envisage taking around two hours to complete the loop. Bags and gloves and litter pickers will be provided. The chosen remit is bottles and cans etc, so no heavy lifting required.

The meeting place is down at the old Murrough car park at the level crossing by the ruined cottage in Wicklow Town at 1pm.

A Coastcare sub-committee of Friends of the Murrough was recently formed

Coastcare is an international community of volunteers who care for a particular stretch of coastline in their area. Coastcare volunteers identify local environmental problems and work together to achieve practical solutions. The Wicklow branch have recently been active in clearing litter and noxious weeds such as ragwort from the Murrough. Members also cut back vegetation such as furze and briars from the pathway on the Cliff Walk. Coastcare continually seeks and welcomes new volunteers to their group as there is an extensive area to cover. Contact:
L to R Fintan Clarke, Larry Ryan, Cllr. Pat Kavanagh, Judy Osborne, Malcolm Spencer and Ned Cussen.
All had been busy removing several loads of ragwort from the Murrough as part of the Coastcare programme.
Photo by Tony Renshaw.

'Friends of the Murrough Walk: Sunday 31st May 2009

We would like as many people as possible to come along and show their solidarity with our aims.
Assembly Area: Railway Crossing at 2.30 PM Read our invitation.
Some of the people who took part in the walk on 31st May '09.

History Talk on the Murrough by Vincent O'Reilly followed by AGM

On Wednesday, April 29th, 8pm, in the Blue Room, Grand Hotel, Wicklow, Friends of the Murrough hosted a talk on the history of The Murrough and its environs by local Historian, Vincent O'Reilly. Vincent has already published 6 articles on The Murrough in the Historical Society Journal and is working on two more articles. We are indebted to Vincent for taking time out to come from Dublin to give this talk. After the talk, we held our AGM and elected our officers and committee members for the coming year. We would urge anyone who would like to get actively involved to contact us either by email or at 086 2771871

Monkey Pole Replaced

We are very happy to see that another group of local people, headed by Brendan Cullen have now replaced the Monkey Pole. As this was one of our many objectives for the Murrough, we appreciate the concerted effort by Brendan and his friends to get the pole replaced as quickly as they did.

Coffee Morning on Friday 13th February ‘09.

A very successful coffee morning was held at ‘The Mariner’ where local people had an opportunity to meet the committee members of Friends of the Murrough and keep abreast of developments during the past year. See our Update. This event also raised much needed funds for our campaign which will help towards the cost of preparing the Coastal Way Report.

Submission to Wicklow County Council, 23rd December 2008.

This is a submission from Friends of the Murrough to the planning section of Wicklow County Council concerning the region extending from Kilcoole to Wicklow Head. It outlines our proposals for the preservation of the area and the reinstatement of walkways.
See the submission

Submission for walkways sent to 'National Waymarked Ways Advisory Committee' (NWWAC)

The remit of this Committee, which forms part of the Irish Sports Council (ISC) is to promote Waymarked Walking Routes throughout Ireland.
The proposed trail is a linear coastal trail starting at Kilcoole Train stop and following the coastal rail line to Wicklow Town, through the picturesque harbour to the Black castle and along the cliff walk to Wicklow Head. Also proposed is a looped walk close to the town along the eastern bank of the Broadlough, through ‘The Avenue’ approximately 1k from the start and back along the coastal path.
See the completed questionnaire

Minister Gormley's visit to Wicklow

Minister John Gormley at Greenhill car park on 7th April, discussing the application for an SAAO with Friends of the Murrough Secretary, Pat Kavanagh.

Meeting with County Council Members 21st April

Friends of the Murrough had a meeting on 21st April ’08 with all five County Councillors from the Wicklow Electoral Area where they presented proposed amendments to the Wicklow Environs Local Area Plan. These amendments sought to secure A Special Amenity Area Order for the Murrough extending from Kilcoole to Wicklow Head and also included proposals under the heading of ‘coastal zone management’. The re-establishment of all traditional walkways within that area was also discussed. We expect that our proposals will be on the agenda for the next meeting of the Council and we await the outcome.

Extension approved for Murrough grant

Wicklow County Council has appointed a director to coordinate the application for a €115 million Failte Ireland grant for tourism infrastructure. Read more

March 4th Meeting

A meeting was held on 4th March '08 with an attendance of about two hundred people and turned out to be very successful with many valuable contributions and suggestions from those present. See Press reportage.

Press Coverage

The Wicklow Times of Wednesday, 19th March '08 reported that Bord Pleanala has approved a Special Area Amenity Order for Bray Head. Green Councillor, Ciaran O'Brien said that this SAAO for Bray Head is only the fourth in the country and the first to be initiated by a local authority. Other areas that have been granted this Order are Howth Head, Liffey Valley and Bull Island, all made by Ministerial Order. Councillor O'Brien said "it will enhance the area by promoting it as an important recreational and educational resource and will ensure clear management policies for the future' and he has asked Minister Gormley to direct the County Council to prepare two further SAAOs for the Little and Great Sugarloaf Mountains.