A new heritage walk in Wicklow town is scheduled to be completed by July 31 and will feature 24 stops.
€35,000 in LEADER funding paid for storyboards and maps to be erected at locations of historical significance around the town, starting at St Patrick's Church and taking in the likes of the Franciscan Abbey Grounds, the Town Hall and The Black Castle, before finishing up at Wicklow Gaol.
Pascal Burke is the Chairman of the Wicklow Town Team's Tourism Group and he has high hopes for the new heritage trail once it opens.
'We are linking up the old heritage signs in Wicklow town with the Robert Halpin trail to create one walk. It will take around two hours to complete the whole heritage trail, allowing participants to spend some time at each location.
'We got funding from County Wicklow Partnership and a video has also been created to support the walk. We also have some literature to market it. It is also hoped that the walk will help create some retail footfall. The walk will show off the best of the town, and there is plenty in the town to showcase,' said Mr Burke.
A number of storyboard and new maps of Wicklow town will also be put in place at various locations.
'We will have a total of four new maps, including on the Marlton Road, Railway Station and the Abbey Street and Upper Murrough car parks. The existing maps will be replaced by new ones. Wicklow Tidy Towns already have storyboards for the Black Castle and Abbey Grounds. We have new storyboards going up at St Patrick's Church, the Stone Bridge near the Bridge Tavern, Market Square, Travelahawk Beach and Barrow Green,' added Mr Bourke.
The heritage walks first stop is at St Patrick's Church. A storyboard will depict a bird's eye view of the early St Patrick's Church (1797) and direct surroundings; a bird's eye view of the new St Patrick's Church (1844) and its surroundings and town's people pulling the bells using ropes up the hill towards the 'new' St. Patrick's Church.
Stop two is at the Franciscan Abbey, Abbey Grounds where a storyboard will depict a birds eye view reconstruction/artist impression showing the Abbey and surroundings in its heydays; a cross section of the Abbey and eye level reconstruction of the Abbey.
Follow the route down to Wentworth Place, turning left up Church Hill to the Church of Ireland to visit the burial place of Robert Halpin. The fourth stop is at the Parnell Bridge, followed by the old lifeboat house by the seafront.
Participants will then return to Leitrim Place to visit Halpin's Old Schoolhouse.
A storyboard at stop seven on Bachelor's Walk will feature a storyboard depicting a portrait of Captain Robert Halpin, his home Tinakilly House, a telegraph ship laying cable between Valentia Island and the United States and his ancestral home The Bridge Tavern.
Stop eight is at the Leitrim Lodge, followed by The Bridge Tavern and then the Halpin Memorial in Fitzwilliam Square.
The walk will then continue to the old Post Office, now Floods Menswear, before taking in the Doctors Steps linking Main Street to South Quay.
Salt-house Lane joins the Lower Mall to the South Quay and gained its name from the small stone house which stood for many years at the elbow in the lane and which was used by the fishermen who salted and stored their catch there.
The walk then makes its way to the Town Hall, which is one of the oldest buildings in Wicklow and was known originally as Market House.
Stop 15 is by the Billy Byrne monument in Market Square. A storyboard will include the Market Square circa 1798 with a birds eye view reconstruction, the 1798 Rebellion and the history of Wicklow Gaol.
Participants will then depart from Market Square onto Quarantine Hill, where they can view visual images of prisoner stocks outlining the history of the location. Stop 17 is at the cannons overlooking the harbour.
That is followed by the famous ruins of the Black Castle. A storyboard depicts the Black Castle site in the Bronze age period and Viking period, while also providing a bird's eye view of the Black Castle in the 13th century and a seaside front view in the 17th century.
Nearby, within sight, you can view Travelahawk Beach, where St. Patrick first landed in Ireland in 432. A storyboard will provide a birds eye view of St Patrick visiting the beach, St Patrick in person, St Patrick fleeing while being stoned by locals and the story of St. Manntan and his association with Wicklow town.
Stops 20 and 21 are at Orchard Park Peace Garden and the Quaker House on Bayview. A storyboard at Barrow Green will depict people transporting waste by wheelbarrow and dispersing it here, scenes of people digging graves for executed 1798 leaders. A birds eye view of the old Bayview House/Dominican Covent and a scene around the red-bricked chapel of the Methodist Church.
The last and final stop is at Wicklow Gaol. Construction of the Gaol began in 1702 following the passing of the Penal Laws. The earliest reference to Wicklow Gaol appears in the Wicklow Borough Minutes of 1709 where it is recorded that it cost 2s 6d to provide candles and straw for a group of French prisoners, most likely ship-wrecked seamen.