The Blessington Lakes are nestled in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains. The waters of this man made reservoir, created c. 1940 form the centrepiece in the landscape around which a very rich and unique local history and heritage can be explored. Whether you are cycling, driving or walking, there are a wealth of stories and folklore to be discovered in the local landmarks; giving glimpses of Neolithic settlements and flooded villages; granite stone cutting traditions and the rebuilding of Dublin after the 1916 Rising.
The Blessington Lakeside Heritage Project is an exciting initiative, developed by the Heritage Office of Wicklow County Council in association with local people in the Blessington area.
The project involves compiling information about the nature, history, folklore and rich cultural heritage of this part of north west Wicklow into a unique online resource with photos, text, interviews, and film footage.
This trail covers a wealth of stories and folklore about local landmarks; Neolithic settlements, flooded villages; granite stone cutting traditions and the rebuilding of Dublin after the 1916 Rising
Discover West Wicklow amazing heritage:
SEE & VISIT
This historic town is the ideal start and end point for a loop tour around Blessington Lakes. Some of the historic monuments in the town include the Credit Union House, Downshire Monument, Saint Mary’s Church of Ireland, Tyrrells House, Tram Marker, Toll House and the Horseshoe Arch.
Boystown (Bailte Bhuí) Quaker Grave Yard
restored Quaker Graveyard is located at the entrance of Blessington Lakes Golf Course. Originally based in Dublin, there were Quakers in this area from the seventeenth century and they worked mainly in the wool industry.
Valleymount Mexican Church
Valleymount Church was built in 1803 in a Mexican style designed either by a former priest inspired by churches he saw on a visit to Malta or by parishioners who had visited or worked in New Mexico. The church contains beautiful distinctive Harry Clarke stained glass windows.
The cottages and houses in this pretty village are made from local granite, with some unique buildings such as the barn cinema and the House in a Day. There are breath-taking views of Blessington lakes from the village. The annual Ballyknockan Musical Festival event takes place here each summer.
The buildings in the picturesque village of Lacken are made of the local granite with spectacular views across the lake. Those include an old shop, a school and a church
Russborough is regarded as one of Ireland’s most beautiful houses. The house is beautifully maintained and lavishly furnished containing fine furniture, tapestries, carpets, porcelain, silver and much of the Beit collection of paintings.
There is a self guided exhibition which includes interactive touch screens, audio listening handsets, cinema projections and films in the original cinema.
Valleymount Bridge and the construction of the Poulaphouca Dam
The construction of the Poulaphouca Dam was done in 1937. This was to help deal with the water shortages in Dublin. It resulted in the village of Ballinahown, 80 homesteads, 300 farms and over 5,500 acres of land being submerged by water.
Stonecutting has been practiced in the Ballyknockan area since 1824, providing granite for many of Dublin’s most famous buildings. The granite was transported by pony and cart to the city. Wicklow Granite was used to rebuild and renovate many of the buildings in Dublin destroyed during the 1916 Rising.
This townland is named after Bishop Boden whose grave and the remains of his small church are located in Templeboden graveyard. The location of a cillín, the burial place for unbaptised children from the locality has been recovered and a plaque placed to mark the area. Look for nearby ‘cursing stones’.