If you make the time to venture to Wicklow’s most Southernly Town then you deserve all of the insider tips on how to make the most of your visit. In recent years, the landscape of the town has changed somewhat and you can now catch some great eateries, enjoy some beautiful walks, woodlands, beaches and beautiful boutiques. Arklow is a town steeped in history and surrounded by natural beauty.
The entrance to the Museum is a small doorway between 2 eateries on the outside of the Bridgewater shopping centre. Once inside, you are surrounded by centuries of memorabilia, artefacts, stories and eye witness accounts aswell as a well stocked historical library. The maritime collections including the newly retrieved original figurehead from the sunken Asguard II, take you through the various aspects of the shipping industry from ship design and building to crew and passenger perspectives.
Not only that but this gem of a museum will take you on a journey of historical insight into the various industries that are to this day ingrained in the Arklow landscape. From Kynochs Explosives factory to the Arklow Geansai makers. Arklow Pottery, Arklow Brickworks and the first Irish RNLI station.
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19 Arches bridge and River Walk
The 19 Arches bridge in Arklow was constructed in 1759 and remains Ireland’s longest handmade stone bridge. A true testament to the quality of construction, it continues to be one of 2 main entry points to the town. The bridge traverses the Avoca river as it completes it’s journey to the sea. Starting at the 19 Arches bridge, you can follow the River inland along the River Walk. A beautiful, serene walk which is paved for the most part. Along the walk you can enjoy carvings of woodland animals as well as a number of resting points. The walk brings you out of the town where you can rejoin the road and return to the main street in a loop of approximately 3km.
Duckpond Outdoor Playground
Arklow’s Award winning ‘Duck pond’ area is a great spot to park up (free) and enjoy the hive of activities that go on there. As the name suggests, the Duckpond is the main attraction. Home to many different bird, bug and wildlife species, information boards can be found dotted around the site. The area is also home to Coral Leisure Centre including a gym, swimming pool, squash courts, and a cafe. There are plenty of free outdoor amenities too including a sensory garden, children playground, calisthenics gym, skate park, outdoor adult gym, outdoor table football, basketball courts, crazy golf, a dog park and a seaside walkway.
Visitors and residents of Arklow alike are spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches. The closest beach to the town with easy access is the South Beach. Travelling toward the harbour, turn right at the RNLI station and you will see the car park immediately ahead of you. For sea swimming, the Cove just slightly South of ‘South Beach’ is an idyllic spot, sheltered from harsh currents. If you fancy taking an afternoon exploring then you need to visit Clogga Beach, a hideaway beach which changes with the tide. 10 minutes South of the Town but so worth it!
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Glenart Woods is located to the West of the town. You can free park at the entrance (just past Arklow Town Football Club) and from there, follow the walking track to the woods. When you approach the first fork, continue straight for the woods or turn right if you need a cafe break! Continuing straight, you will travel over the N11 via foot bridge before descending into the woods. Once you venture downhill again, you will begin to hear the trickling river and get the scent of wild garlic growing on the forest floor. Although the castle is no longer open to the public, you can see it from the path.
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If you are looking for the best bites in Arklow, then we have the low down for you. For Brunch or Lunch, you need to get yourself to LoCo Grocer on Arklows lower Main Street. Funky, fresh food which will fill you up and make you feel great. For the best cakes in town, look no further than Unique Patisserie on the main street. A small, cosy cafe with the biggest selection of cakes in town! The Arklow Bay hotel to the North of the town is a great option for lunch or dinner with a great selection for all tastes. If you have managed to get a local Airbnb in the town, then there are 2 takeaway options you do not want to miss…..Tapau House for fabulously fresh, Thai food and Grizzly X Napkin for the best burgers and pizza in town!
As you enter Arklow from the N11 North exit, just 5 minutes off the beaten track, you can have yourself standing beside Ireland’s largest Pyramid. Standing 30ft tall and of cut stone granite, the pyramid tomb which was constructed in 1785 is in remarkably good condition following a conservation project on it in 2013.
Make sure to take in the wonderful view of Arklow town before you leave the graveyard site. Moving East to West, you will see the distinctive green of Arklow Shipping Headquarters, Bridgewater Shopping Centre, the Green dome of St.Mary & St.Peter’s Church and St.Saviours Church, each worth a visit in their own right.