Destination Report: Brittas Bay, Co. Wicklow

The townland of Brittas Bay in North Wicklow has been popular with holidaymakers for more than a hundred years. The 5km white sandy beach is one of the best on the east coast of Ireland and is protected by hilly sand dunes. It is a safe beach for swimming, surfing and walking. In high season there are lifeguards on duty.

During the summer Brittas Bay almost feels like a suburb of Dublin, with a long tradition of being a favoured holiday destination.  It is close to Wicklow town, and other attractions in Wicklow county.

Where to Eat and Drink

Brittas Bay – McDaniels 

For many years McDaniels Bar and Restaurant was the place to be in Brittas Bay. Operating since the 1920s it was originally a tin-roofed roadside pub. It was a favourite haunt of Dubliners that had a tradition of holidaying in the Brittas Bay area. Families can recall years of holidays in the area and many fond memories of growing up on the sandy beach. 

After being closed for more than five years, McDaniels reopened this month as part of the Pressup Group.  The company has taken a five-year lease on the premises and have already begun to make significant changes.  It is a hive of activity as the bar is being restored; it will be in the traditional Irish pub style. A lot of work is going on landscaping the surroundings, and installing outdoor dining facilities.

Food Area at McDaniel’s

The frontage has been transformed into an outdoor dining courtyard with some popular Pressup brands on site.  They include WowBurger, DIME Coffee, Rice Chinese, Coo Coo Indian, Double 8 Dumplings and Long Horn Creamery, ice cream truck. 

CooCoo Food Truck

Indoor and outdoor dining

Fans of Elephant and Castle will be delighted to see the new addition in McDaniels. Famous for its chicken wings, the new restaurant will bring a flavour of Temple Bar to the Brittas Bar area. 

Food Area at McDaniel’s

Ronan Gleeson, on-site manager for McDaniels, said, “we are finding that we already have a huge number of customers for Elephant and Castle due to the popularity of the restaurant. It has been in Temple Bar for 31 years.”  

Though it has only been open a few weeks, he went on to say, “the past few weekends have been super busy. We have been lucky to find staff in and around the area.  And we plan to keep the bar and restaurant open all year round, seven days a week.”  There are plans to further enhance the site with more parking, and maybe an outdoor cinema.

The Bull Shed Grill

The Bull Shed Grill is a sausage and beef expert beside Brittas Bay beach. After a long day of swimming and sunbathing, it is a perfect refueling meal for you to power through the day.

From the chili burgers to the posh dogs, if you are a meat lover it’s a must. The Bull Shed’s mantra is ‘It’s not fast food, its good food fast’. Bull Shed Grill is open seven days a week beside Brittas Bay beach.

Bull Shed Grill

Wicklow Naturally

The Garden of Ireland is home to some of Ireland’s finest cafes, restaurants, food and drink producers. From growing and foraging to brewing and distilling, County Wicklow is proudly unearthing its food and drink story with ‘Wicklow Naturally’, an online guide to the county. It stands for sustainability, best practice, authenticity, the highest quality of food and drink products and have great pride in County Wicklow and what’s produced here.

Wicklow Naturally

Things to Do:

Wicklow Brewery

The Wicklow Brewery tours take you right into the action showing you everything it takes to make their beers from start to finish. If you’re lucky you may even catch the brewers on one of the brew days.

What you can expect from the Wicklow Brewery tour:

  • An in-depth run-through of their brewing process.
  • A brief history of The Wicklow Breweries’ humble beginnings.
  • A sample from each of our core beers. Seven beers in total.
  • A group photo from one of the tour guides.

The Wicklow Brewery is located in Redcross, Co.Wicklow with free parking available.

On-site there is also an amazing gastropub, Mickey Finns, to enjoy some food and drink after your tour.

Wicklow Golf Club

Wicklow Golf Club offers a truly unique and memorable golfing experience to enjoy while being surrounded by some of the most picturesque views you will find on any course.

One of the oldest golf clubs on the East Coast. Wicklow Golf Club was founded in 1904 and is an 18-hole cliff top course with outstanding sea views. As you play, enjoy the spectacular views of the Wicklow Mountains and the magnificent coastline from the old Wicklow Head Lighthouse to the South and all of Wicklow Bay to the North.

The course would be best described as; clifftop setting, parkland soil, and real links. Each hole offers a great challenge for golfers of every level. Gjuests can play the course on a pay as you go basis, €40 midweek, €50 at weekends and if playing with a member, fees are €20 midweek and €25 at weekends. Wicklow Golf Club

Wicklow Golf Club

Botanic Gardens, Kilmacurragh

The Gardens lies within an estate developed extensively during the 19th century by Thomas Acton in conjunction with David Moore and his son Sir Frederick Moore, Curators of the National Botanic Gardens at that time.

It was a period of great botanical and geographical explorations with numerous plant species from around the world being introduced to Ireland for the first time. The different soil and climatic conditions at Kilmacurragh resulted in many of these specimens succeeding there while struggling or failing at Glasnevin. Kilmacurragh is particularly famous for its conifer and rhododendron collections.

The gardens are open daily: Summer (mid-Feb-Oct) Mon-Sun: 09:00 – 17:00 – Winter (Oct 27 – mid-Feb) Mon-Sun: 9:00 – 16:30.

Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens

Places to Stay

Arklow Bay Hotel

The Arklow Bay Hotel on the coast of county Wicklow, the Garden of Ireland. Set on idyllic grounds the Arklow Bay Hotel offers 91 tastefully decorated bedrooms. It is the ideal base to explore Brittas Bay and to discover all County Wicklow has to offer.  It is easily accessible with good bus and train links plus free on-site parking.

Whether you are looking for a relaxing break, family fun, a round of golf, wedding or a conference, Arklow Bay has all the facilities needed to make your stay the ultimate experience. Guests have full use of the Bay leisure centre offering a 20 metre deck pool, gym, steam room, sauna and jacuzzi. You can also unwind and treat yourself to some ‘me time’ in the Bay Beauty Rooms.

Wolohan’s Silver Strand

Wolohan’s Caravan and Camping Park is perfect for independent travellers. Situated 4.3km from Wicklow town overlooking Silver Strand beach. This beach is one of Wicklow’s most beautiful sandy beaches with safe swimming and fun for all the family.

The Wolohan family have welcomed tents, touring and motor caravans for over seventy years to their park. The park comprises a 22-acre site set among rural farmland with spectacular coastal views.

For this season Wolohan’s will only be welcoming people with motorhomes and camper vans with their own facilities due to Covid restrictions.

The mobile home park is a traditional all-grass site. All mobile homes are laid out to provide peaceful sunny areas and separated by spacious grassy lawns.

Wolohan’s Silver Strand

Beautiful Beaches

Brittas Bay

Brittas Bay is one of the most popular beaches in Wicklow. It has a five kilometre stretch of beautiful white sand dunes and clean beaches and has won and maintained the Blue Flag for many years now. It is ideal for bathing, sailing and walking.

On-site facilities include public toilets and car parks. There is also food trucks around in case you get hungry.

Dogs are allowed on the beach but must be on a lead and under the supervision of the owner. Owners must clean up after their dogs.

Brittas Bay Beach

Magheramore Beach

Magheramore beach is smaller than Brittas Bay beach and was its usual self in the July sunshine, beautiful sand, pristine blue water, sheltered and uncrowded. Free from stones and litter, the soft, white sand is perfect for long, barefoot walks.

Magheramore Beach

For more ideas of things to see and do in Wicklow, see the Wicklow Passport.

Joan Scales and Jack Goddard spent July 29th exploring the Brittas Bay area.

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