Bray in the year 1833

Bray c1841, drawing by W.H. Bartlett, courtesy of the National Library of Ireland.

These days, Bray has a population of 32,000 and is the third largest town in Ireland. Here is an interesting description of Bray, written in 1833, when the town had less than 2,500 occupants, before the construction of the Esplanade and the coming of the railway.

Bray, Co Wicklow Leinster
Dublin 12m. SSE. Pop 2,497
Fairs May1 and Sept 20

A town, in a parish of the same name, in Rathdown Barony, partly in Wicklow, and partly in Dublin County, situated upon the Bray River, which divides the town unequally. The town, which consists of one street, a mile in length, has a large and convenient parish church, a handsome Roman Catholic chapel, a spacious inn, and a barrack for infantry….Frieze and flannel are sold at the fairs. An extensive brewery is established here; and there is a celebrated trout fishery, let at a large rent, at the mouth of the river. In summer this place is frequented for the benefit of seabathing; but harbour improvement is much wanted. In Little Bray there is a free day school of seventy children, and in the other division of the town are two charity schools, one of fifty-seven, another of 120 females. Here are the ruins of an ancient castle.

From ‘A Topographical Dictionary of Great Britain and Ireland’ by John Gorton, 1833.

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The editor of this diary lives in Diamond Valley, Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Diamond Valley is a modern apartment community in the old setting of the Valley of Diamonds, alongside the river Dargle. Contact editor@diamondvalley.ie
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