The name Wicklow is of Viking origin – Vykyngelo – meaning meadow of the Vikings. 1000 BC is believed to be the time of the first settlers arriving. They lived mostly around the banks of river Vartry, where they fished and hunted. This region also houses a Nati’s Mount – a mound of earth harboring Viking artifacts. The Vikings from Norway, and later on from Denmark, settled in this area and built a wooden fort near the Black Castle. The Norse and Danes forged political alliances with the locals and strengthened their bonds by inter-marrying their sons and daughters.
The invaders like the Old and New English, and the Anglo-Normans were constantly being attacked by the locals over long period of time. The city was burned down twice, in the early and late 14th century. The ruins of old Abbey Grounds monastery and the Black castle destroyed in a massacre led by the Confederation forces are there to be seen to this day.
There are two noteworthy monuments in Wicklow, one being a monument to William ‘Billy’ Byrne of Ballymanus, , a Captain of the Ballymanus Corps and a rebel leader, who was executed at Gallows Lane in 1799. The other an Obelisk to Captain Robert Halpin, who linked four continents by laying 26 000 miles of underwater cable.
A new Town hall was erected in the late 17th century following the construction of a stone bridge built across the Vartry river to the Murrough Lands. Peaceful times in 1844 would see the construction of St. Patrick’s Church, harbor with two piers and horse racing on the Murrough.
In 1870 the convent of the Dominican order was opened and the Christian brothers opened up their school at the start of the 20th century. Continuing to this day, the August held Wicklow Regatta started in 1878. Armistice Day recently commemorated the local Wicklowmen, who took part in many war conflicts such as Trafalgar, WWI, WWII, the War of Independence, Vietnam, Congo and more. Wicklow now remains a peaceful sea front town with lots to offer to tourists and day trippers.