The Murrough is one of Wicklow Town’s best attractions with its 15km coastal wetland walk. It has bee the subject of many a painter and the favourite route of many walker from the town and surrounding area.  it is the largest wetland on the East Coast and is famous for the variety of wildlife that calls it home.  Coming from the Irish word ‘murbach’, which means salt marsh by the sea, The Murrough has been a place of great importance to Wicklow locals for generations, either as a place for walking, personal reflection, relaxing, training, bird-watching and much more.

The Murrough which is a popular stretch of coastline adjacent to Wicklow town could disappear within decades due to global warming and coastal erosion.  Records held by the Local Authority indicate that the Murrough, a 1.5 kilometre strip of land with a shingle beach, has suffered more coastal erosion since 2005 than it did in the previous 80 years.  One of the most popular fishing and walking areas in the vicinity, it was severely damaged again by storms in 2012, with five metre chunks of it washed away by high tides, heavy winds and lashing rain.  Wicklow County Council staff fear that the increasing frequency of such severe storms in Ireland could see the erosion continue at a rate of more than a metre each year, and believe most of the grass strip, part of which is a nature reserve, could disappear in less than 50 years. 

The council is working with Irish Rail, whose railway track, now 40 metres from the beach, is also threatened by the erosion.  According to the records of the council, the Murrough lost 37 metres of its width to the sea between 1838 and 1906. Between 1906 and 1991 it lost a further 12 metres.  Since then, it has lost up to 22 metres in some cases, most of it in a storm in January 1996 and in 2012.  According to my dad, who grew up in Wicklow, the level of erosion is striking and is highlighted by the Monkey Pole landmark, a large telegraph-style pole that was put there as an aid in case of sea rescues.  Then, nine years ago, after the last major storm damage, the pole was five metres from the shingle beach.  Rock armour coastal defences nearer the port are believed to have exacerbated the erosion further north at the Murrough.  Coastal erosion is a particular problem for Co Wicklow, with most of its coastline designated as “soft” or vulnerable.

In an attempt to protect and preserve it against any further degradation there have been ongoing efforts to establishment a coastal greenway which would shape the landscape into a more hospitable area for walking which would also link Wicklow Town to the neighbouring town of Greystones with one long coastal walkway.

By Corban, Shane, Adam, Luke, Angelica, Conor and Joseph