Keep Kilcoole Tidy, a group of volunteers working to improve and protect the environment of Kilcoole, started a project in 2020 to install artwork at the newly built train access ramp at Kilcoole beach. In cooperation with Irish Rail and local artist Louise Hogan, the project has now been completed.
Visitors arriving in the car park get a view as it were through the wall into the sea, watching as a school of mackerel swim through the waves toward the beach. The fish recall Kilcoole’s historic reputation for sea angling, and are a reminder of the importance of protecting and improving marine habitats for future generations.
Kilcoole beach and the Breaches wetland area are important natural assets in our care as a community. Birdwatchers, swimmers, walkers, anglers, sailors, farmers and families share the coastline with seals, otters, the endangered Little Tern, and countless other animals of the air, water and land. Coastal streams flowing from Kilcoole, Newcastle and Newtown are vital threads connecting our communities with this ecosystem. It is critically important that we improve water quality to enable these habitats to offer the best conditions for all life. We hope the recently installed artwork will remind us of our responsibilities and encourage the protection and safeguarding of this special place. Local residents formed Kilcoole Biodiversity Group to work towards the protection and enhancement of the biodiversity of Kilcoole, including the beach area.
In addition to its natural beauties, Kilcoole’s beach played an important part in the formation of the Irish nation. The recently restored plaque at the rail crossing honours those who landed weapons here in 1914 in support of the Irish Volunteers, achieving one more step toward the eventual independence of Ireland.
Modern-day visitors to the beach can enjoy long walks to either Bray Head or Wicklow Head, as well as an off-road connection to Kilcoole via Ballydonarea Loop Walk. This local path starts at the beach car park and ends at the Rock of Kilcoole, an important geologic feature in the centre of the village. From Kilcoole, walkers can continue on the Mass Path to Kilquade or Drummin; dedicated walkers can reach Downs Hill and the Sugarloaf within a few hours.
A group called Kilcoole Swimmers was recently formed to seek bathing water recognition from Wicklow County Council and working to improve accessibility. Kilcoole Swimmers intend to organise beach clean-ups on a regular basis with the hope of obtaining a Green Coastal Award.
For more information on Kilcoole and to get involved, see www.kilcoole.ie.