A new compendium of photographs of Wicklow celebrates the towns, the flora and fauna, the mountains, romantic lakes, rivers and waterfalls, which combine to make Wicklow the ‘Garden of Ireland’. This is Wicklow clearly shows why the county is one of Ireland’s premier visitor destinations, writes Gerry Breen
County Wicklow has long been recognised as ‘The Garden of Ireland’ and anyone who disputes the accuracy of this description has only to look at the stunning photographs in Michael Delahunty’s enchanting bookW, ‘This is Wicklow’, to have their doubts dispelled.
‘This is Wicklow’ celebrates the towns, the flora and fauna, the mountains, romantic lakes, rivers and waterfalls, which combine to make Wicklow a very special place. This beautifully-produced book features more than 200 photographs taken over a five-year period and they capture the historic county in many moods and reveal some of the magic that makes Wicklow such an exciting and unique location.
From Blessington in the northwest of the county to Arklow in the southeast, Michael Delahunty takes us on a captivating journey from the tranquillity of ancient monasteries to vibrant villages and towns.
In addition, many of the activities available in the county are portrayed, including golf, canoeing, hill-walking horse-riding and fishing.
Co. Wicklow is located just south of Dublin. It has the most extensive area of continuous upland in Ireland, with domed granite mountains dating back some 500 million years. The highest mountain in the range is Lugnaquilla, which rises to a height of 925 metres.
In Irish, Wicklow is Cill Mhaintain, which means the church of Mhaintain.
According to a popular local legend, St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, landed at Travailahawk Beach, just south of Wicklow town, but hostile natives hurled stones at him and his entourage. In the course of the disturbance, one of the saint’s friends had all his teeth knocked out. He was promptly given the nickname ‘Maintain’ or gummy, the toothless one.
Co. Wicklow is rich in tradition with great Irish music, particularly around Roundwood, and great local stories. Glendalough, meaning valley of the two lakes, is a prime tourist destination. It contains the remains of a monastic city which, in its heyday, included workshops, areas for writing and copying manuscripts, guest houses, an infirmary, farm buildings and dwellings for monks and a large lay population.
Apart from Glendalough, Wicklow has many other historic sites, including the monastic settlement of Baltinglass, the megalithic tombs and cairns on the mountaintops and the gaol in Wicklow town, where many of the men of the 1798 Rising against British rule in Ireland were executed.
When Michael Delahunty was fourteen years old, he started saving for his first camera. He wanted to be a professional photographer, but since there were no courses for that, he became an accountant instead. However, he never lost his love of photography and now combines that with his passion for hill-walking and his pride in his adopted county of Wicklow.