The seaside town that’s ‘Brighton of Ireland’ in Hollywood films with great views & food – just 40 minutes from Dublin

A PICTURESQUE Irish seaside town is famous for its features in Hollywood films – and has now been branded the “Brighton of Ireland”.

But popular day-out destination Bray also boasts a stunning coastal cliff walk and beachfront promenade – all within 40 minutes of Dublin city centre.

Bray promenade with Bray Head looming over seaside town


Bray promenade with Bray Head looming over seaside townCredit: Alamy
The cliff walk between Bray and Greystones has stunning ocean views


The cliff walk between Bray and Greystones has stunning ocean views
The cliff walk follows the train line along the cliffs of Bray Head


The cliff walk follows the train line along the cliffs of Bray Head

Known as the Gateway to the Garden of Ireland, Bray is Co Wicklow’s largest town.

Originally developed as a planned resort town in the 19th century, Bray’s popularity as a seaside hotspot has persevered down through the years.

And just this year it was voted one of the world’s “underrated travel destinations” in a new Time Out vote.

Home to some of the country’s most incredible views, water activities and an amazing sealife experience, Bray remains beloved to this day, being just 19km south of Dublin and easily reached in just 40 minutes by DART, Irish Rail or bus.

The coastal town is diverse in its landscapes, with gorgeous stretches of long sandy beaches and rugged cliffs set to the backdrop of a mile-long Victorian seafront, where iconic singer Sinead O’Connor lived for many years.

One of the must-sees in the seaside town is the striking Bray Head to Greystones cliff walk.

This stunning linear walk begins in Bray, where a path will bring visitors to the top of Bray Head – offering a breathtaking view of the Irish sea, the Wicklow Mountains and Bray.

Explorers then head down the other side of Bray Head, above the railway line and across the rocky coast.

With a steep climb at the Bray end, make sure to stop and take in the magnificent views up and down the coastline.

The hike is estimated to take around two and a half hours and is completely worth it.

However, unfortunately, the Cliff Walk between Bray and Greystones has been temporarily closed as parts of the walk have become unstable due to very heavy rainfall – but you can still enjoy the Bray Head section of the walk.

Wicklow County Council is assessing the situation and investigating the possibility of an alternative route opening over the next few months.


For those interested in something more relaxing, the National Aquarium Sea Life Centre is perfect for a family day out.

From sharks to sea horses, clownfish to jellyfish – this Sea Life Centre has them all.

The centre is home to over 1,100 underwater animals, from rescued to rare.

The centre is also completely indoors – making it ideal for all weather activity.

The aquarium is open seven days a week from 10am until 5pm.


Bray is also renowned for starring in numerous films over the years.

From Mel Gibson’s Braveheart to Liam Neeson’s Michael Collins, the seaside town has hosted plenty of Hollywood stars over the years, since the days of black and white films.

Bray has featured in almost 200 movies and has been a favourite with filmmakers for a long time.

And famous visitors including Peter O’Toole, Katherine Hepburn and Laurence Olivier have all been fans of the iconic Harbour Bar.

Dating back to 1872, the watering hole was voted Best Bar in the World by Lonely Planet back in 2010.

And the Harbour Bar also made the cut as part of Time Out’s hidden gem recommendation.

Coming in 13th on the list of 14 underrated destinations, they called Bray the “Brighton of Ireland” and said the seafront “buzzes with cafe and restaurants” – popular among them being Platform Pizza and Boxburger.

Time Out recommends tourists “stroll from the harbour along the esplanade to the 800-foot high Bray Head, worth the hour’s climb for panoramic views from its rocky summit” and that they enjoy a Guinness at the Harbour Bar.

Based on the seafront in Bray, Bray Adventures offers plenty of activities to take in the sights and sounds of Bray from both land and sea.

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From hill-walking to kayaking or stand-up paddle-boarding, they have it all.

For the equestrian fans, Killegar Stables offer pony camp, riding lessons and guided treks in the locality.

Bray Head, where visitors can get a full view of The Irish Sea


Bray Head, where visitors can get a full view of The Irish Sea

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