Kilfeather’s Dublin: A Cultural History argues that the Wicklow mountains and the Dublin bay are some of the natural features that have helped shaped the story of the city of Dublin (19). With the passage of time, nature’s landscape has slowly been decreasing, but there are still a few natural landscapes left in Ireland. To the south of Dublin Bay we find the steep cliffs of Bray Head. According to Kilfeather, Bray Head once signaled a natural boundary between the city and nature; nevertheless, this boundary has slowly disappeared because of the city’s expanding population (19). When I read this excerpt, I imagined a decaying landscape surrounded by dying grass and patches of dirt. I pictured an environment that was slowly being engulfed by houses, buildings, commercial areas, and smog. But Bray Head has managed to keep some of its natural landscape, resisting for as long as it can the growing urbanism of Ireland.
A Whole New World
The image above gives us a small taste of what it is like to view the world from the top of Bray Head. Bray Head is a hill located in northern County Wicklow between the towns of Bray and Greystones. It forms part of the Wicklow mountains and the top of the cliff gives us a breathtaking view of the sea and the town of Bray. This view emphasizes the ever expanding urban landscape that is slowly reducing the natural environment. Although the hill is surrounded by buildings, it has managed to keep some of nature’s features. The ground is covered with grass, small flowers, and many rocks and on the way up, you encounter multiple trees and bushes. Apart from the breathtaking view, another thing that stands out is the cross that is placed at the top of the cliff. This concrete cross was placed in 1950 during the holy year and hundreds of people climb to the top every Good Friday. This symbol is a reflection of the Ireland’s devotion to religion (Kilfeather 20).
It Comes Alive at Night
These two night time pictures show us Bray Head from a different angle. The picture to the left shows us Bray Head and the different buildings that surround the bottom of the hill. While the picture to the right show us the surrounding sea and an open grass area. What stood out to me was the division between the open grass and the urban town. If we look carefully at the pictures, we notice that the buildings all stop at the same distance and the ground after the buildings changes from concrete to grass. This detail reminds me of Kilfeather’s argument of the invisible boundary that separates nature from the urban world. To me the open grassy area is a representation of the natural landscape that once stood. This open space appears to mimic the peaceful nature found at the top of Bray Head. Without a doubt, Bray Head is a beautiful site that possesses a one of kind urban nature.
A complete and beautiful tour of Bray Head by SkycamIreland!
If you want to see more of Bray Head, check out this video!