County Wicklow first came into existence in 1597, having previously been part of County Dublin and County Carlow. At that time it only stretched from Arklow to Delgany, but in 1606 the county boundaries were redrawn and County Wicklow as it is known today was firmly established.
Wicklow is famous for its dramatic beauty thanks to the peaceful nature of the Wicklow Mountains and valleys, and the breath-taking scenery along its coastline. Tomnafinnoge Wood is a remnant of the ancient Shillelagh woods that once clothed the mountains and valleys of south Wicklow. Lugnaquilla, the highest mountain in Wicklow, is one of the most popular areas for hill walkers, and the Glen of the Downs is the largest example in Ireland of a meltwater channel. The icon image of Co. Wicklow is the Sugarloaf Mountain. This landscape has earned Wicklow the title of ‘the garden of Ireland’.
Wicklow is also home to the Pollaphuca Reservoir, also known as the Blessington Lakes, which is formed by damming the River Liffey. It is owned by the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) and is used to create hydro-electricity to meet the demands of Dublin City. Another electricity station is located on the shores of Lough Nahanagan, and is part of the Turlough Hill hydroelectric scheme. This is the only pumped storage hydroelectric scheme in Ireland. Ireland’s first off-shore wind farm is also located 10 km off the coast of Wicklow at Arklow Bank.
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