Bray (Daly) Railway Station

A Brief Architectural History

By Megan McGrath

The Bray railways station was built in 1854 and consists of a long, low single-storey building with a H plan in the Italianate style. It was likely designed by George Wilkinson, architect of Harcourt Street station in Dublin.

Photo:Bray Railway Station

Bray Railway Station

Google Images

The Architecture

In the centre the sweeping roof has an exceptionally extensive overhang supported by elegant cast-iron brackets so that the passengers can wait for transport without getting wet. The walls are painted, lined and rendered and the wings have large, elegant Venetian windows, black oculi, raised coigns, cornices and open-bed pediments. The central section once had three, pedimented, dormer windows but only one survives. The Venetian windows are repeated on the platform side of the building; the platforms have shelters supported by slender cast-iron columns. The northern wing was extended and the toilet pavilion added in 1995

On the east wall of the station are a collection of murals which where painted in 1987. The vibrant paintings depict passengers in the station through the decades. The murals show the history of Ireland and the railway. They depict such historic figures as Oscar Wilde, James Joyce and Eamon de Valera and events such as the 1916 Rising and the outbreak of World War 2. Works where started in 2008 to repair some of the damage done to the paintings and to transform them into mosaics, these works are still ongoing as of 2019. 

Photo:Bray Railway Station Mosaic

Bray Railway Station Mosaic

Google Images

The station combines elegance with functionalism. The contrasting scale of the tiny dormers and the large Venetian windows is reminiscent of mannerist architecture.

What the Introduction of the Railway Meant for Bray

The addition of the railways station brought big changes to the town of Bray.  The anonymous another of A Hundred Years of Bray and its Neighbourhood sums up the introduction of the railway station by saying “the year 1854 divided the Bray of old times from the new ... Now did Bray cease to be a neighbourhood, and become a rising town”. With the introduction of the railways people found it even easier to commute between Bray and Dublin and therefore more people who worked in Dublin began moving to the town. Bray ceased to be the preserve of the wealthy and more and more people began to holiday in the town.  Many of Bray’s most well known and architecturally significant buildings where build as a direct result of the growing development of the seaside resort.

Photo:Bray Beach c.1900

Bray Beach c.1900

Wicklow County Archives

Edward Daly

As part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Rising the Bray railway station was renamed Daly Station in commemoration of Edward Daly one of seven commandants from the Irish Volunteers who met on March 13, 1915, to discuss the possibility of holding a rising the following September. Daly took part in the event of Easter 1916 and along with the other leaders of the Rising was executed in the weeks that followed there unconditional surrender. A brass plaque was placed on the wall of the station, inscribed in both English and Irish. The English version reads:

“To commemorate the 1916 Rising, this building was named Daly Station in honour of Edward Daly.”

Photo:Edward Daly

Edward Daly

Google Images

Sources: 

Bray: Architectural Heritage by William Garner

Our Wicklow Heritage: Who Was Edward Daly? (http://www.countywicklowheritage.org/page/bray_train_station_-_article)

National Inventory of Architectural Heritage: Bray Railway Station (http://www.buildingsofireland.ie/niah/search.jsp?type=record&county=WI&regno=16301269)

This page was added by Student Heritage on 27/06/2019.

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.