Wicklow's Living Coast

Photo:Black-headed Gull

Black-headed Gull

Photo:Herring Gull juvenile

Herring Gull juvenile

Photo:Grey Heron

Grey Heron

Photo:Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Photo:Thick-lipped Grey Mullet

Thick-lipped Grey Mullet

Photo:Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata)

Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata)

The Leitrim River, Wicklow Town

This footbridge spans what is probably Ireland’s largest shortest river, the Leitrim. Unusually for a river discharging a large volume of water, the entire length of the river from source to mouth can be viewed from this exact location. The Broad Lough feeding into the Leitrim is separated from the Irish Sea by a narrow area of land known as the “Murrough”, an ancient Gaelic word meaning “sea warrior” possibly with reference to Wicklow having once been a Viking stronghold.


The Leitrim River is an excellent habitat because it is tidal, a mixture of fresh and brackish water. Black-headed Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Grey Herons, Little Egrets, Cormorants, Shags, Kingfishers and elegant Mute Swans are just some of the most common bird species that can be seen in this relatively small area.


The river is a haven for fish species such as the robust Thick-lipped Grey Mullet, young Plaice flatfish and small spiky 3-spined Sticklebacks. Green Shore Crabs can be seen from the bridge when the tide is low and the water is clear. On some occasions enormous Basking Sharks have been known to enter Wicklow Harbour to feed on plankton at the mouth of the Leitrim. 

This information is taken from "Wicklow's Living Coast", a series of interpretation boards positioned along the coast in Wicklow to raise awareness of biodiversity. This project was coordinated by Wicklow County Council with the support of the Heritage Council as an action of the County Wicklow Heritage Plan. The information is based on text supplied by Sam Connolly. 

This page was added by David Kinsella on 11/11/2015.