Early History

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  • Wicklow history

In Ancient Times

The earliest recorded mention of Wicklow is in the writings of the Greek cartographer Ptolemy in around 130 AD. The site of today's town of Wicklow is thought to be Manapia on his charts.

Long-distance travel was very dangerous and expensive at this time. As a result, Ptolemy could not travel to Wicklow to make a map of the area.

Instead, he used sources in the library of Alexandria in Egypt, which came from ancient Greek astronomers, mathematicians and geographical writers.

The Origin of the Name Wicklow

The name Wicklow probably comes from the old Viking word 'Vykyngelo', which means 'meadow of the Vikings'.

The Irish name for Wicklow is Cill Mhantáin. The story goes that when St. Patrick tried to land his ships in the area, his party was attacked by locals. One of St. Patrick's party had a tooth knocked out in the fight. Then, when he returned later to set up a church there, he was given the name Manntach (toothless one). After that, the area was called 'Cill Mhantáin', meaning 'church of the toothless one'.

The Normans, who came to dominate the area more than 600 years later, preferred the non-Gaelic placename. They used the name Wicklow, which survives to this day.