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Wicklow is colloquially known as the Garden of Ireland. It is the 17th largest of Ireland's 32 counties by area, being thirty-three miles in length by twenty miles in breadth, and 15th largest by population. It is the fourth largest of Leinster's 12 counties by size and the fifth largest in terms of population. Between 2006 and 2011 the population of the county grew between 5–10%
The boundaries of the county were extended in 1957 by the Local Government Act which "detached lands from the County of Dublin and from the jurisdiction and powers of the Council of the County of Dublin" near Bray and added them to the County of Wicklow.
The adjoining counties are Wexford to the south, Carlow to the south-west, Kildare to the west and Dublin to the north.
County Wicklow was the last of the traditional counties of Ireland to be shired in 1606 from land previously part of counties Dublin and Carlow. Established as a distinct county, it was aimed at controlling local groups such as the O'Byrnes. The Military Road, stretching from Rathfarnham to Aghavannagh crosses the mountains, north to south, was built by the British army to assist them in defeating the rebels still active in the Wicklow Mountains following the failed 1798 rebellion. It provided them with access to an area that had been a hotbed of Irish rebellion for centuries. Several barracks to house the soldiers were built along the route and the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation was built alongside the remains of barracks there. Battalions of the Irish Army use firing ranges in County Wicklow for tactical exercises, especially the largest one in the Glen of Imaal which was previously used by the British Army prior to independence. The ancient monastery of Glendalough is located in County Wicklow.
During the Cromwellian invasion of Ireland, local authorities immediately surrendered without a fight. During the 1798 rebellion, some of the insurgents took refuge in the Wicklow Mountains, resulting in clashes between British troops and the troops commanded by General Joseph Holt (1756–1826) near Aughrim and later at Arklow. A Military Road was built through the territory of the county to open it up to British troops for quick access to the Irish rebels in the Wicklow Mountains in the early 1800s.
The local government authority is Wicklow County Council which returns 24 councillors. The town of Bray has a town council. For elections to Dáil Éireann, the entire county in included in the Wicklow constituency along with some eastern parts of County Carlow. The constituency returns five TDs to the Dáil.
Mermaid, County Wicklow Arts Centre is based in Bray. Mermaid is the county's hub of artistic activity and creation, offering a programme in many art forms: visual arts, theatre productions, opera, dance performances, arthouse cinema, comedy and a music programme. Two of the county's festivals take place in Arklow, the Arklow music Festival and the Arklow Seabreeze Festival.
WicklowNews.net is a popular news website in the county and was established in 2010.
The local radio station in Wicklow is East Coast FM.In 2010, Radio Nova became the second local radio service to be licensed for North Wicklow. The station broadcasts to Bray, Greystones, Kilmacanogue, Enniskerry and Blessington, in addition to Dublin, North Kildare and South Meath. It broadcasts to North Wicklow on 95.7 from Bray Head and 100.3 FM. Beat 102–103 also broadcasts in parts of South and West Wicklow towns and villages such as Arklow, Tinahely,Shiellagh,Baltinglass, Kiltegan and Carnew where the borders of Wexford and Carlow meet.
Local newspapers include Wicklow Times and Wicklow People.
^Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". In Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A.. Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
^See Philip Smith (writer), An Introduction to the Architectural Heritage of County Wicklow. Dublin: Wordwell Press / Government of Ireland, Department of the Environment, Heritage, and Local Government, National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, 2004.