Bray is a town in north County Wicklow, Ireland. It is a busy urban centre and seaside resort. It is situated about 20 km (12 mi) south of Dublin on the east coast. The town is the location of some industry, is home for many who commute to Dublin by car or rail, is a shopping town for the surrounding area and still attracts tourists particularly from Dublin at weekends. The town straddles the Dublin-Wicklow border, with a portion of the northern suburbs situated in County Dublin. Bray is home to Ireland's only dedicated film studios, Ardmore Studios where films such as Excalibur, Braveheart, and Breakfast on Pluto have been shot.
In medieval times, Bray was on the border of the coastal district, governed directly by the English crown from Dublin Castle, known as the Pale. Inland, the countryside was under the control of Gaelic Chieftains, such as the O'Toole and O'Byrne clans. Bray features on the 1598 map "A Modern Depiction of Ireland, One of the British Isles" by Abraham Ortelius as "Brey". (It is worth noting the "O Byrne" name appearing prominently on the map).
In August or September 1649 Oliver Cromwell is believed to have stayed in Bray on his way to Wexford from Dublin. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Bray was still a small fishing village, but during the latter part of the 18th century, the Dublin middle classes began to move to Bray to escape city life, while still being relatively close to the city. The Dublin and Kingstown Railway, the first in Ireland, opened in 1834 and was extended as far as Bray in 1854. With the railway, the town grew to become the largest Irish seaside resort.