National Enterprise Town Awards: Ashford

We are profiling all the towns to enter this year’s National Enterprise Town Awards. Today we are looking at Ashford in Co Wicklow.

With County Wicklow described as the Hollywood of Europe it is fitting that Ashford is home to the hugely successful Ashford Studios. Set in an idyllic landscape and discretely nestled on the edge of this bustling town, Ashford Studios has been a huge success story for the area, with further plans to develop.

However, there is much more to Ashford than the film industry. Ashford was historically known as Ballymacahara.

Until recent years, the N11, a main road linking Dublin to the South East, ran directly through Ashford. Once the bypass was complete, it was expected that Ashford would become something of a ghost town. Instead, and in a testament to the strong community, Ashford has thrived and regenerated. This is shown through the provision of a playground which was fully funded by the community themselves and the local Tidy Towns group who work tirelessly to preserve the charming town.

Beauty spot

Ashford is a tourism destination town with over 22 acres of lush landscape at Mount Usher Gardens. Also located there is an Avoca Cafe, along with a number of courtyard shops. Nearby, tourists can enjoy the beautiful Devil’s Glen, which is home to Sculpture in Woodland that features a unique collection of contemporary sculptures by Irish and international artists.

Ideally situated for equestrian activities, Ashford can boast three successful equestrian centres: Bel Air, Boswell and Devil s Glen, all located in and around the town centre.

The town and hinterland boasts many beautiful walking trails and scenic sites. Ashford has a good mix of businesses, both long-term and start-up, ranging from well-known brands such as Glanbia and Centra, to local boutique style retail shops.

Ashford has a well-deserved reputation for hospitality with an interesting selection of places to stay, dine or partake of a beverage or two.

Main image: Sarah777 at English Wikipedia

Published by John Kennedy (

Published: 25 September, 2019