The National Enterprise Town Awards: Rathdrum

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

Rathdrum is rural town, located in the heartland of County Wicklow, at the northern most tip of the Arklow Municipal District. It is situated high on the western side of the beautiful Avonmore Valley and offers fantastic views of the River Avonmore.

Tourism is an important economic driver for Rathdrum and on the edge of town sits the majestic Avondale Forest Park, birthplace of Charles Stewart Parnell, one of Ireland s greatest political leaders.

The park’s facilities include marked trails, children s playground and picnic areas.

Coillte, in partnership with Fáilte Ireland and Wicklow County Council, is undertaking a significant redevelopment of Avondale Forest Park beginning in 2019. A new visitor destination will take visitors “under and through the trees”, to an incredible viewpoint and a new living history experience in Avondale House will open the life of Parnell to visitors.

Rathdrum does not rely solely on tourism, with a large pharmaceutical plant located on the outskirts of the town. The plant was vacant for a period following closure by MSD but in 2017 the multinational animal health company Zoetis purchased the site and created over 400 jobs.

With this employment boost, the Rathdrum’s Main Street has seen a significant increase in footfall with new businesses opening. Over 200 houses are under construction at present, showing confidence in the town and its future.

Rathdrum’s sense of community spirit has never diminished. The community has established a solid relationship with Wicklow County Council which has led to numerous successful projects, such as a playground, outdoor gym, walking trails and footpaths.

Pictured: Railway bridge over the Avonmore River near Rathdrum, Co Wicklow. Copyright JP and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Written by John Kennedy (

Published: 21 August, 2019