River Dargle in Bray, County Wicklow
|Mouth||Irish Sea at Bray Harbour|
The River Dargle (Irish: An Deargail, meaning "little red spot", so called with reference to the prevailing tint of its rocks) rises in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland on the northern slopes of Djouce Mountain and flows over the highest waterfall in Ireland, falling 121m (398 feet) at Powerscourt Waterfall. It then flows through the Glencree Valley where it is fed by the River Glencree before flowing east for a further 14 km (8.7 mi) to reach the Irish Sea at Bray Harbour.
The folk song Waxies' Dargle makes an indirect reference to the river. Non religious holidays in Dublin - especially tradesman's days off - were traditionally referred to as a "Dargle Days" (from the habit of the Irish upper classes, of travelling off to the banks of the Dargle, to picnic and engage in field sports such a tennis, on such days). The "Waxie's Dargle", on the other hand, is a humorous reference to the annual outing of the Dublin cordwainers (who were known as "Waxies", from their habit of periodically running a ball of wax along the string as they stitched). Their annual holiday was originally part of the infamous Donnybrook Fair, and was later held in Irishtown on the River Dodder. Because "Waxies" had a reputation for fecklessness, and riotous behaviour, their annual outing was often colloquially referred to as the "Waxie's Dargle", by way of humorous comparison to the more refined behaviour of the gentry, further south.
Sir Walter Scott visited the area in 1825 and mistakenly assumed that Dargle was the name for any glen, etc. He used the word in his novel Redgauntlet seven years later: Glen, nor dargle, nor mountain, nor cave, could hide the puir hill-folk.
About 1838 the eminent judge Philip Cecil Crampton, who lived at St. Valery House, by the Dargle, became a supporter of the temperance movement: to show his fidelity to the cause, he emptied the entire contents of his wine cellar into the river.
- Quidnunc (9 October 1933). "An Irishman's Diary". The Irish Times. p. 4.
- Notes and Queries, January–June 1898
- Ball, F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland 1221-1921 John Murray London 1926 Vol. 2 p.282