Dublin has a terrific and effective commuter train system called the DART which stands for Dublin Area Rapid Transit. The primary purpose of this rail line is to bring workers, from the outlying suburbs and coastal towns, into Dublin for their jobs. However, tourist like David and me have discovered it is a great way to escape the city for a day or just a few hours.
We first ventured to Howth, a seaside village north of Dublin. It was very easy to hop on the DART. I had a “family pass” that allowed us to travel on any rail, bus or tram (Luas) service for a 24 hour period. There were other times offered for different prices. There really is something for everyone. The 24 hour card worked best for us.
The closest DART station to our condo was a short walk of about 5-10 minutes. We decided to visit Howth as it was recommended to me by the customs officer when I arrived in Ireland. Such a nice gesture. He asked how long I was staying and if I was traveling around Ireland. I said that I was meeting my husband here and we really had no plans. He grabbed a piece of paper and wrote Howth and Malahide. Well, we made it to Howth but not Malahide. It was so nice of him to take time to not only make the suggestions but to write them down! “Welcome to Ireland!”
One of my guide books called Howth the most scenic of Dublin villages. It was a quick 30 minute ride from where we were staying. Originally, it was a fishing village and still has a fleet of fishing boats. It is a great place to have a break from the city.
There are restaurants along the working wharf that offer fresh and tasty seafood meals.
For the more adventurous, there is a hike along the coast and up the side of a cliff to see the island, “Ireland’s Eye” near the harbor or an ancient burial cairn.
The walk is a little over 4 miles (7 kilometers) and takes about 2 to 3 hours. I would have loved to done the hike but David’s leg was still very sore and I didn’t feel right leaving him to sit at the harbor for that long a time. There are places to scuba dive and a ferry service that will take you to the Ireland Eye or for a trip around the island.
Instead of hiking the coastline, David and I walked through the village of Howth which offered lots to explore.
Taking a left hand turn about 300 ft (100 meters) up Abbey Street and you will come to the Martello Tower. This tower was built by the English in 1805 to protect the Irish coast from a French invasion.
In 1903, it was the site of the first successful “wireless” radio transmission and today, it houses the Hurdy-Gurdy Radio Museum.
Almost across the street from the radio museum are the dignified ruins of St Mary’s Abbey. In 1042, Viking King Sitric built a church on this site. King Sitric also built Christ Church Cathedral, the oldest building, in Dublin. In 1235, an abbey was built to replace the church.
Further up the hill in the center of town, standing regally over Howth, is the Catholic Church of the Assumption built in 1899.
Walking back towards the harbor and pier for lunch, we passed “The House” restaurant and it is believed that Captain Bligh, of Mutiny on the Bounty fame, lived here while he completed a survey of Dublin bay in 1800.
Back at the pier, we had a late lunch at the Brass Monkey. David had seafood chowder that was very, very rich with a white wine, heavy cream base and lots of seafood. I had scallops that were served with 4 dark round pieces of something. I am VERY glad I asked before I tried it. It was “black pudding” traditional food that is made with pork blood, pork fat or beef suet and oatmeal. I don’t eat meat, chicken, turkey, pork, etc. I gave them to David. He said they were good. I will take his word for it….
My parting shots are of animals….like my webpage says, Sharalyn Loves Animals….This one is a seal that was hanging in the harbor. He stayed like in the area posing for several photos before swimming off.
This little cat reminded us so much of Mittens who was David’s parents’ cat. It made us smile and made us feel like Howard, Marie and Mittens were with us in the little fishing village of Howth.