My daughter and my Irish ‘son in law’ are flying in from Australia for a family wedding and for me a perfect reason to hop on the plane and meet them in Dublin. Finally, a well-deserved holiday and I decide to take a two-week leave and combine Dublin with a visit to the West Coast. During the evenings, there are plenty of dinners, parties and other get-togethers, but during the day I go hiking and exploring. Around 33 years ago, I spent a long weekend in Dublin and Howth, so it is time to refresh the memories! I buy a Dart (Dublin Aera Rapid Transit) train card and jump on the train from Sandymount to Howth. The station is small; you go North or South, so you can’t go wrong. After several stops, mainly in central Dublin, the last stop is my destination. As soon as I get of the train, I smell fish!!! Love that smell…..together with clear skies, sunshine and great hiking temperatures; a day to embrace.
My first stop is at the tourist information desk, in front of the harbour. Here you will find brochures of all the loops you can walk: The Tramline Loop, The Bog of Frogs Loop, The Black Linn Loop and The Lower Cliff Loop. I just want to hike along the coast and around the harbour, as I just love the typical atmosphere of a harbour town. I meet an older Irish fisherman and we have a long chat. He tells me that all his six sons are fishermen, but never all six are at the same time at sea. Probably, to stay on the safe side? I wish I had taken his picture, but I didn’t. I did gave him my card!
“I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams”
I start the loop along the Balscadden Bay, past the former house of the poet W.B. Yeats, and the path goes higher up the cliffs, direction the lighthouse. At a certain moment there is nobody around me anymore and the trail is getting narrow, with no protection at the side and I feel my fear of heights is giving me nausea. Time to return and explore the harbour a little bit more.
By now many more tourists have arrived and the terraces around the harbour are fully occupied. I decide to go for my first seafood chowder. Although I checked the prices of the food, I didn’t check the prices of the wine and my glass of white wine was ridiculous expensive! Though in Ireland, all liquors in the stores are also way more expensive than on the mainland, so be aware!
It is time to make my way to the station, as tonight a family get together will be organized. In the harbour, a few people are gathering and curious as I am, I follow their eyes. There are several Sea Lions swimming in the harbour and I quickly grab my camera. It looks like one of them is posing for the picture. You have to be quick, as they swim in no time to the other side. A tourist/photographer is arriving with all his equipment and by the time his tripod and other gear are ready for the pictures, the Sea Lions are gone. I show him my picture and he is not happy……..
Howth is special; I do hope to visit the ‘Pearl of the East’ again soon………..