At our hostel in Dublin, the walls in the cafeteria were lined not with photos of the city and its sites, but with large posters of seven or eight sweet little villages which surrounded the city. Public transit in Dublin is great – the DART train is quick, efficient, and, best of all for us budget travelers, makes stops outside of Dublin. We took the DART to Howth, a suburb of Dublin, and arrived in what can only be described as a very quaint fishing village. Howth encompasses the majority of the peninsula of Howth Head, and offers views of Ireland’s Eye, a small island off the coast.
We arrived early, just as the fish markets were opening for the day. After coffee in a sweet little cafe, we discovered the public library, and an ornate church down a side street. The market is usually on, just outside the DART station, but we either missed it, or it missed us.
The whole town was a bit California style meets French countryside; boardwalks take tourists and joggers around the bay to where the waves lap against the rock walls, and little uniformed school children run down the middle of the street to the playground. We had fish and chips (seafood is a requirement in Howth) at a pub, and then climbed the hill in the direction of Howth Head.
There are a number of walking trails surrounding the village, ranging from hour-long jaunts to full day trip hikes. One could spend a week just walking and being next to the ocean. We picked what looked like the shortest that would take us to Howth Head, and found the trail after a bit of a climb through residential neighbourhoods. We were fortunate to have a completely cloudless day for our walk, which took us up around the peninsula, each curve offering yet another expansive, beautiful view of the sea.
We saw maybe four other groups of walkers on the trail, including a pair of older French women who were so captivated by the views that they had to stop every three feet and take a photo, and a honeymooning couple who didn’t seem to care so much about the vistas.
It was a little like the Cinque Terre in Italy – literally walking on the edge of a cliff, but as usual, without any guard rails or even so much as a ‘Caution’ sign. We didn’t make it all the way to the end, as we feared missing our train back into Dublin, but I can’t say enough good about these walks. An entire vacation could – and should – be spent walking in the villages, soaking up the Irish sun.
I am no artist, but check out Visit Dublin’s colourful map of Howth here!