Over the past 7 or 8 years I’ve been over to Dublin several times on business. Whenever I travel for work I usually try to add a day or two on to the trip so that I can take a look around, so I’ve got to know Dublin fairly well. During a recent visit I decided to explore a little further afield so got the DART train from Connolly Station out to Howth (pronounced so that it rhymes with “both”), a small town on the coast about 9 miles north east of the city centre overlooking Dublin Bay.
The town nestles below Howth head, a large land mass dominating the north side of the bay – you can see it from the ferry sailing in from England – which is connected to the rest of Dublin via a narrow strip of land.
Its a pleasant little town with good sea views and a harbour full of yachts. I’m told that there are good views to be had from Howth head, but, although it’s only a few miles walk around the headland, it was a cold day when there was a freezing wind blowing in from the Irish Sea, so I restricted my visit to having a walk around the harbour.
There’s a large rocky island just off shore known as “Ireland’s Eye”. From the beach I could see a Martello tower and another building – probably a church. There are boat trips out to the island during the summer, but not on a cold winter’s day.
Martello towers are small defensive forts that were built around the coast of Britain and Ireland from the Napoleonic Wars onwards. Their design was inspired by a round fortress, at Mortella (Myrtle) Point in Corsica. There are several around Dublin Bay including one at Sandcove, in the northern suburbs of Dublin, which featured in the opening chapter of James Joyce’s “Ulysses” and which today is a museum dedicated to the writer.
It’s still a working port, and standing on the harbour wall I watched a small fishing boat heading out into the bay, past Ireland’s Eye.
There are a number of seafood restaurants lining one side of the harbour. It was too late for lunch and too early for an evening meal but I popped into one where I bought some native oysters – the first I’ve eaten. A little pricey, but worth it.