Ireland,  Travelog

Weekends on the move: one hot day in Howth

Whenever you are I thought I could take you back in time with me to one of the hottest days we had last summer. Last weekend in August, after years of promising, I took my mum to Howth, peninsula on the north side of Dublin.

Howth is a popular spot not only for tourists but also for locals. As soon as there’s a bit of sunshine in Dublin, they all jump onto Dart and ride right into the heart of Howth Harbor. Honestly, I was glad we visited at the end of August, I can’t imagine how crowded Dart and the peninsula must have been during the heatwave in July.

Of course, our travel did not go without problems. My mom and I rode from Connolly Station in Dublin and well, we boarded the wrong Dart. Which was my fault, because I trusted the departure table and I didn’t read it properly. So we finally got off in Malahide (which we also want to see, there’s a very nice castle) and had to wait for Dart back to town to take a ride to Howth Junction and change to the right Dart going to Howth. Fortunately, this detour didn’t cost us much time, because all these stops are relatively close to each other and Dart drove on time.

On the other hand, right on the way out of Howth dart station, we came across two random ladies from our country – the world is really small. But we didn’t spend the day with them, we just said hi and went on – to the heart of the harbor!

Howth has so much to offer – from a small market just opposite the train station, through classic fish and chips take aways along the harbor and beautiful views to its own castle (which we didn’t manage to get in due to time constraints) and the infamous walk along the cliffs and the lighthouse.

The last time I was in Howth was with V. in April 2018, and back then the weather was playing with us. That’s why I was looking forward to it last year, because I knew that the weather would work out for us and most importantly we would be able to see everything without having to stress about strong winds or perhaps rain. And believe me, it’s really no fun on those cliffs in such real Irish weather.

Well, back to our timeline. Mum and I started right away in the mini market, which is permanently located a short distance from the train station towards the port. In the market you will find everything from food to souvenirs. We (so far) didn’t buy anything and continued on to the port. In front of it there is a small grassy park, which was crowded with people on such a hot day. In addition to the park, you can also walk on both sides of the harbor itself – on the left you will find restaurants serving seafood and fish, on the right you will have sea views, views of the island of Ireland’s Eye and also Howth itself. There is a lighthouse at the end of this pier and I have a feeling that there was also a snack stall in the summer.

A local busker was playing the guitar right next to the park. We enjoyed the views of sailing and sunbathing seagulls, moored boats and yachts and went for a walk on the cliffs, which was our destination on this trip. Of course, before we reached the beginning of the trail, I took 100 photos, mainly because all the planes arriving in Dublin fly over Howth (the next time you fly to Ireland, deliberately book a window seat and you will have the whole Howth in the palm of your hand) and it just looked cool. I obviously miss flying too…

As for the trails along the cliffs – there are several paths so you can choose what you feel like doing that day. You can find more info about individual trips here and here. Although you can reach the beginning of the trail by car (there is a small parking lot), the road from the port is full of people on nice days. In addition, you will miss the views. Right next to the mentioned car park you will also find an open house with refreshments. However, it is not officially marked on Google, so it is possible that they are open only sometimes, so you’d better take some of the snacks and water with you.

We originally decided to walk up to the lighthouse at one of the many tips of the peninsula and then we wanted to go back to the city over the hill and around the golf course. But we underestimated the time and in the end we came to the lighthouse, where we spent time and enjoyed the views of the sea and Dun Laoghaire (I wrote about it here). We returned using the same path, somewhere in the middle we sat down and had a snack. It took us about an hour and a half from the beginning of the trail to the lighthouse, especially because we didn’t know the way and we were really enjoying the views. The way back didn’t take an hour. However, be aware that it is about twenty minutes from the beginning of the trail to the port (the way to the trail defo takes that because you have to go uphill).

Back in civilization, we jumped into the aforementioned market and had ice cream. I chose watermelon sorbet and it was really nice (not very sweet and refreshing). We sat in the park, enjoyed the place for the last time, and headed for the Dart back to Dublin so that we wouldn’t miss our bus home.

Mum was in Howth for the first time and thanks to the weather she really fell in love with it. It’s a small place, but it can entertain you for the whole day, whether you like to taste new food or you love nature and history. I definitely recommend adding it to your itinerary if the weather allows you to.