All you need to know before visiting the beautiful Howth
In my second week, here in Dublin, I was asked by my roommate (in the hostel) if I wanted to accompany her and her two friends to the coast. Of course I wanted to explore the Irish countryside and also I wanted to flee the bustling (busy and overcrowded) city of Dublin for a bit.
For someone who comes from a small country and lives in a town, Dublin was something I needed to get used to at first. The town I live in isn’t really a town anymore, it’s starting to become more like a city, but not this big as Dublin and it still has the feeling of a town.
After getting kind of used to Dublin, I noticed that Dublin is reasonably smaller than Brussels and it looks like Hasselt (a city where I went to school for three years), but it is equally busy and sometimes it even has the same atmosphere as in Brussels. Hasselt is more of a cosy, beautiful and clean city where you go for some shopping or for studying or just for hanging out with friends.
If you’re not used to something like Dublin or any big city, then you’ll want to escape a bit from all the buzz and where else but the coast?
So we put on our hiking boots and we were going to do a cliff walk around Howth!
The Irish fishing village of Howth
Howth is a lovely, quiet and small fishing village on the north side of Dublin Bay (it is only ten kilometres from Dublin centre), on the peninsula called Howth Head. It has a railway station, harbour, nice shops and good restaurants/snacks. This peninsula is the ideal place to do a spectacular walk along the steep cliffs of Ireland and also to take some of the most beautiful images!
Howth is easy to reach: just take the DART, which is a fast train from Dublin city centre. A return trip costs only € 6.15 and you can go from Connolly Station, Tara Street or Pearse Station. Every 15 minutes there is a train going to Howth and 25 to 30 minutes later, you just get off at the end station which is the port of Howth. 🙂
The DART (train) station of Howth is the starting point of four different routes. These trails vary in length: you can choose between the green, blue, red or purple trail. The green trail is the shortest walking route there is and takes an hour and a half to two hours. When you walk out of the train station, you will see four coloured arrows (green, blue, red and purple) which highlight the different hiking routes, the arrows will lead you in the direction of the harbour, where you will find many sailing and fishing boats. As you follow the path you will come across the local tourist information point and here you can get a free map of Howth and the various hiking trails.
Tip: Do you feel like having a good Fish & Chips? You’ve come to the right place! A little further down, at the parking lot, you can find Beshoff Bros. Apparently they are the ones selling the best Fish & Chips. Don’t be afraid of all the fats, grease and calories, you will walk them off again … 😉
Walking across the cliffs in Howth
As mentioned before, there are four marked trails on the peninsula of Howth. The green route (Cliff Path Loop) is the shortest one, with a length of 6 km. The blue trail (Tram Line) is slightly longer: 7 km. The red (Black Linn, 8 km) and the purple route (Bog of the Frogs, 10 km) are the longest ones. We, myself and my companions that day, had followed the Cliff Path Loop, which is the green one.
The first part (up to the lighthouse) is the same for all walks. From the DART (train) station, you walk along the promenade and the harbour to the Kilrock parking. Here the trail starts along the cliffs.
In some places the trail is not very wide and you will walk on some rough surfaces. Which means that the walk is not suitable for disabled persons or, in general, people who have difficulty walking. Despite the altitude, you needn’t to be afraid of the abysses. The path is far enough removed from the cliff’s edge.
The view during the walk is simply amazing! On the left, you can look out over the sea which is crashing against the rocks, on the cliff’s ledges gulls are fighting for a place for their nest and the colours of nature gives colour to the area.
You follow the trail for about 3 kilometres until the Baily Lighthouse (lighthouse) comes into sight. Then you just follow the green arrow (or any other trail that you want to follow) back towards the harbour.
If you have more time, you can take a boat trip to the nearby island called the Ireland’s Eye for some bird watching, or you can go to a bird sanctuary on the island. There is also the possibility to enjoy a fishing boat for half a day or a full day.
Have you already been to Howth or are you planning to go? If so what did you think? 🙂
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