The Dublin area was where we spent the last four weeks of our six-month European adventure. Our apartment was in the Dublin suburb of Portmarnock, a beachside community on the Irish sea. From there, some of Ireland’s most remarkable ancient sites are only a short drive away. We’ll visit them – Newgrange, Tara, and Glendalough – in our last post from this trip. But first, this post will explore some of Dublin’s seaside suburbs.
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Portmarnock is not a spectacular place, but it is well-connected to Dublin by the DART train system (Dublin Area Rapid Transit.)
In this view from our Portmarnock apartment, you can see the tracks of the DART train that frequently took us to Dublin city.
Portmarnock has a very fine beach. This shot was taken in July 2014, when we stayed here at the beginning of this journey, laying over for two days en route to Amsterdam.
It’s quite a different beach in January, though lovely in it’s own chilly way.
Portmarnock borders an area of flat land lying between Dublin and the harbor at Howth. In ancient times, this land was called Moy-Ealta-Edar, or “the Plain of the Bird Flocks of Edar,” a legendary hero.
The Plain of Bird Flocks is aptly named. Click this photo to watch a short (about 40 seconds) video of Sarah feeding a flock of ducks here.
Howth Harbor and Howth Head
Howth is a bustling harbor town on a point of land east of Dublin city. The inscription on this statue in Howth reads in part, “Christ of the sea, Christ of the fish, may we be gathered in the nets of God.”
Howth’s harbor is flanked by seawalls and marked by lighthouses.
One of Ireland’s many Martello Towers still watches over the entrance to the harbor, a relic of the Napoleonic wars. In the background is the island known as Ireland’s Eye.
A massive sea wall both protects the harbor and provides an inviting promenade, even in the cold January wind.
After a brisk walk on the seawall, a pint of Guinness in the Waterside Pub is just the thing.
Beyond Howth’s harbor is the rocky promontory known as Howth Head.
Howth Head overlooks the shipping lanes into Dublin.
It is a popular place for Dubliners to go for a scenic walk.
The views of the sea and the rocky shore are spectacular.
Gorse flowers provide startling splashes of yellow.
The suburb of Bray is at the southern end of the DART line. Sarah had visted Bray on a previous trip to Ireland. She had found it to be a charmingly tacky beach resort. We originally hoped to stay here, but chose Portmarnock when we couldn’t find an affordable and available apartment in Bray.
Sarah at the Bray DART station.
Even in chilly January, Bray seemed a lively town.
The Strand Hotel proudly proclaims that it was once the home of Oscar Wilde.
In the chilly January wind, the broad, rocky beach was almost deserted.
Despite the chill, a few hearty souls were strolling by the sea.
The beach itself is largely composed of colorful pebbles rounded by the sea.
The pebbles display a vast range of colors.
This one reminded me of the Celtic spirals which are so emblematic of ancient Ireland.
It’s tempting to take a few as souvenirs.
I had originally planned to include our visits to Newgrange, Tara, and Glendalough in this post, but I think I might have too many good pix to get it all into one post. So there will be one more post to follow before the story of our European adventure is complete.
Another view of the Howth Head light.