After a hearty full Irish breakfast we took a bus out to Howth, a small fishing village on the northern edge of Dublin Bay. It was a bright, sunny morning as we strolled along the West Harbour pier. Along the waters edge fishermen were landing their morning catch and brightly coloured fishing boats bobbed about in the sheltered harbour. Facing the water there are an assortment of fishmongers, cafes and deli’s all serving the freshly caught fish and seafood. A small crowd had gathered a little further along the pier and we noticed seals jumping in the water and so we paused awhile to watch their antics. Towards the end of the pier lies the Martello Tower from where we could see the small isle of Ireland’s Eye, a fifteen minute boat ride away.
We retraced our steps and browsed Howth Market, located beside the DART station. This operates at weekends and sells crafts , organic foods and has a few take away stalls. We continued along the seafront, heading uphill until we reached Howth Castle and gardens.
There were good views looking back down to the village centre from here. Feeling hungry, we shared some fish and chips from Bishoffs, a Dublin institution, obviously popular as the queue snaked back along the road. Sitting on a bench overlooking the bay we enjoyed our tasty snack and then feeling thirsty we had beers at the quaintly named village pub ‘The Bloody Stream’ before returning to the city centre.
Our afternoon excursion was to Kilmainham Gaol located 3.5 km out of the city centre. This is one of the largest unoccupied gaols in Europe covering some of the most heroic and tragic events in Ireland’s history. We took the one hour guided tour which was extremely interesting and learnt that several major films have been filmed here including Braveheart and Saving Private Ryan.