Dublin is a lovely city, but after a full day exploring the main sights of the city (where there were many, many tourists), I began to miss the quiet scenery of the Causeway Coast Way in Northern Ireland. Fortunately, it is easy to escape from Dublin for a few hours and I decided to take the DART to Howth, by the sea.
Howth is an old fishing village that is now part of the greater Dublin suburbs. It is located on a peninsula north of Dublin Bay and is a favourite day trip destination for city dwellers, especially on a sunny day. Howth is only a 15-minute train ride from Dublin city center, but coming out of the small train station feels like being hundreds of kilometres away from the city.
And the reason why I particularly wanted to come to Howth is because there is a nice trail following the cliffs by the sea. So as soon as I came out of the train station, I walked along the marina towards the cliffs of the peninsula. The tourist kiosk offers maps of the four proposed walking routes, so I grab one of these maps on the way, opting to follow the shortest route (6 km).
First you have to leave the village to reach the trail and the tip of the peninsula. From there, the trail offers lovely views of Howth, the marina and Ireland’s Eye, an offshore island. There were many people at the trail head, but as I walked along the cliffs, the trail became quieter.
The hike is relatively easy, but it nevertheless offers breathtaking views of the sea and the cliffs of the peninsula. The sound of the waves and seabirds made it hard to believe I was in the suburbs of Dublin. Apparently, it is sometimes possible see seals along the cliffs (this was unfortunately not my case).
I eventually reached the summit of the Howth Peninsula (which is not really a feat because you can also reach the summit by car). At 171 metres, it offers a nice view of the Baily Lighthouse down by the sea. I could also see Dublin Bay and the Wicklow Mountains in the background, even though it was foggy. The view must be beautiful when it’s sunny!
The trail then follows the crest of the hill to return to the village. It joins an old tramway route, goes through a wooded path and eventually brought me back to the train station. In all, my hike lasted less than two hours, and I regretted not having taken one of the longer routes.
Before leaving Howth, I made a detour to the small market there, then I mingled with the crowd of tourists walking around the marina. Howth is one of those places that makes you feel like on vacation and I thought there were no better places to end my stay in Ireland.
To get to Howth, just take the DART from Dublin city center to the east. A round trip ticket costs around 6 euros. Howth is the last station on the line.