We must have the luck of the Irish with us as we leave Dublin to go to the seaside town of Howth only to find our accommodation is not booked – so much for relaxing! We meet John at the last stop on the Dart (a train that connects the coastal villages) who offers to help us and it’s one of those things where you think, ok but this is going to cost me. He leads us to an information booth and they have a phone around the local pubs. John knows someone, actually I think he knows everyone, and has us tentatively booked in. John leads a walking tour around the cliffs and as we cannot officially book in until 2pm we decide to take the tour.
It is a lovely day for walking, the scenery is superb and John keeps us very entertained with tales of woe, a fight with a devil, love stories, history lessons and we get to see the best viewing spots. On the way back to town he even drops into the pub where we are staying and introduces us.
The cost of the walk is up to you which is difficult as being Aussies you really like things up front and even more so when he has helped us so much. I absolutely recommend the walking tour as I’m sure you miss a great deal just wandering around yourself but no matter what the views are breathtaking.
Howth is quite hilly so we lug our bags back up the hill to McNeills of Howth and are warmly welcomed. Our afternoon consists of checking out the pier, the really nice looking crayfish – Shane is drooling as they are the equivalent of $38 a kilo (but we only have a kettle to cook them in so no go) and we end up with fish and chips on the pier.
We decide to have a quick couple of pints and find we are in for quite a night with mainly locals at the bar we get involved in some very lively conversations, lots of laughter and some more great stories. It turns out Howth has some spooky facts about people from here if they go missing in the sea they are never found, no bodies are ever retrieved. There is a story of two little girls one from Howth and one from away, both whom sadly drowned but only the girl from away was ever found.
We are about to head upstairs to bed when dad is introduced to Larry the lobster who is tucked away in a foam box sitting below the bar – yes still alive – ready to be cooked up but the bloke though he might drop in for a pint or 10 – 8 hours later he and the doomed lobster are on their way. It’s hard to explain what a great night, or early morning 2:30am, we had as even the publican comes in to shout these Aussies a drink – it makes me wonder why we booked the room as we hardly got to sleep in it.
The next morning, a little worse for wear, we head off to finish the cliff walk, through small wooded areas to open areas high above the coast that are covered in flowers, various purple heathers, yellow gorse and in some sections beautiful fuscias in bloom. We leave the pub with one last Guinness and when Shane asks for a lemon squash Kevin, the bar man, obliges in typical fashion – umbrella and all!
Ireland has been a real gem, the scenery is outstanding but the people have made it for us and our final bus out to the airport is no exception – we have the wrong card but the driver tells us to hop on and he will see us right. It’s a long scenic bus trip along the coast, a real bonus and thankfully we had plenty of time to get to our flight as I think it took well over an hour.
We shall remember this trip for a very long time and will always smile when we think of Howth.