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Howth do you do?

07 July 201408:07AMeurope-2014travel

"There are no bad days in Ireland. There are only good days, and 'authentic' days.
- Eoin the Tour Guide, 2014


Today was a bit of an authentic day.

There's not an awful lot I can say about Howth, except that it is absolutely stunning.

Sorry - I should explain where Howth is. Howth is somewhere between a village and an outer suburb of Dublin. It's on a headland, separated by a narrow isthmus, along which runs a roadway and a spur of Dublin's commuter rail network. It was on my three item long shortlist for "seeing ye ruggede Irish countryside" - the other two of which were the Giants' Causeway, waaaaay up north, and the Cliffs of Moher.

Howth leaves them both for dead in terms of sheer convenience - it is some of the greatest countryside I have seen in my entire life, and it is twenty minutes on the metro from Dublin.

Also, did I mention that, to borrow a local idiom, it was absolutely feckin' stunning?

(I can't tell if the Irish use feck the way we use 'sheila' - that is, not at all except to ham it up for tourists - or like 'mate', as in legitimately all the time but still hamming it up a little for tourists.)

I was antsy about taking a guided tour with our walking tour/pub crawl company, but honestly it was fantastic. Not just 'I don't have to plan anything' fantastic, but well planned, well executed, and pretty much hit the nail on the head for what we wanted - or what I wanted - from an afternoon out. There was a castle:

And a kickass view of Dublin:

And a very pleasant hike:

And a pub lunch:

And a lighthouse:

And some spectacular cliffs:

And some seals:

So here is my plug: if you go to Dublin, even just for four days, hunt down Sandeman's New Dublin Tours if you can, but if nothing else, jump on a train and spend an afternoon walking around Howth. Totally, totally worth it.

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