It was very hot in Dublin for a change and apart from three football matches, I went to the coast twice, to Howth on Saturday morning and Dun Laoghaire on Sunday.
Howth is easily reached by DART train in 20 minutes or by bus. At Howth Station there is a wonderful pub, The Bloody Stream with quaint indoor rooms and on this day plenty of space outside. Customers were devouring all the bounty of the sea, mussels, oysters, tiger prawns, calamari, smoked salmon, fish cakes, crabs, lobsters, chowder and more.
On 10th August 1177 AD during the 2nd Norman Invasion of Ireland, Sir John de Courcy's expedition arrived off Howth. A great battle ensued against the Danes, who were occupying Evora Bridge, over a stream afterwards known as the Bloody Stream. When the pub was being built they found that The Bloody Stream flowed underneath, hence the name. Howth is home of the annual Dublin Bay Prawn Festival each April.
The harbour is a workplace with fishing boats delivering fresh produce early each day. IF IT SWIMS-WE SELL IT, says one fishmonger on the West Pier. The strip is choc full of pubs, cafes, restaurants and wholesalers. From the East Pier and its lighthouse you can catch a short trip to Irelands's Eye, a small island with its many sea birds such as guilemots, kittiwakes.razorbills, linnets, skylarks, kestrels, whitethroats, fulmas, stonechats, raybills, and seals in the harbour.. Howth Castle, dating from the 15th Century, houses the National Transport Museum.
Lots of walkways up hills past the Bog of The Frogs up to Howth Head and the Dublin Bay Coastal Strip, and anglers and rock pool discoveries. Scuba diving, kayaking and sailing as well.
My old friend Larry Mahony picked me up after breakfast on Sunday. A former national youth player and coach he is now in charge of the latest entry to The National Womens League . DLR Waves www.fai.ie who play in his home town of Dun Laoghaire, just south of Dublin and easily reached by DART and by bus, and a beautiful coastal resort and harbour which at one time was the second biggest in the British Empire.
He was competing in a sea swim and the warm weather brought out about 150 men and 50 women for the two races. They were handicapped and started in groups every 15 seconds for 8 minutes. He first took me to the Fourty Foot Pool. This was named after the 40th Foot Regiment of the British Army. Even after they left for many years only men were allowed to swim there. Now everyone takes a dip.
It was hard to tell what place anybody finished due to all the splashing. When he finished he told me he was FORTY TURD.. The Irish drop their h''s as you know. Afterwards we went to a nearby trendy cafe owed by a pal of Larry's in the same swim club., CAFE DU JOURNAL. We both enjoyed a bowl of Seafood Chowder with Irish soda bread and butter.
There are many quiet coves and beaches up and down the nearby coastline, plus golf courses and even the world famous horse race on the sand at LAYTOWN County Meath, just north of Dublin. One day a year when the tide goes out they have to put up barriers and stands and refreshment and bookies stalls... and take them all down before the tide comes back in.