Posted: 12/29/2014


The very last place that I expected to spend Christmas Day morning was looking over The Irish Sea from The Summit and The Bog of the Frogs high above HOWTH, that charming fishing village 15 miles from Dublin.

We drove but you can get DART the local train that has a terminus here above The Bloody Stream, a charming pub and restaurant. My fourth visit in 2014 and the place is usually all hustle with trawlers unloading their catch, seagulls looking for a free meal, lots of jetty side fish restaurants and stalls selling fish and chips and clam chowder with seals popping up in the harbour munching on fish.

I was acting as sightseeing guide to Patrick and Kelsey Fraley at the start f their 7 country late honeymoon. You can also catch a bus from Dublin which finishes up on The Summit for fantastic views. There are many hiking trails and we chose the heather strewn Bog of the Frogs with wild gorse and flowers but not a frog in sight. However, it was a nice prelude to Christmas Day lunch at Toddy's Bar in the Shelbourne Hotel on O'Connell Street. It's across from the GPO (General Post Office) where in 1916 the Rebels took control from the British and later declared the IRISH FREE STATE.

Not many places open in Dublin, so dinner at The Admiral, a Russian and Eastern European restaurant. Late night TV in the hotel was DOWNTON ABBEY Christmas special followed by MARVELLOUS, a made for TV BBC film, and WHAT A DELIGHT.!

MARVELLOUS stars Toby Jones as NEIL BALDWIN a 70 year old man with learning difficulties who has lived a remarkable life. He spent three years as NELLO, a circus clown, he worked as kit man at Stoke City under Lous Macari (he came on as a sub in a friendly match) and has charmed students at Keele University in Staffordshire since 1960. He has been a greeter to new students and was granted honorary life membership of Keele University Students Umion. ( I personally made history at Keele Students Union when I was at a student sports conference in 1964 and bought the FIRST EVER BEER at the newly opened bar !!!.

Neil formed his own football team and made Kevin Keegan president, and he himself was declared Player of the Year....EVERY YEAR. In 2013 Baldwin received the Honorary Degree of Master of the University from Keele University. Gary Lineker and others appear in the film.