After 10+ hours of traveling, we laboriously flop into an airport taxi. Initial laughter and shock commence after seeing the steering wheel on the opposite side of the car, it’s much different mentally envisioning what it might look like than actually seeing it.
My copilot Sam sits in the front seat, after initially approaching the drivers side out of habit. Our driver asks us where we’re going, and away we drive. A short few minutes into the drive Sam asks the question. The question. The question that is imperative when traveling to a new location.
“Where do you like to go around here?”
With minimal hesitation our adorably accented cab driver spits out the word “Howth” followed by instructions on how to get there. “Take the DART to Howth, go to The Summit Bar, and walk to the back of the pub. From there you’ll see a grand view of Dublin.”
Knowing nothing of what a “DART” was, I quickly wrote HOWTH in the note pad of my phone, after asking him twice to spell it aloud due to his unique pronunciation (of which we discovered everyone said slightly different, and I’m still not sure of the correct way to say the word.)
After a little bit of research, and lots of asking for help/directions we figure out how to get to Howth. We spend the morning exploring the tourist attractions of Dublin, and head for Howth around 2p.
The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) is an electric rail system that takes you all over Dublin, and into other cities as well. The ride itself was grand, giving views of other areas, but upon pulling into the final stop we were greeted with a view we were not expecting.
Howth is located at the outer edge of Dublin, and is the last stop of the DART. The peninsula views were breathtaking.
We had no plans on this peninsula, other than finding The Summit Bar. Until we saw the island in the above photo. We sat, we stared, and then we saw the ferry boats.
“You guys want to go to the island?”
Ten euro later we stepped foot onto Ireland’s Eye. No second thoughts. Impromptu adventures to accompany the already impromptu trip to Howth. The procedure for getting from the boat to the island was simple. Just climb up the rocks like a spider monkey.
The instructions from the captain were straight forward, “be back before the boat leaves, and watch out for the Gannet nests.” I thought nothing of the last instruction partly because I had no idea what the hell a Gannet was, and partly because I was so enamored by the castle.
That’s when I saw them. The illusive Gannet. A bird that looks much like a Seagull. And they.were.everywhere. The nests were like landmines, one wrong step and the Gannet would cry a sound that haunts your dreams.
Rightfully so, this island is where they breed and raise their young. I tried to communicate to them that we came in peace, but they didn’t quite understand human language.
Every step became a calculated equation. Don’t get too close, and don’t make eye contact when the mother starts gurgling at you. My focus was turned to the top of the island, I wanted to step foot on the summit of it.
Uncertain of why no one else seemed interested in climbing the island, we found two other brave souls to follow. The four of us carefully avoided being blown up by the landmines and headed towards the summit.
The closer we got, the harder it was to find a designated path. Not that this has stopped me before, so I attempted my own. I momentarily deviated from the pack, and when trying to catch back up I slipped on a rock. And fell. On my ribs. Hard.
Too concerned with reaching the top I pushed the pain out of my mind. The pain never went away. The entire trip. In fact the pain is still here as I write this post. Over two weeks later (albeit they’re not as painful as they were at the beginning.) I definitely bruised them, and my luck would cause this to happen on the second day of the trip. HA.
Pain aside, we discovered the summit was LOADED with nests and the four of us decided to head back to the center of the island where the smart people were. But not before one of the other guys was DIVE BOMBED by the part of the equation we forgot.
Walking turned to jogging as we tried to avoid a painful death by Gannet. With the luck of the Irish we made it back to civilization unscathed. Never have I seen a sight like these nests, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.
Bruised ribs and all.
We made it safely back to the mainland and set our sights on finding The Summit Bar. The Cliffs Notes version of this part of the story is that the bar was far. Really far having already walked around for the entire day. Alas, over an hour and many large hills later we found it.
I ate my body weight in potatoes, which tasted like angel tears and fireworks. Potatoes in Ireland are TOP NOTCH. From here we made our way to the “back of the pub” which turned out wasn’t literal, and we had to walk a little further to find the Cliff Path Loop.
Worth every mile.
We took the scenic path back to the DART station, and I slept very hard that night. I didn’t get to thank our cab driver for the suggestion because we ended up taking the bus out of Dublin to obtain our rental car the next day, but I hope the universe somehow lets him know we appreciated his suggestion.
Travel Tip: Always, always ask the locals where they like to hangout. Often times it’s off the beaten path allowing you to fully submerge yourself in their culture.
38 thoughts on “Howth, Ireland”
kathy @ more coffee, less talky
LOOKS AMAZING! keep the recaps coming!
I have so many posts to write. 🙈 Glad someone other than me is enjoying them. 😂
The gannet nests sound a bit like the penquin nests on Phillip Island near Melbourne, Australia. It’s touristy, which means there are boardwalks all about the place. You can’t fall and mess up your ribs. The penquins come out of the sea at sunset then head to their nests. There are thousands of them. Good thing there’s a boardwalk.
Go get an xray at the ER. You may have broken ribs.
Every place has stuff that the guide books leave out. Good on you to discover some in Dublin.
Weellllll I did what I’m not supposed to do and consulted Dr. Google about the ribs. I was VERY concerned in the beginning (although couldn’t do much in another country.)
Dr. Google said for both bruises and fractures there is little that can be done aside from time. Time will be the healer. As for broken ribs most sites advised “you would know if they were broken.” I constantly (and still do now that swelling has gone down) rub my fingers along the ribs to feel for any abnormalities.
I told myself if after a month they are still painful, I’ll get an xray. I’ll keep you posted. LOL.
As for the penguins in Melbourne…I must see them.
This is beautiful! Lovely photos. Never knew what a gannet was – seagulls are scary too. Hope the ribs are healing!
They’re getting there. Slow and steady wins this race. 🙂
Wow what an adventure, bruised ribs and all, it is those memories that stay with us forever. Your pictures and memories are breathtaking, while your beautiful writing took me along in every step. Thank you
Thank YOU for reading and leaving such heartwarming comments. ❤
Awe, you are very welcome 💙
LOL, death by gannet is REAL. So sorry you took a spill. You might have even broken a rib. But don’t worry as there is nothing you can do about that anyway. What a great side trip, and all because you talked to the locals. -Kat
I consulted Dr. Google about the ribs, and he said if broken I’d most likely feel it sticking out. Alas I also read there’s not much that can be done for bruised or fractured ribs, so I’ve just been riding it out! I figure it the pain persists longer than a month I’ll entertain the idea of getting it checked. HA.
Ireland potatoes must be the best, after all, they saved the country from starvation 🙂
YES! I can’t even describe to you how amazing they were.
Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness
Oh yeah, that definitely is THE travel question to ask…Yikes, sounds like your ribs took a hit, but it sounds like a fun adventure in Ireland! I’ve been enjoying seeing all of your Ireland pictures on Instagram!
Thanks love! The recaps let me relive everything one last time!
I will never get used to right-hand drive but I get a kick out of it, it’s fun and exciting and kinda of freaks me out at the same time. I bet you are really enjoying those thick accents. Howth… Dart… OMG, I feel like I’m actually there with you. Wow, spider monkey climbing sounds thrilling. I would love to eat my weight in potatoes. It’s always great to ask the locals where they hang out, wonderful advice Brittany.
I can taste the potatoes now….nommm. ❤
Thank you Brittany for that lovely travel post! I’m looking to take my kids to Ireland and Scotland so this I will save to my list of things to do 🙂
I’ve got many more where that came from. 🙈 I can’t recommend visiting Ireland more, it’s wonderful.
An Unrefined Vegan
You two are intrepid adventurers! I’m so glad you are sharing your travel stories with us – – enjoying them very much. xoxo
Thank you for reading! ❤❤
Aww that sounds so nerve-wracking, having to navigate around those nests like landmines! But the views are gorgeous!!!
It was pretty comical in the moment, until they started to dive bomb! They weren’t messing around. Lololllll.
I love the way you wrote this. Had me laughing out loud at my desk!
Bahaha oh good! That’s the goal. 🤗❤
Such a great tip!! Those views are just gorgeous!
This island was such a great spontaneous idea.
Love the double impromptu adventure! I know for me, there’s something about vacations and being away from home that makes it easier to search for the new and just do it, and it’s great.
It’s so true! Great point.
The best way to discover the lay of the land is to ask the locals.
My life goal is to eat potatoes in Ireland.
I will stay away from the birds though.
When you’re ready to satisfy your goal, I’m coming with you. 🥔🥔
OH wow!! How gorgeous! That water! Those views! I’m sorry to hear about your ribs, though! I’m so glad you weren’t injured worse, but still!
It was a crazy day, and I’m still reminded when I breathe too deep. 😂
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OMG I was attacked by a gannet once it was terrifying!!! AGAIN your photos are incredible and this little adventure sounds perfect! Top Tip- always ask the locals 🙂
AHHHAHA I am so glad someone else has experienced a gannet!
Today I got two trains on the first one I was asked by a group of Americans where to visit here in Scotland and on the second one asked the same by an Argentinian solo traveller…I’ve never been asked this before and immediately thought of you!! .. I really hope my suggestions don’t leave them attacked by gannets… or Highland cows!!
I love this!!! I’m going to search for you when I visit Scotland!