Saturday, a decent day, even though tomorrow promises to be nicer. We don't waste good weather here.
Two places I want to see: Howth, a small town on the north side of the peninsula that creates Dublin Bay, and Phoenix Park, a large, urban park at the northwest corner of the city. The route, as recorded by my GPS receiver, is shown below. Click on a thumbnail to see a larger version of this and the other pictures. Use the back button of your browser to return to this page.
Howth is a working fishing town. Fishing boats line the west wall of the harbor. I understand that it was also the point where guns were smuggled into Ireland for the Easter Rising of 1916, an event that started in earnest the drive for Irish independence from England.
The end of the bay near Blackrock is a wide tidal flat. I don't think that the water, at high tide, gets more than a foot deep.
Houses along the waterfront were originally built to be cheap housing for seaport workers. Now with Dublin's economic boom, they are downtown properties, much sought after and stunningly expensive. The ship, across the harbor from them, is called the Maasdam. Interesting. I'm accustomed to hearing that with the two syllables reversed.
Howth is a real fishing village. Rows of fishing boats are tied up along the docks.
I ride up a street that leads along the edge of the cliffs on the north and east sides of the peninsula. Unfortunately, it is a dead end, but I get a nice view of the harbor and island, as well as a glimpse of the cliffs. There is a hiking trail along the cliffs, but it looks a little dangerous to me. On the way back, I notice a sign on a house indicating that W. B. Yeats had lived there for three years.
I continue around the peninsula, getting a nice view of the ocean and the south coast. At one point I stop to photograph some horses, and a little donkey trots over to the fence to see what I'm doing.
I have to cut across Dublin to get to Phoenix Park. It's a little tricky; lots of one-way streets. I have to cross the river several times. At one point, I cut through a block of the Temple Bar area, which is pretty touristy. The place is really hopping, full of Americans and other such beasts. I get out quickly.
The Ha'penny Bridge, a 19th-century iron footbridge across the river Liffy, is a landmark in Dublin.
I continue across the city to Phoenix Park. It sits on a hillside overlooking the city; a long, straight road climbs up into it. The park reminds me a lot of Fairmont Park in Philadelphia: a large, open park, with lots of facilities and easy access from the city. The first startling sight is the Wellington Monument. The streets have genuine gas lights; mantles and all. Most surprising is a herd of reindeer in a large, open field.
I've decided on a new career: US Ambassador to Ireland. Nice digs, right in the middle of the park. I understand that the Irish president lives in the park, too. Finally, back along the river, I see this bronze harborman perpetually pulling on a large rope.