Being a tourist in the city I now call home is something I’m really enjoying. There is a lot to see and do in Dublin; I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface here, not to mention the rest of the country. My friend Amanda’s visit gave me an excuse to see some of the local sites on my list which I welcomed.
We headed to Malahide Castle for our first stop. Some of us fondly refer to this as “our local castle.” Malahide Castle sits on 260 acres of land (referred to as Malahide Gardens) and dates back to the 12th century (1175 to be exact). It is one of the longest inhabited castles in Ireland – up until 1976 – and one of the oldest in Ireland as well. The Talbot family lived in it for over 800 years. The last two people to live in the castle were a brother and sister, Milo and Rose Talbot, who never married. Thus, upon their deaths with no direct descendants to inherit the castle, it was sold to the Dublin City Council and remains under their ownership. Note: The cream and blue rug pictured above is lovely, no?About the picture below: It is alleged that the eyes of the Milo and Rose Talbot (the children pictured below) follow you are you walk up or down the steps. I watched their eyes the entire time I went up the steps and they did. I even did it a second time going down the steps and they did; so friggin’ creepy. A master of optical illusion must have painted this because it’s quite impressive.There is a ghost story that accompanies this castle as well, it’s the story of Puck. He was the castle jester. One night at dinner he saw a guests beautiful servant and fell instantly (and evidently madly) in love with her. He proclaimed his love of her then and there. She denied him. He was mortified and broken-hearted. That same evening he killed himself. Rumor has it he still roams the castle waiting to find his next love. Sad stuff, huh?
Now, the castle and the castle grounds are simply beautiful. We didn’t even make a dent in walking the grounds with 200+ acres to explore. I’ll just have to go back – it is our local castle after all. There is something great and unexpected about being able to say that.
Fish and chips in Howth Harbour were next on the agenda. They were quite tasty at Crabby Joe’s. I also discovered my new favorite brew, Handsome Jack. I am currently on the hunt for it in Dublin because I am so excited to drink it again. Post lunch, we ventured into the harbour and fell completely in love. The views are magical. Ireland’s Eye (a small uninhibited island) is to your left, the town of Howth, framed by the harbour boats, to your right, and the Howth Lighthouse directly in front of you. You could spend all day here reading, writing, watching – it’s just one of those places.
Here’s an interesting story about Howth Harbour. On July 26th 1914, a white yacht, the Asgard, arrived in Howth with a cargo of 900 rifles and 29,000 rounds of ammunition smuggled from Germany. Irish Volunteers were there to unload the guns while the harbour master, coastguard, and police were ordered away from the vicinity. The Volunteers then marched the guns and ammunition to Dublin. The “Old Howth Guns” were used in the Easter Rising of 1916. The Howth gun-running was a pivotal event in Ireland’s struggle for independence and is commemorated every year at the site where the Asgard docked in Howth. Love history.After soaking up the harbour history and views, we walked around the town of Howth for a bit and popped into the Howth Market which is where I found the best bite-sized crumble I’ve ever had in my life. I mean, the raspberry crumble was to die for. And there are so many more flavors that I didn’t try and I am confident are just as fabulous. Can’t wait to make it back and try another little treat. Until next time, I’ll be sitting here dreaming of that bite-sized taste of heaven 🙂