We started off today by driving north along the coast to the small, picturesque fishing village of Howth. The road there went up a small mountain which provided an incredible view of Dublin Bay. I kept on slowing down so we could snap some pictures and pissed off some of the locals driving behind me so I had to pull over. We tried to find a good spot to snap pictures, but didn’t luck out. So we kept on going, and made our way into the village around lunch time. The streets there were very steep, narrow, and windy, and all the building were pushed right next to each other and painted bright colors. Almost as soon as we got out of the car we saw a narrow alley way with a staircase leading up the hill and we had to check it out. At the top we came across the Cock Tavern, and right next to us was a small cafe called The Big Blue. The weather was beautiful so we grabbed an outside table that overlooked the ruins of the 12th century St. Mary’s Church, as well as Howth harbor and a small island called Ireland’s Eye.
We stayed there for about an hour, slowly enjoyed our food, and overheard the conversations of the other people eating outside who were clearly locals. A young boy came walking up the street and sat down with his mother, and people kept on driving by and saying hello. Everybody knew each other.
From there we walked around Howth for a little while, and then drove south through Dublin’s congested and confusing streets to the Wicklow Mountains. We didn’t have a detailed map or very good directions, so we ended up getting lost and asking for directions at a gas station, but we managed to get to the general area of where we wanted to be. We passed through the small village of Enniskerry, driving passed fields of cows, over mountain tops, and down windy roads. We had hoped to make it to the Powerscourt Waterfall, but the gates closed the very second we pulled up. So we turned around for Enniskerry came across two hitchhikers on the side of the road. I asked Steph if I should get them and she replied "Nope". So I pulled over, they hopped in, and we started driving. It was kinda silent at first, so Steph broke the ice and asked where they were from. Turned out to be an Italian couple from Milan who had miscalculated the distance to walk from the waterfall from Enniskerry.
Once we got back to the village we parted ways with the Italians and checked out a small antique shop. I bought an old Guinness mug and Steph bought a tiny Irish whiskey bottle that came from Hartford, CT. This was the first place where I could really notice the smell of burning peat in the air. Peat’s commonly used in Ireland as a fuel or for heat because there isn’t much wood available due to the lack of trees. You can smell it almost everywhere outside of the major cities, and its a scent that you miss after you leave.
It was starting to get dark, so we made it back to Dublin for round two at the Pubs. We hadn’t eaten in a while, so we stopped at this cheap place in the Temple Bar area where I had a meatball sub and Steph had Hawaiian Pizza. For some reason they love Hawaiian Pizza over there. I don’t really understand why, but it’s everywhere. It was disgusting. After that little mistake we walked around a little and checked out some souvenir shops before walking back into Quays for more traditional Irish music and drinks. This time we skipped the Guiness and downed several glasses of Baileys Irish Cream. Eventually the music stopped and we headed into the crowded downstairs for a few more drinks and enjoyed hearing Franz Ferdinand blasting from the speakers. Then George Harrison’s "Got My Mind Set On You" came on and we went nuts! We NEVER would hear that at a bar back home. Once we had spent enough money we found our way to the bus stop for the Nitelink, which is Dublin’s late night bus service, which runs every hour. It took a while for them to come, so me and Steph just relaxed for a little bit, sang SITBSOMC, and watched Ireland’s drunken youth play chicken with death as they stood in the middle of traffic. Even had to turn Steph’s head away at one point… crazy kids. The double decker bus came and we grabbed a seat up top right up in front and had an awesome ride back to the hotel.
Another quality night in Ireland. Click here for more pictures!
Steph – "Howth & Wicklow Mountains"