I packed up an overnight bag and headed to Howth. It’s an amazingly simple trip – I bought a return ticket from the machine at Tara Station for six euros, and thirty minutes later my train chugged into the little seaside station.
In Scots, there’s actually a word to describe the type of weather that greeted me: smirr. Like the eskimos with snow, they’ve got hundreds of different words for the different types of rain. The best definition I’ve seen of smirr is ‘a mist-like rain that coats evenly and drenches thoroughly’.
After arriving at the station and grabbing a sandwich in town, I headed through the little village to check into my hotel and drop my bag off.
Undeterred by the weather, I bundled up in my Barbour jacket and wellie boots, and headed off towards the Cliff Walk. The little road leading to the path winds through colourful old weather-beaten homes, perched atop the cliffs.
The road dead ends just where the trail begins. And man, is it ever beautiful.
The little dirt path winds itself along the coastline, precariously close to the cliff’s edge, for miles and miles. The scenery seemed to be too beautiful to be true, with ferns burned in shades of autumnal orange perfectly complementing the mossy green rocks.
I sadly turned back about half a mile in, as the winds at this point were roaring and I was not prepared in the slightest.
On a slightly nicer day, though, this path would have been an easy walk.
Maybe I’m weird, but I really like those cooler days with roaring winds and thick sea mist. I just find something about it to be incredibly romantic. There’s also nothing I love more than coming back to warm up next to a roaring fire with a fresh pair of fuzzy socks and a hot cup of tea.
So you can imagine my delight returning from my misty cliff walk straight to the King Sitric, where I had all three waiting for me.
I grabbed a seat in their little restaurant with a bowl of their homemade seafood chowder, pulled fresh from the sea just beside me, alongside some freshly baked brown bread and a good smothering of butter. It was heaven.
I headed back to my room, where I made myself a hot cocoa, dove under the covers with a book, and tucked in for an early night. My room was so close to the sea that, with the windows cracked, I fell asleep to the sound of crashing waves.
Having had one of the best night’s sleep in recent memory, I woke up to the sound of squawking seagulls, gently rustling waves, and most glorious sunrise.
The dining room at King Sitric has wall-to-ceiling windows overlooking the ocean and little marina.
The breakfast itself is nothing short of a feast. You’re given the choice between a few hot breakfast choices, such as a Full Irish, pan fried catch of the morning, . While you’re waiting for that to be cooked up, you’re brought over a – which includes six homemade marmalades, yoghurt produced from local cows, a selection of local meats and cheeses, fruits marinated in cloves, and fresh baked brown bread.
Like I said, it’s a feast.
Doing my due diligence, I nibbled on a little bit of everything, so that I could report back to you that it all was delicious. For my hot breakfast, I chose smoked Atlantic salmon with a side of scrambled eggs. That too, was finger licking good.
I really loved my little stay at King Sitric for a couple of reasons. It had the old-fashioned feel despite some of its modern (and rather luxurious) upgrades.
For instance, our room keys were just that, actual keys, each of which is attached with a hand-carved wooden keychain. There are only eight bedrooms, all charmingly named after Irish lighthouses.
I got to chat with the owner, Joan, over breakfast about her husband’s recent trip to the States, and how they sponsored one young lad to sail across the Atlantic.
It was those sort of personal touches that made me feel right at home, and made me really kick myself upon check out for not booking an extra night.
Once I left, I had a little time to explore the village before hopping back on my train.
I’d walked through the evening before, but it was totally different with the nicer weather. The docks were bustling, and everyone seemed to be out and about enjoying the brief reprieve from the storms we’d been battered with that week.
As I wandered around the little village and talked to people, I wrote down a little note on my phone of everything I missed for my next visit.
Beshoff Bros is meant to have some of the best seafood found around Dublin, as is Deep Restaurant just located just a couple doors down the pier. Meanwhile Aqua Restaurant is a fancier affair that’s meant to have incredible views of Ireland’s Eye from their dining room. Mary Louise Tea Room looked absolutely adorable from outside, . There’s also a castle to explore, a bustling market to peruse, links to golf on, and of course the Cliff Walk.
Little old Howth seems to have it all, eh?
If you’re in planning a trip to Dublin, I really recommend taking a little trip down to the seaside. It’s unbelievably convenient to get to, inexpensive, and is quite literally a breath of fresh air.
Getting on the train back to Dublin proper, I already couldn’t wait to go back to explore Howth more. But maybe next time I’ll take the advice of some locals I met and go in the summer, with slightly better weather and a little boat to paddle out on.