Ireland day 0263. Saturday 18 June 2022- Seals

Ireland day 0263. Saturday 18 June 2022- Seals
Today’s summary Did the hoovering then walked down the coast – mostly via the beach – to Howth.   Buzzing with life at the harbour despite the cool weather.  Watched three seals lolloping around in the bay.   Got DART and bus back.  Val at work
Today’s weather Cool and overcast but dry.   Moderate westerly wind.   About 15C
Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of my route)
Close-up location
(The green line shows where I walked)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Coast walk to Howth and seals

One of the big advantages of living on the coast – apart of course from the fact that you are by the sea – is that if there is good public transport up and down, then you can do linear beach walks and get the bus or train back from the far end.   It slightly makes up for the fact that it’s hard to do circular (or indeed linear) walks inland because of the lack of public footpaths.

Where we live in Malahide is in fact one of those places where there is good coastal transport – north on the train to Donabate and beyond, south on the bus or train to Sutton and indeed all the way in to Dublin.   So I decided, as Val was at work today, to make full use of the out-and-back possibilities to walk south down the shore to Howth, and then to catch the DART and bus back.

I’d hoped that it would be a nice warm sunny day and that I might, just might, be tempted to try dipping a toe in the Irish Sea and go in for a swim.   But sadly that was not to be, as the day dawned cloudy and cool and stayed that way pretty much all day.   The sea remained stubbornly grey and didn’t look a bit inviting.   But undeterred, once I had finished the housework and while Val was at work, I packed my things and headed south (it sounds a bit like an Antarctic expedition I know, but in reality although it felt cool today, it wasn’t actually polar).

The tide was out when I started but I know it had turned and would be rising fast.   I wanted to be able to stay on the beach for the section of the walk that runs from Sutton (the mid-point of the walk) to Howth – but there are a few headlands you can only get round at low tide and if you are too late you have to take a tedious detour via the road to avoid paddling.   So I didn’t linger too long on Lithostrotion beach in Malahide, nor on the Velvet Strand in Portmarnock.   But I did allow myself to brief side trip into Portmarnock Lidl.  On my visit to the Swords branch a couple of days ago, I had accidentally discovered their own-brand Trail Mix – which seems to consist mainly of Smarties – and immediately liked it.   So I want in to buy a couple of packets more to supplement my lunch.

I was soon on my way again, and followed the Portmarnock Greenway round as far as Baldoyle.   I’ve walked past the Baldoyle Community Hall dozens of times and often wondered what it was like inside.   And today I got the chance to find out, as there was an art show going on, displaying the work of local artists.   I jettisoned concerns about the tide briefly and went inside to take a look.   It was good, though there was nothing there that really caught my eye.   But what I did like about the place was the smell.   It had that floor-polish-damp-camping-equipment bouquet that community centres and scout halls the world over seem to share.   I found it strangely reassuring.

After enjoying that unexpected detour, I really did have to put my skates on.   I was soon down at Sutton, and then onto the beach beyond the golf club.   Luckily, although the tide was rising fast by this stage, I could see that the nearest of the three tidal headlands you have to get round to reach Howth, was still just passable.   I decided to chance it and head off down the beach, in the hope that the other two would be dry, too.   It can be a bit risky because if the second or third headlands are submerged and the tide comes in behind you, you are trapped and have to wait on one of the inter-headland beaches until the tide goes out again.   Anyway, today all three were clear so I passed safely and didn’t stop for lunch (and trail mix) until I was in sight of Howth and I knew I would be able to get there even at high tide.

After lunch, and with the tide pressure off, I walked the remaining couple of km into Howth at a more leisurely pace then had a look round the harbour.   It was absolute bustling with life today.   Lots of day-trippers, packed restaurants and cafes, and dozens of fishing boats presumably waiting for the right tide to head back out to sea again.   Possibly the highlight was spotting a group of three seals swimming around one of the recently-docked fishing vessels.   Presumably in the hope of catching any discarded bits of seafood as the catch was prepared for sale.

Well that was just about it for the day.   I got the DART back to Sutton then the 102 for the rest of the journey.   Now it’s eight o’clock and the shopping has been completed, dinner prepared and eaten, blog written.   As I write this, tonight’s attraction in the Demesne is firing up and it’s Picture This – another band I’m afraid I don’t know.   Anyway, I’m about to find out as we have decided we will head over the road to try and eavesdrop.   We might even try and catch a glimpse of the stage from Pauper’s Hill.   We certainly know how to live over here in Ireland.


Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

Another pyramidal orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis) growing by the seashore path Rather forlorn looking Baywatch hut on the Velvet Strand.   But there were, as usual, a few hardy types out in the water, despite the rather uninviting conditions
More of those Medick-like plants, similar to those in Waterstown Park yesterday.   These ones were by the side of the Portmarnock Greenway There was an interesting art show on in Baldoyle Community Hall.   So of course I went in to have a look.   The artwork was all for sale, but I wasn’t tempted.   I did buy 5 raffle tickets though, and only afterwards discovered that the prize was in fact a pair of diamond-effect earrings
On the beach between Sutton and Howth.   Once you reach this point, you can reach the coast road even at high tide – you walk along a concrete plinth below the railway station.   So I stopped here to enjoy lunch (and the trail mix I bought at Lidl in Portmarnock on the way) Looks like the Ireland’s Eye boat trips are back on.   I’ll have to look up the sailing times and see if there are any trips that allow you to go ashore.   Last October, when we last checked, we just missed the last sailing before the winter – and it was a non-landing trip anyway.
Not sure exactly what “Howth School of Fish” really means, but it was a nice wall-painting anyway.
Interactive map

(Elevations corrected at  GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )

Total distance: 17453 m
Max elevation: 14 m
Min elevation: -1 m
Total climbing: 156 m
Total descent: -164 m
Total time: 04:52:40
Download file: Howth Via The Coast compressed corrected.gpx

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