Ireland day 0267. Wednesday 22 June 2022- Fortyfoot

Ireland day 0267. Wednesday 22 June 2022- Fortyfoot
Today’s summary Spent the morning trying to login to an online banking system.  Recovered from the ordeal with a nice afternoon walk from Dalkey, up the hills and over to the Sorrento Coast.   Checked out the Fortyfoot swimming area but wasn’t tempted
Today’s weather Mild and cloudy all day.   No sun but no rain or wind.   About 19C
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):
Dalkey Killiney and fortyfoot

You only notice how windy Ireland is when, suddenly, one day it isn’t.   It’s not really cold here, I think it’s just that the persistent wind makes it feel a lot cooler than it actually is.   So today, when the wind dropped to practically nothing, it felt like the warmest day of the year – even though the temperature maxxed out at just nineteen degrees.

I was keen to get out into the relative warmth and take advantage of the comfortable climate, before the wind came back and everything returned to jacket-requiring normal.  But first, I had to log on to an online banking system to retrieve some details for our accountant.   Needless to say I only eventually managed it after two hours of frustration and quite a lot of swearing.   It kept asking me for the twelfth letter of my ten-letter password (how does that work?) and then told me that I had remembered my mother’s maiden name wrongly.   Trust me, I hadn’t.

Eventually, I resolved the problem by calling the helpline – but fortunately, anticipating a lengthy period on hold (in fact it was 25 minutes) I had the presence of mind to call via Skype.   I have been caught out before by the eye-watering cost of calls to UK 0800 numbers from overseas, and I didn’t want to get stung again.   Finally, Sharon – who, judging from her friendly approach and reasonable sense of humour appeared to be a real person not a computer generated simulacrum – was able to reset everything and get me logged in and I retrieved the information I needed.

Of course by this stage I was getting crotchety and descending into an ill-humour so I thought I better go out before I attempted any more online transactions which would undoubtedly go wrong and inflame the already tense situation.   After yesterday’s relatively expensive day out – involving lots of petrol and no fewer than two trips to McDonald’s, I wanted to do something a bit more economical today.   So I decided to take the DART south to Dalkey, and to explore the coast between Killiney and Dun Laoghaire, which I had been told was interesting, and which I had seen from afar but never visited.

I gathered my things. made a packed lunch, and headed off to the station as soon as I could – anxious to leave the computer behind as quickly as possible.   A DART soon obliged and whisked me south, through Dublin, to Dalkey where I got out.   The first objective was Dalkey Hill, which you get to via “The Metals” and Dalkey quarry (see notes from our last visit on 2 January to find out more about that).   From the top the views were outstanding, and they got even better as I reached the slightly higher summit of adjacent Killiney Hill, with the monument on the top.   (By the way –  wealthy landowner John Mapas commissioned the monument around 1742 as a way of creating employment for local workers who had been plunged into famine by the extreme winter of 1740-41; a similar philanthropic move to the construction of the Wonderful Barn that I visited yesterday, by Katherine Connolly at the same time).

Although much of the walk so far had been familiar from the January outing with the walking club, it made a pleasant change to be doing it on a relatively mild day, minus the biting wind.   But from Killiney Hill I took a different way down from last time, ending up on the beach below Killiney DART station.   From there, at low tide (as it was today), I was able to walk north up the beach as far as the White Rock swimming hut, and then up to the Vico Road via some steps and an iron bridge over the railway.

It was a stunning walk – the bay is supposed to resemble Naples and in many ways it does.   You could even convince yourself that the Sugarloaf, which is clear on the southern horizon, resembles a miniature Vesuvius.   Once back up on the coast road, I followed it round the headland to Sorrento Point, via the Hawk Cliff rocks and another swimming area.

Sorrento Point is of course the site of Sorrento Terrace – a striking white row of large terrace houses, which are said to be some of the most expensive in ireland.   They certainly must qualify as having one of the best views, though whether that can justify the prices (an incredible €5 million and up) must be debatable.   You get a good view over the whole thing from Sorrento Park, which backs on to the terrace.   Considering the locale, I thought the park was a bit neglected, but the vista more than made up for it.

I went back down to the coast road, and had a quick look around Dillon’s Park – which runs down to the sea next to Sorrento Terrace.   From there, there’s lots to see on the walk back along the coast roads to Dun Laoghaire.   I particularly liked the harbours at Coliemore, Bullock and Sandycove and the “Ulysses” Martello tower, but the highlight was probably the Fortyfoot bathing area.

Nobody seems to know why it’s called Fortyfoot because the water there isn’t forty feet deep, the cliffs aren’t forty feet high and it isn’t forty feet from the road.   One leading theory is that it is named after the road _ Fortyfoot Road – which is so named because it was indeed forty feet wide.  It’s a bit of a mystery.   Anyway, I’d head that Fortyfoot was one of the best places for sea swimming in Ireland – some even say in the world – and I must admit I was almost tempted to take my swimming stuff with me today.   But in the end it came to a toss-up for space in my rucksack between my towel and my packed lunch and unsurprisingly the lunch won.

When I  got there this afternoon, despite the grey outlook it was busy, and getting steadily busier as people headed there after work.   It looked quite nice but altogether too cold and un-relaxed for my liking, so I think I will have to come back to it on another occasion.

From Fortyfoot it’s only a fifteen minute walk to Dun Laoghaire station and rather to my surprise, a diesel train heading for Drogheda pulled in just as I arrived.   I was surprised because I thought the diesels terminated in Dublin so you had to get off and change if you wanted to continue your journey by diesel.   I had thought that only the DART trains ran right through.   Anyway i was clearly wrong as it turned out this particular diesel had started in Bray and was going all the way through to Drogheda.   It was fortuitous timing as the diesels are much faster than the DART so I was back in the flat just 45 minutes after getting on the train in Dun Laoghaire.  The whole round trip, as a matter of interest, cost just €4.  Excellent value, I thought.

Now it’s time for dinner.   Before she left for her sojourn in the UK, Val prepared for me some baked aubergines with peanut satay – a favourite of mine – and which I’m heating up as I write.   They smell delicious so I’m going to stop now and get something to eat, before I start getting hungry and grumpy.   Once in a day is quite enough, I think.


Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

Dalkey DART station.   Even though it’s right on the far side of Dublin from us, there’s a direct train every half an hour from Malahide (starting at ten past six in the morning and finishing eighteen hours later – I know because our bedroom is right above the platform).   It’s a great service, even if it is a bit noisy On the top of Killiney Hill.   Last time I was here was with the walking club on the second of January and I wanted to see what it would be like in the summer.   To tell you the truth, it wasn’t actually a whole lot different.   OK there were a few more flowers and it wasn’t quite as bitingly cold, but otherwise you could probably swap this photo for the January one and you would be hard pressed to tell them apart
Down on the coast, between Killiney and Dun Laoghaire.   This is Coliemore harbour and apparently for €10 Ken the Ferryman will take you from here over to nearby Killiney Island (and bring you back – I hope).   I’d love to go as like most people I’m fascinated by islands and this one looks particularly interesting as it has a ruined chapel, a fort and a Martello Tower.   I’ll have to drop Ken a line. If €10 is too much, you can of course always take your own kayak over.   This group were just returning to the coast near Coliemore – they looked to me as if they were on a training course today.
Some of the houses along the Killiney coast are absolutely massive – and with security systems to match Fortyfoot swimming area, just to the east of Dun Laoghaire.   It’s supposed to be one of the world’s best “wild swimming” spots, but even though weather-wise today was probably as good as it gets, I definitely wasn’t tempted.   Plus the fact it was surprisingly busy.   It used to be “gentlemen” only but now it’s open to everyone.
Probably the world’s most famous Martello Tower, at Sandycove – right next to the Fortyfoot swimming area.   It is here that the first chapter of James Joyce’s “Ulysses” is set, and where Buck Mulligan and Stephen Daedalus live.   Today it is the James Joyce museum, though sadly its opening hours are a bit limited and when I visited it was closed.   From a nearby interpretive plaque:
Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressing gown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him on the mild morning air“.
Views around the tower are described with the sea famously described as:
The snotgreen sea. The scrotumtightening sea“.
Interactive map

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

Total distance: 12728 m
Max elevation: 148 m
Min elevation: 0 m
Total climbing: 483 m
Total descent: -500 m
Total time: 03:43:34
Download file: Dalkey Hill And Coast compressed corrected.gpx

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