Posted by: mdmusingsie | July 8, 2013

Castle Hunting in Howth

A bright warm day brought a friend of mine visiting from the US and me down to Howth to gaze at the sea.  Howth is a short 25 minute DART ride from the City Centre and sports several beaches, hiking trails, boat rides, quite a few cute cafes, and some very large homes.  I suspect this is one of the places where “the other half” live.  Even the priest’s residence of the Presbyterian Church was posh.

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Priest’s residence on the grounds of the Presbyterian Church

A stroll along the breakwater and clear skies allowed us to gaze out at Ireland’s Eye – a now uninhabited island just off shore.  The Island has one of three Martello towers I saw – one atop a hill in town and the third below at the edge of a peninsula.

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Ireland’s Eye – uninhabited Island

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Martello tower

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No shortage of boats here

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As a fisherman cleaned his nets a seal bobbed behind the boat, hoping to snag any leftovers.

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Feed me, please!

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Cleaning the nets

Howth also contains not one but two castles. The first, Howth Castle, was easy to find.   Evidence of assorted renovations can be seen in the different buildings that make up the castle.  The tower keep appears the oldest and is still primarily a ruin. The castle is still inhabited by descendants of the original owners, so we weren’t able to go inside.  They do have public access days periodically, allow showings by appointment, and also rent out rooms for special occasions (found this all out afterward). They also have a cookery school in the Georgian kitchen. That’s something I plan on looking into as it would be an awesome experience and would get me inside to see at least a room or two.

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Original keep in front of remodeled residence

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Some signs are non-existent and others are simply amusing

Signage in Ireland is generally at a premium (I did like the one above) but finding the second castle in the area, Corr Castle, put a new twist on hunting. Even though it’s clearly marked on the visitor’s map, you could easily walk/drive to and fro along the street and never find it. Why? It’s located in a green-space inside a large gated apartment complex. You’d have to be looking closely and spot the name of the complex – coincidentally enough called Corr Castle. A car exited the gates as we gazed and although it was tempting to sneak in for a closer look there was the little dilemma over how to get out, so we were good citizens and gazed from afar.

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The sea breeze helped keep the heat at bay – something that would come in handy this week as temperatures climb to unseasonable levels.  The clematis in my back garden has blossomed under the sun’s warmth; whilst I dream of mist and ocean breezes.  I can honestly say I enjoy the “average” Irish weather over this heat which is more closely associated with Spain, but I can take comfort that it only lasts here a short time.

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