Now I know Ireland usually isn't on the Top 10 travel list of anyone - you can't really imagine how many times I've heard "Ireland? Never really thought of travelling there..." after moving here. BUT believe me, there are some pretty sweet spots on this isle. That is, if you enjoy rambling through empty moors and climbing cliffs to stare at the endless horizon of the Irish Sea or Atlantic Ocean. And who wouldn't?
Howth is a town not more than 40-minute train ride from Dublin, and undeniably one of the places you absolutely need to visit if you ever get crazy enough to plan an actual holiday to an island where it never stops raining. The town is a perfect afternoon getaway from the crowded streets of Dublin. The town lives from fishing, so if that traditional fish and chips is what you're after, head to Howth and the fish will surely be fresh.
But I'm not here to talk about the village, nevermind how cute it is. The best part of Howth is a bit further past the docks: Howth Cliffs. That's where I took my Finnish friend Annemari, who came to visit me for the weekend. The climb doesn't take more than an hour. Follow us to the top!
Check out the rock on the left. See those wooden planks pointing towards the water? The residents of the house next to it use them to jump to the water straight from the rock. Oh god.
Now, the path can get muddy at this time of the year (January), so good shoes are a must along with appropriate clothing. The hardest part of travelling to Ireland is to realise how to dress: it took me a solid few months before I was able to feel comfortable outside. It gets pretty damn windy in here.
Facing the Irish Sea. There is nothing but the vast water between us and the Great Britain at this point. I once took a ferry from Holyhead, the closest peninsula of the UK to Dublin - worst seasickness of my life. You really cannot help but feel tiny in front of a horizon like this.
And this wouldn't be Ireland if there wasn't a farm on top, right? Looking at a landscape like this really doesn't make you wonder why it's called the Emerald Isle.
Finally on the top:
I admit struggling to find a common ground with Ireland a while after moving in here, and a part of me still does. But standing on a spot like this, admiring the never-ending emptiness of the horizon of the Irish Sea, surrounded by nothing but wild nature and fields with horses and sheep, you kind of have to fall in love with Ireland. I've been ridiculously busy from the moment I returned from Finland a bit before New Year, and a little getaway like this was exactly what my mental stability needed to survive all my upcoming assignments. Seriously, the life of a postgrad student. What is this?
Have you ever been to Howth? Do you think exploring the nature of your new home country somehow helps you to adapt? Share your thoughts in the comments below!