Back when I lived in New York City, I’d consider any day I was able to go for a run in Central Park before or after work a highlight of my week. While I lived only a few blocks from the park in both my Upper East Side and Harlem apartments, this was also a time in my life where I worked both hours and with an effort that anyone would consider off-kilter.
More often than not, I wouldn’t make it to the park, and instead, find myself running through the streets. Which, was fine but no where near as relaxing as spending time in the company of trees.
In London, it was more of the same. I lived along a canal and enjoyed walking it a few times a week, but rarely made it to London’s lush parks.
Living in Asia, and in particular in Indonesia, changed my perspective on what’s important in life, and what matters the most in my life.
A few of my new non-negotiables?
Proximity to nature.
Ability to set boundaries that’d be respected at work.
Going on hikes with regularity.
Most people think I’m joking when I tell them Dublin is one of my favorite places I’ve ever lived- it’s small city energy with laid back living, friendly locals and an abundance of nature.
From seaside walks to plenty of parks, and mountains less than an hour away, it’s easy to spend time in nature before or after work, plus on the weekends.
Although the amount of exploring I’ve done in Ireland has been a bit limited, in line with COVID lockdown restrictions, my favorite activity are sunset walks after work. Whether it’s Bray to Greystones or heading out to the little red lighthouse (Poolbeg), I’ve found nothing quite restores the soul like time by the sea.
My favorite coastal jaunt? Hands down, the Howth cliff walk. Howth, Ireland is a coastal fishing village under a half hour from city centre- in fact, from where I live, it’s only about 20 minutes.
A trip to Howth means leaving a buzzing city behind for a few hours to explore a quaint village and stroll along Ireland’s spectacular shoreline.
The 6 km cliff walk boasts non-stop views the entire time. Even better, there are a few routes you can take, so visiting multiple time means a different experience. Route length takes anywhere from 1.5 – 3+ hours return, depending on which path you take and how fast you’re walking.
I’ve only been to Howth once, but can’t wait to return this spring once lockdown restrictions lift. On my visit, I chose to take the easiest path, walking out to the lighthouse before turning around just as the sun started to set.
When I visited, I drove from Dublin and parked in one of the upper lots near the cliff walk, but it’d be just as easy to take the DART or a bus to Howth, and hike up to the start of the cliff path from town. I visited on a weeknight, so there weren’t too many cars in the upper lot, but if you’re coming on the weekend, you may want to come early as I’d imagine the lot fills up quickly.
If you decide on the easy path like I did, expect to find it clear for the most part. There are some sections with clusters or rocks, and others that are narrower, so I’d definitely recommend wearing trainers (sneakers).
As you’re walking, stop and take in the view.
Sailboats floating in the distance.
Seagulls squaking, dipping low before soaring high.
Waves crashing into rocks below, foaming in the break.
Rolling hills with a teeny tiny lighthouse in the distance.
Bursts of color from wildflowers lining the path.
The sound of people behind you, laughter and conversation floating in the air.
Rays from the day’s final bit of sun, peeking through trees and tall grass.
Before you leave Howth, take a walk along Harbour Road, the stretch that connects the East and West Piers. Here, you’ll find picturesque shops framed by a rocky shoreline and Balscaddon Bay Beach.
If you’re visiting Howth on a nice day and have the time, pop over to the beach. It’s a rocky one, and you may not see people swimming, but watching the waves slowly break is the epitome of relaxing.
Along the main street, you’ll find more shops, cafes, galleries and pubs. Some say no trip to the sea in Ireland is complete without fish and chips or a 99 (soft serve ice cream). In my case, I was keen to get back to the city for dinner, but if I’m able to visit Howth again this summer, I’ll definitely get myself a cool treat.
I loved visiting Howth’s cliff walk for a sunset walk, the best way to wind down after a day of work. But, Howth would also be a fantastic day trip, which is why I’ve included recommendations for other things to see and do in Howth.
If you’re visiting Dublin and only have a day or two to see the city, I wouldn’t advise on making the trip- there’s plenty to see within city centre. But, if you’re returning to Dublin or have a longer stay and want to connect with nature the way Dubliners do, head out to Howth. On a sunny day, there’s nothing better than a walk along the sea.
If you’ve been to Dublin, have you ever gone for a cliffside walk at Howth?
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