Saturday, January 30, 2010

Howth, soaking in nature

One of the nicest trips I've made when I lived in Ireland was in Howth. I went to Dublin's car rental and made my way towards the city's northeastern coast, in the quest for "the best salmon in the area".

As soon as I got there, I was offered the cutest sight ever: seals happily approaching tourists who were feeding them in the harbour. I had already swum side by side with dolphins in the Amazon River, but had never seen seals before.

Lucky me, it was a beautifully sunny and clear day, so I started trekking along the cliffs toward the tower on top of the mountain. I'm never very well trained (I know, I should be, shame on me), so I was breathless in less than no minute. Nevermind, I kept going, took it easy and eventually got to the top.

The unfolding panorama was fantastic, really, and not just from the top, but after every step I made, I could stare at a different view and take a different picture.

However, the cliffs and the sea are not the only reasons why a trip di Howth is worthwhile. The little town has in fact interesting heritage sites to visit, such as St. Mary's Church.

My guidebook in my hands, I started descending to the harbour. There was the port to visit, but since it was Sunday, just beside I could see the stalls of an openair market, so I guessed I would have wanted to stay a bit longer than planned, and decided to head to the old church before.

Needless to say, although I had a map, I couldn't find it. I asked everybody who come my way and after countless directions, hints, back and forth along godforsaken roads, I got there. "At last," I thought. "This must be really worth my efforts!" I had read it was built in 1042 by Dublin's King and redecorated or re-built altogether around 1235, so I couldn't wait to study such a piece of Irish history, so morbidly Catholic. I'm sure it was worth it, but I found it closed. And the sad is that I never got to go back again.
It was still early to go back home, so I wandered around the market selling local products from different European countries: great Polish bread, good Italian specialities from Calabria region, of course Irish delicacies.

I hardly resist when I find local specialities, so I bought some and headed back home, happy about my outing and with the promise to go back to see the Church some time in the future.

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