This weekend is a late summer family break in Dublin. Her Jazzness is in kennels for a few days for some singing practise with her friends as Ryanair have this weird no-dogs policy (among many others).
We are staying in Dalkey (where the plague arrived in Ireland, apparently) at the south end of Dublin Bay. This is a picturesque village on the edge of Dublin where, judging by the size of the houses, the richer Dubliner resides. For a country on the verge of financial meltdown they are putting on a very good front: unless everyone’s sitting behind their electric gates crying into their mortgage statements and flinching when you say “negative equity”.
While the distaff side of the family were indulging in the hotel’s spa, I headed off for a walk 1. It started with a climb up Victoria Hill set in a lovely park that is a magnet for the dog walking and jogging brigade 2. This short+sharp climb gives a great view over to the Wicklow Hills, Bray Head and Killiney Bay with the Welsh coast on the horizon. On the other side you get a sweeping panorama of Dublin and its Bay round to the Howth Pennisula, with yachts adding to the scene. It must be one of the best views of Dublin. At the top is the Killiney Obelisk which was built in 1742 as a famine relief project: perhaps when the Euro implodes in the next few years 3 they’ll need a few more projects like this. The path then winds through woodland to an old semaphore telegraph tower used to communicate with the string of Martello towers built around the coast to warn of Napoleonic invasion. The area around here was good for butterflies sunning themselves on the rocks, including my favourite: the Small Copper.
The path now drops down into the old quarry used to supply stone used to build Dún Laoghaire harbour. This is popular with the rock-climbing loonies, and a teacher was enthusiastically throwing his pupils over the edge. After picking up a great but pricey sandwich in the village I headed for the coast and a couple of pretty harbours where I could have lunch while watching the seals. Further along at Sandycove is an open-air sea swimming pool that was doing a roaring trade: tough bunch round here.
The walk back to the start was through suburban streets until I reached The Metals. This is the old route taken by the stone going from the quarry to Dun Laoghaire harbour. It follows the DART railway and is a nice car-free wander.
The whole walk took me 4 hours going at a very slow amble. The views from Victoria Hill were wonderful and the village was quaint and just oozing money. The hills down in County Wicklow looked as if they’d make a pleasant few days wandering so perhaps we’ll be back here with Jazz as the ferry from Ayrshire is a two-hour jaunt up the motorway to Belfast.
Now in a new development for this blog we’ll divert for a bit of restaurant criticism (just part of my premiere service to you, discerning reader). That night I joined my suitably refreshed family for a meal in the Jaipur restaurant in Dalkey. I have never enjoyed an Indian meal so much 4. It took a while to order because the menu wasn’t your standard British Indian fare: the only things I recognized were rice and nan! Although expensive (but then everything is in Ireland) it was just superb, especially the Brat’s Tandoori Chicken Murgh which she sensibly shared with me (otherwise she’d have gotten stabbed with a fork) – I’ve never experienced order-envy so badly in my life. My fish curry was a very close second. They do a Sunday Indian tapas which will be worth coming back for – would Ryanair do home delivery?
- Regular readers will know that my body is already at the peak of perfection ↩
- I’m an honorary member. ↩
- Or sooner given the mess the world’s economy is in at the moment. As Leo put it in The West Wing: “Economists were put on Earth to make astrologers look good.” ↩
- And remember, I’m a founding member of the Ayrshire Speed Skating Curry Club – we’ve got extensive experience – good and bad! ↩
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