In Dublin last month, I did the Howth cliff walk. I originally intended to do the walk, but when I reached Howth, I wasn’t sure anymore. I was tired and it looked like it might rain. Turns out, I was just hungry. I stopped at a pub for fish and chips, and cider. Then, I decided I was going to do the walk anyway. I picked up a map of the route along the way. There are four different routes: Lower Cliff Loop (easy), Tramline Loop (easy), Masts Loop (moderate), and Bog of Frogs Loop (hard). I was pretty sure I didn’t want to do just the easiest loop. I was contemplating doing the Bog of Frogs Loop as I started. The route starts off with a paved road that takes you along a sharp uphill. There are some views out to the beach along the way. Once you reach a reasonable height, there’s a parking area. This is where the hiking trail actually starts. The map in the parking lot said that the Tramline Loop would take me a good 1.5h to 2h to complete and Bog of Frogs Loop would take about 3.5h. I decided I’d take a mix of both. I wanted to go as far as the Baily lighthouse. Then, I’d trek back to the Summit and head to the railway station.
The weather was near perfect. To Dubliners, I suspect, it was just hot. The trail was crowded as well. I saw people of all ages along the way. On the trail, I watched the Dublin Bay Cruise ship making its way out of Howth. I even saw a couple of flights on their arrival path in Dublin. On my own flight into Dublin, I had seen the cliffs. The cliffs were windy, green, and the air was filled with the sound of seagulls and the waves crashing along the cliffs. I stopped to take pictures along the way, but was among the more faster walkers.
I’d picked up a local SIM earlier in the day, so I was also sending pictures of the cliff walk to friends and we had a banter about it going on. Every turn brought with it new sights. I finally reached the turn, from where I could see the lighthouse. That’s when I noticed that I’m at the highest point of the path I was currently taking. The walk down to the cliffs would be a sharp downhill. I have pictures of this, but the pictures don’t do justice. Climbing down was scarier than climbing up. If I had to do it all over again, I’d tell myself to travel with a good pair of hiking shoes rather than running shoes :)
After I reached the lighthouse, I went back up to the sort of “peak”. The path to the actual Summit was a little more harder than I expected. I managed to brave it through. Sadly, there are no pictures of this feat. I was busy trying not to fall. From the top, I expected to see Dublin city. It was a gorgeous day, but not clear enough for me to get a clear picture of the view. With most of the hike done, all I had to do was walk back to the railway station and finally head back to my hotel. This stretch was much easier. I should have done this hike in reverse. That would have been a much smoother experience. When I was crossing a row of houses, I met someone who lived nearby. He walked in step with me and asked me about how the hike went :) He’s done the Bog of Frogs Loop, the path I did not fully take. The next time I travel, I’ll plan to allocate more time to hiking.