The sprawling city of Dublin is surrounded by an expansive transportation system lining the coast, better known as the DART. Each stop showcases individual cities surrounding Dublin Bay that offer rich history, recreational activities and a delicate twist to the Irish culture blanketing the country. From hiking across castle grounds in Howth, biking coastal paths in Malahide and strolling down piers that hug harbors in Dun Laoghaire, the country of Ireland’s vast palette of cityscape to lush countryside is waiting to be explored, and it is calling visitors and locals alike to come to it.
Howth Dublin, Ireland An hour north of Dublin
As the fast approaching DART pulls into a platform north of Dublin, the Irish Sea and Dublin Bay appear from behind residential homes, marinas and businesses that line the coast. The smell of fish and the squawking of seagulls is overwhelming. People lay in the grass while the warmth of the sun beats onto their skin, and they picnic and chase one another into the late afternoon. The salty air leads you to the shore to revel in its beauty and recreational activities.
Sean Dolan, a staff member at the island’s information center, encourages those seeking adventure to trail along the clifftop’s sweeping views, bound through the natural golf course towards Howth Castle, wander to the summit for a panoramic view or bask in the many activities maritime life offers. Howth is a brilliant all-day excursion just outside of Dublin that has something for everyone of all fitness levels and ages. It is a place where those looking to get lost can follow their eager spirit into the wild unknown.
Malahide County Dublin, Ireland 30 minutes north of Dublin
Riding north on the DART to Malahide from the heart of Dublin is like watching a picture book rapidly flip from one landscape to another. A new depiction is painted before your eyes as the colors become richer and the view from the naked eye follows the countryside to the horizon. After departing the train car to the platform, the crowd scatters and the signs towards Malahide Castle tower in the sky. The castle, gardens and village offer an abundance of hiking across the grounds and along wide coastal routes for leisure and exercise. Bike rentals can be found for those looking to explore the town or venture down the coastal path from Malahide to Portmarnock. Shane Breen, an executive of the Irish Centre for Cycling, recommends renting bikes for the day and venturing down to Howth and back to witness the sapphire vastness of the Irish Sea. Upon returning to Malahide, it is imperative to wander through the on-site gardens, breathe in the aroma of wildflowers, stroll through the hum of bugs, follow dirt paths to secret enclaves and walk among the birds inhabiting the area. This castle is great for family outings, history connoisseurs or those looking for an afternoon excursion. Malahide’s natural and recreational elements highlight this historical gem just north of Dublin.
Dún Laoghaire Dublin, Ireland 30 minutes south of Dublin
Southbound on the DART from Dublin lies the East Pier and Harbour of Dún Laoghaire, “The crown and jewel of this town,” according to Anna Scudds, the honorary secretary of the Dún Laoghaire Borough Historical Society. The pier is historically known for being one of t