Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Trip to Dun Laoghaire

When Sara came to visit Dublin for her first interview, she was given a sightseeing tip to visit the seaside village of Dun Laoghaire (pronounced done leery.)  She obliged, taking the DART train South along the coast of Dublin Bay just south of Dublin City.  Dun Laoghaire is, officially, not part of the City of Dublin.  It is technically in South County Dublin.

The name Dun Laoghaire means roughly, "Fort Laoghaire."  Laoghaire was the name of a fifth century Irish King.  The King chose that location as a naval port from which to launch naval attacks and as a primary defense port.  Today, the village serves a busy harbor and seaside resort community.

On one of our first weekends living here, Sara recommended we visit the sea at the scenic point, so we packed a lunch, found our nearest DART station and headed South.

A carnival is set up on the shore of Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Carnival's in Town!

When we arrived at the train station, we departed to find a cloudy (but dry) sky, salty sea air, and a weekend carnival set up on the harbor.

We skipped the carnival, but there was quite a celebration going on for a weekend sailboat regatta.  Dun Laoghaire has a large and famous sailboat harbor.  This weekend, all the sweater-vested, pipe-smoking, white-pantsed sailors were out enjoying their success on the Bay.  It was a beautiful day for it, so we couldn't blame them.

Sailboats are tugged out of the harbor at Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Sailboats Being Pulled Out

Looking in to shore from the pier at Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland
A View Inland
Dun Laoghaire is home to two large piers that protect the harbor.  Both piers are open for pedestrians, anglers, popcorn carts, and street musicians.  Looking around the pier and the harbor, we watched the sailboats heading out to sea past the lighthouses on the pier ends.

Sailboats exit the harbor past the red lighthouse at Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Leaving the Harbor

On the end of the pier and on the seaward side, we got a good look out across Dublin Bay.  In the distance we could see the rise of Howth (rhymes with growth) on the far north side of Dublin.

The hill of Howth is seen across Dublin Bay from Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland

The mackerel were in season and running along the Irish Sea.  These fish migrate to the Northern Atlantic in the summer months to feed before leaving for warmer Southern waters in winter.  Anglers fishing for "macks" use double-rigged feather lures, fished in the surf with large, stout rods.  Several anglers were trying their luck on the seaward side of the pier on this particular festive weekend.

An angler casts for mackerel on the seaward side of the pier in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Making a Cast

We noticed, while watching the Bay from the pier, the sailboats were forming tight gangs or pods.  These groups were twenty or more strong and didn't seem to make much forward progress.  The boats were too far out for us to have seen or heard any communication between the passengers of the boats, but we assumed the regatta was less a race and more a social occasion.  Not knowing much anything about sailing or the marine lifestyle, we just enjoyed watching them have a little fun on a nice weekend afternoon.

Sailboats are grouped together in Dublin Bay at Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Bunching Up

The sailboats are gathered in a pod while the car ferry and a freighter cruise in the background at Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Pod of Sailboats

The lighthouse and the Irish National Flag on the pier at Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Red Lighthouse with the Irish Flag

The carnival is in town and the village is seen in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland
A look at the carnival and the village.  The church steeple rises on the right.

Walking back along the pier, we took a close look at the blue water in the harbor.  Drifting lightly just off the wall of the pier, we saw several squishy jellyfish lazily enjoying the afternoon near the surface.

A jellyfish drifts in the harbor at Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Bloop Bloop

A white gazebo on the pier at Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland
At lunchtime, we made our way past the pier along the rocky shoreline, mostly to get away from the crowds now showing up as the day got later and the sun got sunnier.  A group of Italian teenage tourists were enjoying themselves particularly keenly.  Ah, youth.  After lunch, we made our way (slowly!) back along the shore to visit the village before catching our train home.

A seabird rests on a rock wall on the shoreline in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Lunch on the Rocks

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