Linguistic ConcernsI am endlessly fascinated with the variety of accents and dialects spoken by people in this great country. We are constantly, and I do mean always hearing new and unique variations in sentence inflection, vowel sounds, and consonant phonemes.
Just to the North of Dublin city proper is the peninsula of Howth. Howth rhymes with "Growth," but in some Irish accents with the hardened "th" consonant, would sound more like "Boat" with an "H." Further, if the speaker is one who uses what I call the "extended ultimate T," it would sound not as "hoat," but "hoatss." The letter "H" of course is pronounced "Haych" here, not "Aych" as Americans say.
Got all that? Good.
Where Were We, Again?
Anyway, Howth Head is that bulbous landmass poking out Northeast of the city. The whole peninsula is visible clearly from the coastline South of the city, and we had been longing to pay a visit to this almost-island and its famous hiking mountain. Armed with our walking shoes on a nice day, we headed North for a good afternoon's walk.
|From Sea Level|
|Ireland's Eye Island|
"What's that over there?"Most of North America hasn't been inhabited by stone and metal builders for nearly as long as the British Isles, so structures of that age are rare- and Americans tend to get disproportionately enthusiastic about these kinds of relics, even though they are on every street corner and in every farmer's pasture.
"Oh, that? That's just some 800 year old building ruin. No big deal..."
|Just Some Old Wall|
|Obligatory Cory-Looking-At-The-Water Photo|
|Don't Do What This Dude is Doin'|
|Climbing the Rocky Steps to the Top|
|Obligatory Cory-Looking-At-The-Water Photo From the Top|
|...Now They Tell Me!|
|Color-Coded Trails are Well-Marked|
Walking towards the lighthouse from North to South is difficult in the winter. Notice in the next photo the low Southern angle of the sun. Keep in mind this photo was taken near midday. The low angle of the sun casts a very long and very bright reflection off the sea right into the face and eyes of the Southbound hikers. If hiking here in December or January, bring the sunglasses.
|Bright Sun Reflection|
|Bailey Lighthouse With Less Glare|
Totally Unsolicited Travel Tips
- Take the DART train Northbound from Dublin city. Buy a return ticket from a ticket machine at any DART station. Take the train terminating at HOWTH (not MALAHIDE) and get off at the end of the line. The DART is reasonably priced, runs often, and is easy to use.
- Bring the hiking shoes and budget at least an hour for a shorter route, much more if taking the longer or more strenuous walks. Be mindful of the daylight hours in winter- it can get dark mighty quickly up here.
- Hike safely- follow all of the common sense hiking rules, especially the classics like Don't leave the trail, stupid! and Leave no trace, pack our your trash, litterbug! Insults added by me for emphasis.
- Plan some time to visit Howth village (see future posts) and the pier. There are a number of shops, restaurants, and sights to see in Howth town.