A very pleasant walking trail follows the coast for a half-mile from Dun Laoghaire's East Pier all the way out to the tip of Sandycove. There are two paths, the older trail runs closer to the water and is a bit perilous. The paving stones are uneven and covered with a slick layer of sea slime at low tide- and is probably underwater at high tide. Climate change, eh? The safer and more comfortable trail is a wide, flat sidewalk following the coast road.
The first part of Sandycove we pass is the small sandy beach. It's only a small patch, nothing like Sandymount Strand, but it looks like the tidal range isn't quite so severe down here, so presumably there is still some water at the beach when the tide goes out, unlike Sandymount.
The legendary local favorite here is called The Forty Foot- presumably because of a steep depth drop-off just off the rocks. Years ago, this secluded swimming hole was reserved specifically for nude men. Today, it is open to men, women, and children- all of whom were clothed when I visited. Apparently, the nude tradition continues, but only very early in the morning...
|Forty Foot Sign|
|Gentlemen's Bathing Place|
|Forty Foot Swimming Steps|
The point is also home to another of Dublin's Martello towers. These squat, round towers were built as a defensive bulwark against Napoleon, and since, most of them have fallen into private hands or disrepair. The one here on Sandycove is happily open as a museum dedicated to Dublin-born author James Joyce.
Joyce apparently spent a week living in the small upstairs apartment in the tower with his writing rival (literary frenemy) Oliver St. John Gogarty. Years later, he set the opening scene in his famous novel Ulysses in this very tower.
Today, access to the tower and museum is open and free. Nice!
|James Joyce Tower Museum|
|Small Ground Floor Display|
|Narrow Tower Steps|
The tower would have originally housed a garrison of soldiers with their munitions and supplies. I suppose it was only natural to turn the upper room into an apartment after the tower was no longer needed for Dublin's defense. It seemed a bit cramped, but I've never lived in a Dublin studio apartment, so maybe this is spacious by comparison?
Above the upstairs apartment, the roof is open for a high view of Dun Laoghaire, Forty Foot, and swankey Dalkey farther south. It was overcast and windy the day I went down, so everything looks dark and gray- even though it was midday when these photos were taken. Guess the winter is officially upon us here in Ireland.
|Dun Laoghaire from Sandycove Tower|
|Forty Foot from Sandycove Tower|
A nice (windy) view from the top of the James Joyce Tower Museum in Sandycove south of #Dublin pic.twitter.com/GgsMrZ0vU1
— Cory Hanson (@HansonCory1) November 4, 2014