Some of you may know that we took a trip to Dublin a few weeks ago to the Littlewoods Ireland Blog awards. The awards were being held in the beautiful coastal town of Dun Laoghaire, so we decided to take advantage of our time in Dublin and we checked into the Rochestown Lodge Hotel.
Any of us who aren’t living in, or from, Dublin usually head into the city centre for a night out, shopping or concerts. But there are so many places outside of the city center to go exploring. I had arrived to the Rochestown Lodge Hotel quite early in the day so I decided to park up the car and head down the road to Dun Laoghaire for a walk. The Hotel itself is situated just 10 minutes off the M50 on Rochestown avenue, so it was quite easy to get to and very little traffic. A perfect spot to base ourselves for the awards in Dun Laoghaire.
I under estimated how long it would take me to walk down to Dun Laoghaire from the Hotel, but its still a lovely walk down the Sallynoggin Road and Glenageary road. At the end of this road you will find the peoples park. There is a Fallons and Byrne Restaurant and Cafe here with a lovely outside decking area. Perfect for a catch up with friends on a nice day.
The park itself is a little gem off the seafront in Dun Laoghaire. It opened towards the end of the 19th century. It boasts two beautiful fountains, a bandstand, a kids playground and a garden for the blind. Every Sunday it comes alive as a market with arts and crafts and local food vendors. Definitely one to check out. There was loads of people milling about on this particular day and even two guys on the lawn playing cricket. Just in front of the peoples park you will find the old Dun Laoghaire baths. They are abandoned now but at the height of their popularity they were visited from all over Ireland. They included medicinal baths, a kids pool and hot towels! Last year a redevelopment plan was approved for the baths, so fingers crossed that will go ahead.
Instead of walking up left towards Dun Laoghaire I decided to take a right to walk down the Marina Parade. There’s a lovely little Ice Cream shop at the start of this road, so I bought a 99 and took one of the seats on the promenade. There was plenty of people taking a rest here, and taking pictures of the view. You can see all the way over to Dun Laoghaire Pier and Howth head from here to the North. To the South then you can see down towards Sandycove. So I finished my ice cream (which I managed to spill all over my jumper too!) and headed down towards Sandycove. Its a nice easy walk down towards the cove and I spied lots of people sitting on the sea wall and the rocks having their lunch (making the most of the last few nice days no doubt). When I reached Sandycove there was around 30 people on the little beach and another 10 or so out swimming. It wasn’t an incredibly sunny day but it was quite warm, so I was pretty jealous of everyone.
If you make your way up to the right of the beach you will find the signs for the forty foot. This is a really popular swimming spot in Dublin and was originally a men’s only swimming spot. (Apparently favoured by nudists also). Both men and women can swim here now, and on the day I visited there was plenty of people plunging into the cold water. Everyone seemed to know each other down here which gave it a nice friendly feel. The mens only bathing sign is still, there but its thankfully ignored!
Just around the corner and up the hill a little bit you will find the James Joyce Museum. Entry is free here and its open 365 days a year! The tower is a fantastic tribute to the Irish writer and the opening of Ulysses is based here. The museum is run by volunteers, without whom the Tower would not be open. The ground floor of the tower has loads of memorabilia of Joyce and letter’s he wrote, some of his personal belongings and stories of his rise and fall and rise again.
Through the second room you can climb a narrow staircase that will take you to the second floor of the tower and a replica of Joyce’s sitting room. You can make your way to the top of the tower and the views are something else up here. You get a great view of Dalkey Lighthouse, all the boats leaving and coming into the Dublin quays, and of course Dun Laoghaire pier.
This was the perfect ending to my afternoon walk and I made my back down the staircase of the tower. The people that were at reception were lovely to stop and have a chat with it. The people of Sandycove are very lucky to have such amazing people keeping this museum open. I wish them all the best of luck with it in the future.
So next time you are in Dublin and you fancy a swim or a nice walk by the sea with some Irish culture thrown in- make you way out to Dun Laoghaire and Sandycove. You won’t be disappointed! I have attached a few links below to help you with your trip and as always- Happy Galavanting! xxx