Standing above the Fortyfoot beach in Dún Laoghaire is a Martello tower. Just like its cousins in southern England, it was built in the early nineteenth century as part of Britain's defence system against the promised invasion from Napoleon. In 1904 it was home to James Joyce for a short while and as a result starred in his most famous work, Ulysses.
When I visited the beach at the end of August, entrance to the tower was free, so it seemed churlish to miss such an opportunity to have a look a bit closer at the great man's life. Manuscripts, first editions, drawings, family photos, two death masks and explanations of Joyce's life and works fill the walls and cabinets on the first floor. Half way up the narrow stone staircase of the tower is a single room which has been furnished as it would have been during Joyce's stay. It was sparse and would have been cold in winter, but there was a palpable romanticism about the place.
At the top, where the canon track is still in place, there is a fine view across the bay. I was so inspired by the place that I bought a secondhand copy of Ulysses later that weekend.
James Joyce Tower and Museum, Fortyfoot, Sandycove Point, Dún Laoghaire, Dublin IrelandHarbour, Sandycove
+353 (1) 280 9265
Google map: bit.ly/OCF0bF
Bull Island is man-made - well, formed as the result of sand building up against the (man-made) harbour wall. A stunning long sandy beach with an important bird sanctuary at one end, and a quaint wooden bridge, harbour wall, and monument at the other. If you aim for the middle section, you'll avoid the boy racers (they're not intimidating - just a bit annoying). On a windy day you'll have some impressive kitesurfing to watch, too.
Look out for the Bull Island if you come in on the plane. The northern approach often takes you directly overhead.
Bus routes 103, 104 and 130 run next to Bull Island (ask the driver), or Clontarf Rd DART (suburban rail) station followed by a 20 minute walk along the sea wall
You can walk to the next station through the path, which is next to the mountain. It is a little bit far away, but you can enjoy great views of the beautiful beach and cliffs. Those are fabulous scenes.
It's an easy walk: not too steep those make you healthy, for sure. Go there and enjoy fresh air.
Nestled high in the hills, this is Ireland's highest pub. Great seafood, a scenic drive and heaps of good music.
Glencullen Cross, Glencullen; An irregular bus service leaves from the city centre; To drive head south for Enniskery and take the turnoff for Glencullen. The pub sits on right-hand side of road
This grand old public park, on the outskirts of Dublin's southern suburbs is a great way of escaping the mayhem, walking off that hangover and acts as a gateway to the beautiful Dublin and Wicklow hills. A wander through the Victorian grounds, forest, Saturday market and model railway for kids is extremely rewarding.
For one of the outstanding views of Dublin, follow the yellow marker posts for about an hour on a climb into the nearby woods. This view (on the Wicklow walkway) looks north taking in Dublin city, the bay and environs.
For even more stunning scenery follow the track for another hour up the hill and the city disappears to reveal open Irish hillsides and rolling forests. If you’re lucky, you will see some native deer and mountain goats.
Take the 48A bus from Dame Street (city centre near O'Connell Street) for 1/2 an hour, the last stop is Marley Park. To get to the viewing points follow the yellow markers in the main carpark. A map and information are also provided. For more details on the Wicklow way see www.wicklowway.com
One of the nicest walks in easy reach of Dublin. Get the Dart train to Howth village (about 25 minutes from the city centre), turn left and walk past the harbour (also a lovely walk and has a great restaurant called Aqua).Keep following the coast and you will find yourself on a wide unpaved path that runs along the southern part of Howth Head. Get ready for a bracing walk with fantastic views over Dublin Bay on a nice day. If you keep walking for two to three hours you eventually arrive in Sutton. Keep walking along the coast and you will end up at the Marine Hotel. You can get back to Dublin from the Sutton Dart station.
Howth Head, north Dublin
Take in a 360-degree view of the city and a free pint in the glass-walled bar at the top of the 1904 storehouse. Entry is part of the Guinness Storehouse tour, €14 per adult. Open 9.30am-5.30pm in winter, and until 8pm in summer.
St James's Gate, Dublin 8; Tel: +353 (1) 408 4800; www.guinnessstorehouse.com/
Walk to the top of Killiney Hill Park for heart-stopping views over the city and across Dun Laoghaire harbour and Dalkey Bay with the Suger Loaf and Dublin mountains in the distance. Described as Ireland's Bay of Naples, you'll also have a good perspective on the swish Dalkey pads of Bono, Neil Jordan and Dublin's finest. Take the Dart to Killiney or Dalkey. Afterwards, put your feet up in the pubs and cafes of Dalkey village.
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