Howth (the name rhymes with oat) lies on the sea at the end of the Dublin Area Rapid Transit route. I have gotten weary of cities and museums and the weather is so good that I wanted to spend it outside. A DART station is located just down Pearse Street from my hotel and I got there early for the short trip north.
Howth Head is where Bloom proposed to Molly in Ulysses. (“the sun shines for you he said the day we were lying among the rhododendrons on Howth head in the grey tweed suit and his straw hat the day I got him to propose to me yes”). (I still haven’t read that whole book, a terrible failure for an English major). The town is small and caters to visitors. There was a small outdoor market where I enjoyed a breakfast bratwurst and then walked out on the harbor, home to fishing boats, sailboats and seals.
The narrow Balscadden Road climbs from the town to a rocky conservation area high above the sea. It is an easy walk uphill. On the route I passed a house on the cliff with a badge identifying it as home to W.B. Yeats from 1880 to 1883, when he was between the ages of 15 and 18. The cliffs are dizzying and unguarded. Inland are narrow trails cut through the low heather. On the cliffs below the trails seabirds nest in crowded rookeries. There was a light breeze blowing while I was there and not a cloud in the sky.
By the time I walked back to the small town it had filled up with Dubliners and tourists enjoying the sun. Although there are many sail boats moored in the harbor, not many boats were actually out sailing, although the day was perfect for it. I had a lunch bratwurst with beer at the market and bought homemade licorice from a French candy maker.
In Dublin I made arrangements online to take the train to Cork. The cost the attendant at the DART ticket window quoted was about €65; online the cost is €10, plus a small handling fee. I have no idea why there was such a disparity in cost depending on where or how you order a ticket.
My alarm clock woke me up this morning to Jessie J being interviewed by two moronic Dublin disk jockeys. I listened expecting to get some expansion of her tweets after the Trinity Ball, but not a word was spoken, the church bells all were broken, etc. The music business is more tightly controlled than ever. Anything other than hype and inane small talk is off the table.