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Portmarnock has been settled in Neolithic times, with a number of remains of activity in the area still evident today, such as flints and other tools having been excavated at the northern fringe of Portmarnock. The remains of a ring fort are visible from the air at the south of the town. The son of famous Irish Queen Maedhbh of Connaught – Maine – is also said to have been buried locally.
Adjacent to Portmarnock is a narrow beach which extends onto a sandy peninsula with beaches on all sides. The beach is nicknamed The Velvet Strand due to the beautiful smooth sand along the beach.
Howth (rhymes with both!), is a fishing and yachting port, and popular suburban resort on the north side of Howth Head, Just 15 kilometres (9½ miles) northeast of Dublin City Centre, its attractions are easily appreciated, particularly at the coast. Howth Head offers fine views of Dublin Bay, the Wicklow Mountains, Boyne Valley & beyond. In the bay is the rocky bird sanctuary and monastic island of Ireland's Eye. Cliff paths lead around the coastline, through Howth village and its ruined abbey, and past Baily Lighthouse. The 15th-century Howth Castle is inland, partly in ruins, but with fine rhododendron gardens. Howth's pubs, hotels and fish restaurants, along with spectacular coastal scenery, make it a wonderful location to visit when in the area!
Malahide can trace its origins to the coming of the Vikings, who landed in 795 A.D., and used the Malahide Estuary as a convenient base. The village is an affluent spot, and boasts many retail boutiques, nice pubs and restaurants. Traditional shopfronts and several cobble-lock side streets give the village an intimate and welcoming feel. As well as being quite picturesque, the village also boasts the 800 year old Malahide Castle. Set on a 250 acre estate, Malahide Castle has a rich and varied history, not to mention being reputedly haunted by no less than 5 ghosts! There is an ancient covered well - St. Sylvester's - on the old main street. Malahide also has a substantial marina.
HOWTH HEAD WALK
Howth Head arguably offers the best walk within the environs of Dublin City. Walk to the end of Howth along the waterfront, following the road up and to the right at the end of the harbour. Keep following the coast and you will find yourself on a wide unpaved path that runs right around Howth Head. You can double back at any time (walking the entire length takes 2 - 3 hours both ways). The cliff-side walk to 'The Summit' boasts splendid sea views and is guaranteed to clear away any big city cobwebs! The views of Lambay Island and Ireland’s Eye, as well as Dublin Bay are spectacular. The cliffs also offer great bird-watching opportunities and you may even spot a grey seal frolicking in the water. Reward yourself with some of Dublin’s best seafood at King Sitric Fish Restaurant in Howth.
Skerries is another of North County Dublin’s sea-side towns located 31 kilometres (19 miles) north of Dublin City Centre. It is a prosperous fishing town with much on offer for visitors to the area. Skerries is now one of Dublin’s most desirable resedential areas, due to its character and its lovely seaside. Skerries’ long sandy beach, an ideal spot for safe bathing for adults and children alike, is watched by lifeguards during the summer months. It is adjacent to the Red Island Scenic Park, which provides excellent coastal views, as well as a children’s playground.
Killiney Hill Park was opened in 1887 as Victoria Hill in honour of Britain's Queen Victoria's 50 years on the throne. The park boasts magnificent views of Dublin Bay, Killiney Bay, Bray Head and the mountain of Great Sugar Loaf (506 m), stretching from the Wicklow Mountains right across to Howth Head. The Park's topography is quite dramatic and its highest point, at the obelisk, is 170 metres above sea level. Other attractions include Killiney Beach, Killiney Golf Club, a local Martello Tower, and the ruins of Cill Iníon Léinín, the church around which the original village was based. The coastal areas of Killiney are often favourably compared to the Bay of Naples in Italy. This comparison is reflected in the names of surrounding roads, like Vico, Sorrento, Monte Alverno, San Elmo, and Capri. On clear days, the Mourne Mountains of County Down can be seen.
Dublin is a lively cosmopolitan city brimming with culture. You could spend your time strolling the streets soaking up the atmosphere, relaxing in its cafes and bars or you could check out its myriad historical, literary and cultural delights. The 8th century illuminated manuscript, the Book of Kells, must be viewed. It is on display at the impressive Trinity College, Ireland's first university (founded 1592) in the heart of Dublin.
Phoenix Park (twice the size of New York City's Central Park), Georgian Dublin around Stephen's Green, Dublin Castle, the National Botanical Gardens, National Museum, Kilmainham Gaol and the Hugh Lane Municipal Art Gallery are all highly recommended stops on your tour. Then there's the Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Distillery. A visit to Dublin's Temple Bar to experience the lively Dublin pub culture is a must, though many of Dublin's best bars can be found outside this area in the streets and laneways around Grafton Street, the shopper's street of choice.