Down by the Bay
When I came to Dublin, I expected it to be a bustling city. I imagined what most tourists imagined: people playing fiddle music in cozy corners of Temple Bar pubs and nightly Irish dance performances. But it turns out, Dublin is actually very close to the outdoors! During my first few weeks here, I had a day or two to spare and decided to see if I could figure out the train system. Since I would be using it to get to and from work every day, I figured it would be handy to know my way around the rail stations. The Dublin DART, which is the local train line, doesn’t go very far so I figured I would take the train all the way to the end of the line up North of the city, and then take it all the way back down the end of the line to the South of the city.
My first stop off the DART was in a little fishing village called Howth. Howth is adorable. It’s lots of sweet little shops with flowers in the windows, and you can walk the whole way down to the end of the pier for an absolutely gorgeous view of the island Ireland’s Eye just outside the bay. As I walked along the pier, I could see fishermen bringing fresh fish in off the boats and taking it into the shops to be cooked into fish and chips for the afternoon. While I was down in the harbor, I decided to stop into the visitor information stall and see if they had any brochures about the town. Just as I was asking the lady at the desk about things to do in Howth, this jolly man strolled up to me.
“Hello!” he said, “I’m John, and I run a walking tour every day here at 11 am. We go on a hike up to Howth Head and walk along the cliffs and then we walk down along the old tram line. It’s only 15 euros, do you want to join us?” Well, you know that my plan had been to spend the day checking out the DART, so I politely explained that I was an intern at a bed and breakfast for the summer and was using the day to explore the train system. “Oh!” he said, “Well since you’re an unpaid intern I’ll tell you what, you can walk with me for free!” I don’t know any student that’s going to turn down that kind of offer, so of course I joined him on the walk! It ended up being one of my favorite days in Dublin to date. John was hilarious and had lots of stories to tell, and in fact, by the end of the tour we were such good friends that once he’d said goodbye to the rest of the tourists, he took me on a drive through Howth and out to see Howth castle which is a bit out of the way of the town.
By the time we said goodbye it was nearly five o’clock, so I stopped into the cutest coffee shop in Dublin to wait for my train. It was all fairy lights and mismatched China, and it really felt like home. The only thing is, I guess I got a bit too comfortable because I missed my train and ended up staying an extra hour! In the end I caught the train home though and went straight to bed. The moral of the story for the day ended up be willing to go with the flow – and you never know, if you’re anything like me you might end up having an even better day than you would have if Plan A had worked out!
Jessica F. is a CEA alumni. She is studying Human Resources Management and General Management in Dublin in the summer of 2017 and is currently a junior at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.