If you think about Ireland, the first thing that comes to mind is rain, drizzle, cold and wind. Although it is true, sometimes, during the summer months, the sun appears also in the Emerald Island (and in June and July it shines until 10 PM!)
When you are visiting Dublin in summer, it's great to get away from the grayish capital to the beautiful coastal areas, especially because they are so close and at the price of only 5 EUR (7 USD) for a return ticket, using public transport, you can admire the beautiful nature that surrounds the city. You will be surprised.
I decided to name this post "Subtropical coast of Ireland" because, although Ireland has nothing in common with real subtropical regions (it lies at the same latitude as Siberia!), due to very mild climate, it is indeed a home for many Mediterranean plants (cedar and ever-green eucalyptus trees), and even some more exotic species like "Cabbage Palm Trees" - Cordyline australis (which are not really palm trees but look pretty unusual, native to New Zealand) or "Chinese Fan Palm Trees" - they grow very well, for example, in Powerscourt Gardens in Enniskerry or near Dun Laoghaire ferry port.
The photos might surprise you as they look as if they were taken not in cold Ireland but somewhere much further south. When I was walking the roads by the coast, the flora around actually reminded me of my trips to subtropical coastal areas of the Black Sea: Crimea in Ukraine and Batumi in Georgia.
On a sunny day, the Irish sea has a beautiful, blue color which perfectly contrasts with the nearby sharp cliffs and rocks.
How to get to Dun Laoghaire
The main station, Connolly, is located near Dublin city center, a few minutes walk from O'Connell Street. The ticket fare is around 3 EUR (4 USD) one way or 5 EUR (7 USD) return. The journey to Dun Laoghaire, Dalkey or Killiney takes around 40 minutes.
Dublin Bus, no. 7 (towards Loughlinstown/Cherrywood) departs from O'Connell Street and you can also take it to get to Dun Laoghaire. However, the route is much less scenic than that of DART which runs just right by the sea.
Another option is to take an Aircoach Bus directly from Dublin airport to Dun Laoghaire, the ticket fare is 9 EUR (12 USD).
I followed the route described here below and it turned out to be a perfect one-day trip from Dublin. It requires a good bit of walking and hiking but the views are so nice that they will surely make up for the inconvenience.
I took a DART train from O'Connell station and I was admiring the seaside and cliffs stretching along the coast from the window.
I got off at Dalkey station (two stops before Dun Laoghaire) walked through the picturesque village towards the shore and then followed the coastal scenic road all the way towards Dun Laoghaire where I took the train back to Dublin.
Dalkey is a small suburban village that takes its name from the nearby island - Dalkey Island. In the main street, there is an old church and remains of Dalkey Castle.
Killiney is an another little village located by the coast. It boasts an amazing, wide beach, but during my walk I found a different, smaller beach among the cliffs just before the main one. The view was spectacular, and somehow unusual for Ireland, literally like in an exotic country: many people craving for some sunshine were sunbathing on the rocks and jumping to the perfectly blue sea from the cliffs.
After spending a few minutes on the beach enjoying the sun, I headed towards Killiney Hill - the highest point nearby. Although only 155 meters (500 ft.) above sea level, it offers wonderful views over Dublin Bay, Bray and Wicklow Mountains. The hills close to Killiney are covered with some exotic for Ireland species, like the eucalyptus trees mentioned before.
On the top of the hill, there is an obelisk erected in the eighteenth century to commemorate the severe famine of 1740-1741. The sign on the obelisk says: "Last year being hard with the poor, walks about these hills and this were erected by John Mapas, 1742.
Killiney Hill, together with Dalkey Hill is a part of Killiney Hill Park which was opened for the public in 1887. The park has numerous walking trails and on a nice, sunny day attracts many visitors from the capital.
It is in Killiney where the most famous Irish people have their mansion, including Bono from U2.
After visiting Killiney Hill, I got down to the main road and followed it until Dun Laoghaire. It's a small and very scenic town with many restaurants and cafes offering the perfect view of the sea.
Although it's only 12 kilometers away from Dublin city center, you can get that feeling of being in a small, quiet town with idyllic landscapes around.
Dun Laoghaire has a large harbor and two piers. On the East Pier there is a lighthouse. It takes some time to get there as the pier is exceptionally long, but if you keep going, you will be rewarded with beautiful scenery of the town. Many people spend long summer evening at the seaside in Dun Laoghaire waiting for the sunset.
While I was walking along the piers I was lucky to notice unbelievable amounts of colorful jellyfish glittering with the light reflected from the sun rays. Spotting seals and sometimes even dolphins is also not uncommon.
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