Top 6 places to visit on the DART line

About two and a half years ago, Frank and I moved from smack dab in the middle of Dublin city (granted not a great area but the location! ideal) to one of the little villages a short bit out of the main city centre.

At first I missed the buzz of the city and was a little sad I couldn’t just easily meet a friend for a quick pint somewhere handy for both of us. After a little while though I grew to love being outside of the city, choosing to be in the buzz when I wanted to and generally just being outdoors so much more.

Also, where we live now is luckily only about a 5 minute walk from the DART station and only about a 20 minute train ride into the heart of Dublin. But besides the ease of getting into Dublin, it’s so great to have access to really nice places with max a 40 minute trip away.

So in light of this, I wanted to round-up my 6 favorite stops along the DART line. Anything I’ve included I’ve been to so many times (probably at least 6x each and others countless times) and genuinely if I have a free afternoon or morning, I hop on the train to take me to some place for a bit of fresh air. Lots of these include two of my favorite weekends things: coffee and nice scenic walks.

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1. Bray & Greystones

These two are grouped together in my book, because the Bray to Greystones cliff walk (or the opposite direction) is one of the best ways to spend a sunny morning or afternoon out of Dublin city. It’s the perfect level of difficulty (runners will do just fine) and offers gorgeous views of the sea. Great to go with your group as you can easily chat along the way (or go solo) and pet the dogs that pass you by.

Either direction will lead you to lovely treats to reward you after your walk. In Bray there’s Platform Pizza with homemade lemonade, seriously tasty wings and top ingredients on their pizzas. In Greystones everyone and their mother loves The Happy Pear (which I don’t dislike it’s always just too busy) so I opt for the sweet Cafe Gray, which has the tastiest lemon blueberry drizzle cake.

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2. Killiney

Two parts to Killiney worth a visit – Killiney Beach and Killiney Hill. There’s a gorgeous extra long stretch of a beach where you can catch people fishing, dogs walking and people attempting to swim. It’s a rocky beach so not ideal for lounging on a towel, but there’s stunning views of the coast here.

Part two is Killiney Hill, another great walk without being too difficult. It’s the perfect mix of woods/coast and takes about 2 hours to complete. I like to do the walk first then sit for 15 minutes on the beach while waiting for the DART back to town.

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3. Dalkey

Just the stop before Killiney, but Dalkey is a good place to stop on the way back from your many little walks or even if you’re looking for something a little different for dinner than Dublin city. My favorite little place to have a bite to eat outside is The Tramyard cafe and there’s about a million specialty food shops to pop into.

Also my favorite Italian restaurant Ragazzi’s is here. Frank and I always feel so welcome there, the food is so tasty and not overpriced at all. And of course, there’s a great (extremely) short little walk that takes you along the coast but really is gorgeous.

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4. Howth

I’ve written about Howth a couple of times before but really, it’s fantastic. One of the best coastal walks in the east coast is here, sorry still have yet to find ones to match the west. I know I’m harping on about the coastal walks, but truly if you’re visiting Ireland you’ve gotta appreciate the islands edges.

Not into walks? There’s a sneaky little beach where you can actually stretch out in a towel. I always walk the furthest I can to get a quiet little space, or you can hop off at the Sutton station and grab a space near there. If you want to avoid the sea completely, there’s beautiful gardens as well. Also there’s my favorite fish & chips and a nice pub next to the water. Howth’s been getting all the press lately, which is great, but also please go early in the morning and avoid the swarms on a nice day.

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5. Clontarf

If you walk out straight towards the sea from the dart you’ll reach the beginning of Clontarf. There’s a really nicely done pedestrian walk along the coast (grab a coffee here before you head out) and if you’re feeling a long walk, you can head out towards Bull Island. Even better, rent a bike and have a quick cycle on the path.

Either way, you’ll cross over a wooden bridge which you are unsure will continue to hold, and reach a really nice view of Dublin and the Poolbeg Towers. If you look to your left you’ll see a massive beach and perhaps even people attempting to surf.

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6. Seapoint, Monkstown, Dun Laoghaire & Sandycove

These four stops are all the ones just after my own DART stop so there’s a lot I can say about these spots. They’re all really quite close to each other and merely walking distance so you could easily spend an afternoon covering off these few. All have their own merits but here’s a note about each.

Seapoint – this is my local little beach. There’s always people swimming, literally every day of the year, and no matter the weather it makes for a dramatic short walk along the water. When it’s windy there’s kite surfers, when it’s quiet there’s paddle boarders but people watching is generally a given here.

Monkstown – if you get off at Seapoint, it’s about a 15 minute walk to Monkstown. Here is where there’s some seriously tasty restaurants and a great little Avoca to buy some food for dinner, or stop and sit outside at Cinnamon for coffee & a cake.

Dun Laoghaire – this one gets a lot of press as well, as there’s a whole bunch to do in this sizeable village. There’s two calm piers that take about 30 minutes each to walk. And again because I’m clearly geared by treats, there’s the Dublin’s favorite Teddy’s for 99s or the absolutely decadent Scrumdiddly’s that have every topping and delicious hot fudge sauce. Also on Sunday’s there’s a farmers market (again go early on this one because past 12pm on a nice day it is jammed) and stop by my favorite little shop for really inexpensive lovely paper supplies and more.

Sandycove – if you keep walking on past Dun Laoghaire, you’ll walk towards Sandycove. You’ll literally see a sandy little cove and if you round that corner, you’ll stumble to the Forty Foot, a common place to swim. If the water’s way too cold, loop up towards the main road and grab a coffee at this new coffee shop Hatch, sit outside on the bench and people watch before you head back into town.

P.S. While I’d love to share lots of nice camera photos – I’ve been awfully bad at taking the good camera along with me, so some of these spots I’ve never actually taken good quality pics at. So in the interest of consistency, everything is coming from my Instagram page.

The new lunch break

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In the hopes of saving a bit of cash and being a bit healthier, I’ve been bringing my lunch in to work with me.

This is absolutely not revolutionary and has been really great, but at the same time I’ve been missing getting out of the office for an hour and taking a break from reading and staring at my screen.

At my last job, we had a lovely kitchen area where you could sit during lunch away from your desk and getting a little break. But my new office doesn’t have a kitchen area so that automatically means sitting at my desk to eat lunch.

Now I’m never going to be able to be one of those people who sits at my desk and reads a book or watches Netflix, I’d never be able to relax because I’d be thinking about all the other stuff I need to do.

So I’ve started to eat my lunch at my desk a half hour while working before I’d normally head out to lunch – but then still leave the office for the hour. Weather permitting I’ve been walking around Dublin (trying to avoid the massive swarm of tourists, is there way more this year or is it just me?) and listening to a new podcast.

Again, so not revolutionary and I’m totally late to the game on this one, but this hour of listening is totally becoming the bright spots of my week.

In the interest of sharing this new found love (okay, obsession… I think everyone’s waiting for me to shut up about podcasts now, years late to the game) I rounded up my 6 favorite podcasts as of late.

Please share any and other podcasts that you’re a fan of as I’m already flying through the ones below. Also shout out to Jess for telling me basically all of these, she’s the best sister.

  1. Anna Faris is unqualified – all are great, but the ones with Aubrey Plaza and Chris Evans & Jenny Slate had me laughing out loud, I probably looked completely insane
  2. Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin – Elie Kemper had me smiling ear to ear and telling everyone to go listen to it
  3. The Nerdist – I have a huge crush on Chris Hemsworth so the one with him and Jessica Chastain I loved
  4. Planet Money – this is the one that I throw out in work conversations to sound smarter, i.e. Planet Money Workout
  5. WTF with Marc Maron – loved the one with Broad City girls Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer
  6. Adam Buxton Podcast – favorite one was with Rob Delaney… also go watch Catastrophe now, I promise it’s great, only 2 seasons so far and each season only takes 2 hours to watch

 

PS. I’ve been downloading all of these onto the Overcast app so I don’t have to use up all my data to stream everything. I found it super difficult to find a good app so I’d love to know, do you use an app for your podcasts? Which app do you use?

The best walk

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One of my favorite things to do around Dublin when we have a sliver of good weather (even an hour will do!) is to hop on the DART and go for a walk.

Considering there’s about 20 nice stops along the coast, I feel at this stage I’ve done a lot of them. Without a car though, it can be quite limiting in where you can actually go – and a lot of times you have to walk a mile or more to even get to the start of the walk.

The other day we had just about 20 degree weather (almost 70 degrees in F) so I had to take hold of the Sunday and spend it outside.

So I found myself getting on the trusty DART, not entirely sure when I would get off. I knew I wanted to go north of Dublin, purely because it had been a little while. After about 30 minutes on the train, I ended up in Howth.

I’ve done a few of the walks around here before and they have a lovely market on Sundays as well as a fantastic fish & chip shop. So while no stranger to the fishing village, I had never actually done the long walk along the cliffs – called the Bog of the Frogs loop.

Let me tell you. This walk is unreal. Yes, it takes a while to get to from the train. And yes, I was definitely sweating at the end after a couple of steep sections, it was so beautiful.

I couldn’t have gotten a better day and next visitor that comes over to Dublin, if the weather is good – we’re doing this walk, so get ready.

Now I’ll stop writing and let the pictures do the talking.

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Logistics: I took the DART northbound to Howth, about 30 minutes form Dublin city centre. To get to the start of the walk it’s a bit uphill and takes about 20 minutes. The walk itself takes about 2 and a half hours, and there’s not much shelter along the way, so would really only recommend this if you’re pretty sure the weather is good. But it is well worth the time spent!

Mannin Bay, Connemara

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A couple of weeks ago we went and stayed at our friends’ grandmother’s cottage out in Connemara.

I still completely don’t understand how Connemara is laid out and I forget pretty much every town name there, but all I know is I have some of the best times there. It’s part of the Wild Atlantic West and it truly lives up to the name.

It’s rugged, it’s coastline is ever changing and the weather can turn on you in a matter of seconds. But when the weather is good…. it’s just so good.

We seriously lucked out as the weather can be so hit or miss in August (let alone any other time of the year) but we had sun, warmth and even went swimming. So we took advantage of one of the good summer days and went for a wonderful little hike throughout Mannin Bay, just outside of Clifden.

Now I’m 80% sure this is where we were hiking, but as I mentioned before I cannot seem to remember any of the names around Connemara. A brief search online to find a map for the actual loop (to save and remember again, or if you’re interested) and I couldn’t really find much other than a link to a long list of hikes and walks around Connemara. But my pictures look quite similar, don’t they?

Overall it took us maybe just over two hours and it was so worth walking along the coast. Sometimes I forget that I actually do live in a different country and I know I’m totally taking it for granted while I’m still here.

Sometimes it takes getting out of the normal everyday to slap me into remembering the beautiful country that I’m living in. This was one of those trips and highly recommended if you find yourself in the area. So let’s just daydream over to this hike instead of being at our desks, shall we?

Deer Park

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A couple months ago back in May, I went on a little solo expedition and took a little day trip up to Howth to see Deer Park.

I have been seeing Deer Park posted seemingly everywhere, specifically for the rhododendron blooms (like here and here) and was over the moon that I actually remembered in time to go while they are in bloom. They’re only around for about a month each year, and I had missed it for the past two years.

It was completely worth the little hike uphill from the dart station and I felt like I was transported to a little fairy land. The nice thing about Dublin is you can take a short train ride, mainly along the coast, to so many lovely places. I’m so thankful for that as I don’t have a car (and I really do wish I do) so at least you can get around fairly easily.

So here’s my take on the lovely blooms. I also blogged about it in a more timely manner here. It also happened to be a day when the marriage referendum was voted on and passed with a big ‘YES’ from the Irish people, allowing same sex couples to wed. What a happy day full of colour! Read a little more about the day here.

Logistics:
If you want to head here from Dublin city centre, take a DART from Connelly Station heading north, destination Howth. Hop out at the little station there and take a right. Walk a little less then 10 minutes and you’ll see on your left a pretty steep hill heading towards Deer Park golf course. Turn up there and walk for another 15 minutes. You’ll reach the golf course club house and from there take the path on the right of the house and it’ll lead you to the blooms. Enjoy!

P.S. It’s been well over a year since I’ve posted on this blog… but I really miss it. I love looking back and seeing things that I’ve done, especially since I’ve gone around a whole lot of Ireland and want to have the stories here… not just on iPhoto and forgotten. So here’s to more writing and sharing.

Recently around Dublin

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Hello, friends.

Sorry it’s been so long, I just haven’t had a chance to take any good pictures. But I figured some iPhone photos are better than nothing. So here’s a little update on life. Weekdays have been long, as the sun stays up late during the summer here in Ireland. I’ve been trying to be outside as much as possible, soaking up the sun while I can. I spent a few hours walking along the cliffwalk from Bray to Greystones (just a 20-minute train ride from where I live in Dublin) and the weather was beautiful. The above beach was just at the end of the walk, and it was a lovely reward after the 5k walk.

Other than that, I’ve been trying to have a weekly swim at seapoint, the closest beach to me in Blackrock. The water has been WARM, no joke. As I’m training for a sprint triathlon (the swim is in open water, wetsuit required) I’ve been trying to incorporate some outdoor swims into my training schedule. But it’s been so warm I hardly need the wetsuit… this does not happen often in Ireland so I try to take advantage!

One Saturday I spent the afternoon walking around Dublin town, spending a little time in Temple Bar and then moved over to George’s Arcade. Now living slightly outside of the city I appreciate it when I go in for a few hours much more. It’s a lovely city even besides all the grey.

I’m continuing my quest for the best brunch in Dublin, and so far there’s been several contenders. My favourite place for Eggs Benedict is still from Eden, but the other Sunday I went to Dillingers with a friend and they have some seriously delicious brunch booze, which is always a huge draw. I really want to go try Herb Street for brunch, so hopefully that will come up on hungover Sunday soon🙂

Anyway, you can see some snaps below from my trusty phone. Hope your summer is wonderful and relaxing.

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^we also took a trip to IKEA and scored these lanterns for €2.50 a piece! totally makes the patio to a new level🙂

ILIN recently

ILIN... recently

Did you know I also write a blog with my sister? In case you hadn’t heard, it’s a blog called I love, I need and we have a post every single day during the week… way different then around here.

Anyway, we’ve been writing the blog for over three years (!!) and have the best time writing it.

We’ve had some really good posts recently, if I do say so myself. Sometimes I go through our archives looking for a certain post, shop, item, etc. and get lost down the rabbit hole. Today was one of those days. I was like, I like that post! And that one! So why not share about it here?

Who doesn't love a garland

Today I talked all about garlands. Really, my ode to garlands. I love a good set of bunting at a wedding, new year’s eve party, or even just around the house.

Green Goose Gallery prints

A really great place to snap up a few prints for around the house is Green Goose Gallery. Bonus, she has a whole section for Ireland landscapes and I’ve heard she has plans to have Dublin collection up for this year.

Spring ILIN list

Trying to get together your spring shopping list? Might be a bit belated now, but never too late… Anyway, we’ve put together the I love, I need shopping list for spring.

Odd Daughter

This round-up of paper products Jess put together from Odd Daughter is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Zooey dresses we love

Are you a Zooey Deschanel fan? She’s come up with a fantastic line of dresses in collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger. And hey, even if you’re not you can’t deny these dresses are cute.

Freelance life

Jess wrote a super-awesome post one her one-year freelance-aversary. Last year she quit her 9-5 job and launched her freelance career. How can you not be inspired by someone heading out in their own to do something they love?

ILIN recipes

My mouth is still drooling after writing this post last month. Let’s talk food, shall we? Recipes for LASAGNA GRILLED CHEESE are included. You’re welcome.

Adam Levine + a puppy = love

And finally, because really our blog is all about fun… a post featuring Adam Levine + a puppy. I mean…

Are you on Pinterest?

Travel Pinterest boardsHello friends! I have a question for you… are you on Pinterest?

One of my favorite ways to plan for a trip is to pin anything and everything I see on the internet while researching my said destination. Last year when we went to Barcelona, my sister and I had a board dedicated to planning, which I think is perfect because it’s entirely visually. This helps me to remember what I want to see and do, but there isn’t a chance I could do it all. But it’s great if you have a few hours one afternoon while traveling.

I have a few trips coming up soon (London this weekend and Edinburgh this summer) and I’ve been pinning away like crazy. My new favorite feature is the ‘related pins’ part and where they say ‘this pin is also on this board!’

So I figured, there must be loads of you out there pinning fabulous places for me to travel to, so wanted to reach out and ask! Let me know if you’re on Pinterest… I want to see what you’re pinning!

 

Spring resolutions

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I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions, because I always end up just forgetting what I resolved to do. But I LOVE spring cleaning. The weather’s getting better, days aren’t as dark and I’m not absolutely freezing on the way home.

This weekend I’m planning to peel through a ton of crap I have accumulated over the past year and a half (which is funny because I moved over to Ireland with two suitcases and that’s it). I can’t wait. It’ll be a lot of work, but I know Sunday night I will feel so much better.

Also, in just one week will be my last day at my job before I start a new adventure with a brand new company, and almost even industry. It’s only actually a ten minute walk from my old office, but I feel like I’m moving to a brand new city or something. I cannot wait and it was really time for a change up. So in the spirit of cleaning and rejuvenating for the new season, I’d like to make a few spring resolutions. Just a few gentle reminders to myself…

  • Take more photos! When I was studying abroad I think everyone hated me, I took photos all day every day. Except now I have so many great pictures of that time and am a little sad I’ve missed capturing those great moments. Plus, it was helpful to remember where I’ve been, what I’ve done, etc.
  • Cycle to work again. When I lived right in the city, I cycled to work every single day. I saved money from not paying for transportation, it was a great way to stay in shape and a nice way to end the day. Now I’ve moved a little further out, I just have fallen into taking the train every morning. Since it’s slightly warmer, it’s time to get back to biking.
  • Weekend trips need to happen again. When you’re working a full time job, sometimes (okay, always) on the weekends I just want to sit around and relax and not do anything. But, while I’m living here in Ireland I really want to start experiencing the country again. Living in Dublin has become really easy to just stay in this city all of the time, and I never just go away for the weekend.
  • Make lunch and bring it to work. This is a no-brainer, I buy lunch every day right now and it is so dumb. Sunday evenings I need to spend prepping for the week and just taking the few hours to go and do it.
  • In a similar note, drink coffee at home. This is a tougher one, because it is impossible to buy coffee filters in Ireland. I tried ordering some off Amazon, but no one ships to Ireland. I found some in a grocery store here, and they told me they couldn’t locate the “item code” so I couldn’t buy them. I think the world doesn’t want me to have coffee! But I’m going to try hard to find it and make them work.
  • Worry less. Since some big things happened in my life a few years ago, I have become a constant worrier. I feel like in high school I was always pretty go-with-the-flow, but now I am seriously the opposite. Maybe it’s because my job for the past two years has literally been planning, but I hate not having a plan or if my plan changes. And I’ve just been worrying.  About everything. I need to relax and be more in the moment – I miss studying abroad where there was way less worries, working abroad is a completely different story. I think I need to meet somewhere in the middle for a little bit more harmony in my life.

I think just be a little more zen, spend less, play more and relax will be the theme of spring. Here’s hoping, my friends!

Radio Silence

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Hello, friends!

Apologies as it’s been ages. Literally. I think three months!

A lot has happened since I last wrote in this space. I worked crazy hours for all of Nov/Dec (one week I counted 68 hours of work, eek!) and was home for an entire month. We moved to a new apartment (Frank moved everything while I was in the states, score!) and it’s a brand new spanking year.

The other day I went through my old study abroad blog (perhaps that’s how you found me here… it hasn’t been updated since 2011, but if you want a little more about Galway, you can check it out here) and am very sad I no longer take pictures like I do!

I love going back through the old posts, I practically feel like I am there again… whether holding a lamb (!!), swimming in the freezing ocean in March, touring beautiful places like Connemara, traveling around Europe to places like Portugal and Paris, and the list of that short-time of 8 months goes on.

The difference between studying and working abroad is crazy. Life was so much easier! Ah, I have a feeling that come 10 years I’ll say that about this time… so I really need to just focus on living in the moment. I’m not big on new year’s resolutions, but for me and for this space, I want to document as much as I can (hopefully in a beautiful way through photography) and write about my experiences, so I can remember then!

I’d love to take a trip back to Croatia and I have all of those archives to look back on. I want to really start getting into that with more places I visit in Dublin and beyond.

So hopefully, in the next few weeks/months I’ll be able to do that! We moved to the sweetest little village (I’ve only been there for four days) but it’s lovely. It’s right by the sea and my new favorite pub is there. We went on Tuesday night for a quick pint after work and ended up playing Scrabble (I beat Frank by 5 points!). Very different from living city centre but it’s wonderful so far. I can’t wait for a nice weekend afternoon to roam around with my camera.

Anyway, hope you are well. Here’s just a few pictures from recently… more to come once I can find my camera cord (lost in the unpacking process as of now!)

College of Charleston

College of Charleston

lakeside winter

lakeside winter

winter in Wisconsin

winter in Wisconsin

winter in Connecticut

winter in Connecticut

Christmas seesters!

Christmas seesters!

a bloody Mary in Wisconsin!

a bloody Mary in Wisconsin!

the Infinity Rooms

the Infinity Rooms

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station