In the fourth of our internship series of blogs Kelsey Gamble talks about Dublin again, but this time the benefits of leaving the beaten track!
Taking a trip off the beaten path…or my DART trip on the coast
The DART, or Dublin Area Rapid Transit, is an electronic railway system that runs along the eastern coast of Ireland. It follows a path along the Irish Sea from Howth and Malahide, County Dublin to Greystones, County Wicklow. With the purchase of a single inexpensive ticket, I was given free reign to hop on and off the railway for the whole day. The scenery alone would have made the purchase of that ticket money well spent. Good weather allowed us a grand total of two stops, before returning to Dublin city center.
First Stop – Blackrock Village: Following the advice of a random travel blog, I’d discovered only the night before, we got off the train at a small coastal village only 20 minutes from the city. In a lot of ways Blackrock kind of reminded me of summers back home in New Jersey. As a little kid I’d go to the shore, to Atlantic City or Ocean City, for most of my summer. Granted, Blackrock has a much quainter relaxed feel to it compared to the places I’d usually be, it was so nice! While in the village, we happened upon a cute, quirky little antiques/miscellaneous market, with all kinds of little shops. The entrance to the market was very nondescript, just a little sign above the entrance to alleyway that eventually opened up into a slightly larger alleyway lined on both sides by little shops. As small as the market seemed it was definitely very well known, as it was filled with people browsing. We definitely spent way too much time in the book shop hidden at the back of the market, but there were so many good books!
Second Stop – Dún Laoghaire: Our next stop, a few minutes south of Blackrock via the railway, was the coastal city of Dún Laoghaire. Though we were entering another coastal town along the Irish Sea, it was a vastly different place from little Blackrock Village. The street was bustling with people, locals and tourists alike. Walking south from the DART station, we headed toward Dún Laoghaire Harbour. That harbour offered some of the most absolutely stunning views of the day’s trip. Coincidentally, there was some kind of festival happening in People’s Park, so we wandered on over to see what all the commotion was about. Unfortunately, this is about where our good luck ran out and the unpredictability of Irish weather caught up. While checking out the various food vendors and entertainment set up around the park, some dark clouds rolled in and brought a quite heavy downpour of rain with it. We cut our losses and headed back to the DART station figuring we’d get dinner in the city and then head back to base. The lesson from the day though was with a little intrepid exploration and by leaving the beaten track there is a great cultural experience to be had!