The last time Matt and I took a little day trip out of Dublin we went to Carlingford and had the best time. The drive was short and scenic, the weather was beautiful, and the town was medieval and quaint. It’s been awhile since that trip, and since our next full-on trip isn’t until February, I started researching interesting places to see not far from Dublin. Most of the forums and threads were saying Wicklow, Bray, Howth, and Malahide, but one post in particular peaked my interest. His recommendation was Skerries, Ireland, because it is not far from Dublin, it’s incredibly scenic with an amazing history, and it’s not overrun by tourists. Done and done.
Matt and I hopped in the car on Saturday for our second day trip since I moved here. Skerries is only about 40 minutes away, so we were there in no time. We went straight out to Red Island, parked the car, bundled up, and took a stroll along the coast. A path runs around the edge of the coast where you find locals jogging, walking their pets, and just enjoying some fresh air. From the island, in the distance, you can see Shenick Island and the Rockbill Lighthouse. Shenick Island can be reached during low tide and holds one of the Martello Towers – a fort that stood as the front for attacks on the coast. The other Martello Tower is situated right behind the path on Red Island. The Rockbill Lighthouse is further out on Rockbill Island, which was a hazard for ships, thus gaining a lighthouse in 1860. We took pictures, collected seashells on the beach, and watched dogs swimming in the ocean. Unfortunately, the weather was rather cold and a fog made visibility out to the islands a bit difficult, but we were having fun nonetheless.
Around lunchtime, we made our way back up to the harbor to eat. The harbor itself was used by the Vikings and is still home to fisherman today. There are boat houses, a cute little crepe shop, and past the harbor you can see coastal homes and the hills behind them. The pubs and restaurants along the harbor are quaint and Irish in style, but there was one in particular I wanted to see. The Stoop Your Head Pub is famous in Skerries, and Dublin for that matter, for having the best seafood. The pub derives its name from the low doorways – on the inside there is padding just above the doorway and a sign that says “stoop your head.” I ordered crab claws in garlic butter and Matt had a warm Asian chicken salad (he doesn’t like seafood all that much). My lunch was everything I was hoping for and more. The food was full of flavor, the staff was friendly and warm, and the view of the harbor was beautiful. Matt even had a couple of my crab claws and thought they were good!
After lunch we wanted to see the mills, which are a landmark for Skerries, but unfortunately the gates were closed. I got a couple pictures of the windmills, but we left pretty quickly. Our next destination was the Ardgillan Castle, just outside of Skerries. We hopped back in the car and through the winding country roads we went. The castle is situated at the top of a hill and overlooks Skerries and the sea. The fog had really rolled in by that point, so it was hard to see the seemingly breathtaking view. The castle was set back on a huge piece of land and had medieval turrets and gardens. Behind the castle the land extends further and beyond that is the sea. Matt and I decided right then that we want to own a manor on the sea. 🙂 We didn’t stay long as evening was settling on us and we were about ready to head home.
Skerries proved to be everything you read about Ireland; quaint, green, and beautiful. I really appreciate the countryside and coastal towns, because life is a bit slower and the people are friendlier. While Matt was taking some pictures, I climbed out on a rock and just sat listening the waves lap against the cliff-face and the seagulls pass overhead. While Dublin provides the nightlife and city mentality, I think these day trips out to small towns need to become a regular thing. And when my parents come to visit, you can bet I plan on taking them out to Skerries.