Howth, Co. Dublin

Tracks and Trails Episode 5


Presenter; Feargal Quinn

Guide; Kevin Rickard, member of Howth Pathways Committee

Location; Howth Head, Co. Dublin

Trail; Dart Station Howth - Cliff Walk - Bog of the Frogs.

Feargal Quinn Senator and business man has often wondered what would it be like to be a tourist in his own area and by his choice of walking companion Howth native Kevin Rickard he hopes to learn more about his adopted home of Howth. Kevin  shares his memories of old Howth with Feargal as they walk up to Kilrock and around East Mountain to Howth’s Cliff walk. Kevin’s grandparents lived for a time on Howth summit and his grandmother used to sell tea on a Sunday from her front garden to some of the first day trippers to Howth including John Mc Cormack.

As they walk along East mountain they meet a botanist who tells them that Howth Head has the first botanical reference in Irish literature. It seems Diarmaid and Grainne ate wild garlic on Howth head in their wanderings around Ireland!

Feargal thinks that Dublin, a city of over 1 million, is fortunate to have on its doorstep one of the last wild places in Ireland which has a similar habitat to what it had 100 years ago so you can still imagine where Molly Bloom rolled in the heather in the final scene in James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Kevin explains to Feargal the work of the Pathways Committee in Howth of which he has been a member for 15 years. They are dedicated to keeping the rights of way Howth had years ago across the peninsula open for locals and walkers alike. In recent years these ancient pathways have been mapped and signposted as named looped walks available from the National Trails website; The Bog of the frogs walk, Cliff Walk, Blacklinn Loop and the Tramway walk. A friend, Jim Kilroy takes them down the Tramway walk to see the work he has done on restoring the Howth Tram and how he’d love to fulfill his dream of running it on an electrical track again in Howth.!

Back on the path at the Needles Feargal and Kevin meet fellow walkers and nature lovers on the way who share stories about the natural beauty and history of  Howth including the Nun’s beach!. They make their way across Shielmartin mountain into the Deerpark forest and golf course near Howth Castle and back into Howth Village.

Feargal really appreciated Howth tourist HG Wells in the 19th Century meant when he said  ‘the view of Ireland’s eye was the finest view west of Naples’.

To find out more information on these walks please follow the following links