I know, I know, this isn’t very original material, but we spotted an awesome (double) rainbow by the ocean in Ireland! No pot of gold or leprechaun though…Anyway, this bit of Irish stereotype was brought to us by Howth, Ireland, which is a lovely little town just north of Dublin which is easily reached by a half hour rail ride. Although I’ve been to Ireland twice before my brother hadn’t at all yet, so the day after St. Patrick’s Day I tried to find a nice little town nearby for us to visit for the “little Irish village” experience. My go-to travel guide Wikitravel suggested Howth for a daytrip, and I must say it was perfect for us!
A town with a nice little harbor…
And the ruins of a 14th century church…
Oh, and of course we had to stumble across a random little museum for a geek-out, which in this case was the Vintage Radio Museum! Or rather I decided that we had to go in, and Patrick is a very good sport about his sister’s eccentricities (though later voluntarily stated he found it interesting)-
So I swear that I had no idea this was in Howth before deciding to come here, which made the discovery of this old tower all the more exciting. You see, this was originally one of many towers built up and down the coast to keep lookout in the event of an invasion by Napoleon, and later was used as the first telegraph relay point between Ireland and Britain. (So for those keeping track, ie me, I’ve now seen both historic relay points in Ireland as the second is on the Ring of Kerry.) These days, however, a bunch of older gents banded together with their various collections of old radios and maintain a small museum inside-
For those who know me, I have a definite fondness for old radios and modes of communication (I’ve had my Ham radio license for a decade), so this was a very neat place to go into and look around and the old fellows who ran it were very happy to have interested visitors. I’d say the most important thing we learned while there was actually that we have to thank Irish whiskey for radio- Guglielmo Marconi’s mother was not only Irish but granddaughter of the Jameson who founded the distillery of the same name, and went to Italy to study opera where she met Marconi senior, so the father of radio was actually half-Irish. Thus when he needed money for his radio experiments he hit up the wealthy relatives in Ireland, and that’s how he funded many of his first projects.
I can imagine that conversation first took place after a few whiskeys though when it made a good deal of more sense. “So, Uncle Jameson, I want to send information through the air…”
Finally, geekiness satiated, we finally tackled a bit of the Howth cliff walk! Basically this is one of those lovely scenic places in Ireland where the cliff rushes up to the sea in a dramatic fashion (so lovely in fact that Yeats lived several years in a house on the point in the first picture), so a ramble was definitely required. The entire loop is several kilometers so we didn’t do the whole thing- a bit of geocaching didn’t make our path linear, and the storm that gave us the rainbow was a bit threatening- but still quite lovely for sure.
At the end of the day Patrick and I were both in definite agreement that our day in Howth was pretty much perfect, and you can’t do a better daytrip from Dublin if you find yourself with only a little time in the country. We were both very happy to come across it!