Michael and I had no intention of letting Jet Lag slow us down. When we arrived in Dublin, Michael was rested from sleeping on the plane. I had adrenaline from wanderlust kicking in so together we decided to do the famed, ‘Dana And Michael Adventure.’
There’s never been a trip from Rome to Puerto Vallarta and everything in between that we skip our one true adventure. Generally, it means, we are going out, without cell phones, walking as far as we can. Once we exhaust ourselves and learn the area around where we are lodging, we return there.
This time we are staying at the Clontarf Castle in Dublin, just about 18 minutes outside of Dublin City Centre. We are not walking into City Centre, rather farther away. We want to truly experience the County Dublin and the Clontarf East Area.
Before we arrived, I Googled to learn the area a bit and discovered an incredible area just about an hour away by walking. Here we go, exploring more from the Clontarf Castle Hotel to the Dollymount Strand.
Exploring More From The Clontarf Castle Hotel to the Dollymount Strand
One thing for certain, there was no tour guide with us. Michael and I were totally on our own, in a place foreign to us. There was no doubt in our minds that we would find the best things to do without anyone telling us about them.
Adventure is our motivation, and stories that derive from the adventure are OUR party stories of globetrotters. If anyone asks us about our trips, we truly can tell you where to find things, street names, and why to try or NOT to try!
The Clontarf Castle Hotel to the Dollymount Strand – Walking There
When we hit the streets, and start walking nothing slows us down, from weather to hunger. The premises we keep with every trip is that we may not be back, so let’s turn this place inside out! Although, there’s no doubt Ireland will be a, ‘We Gotta Return’ destination!
Our great plan went into action. We put on our walking shoes and left the grand entrance of the Clontarf Castle. Really, we had no idea where we were going, but Michael has a great sense of direction and I’m not so bad at getting us to places too!
We walked out of the Castle and to the right, getting onto Castle Avenue. Once we were at the end, with the red light, we turned left. This put us onto Clontarf Road. Or walk along this road would be a long journey, but our first stop is one to avoid and one to try!
Pastries While Walking from the Clontarf Castle to Dollymount Strand
Since we were walking, we decided it would be a great time to indulge in pastries. I read a few reviews about a Bakery, in a red building. Note, I am trying to be kind and not Name it. We were right on course for it.
Truly this bakery shop is right on Clontarf and intersects with Vernon. Little did I know that we were about to be treated with a less than hospitable welcome. What’s worse, the pastry was awful.
While this may look sinfully delicious it is a sin that they were selling it because the cream filling was just atrociously uneventful and the pastry beneath, dry as the day is long! We did not want to waste the pastry, so we walked a few doors up and found our saving grace.
The exterior of the bakery truly looks like it will be the best you little pastry shop, buyer be warned it is nasty! Fear not, there is another coffee and pastry shop a few doors up!
Exploring More From The Clontarf Castle Hotel to the Dollymount Strand
The Butlers Pantry (3/4 of a mile (1.2 KM) from the Clontarf Castle & 14 minutes)
Where there’s one, there is 2 right? Lucky for us, a few doors up the street on Vernon Avenue was The Butlers Pantry. I am thankful we got a crappy pastry at the first bakery or we never would have found this incredible foodie STOP!
We purchased a coffee to attempt to dunk our pastry in. The last thing we wanted to do was waste this $2+ pastry, but, all attempts failed. Even with freshly brewed coffee, it tasted bad.
Therefore, we dumped both the coffee and the pastry and decided to TRY again. Originally, when we bought the coffee we were greeted by the scent of fresh croissants and the inside was loaded with pastries.
Actually, I was kind of sad we had not found this place first. Nevertheless, we more than made up for our initial loss.
3 coffees later, a real delicious croissant and a magnificent chocolate-filled croissant graced our mouths and bellies! If you are seeking out a nice pastry stop, this is the one you don’t want to miss. By the way, it’s service with a smile!
Exploring More From The Clontarf Castle Hotel to the Dollymount Strand – Famed Wooden Bridge
To The Wooden Bridge (2.5 Km from Clontarf Castle & 34 Minutes Walking)
Now it is time to walk off those calories. Time to get to the Wooden Bridge, which is the gateway to a few other stops we will make as we journey!
We walked just about 3/4 of a mile (1.3 Km) from the Butlers Pantry which was 15 minutes more. I kept stopping to take pictures, even with the wind whipping at us because we were walking right along the bay.
What kept my interest were the palm trees and greenery even in 40°F temperatures. Insanity and beauty! Do you see how green and beautiful in February? Yep!
I have to share the fact that sometimes my snail pace was due to architecture enjoyment. From incredible archways to colorful doors, large driveways and homes everything piqued my interest! Let’s just say I remained in TOURIST Mode and I am glad to own that name!
The wind was violent, truly beyond brisk. I definitely did not wear the right clothing. My ears were freezing, Michael was not in better shape either. Yet we persisted. I am sure it did not help that we were headed into the bay and onto the water.
Eventually, we crossed the street to walk parallel with the Dublin Bay. Trust me, it was easier than crossing up at the Wooden Bridge intersection, that is insane! Mind you, we still are not in sync with the driving in Ireland (different side of the road).
The Wooden Bridge – Traversing Across Here To The Happy Out Coffee Shop (about 10 minutes & 1/2 miles further )
Dollymount Wooden Bridge is a one-way bridge that heralds a good bit of foot, car and bicycle traffic. In fact, I was amazed at how no one seemed bothered by the gusting wind and frigid temperature.
So many families and people were out, it was great! Looking forward, and to our right ahead is this view. Please note I was shooting into the sun, so don’t judge this photo to harshly!
When we turned completely around and looked at where we had just walked from, and then to the right, we could see Dollymount. Doesn’t it look so pretty from the Wooden Bridge?
Don’t worry, I was on the very side of the bridge, in the Pedestrian part. The traffic is pretty much nonstop across this bridge. There is just one redlight and you alternate turns (the cars). Bikes have it easy as they simply use the pedestrian walkway.
As you start across the bridge, it is a concrete walkway. You have to stay snug on the one side. Once you get to the wooden portion, you need to stay behind the wooden border, but you can walk on BOTH sides of the bridge. Just watch all of the cars and bikes.
Keep moving, because you are about to come upon a pathway to walk on. It gets easier as you move along, but the wind gets harsher! Be prepared. I highly suggest sunglasses and snug caps. Brrr.
The Happy Out Coffee Shop Stop (from the bridge it’s 1/2 mile ahead)
Walking allows you to see so much more than driving there, but I think that a driver might have been in order. Keep walking and you will pass the Bull Island Cottages on your left, then the Royal Dublin Golf Club, each on your left.
While walking, we kind of sauntered every once in a while to really just take it all in. Along the way from the Wooden Bridge to the Happy Out Coffee Shop, I just kind of stopped to take a few pictures. Yes, Michael was moving ahead.
And just like that, you will come upon the most bumping place, created from a storage container, the Happy Out Coffee Shop! Busy? Yes. Good, yes! Make sure to stop, but also consider how far you have to walk and if your bladder can hold it, just saying…
There’s also a public restroom there, but you gotta know how to use it. Trust me, it was a mystery to me, it seemed to be coin-operated? We will never know because we passed on by and kept walking.
Perhaps you did not get what makes this Coffee Shop so chic and trendy? I think it is because there is no other FOOD or Beverage along this walkway. However, the story is about the reuse of a former Ship Cargo Container.
The container was converted into this lovely coffee shop! You can grab a coffee as you head down to the strand or as you are heading back to the Wooden Bridge. Try to find a time when the crowds are not taking it over and good luck with that!
The Poolbeg Lighthouse & The Our Lady, Sea of The Star Statue (8 Minutes ahead & 1/2 Mile (700 M)
Foolish as it may seem, we were hardly done walking. The weather was not our friend, the wind was howling, more fierce with each step, but we kept on moving. At this point, we are needing to go about another 1/2 mile to get to the very END of the Bull Wall walkway.
Ahead of us, is not just Our Lady, Sea of the Star Statue, but also the Poolbeg Lighthouse. Again, I apologize, but I am shooting into the sun and cold!
Although we will continue on, even beneath blue skies there was drizzle. Eventually, we seek refuge at the Men’s Bathing House and that will help a bit!
Bull Wall Swim Point
Bound and determined that nothing shall stop us, we go. Along the way, I manage to capture some sea steps. Now, I remember seeing and using these kinds of steps when I was in Sardinia, and maybe Lake Michigan, but beyond that, I would not have understood them.
As we looked into the Dublin Bay, I had to question, who in the world, would go down those steps and into this strong-current filled water? Maybe it has its season? Anyway, since I found it unique, of course, I stopped to photo. I know it is for swimming while living in the city.
Michael however, went on ahead. We captured a few photos of the statue, but that was really not what held our attention. Simply, we were captivated by what we saw happening on the bay, at the beach, in about ankle-deep water.
Down On The Beach At Dollymount Strand
One of the most amazing moments, that cost absolutely nothing except a walk and a bit of time happened here. We watched a team of kite surfers. Flipping in mid-air, moving up and down the bay, back and forth and forth and back.
Wanting to capture this a bit more closeup we moved again. The kite-surfers attracted quite a crowd. They were there for the sport of it, all insulated by their water suits!
We relocated quickly to capture a more up-close look. Heading back just about 5 minutes, we then crept down through a small pathway onto the beach. Here, we stood for a while, in amazement as these athletic men took to flight.
Of course, how could they not take flight, the wind was crazy and kept on moving them all over! I still can’t believe that they were pretty much in ankle-deep water when they dismounted. WOW!
Now figure, we have been walking for at least 2 miles and we have to journey back 2 miles! Anyone tired yet?
Back to the Bridge and A Stop For Fish And Chips
Since the next hour would consist of more exercise in order to get ourselves back to the Clontarf Castle, I brought up the obvious. I needed to eat. We stopped at Beshoff Bros. for a quick bite. Fish and Chips.
We headed 15 minutes back about 3/4 of a mile (1.3Km) to arrive at 5 Moat Lane, Clontarf East. You might think I had never seen food before the way I scoffed mine up. Never the matter, we ate and walked back to the Clontarf Castle.
This time, however, we did not go back along Clontarf instead, we walked out and to the right. Vernon Ave to Kinkora Road. It was about another 15 minutes worth of walking and another 3/4 miles.
Why did we go a different way? Both of us wanted to see some of the homes, and cars in the area. The streets were lined with trees and it was just a really nice way to end our walkable tour of the Clontarf area.
Overall, we reached over 4.9 miles (7.9 Km) and overall a few hours. While breezy and sometimes drizzling, it was all somehow so charming and fun!
Once back at the castle, we got ready for our last night there and I will share more of this adventure within the Clontarf Castle with you in a different post. Make sure to walk about, and not just stay in the castle.
Yes, it was a longer walk, but it was all flat with very nicely paved pathways. There are crosswalks and so much to see. Don’t stay in, get out and enjoy the Clontarf area in Dublin. Start Exploring More From The Clontarf Castle to Dollymount Strand! ~ Dana XO