Howth is a peninsula that juts out into the sea just north of Dublin, about a half hour by car but also accessible on the DART line. A mom friend suggested it since a playground, a working pier, and the possibility of seeing seals were all in close proximity to each other.
It was a cold January day with the wind cutting in on us from the water, so we had hot chocolate and scones to start off. The boys loved playing in the nautically-themed playground and walking along the marina to see all the boats. Some no longer looked sea-worthy: the boys called the rusting, crumbling-inward trawlers that we found moored the “broken boats.” We walked up the pier to a sea break that looked out at Ireland’s Eye, an uninhabited island known for its rock-climbing and bird life. In warmer months, you can take a boat out to the Eye, to explore the ruins of the Martello tower and an 8th century church.
On Howth, there is a cliff walk around the perimeter (not recommended for those with small children) and a transportation museum, but there was enough in the marina area for us to make a good day of it for kids.
Most of the fish in Dublin comes from fishmongers working along the pier – Wrights of Howth being a particularly well-known one. The boys loved seeing a boat in dry dock behind the buildings and enormous piles of fishing nets. The fishmongers often throw their scraps out into the water. After we ate lunch, we stepped out and found a group of grey seals, craning their necks and looking at us expectantly.