A Dublin Bay Prawn Festival

One of my favourite places here is Howth and when we looked up the events calendar for St Patrick’s Day’s weekend we were happy to find that there was a Dublin Bay Prawn Festival going on in Howth. It’s something that cannot be missed, ok we had never done it but we both love seafood and of course Howth, so it was the only option to choose.

It’s easy to get to Howth from Dublin – you just have to get a train from Dublin Connolly Railway Station, by a return ticket and wait for a train and it takes about 20 minutes to get there. In 2014 we took a long hike on the rocks in Howth and already then promised to go back there as soon as possible but somehow it took a bit time. but it was worth to wait¬†for it because the Festival was exactly what we expected it to be. When entering you could buy tokens for getting your seafood – 20 euros for three dishes on your choice and if it’s not enough as it was for us, you could buy the next round.

We started with the real Dublin Bay Prawns and they were big, fresh and tasty and there was a lot of them on the plate. the token system helped to avoid the queues because the sellers didn’t have to deal with change and they had only to gather the tokens and put the food on your plate and of course keep cooking the new portions because the crowds who had come to enjoy it despite the grey and a bit rainy weather, were huge.

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Then we continued with some nice squid rings and fritted tiger prawns which were really tasty and again so fresh that they almost melted in your mouth. Squid rings are one of my favourites but of course, they have to be fresh, not frozen which gives them a bit gummy taste.

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And then it was totally time for oysters. The last week in France I had a chance to be taught how to open the oysters and to be honest I had only tasted them once before that and then, of course, they were not caught on the same day or probably not even close. I wasn’t the best student at opening the oysters but I was quite good at eating them, anyway, it was very interesting to see how the professional French chefs opened them with such an easy and skill that you could only stare there with your mouth watering for the new one to be opened. and now, just a week after that I was again enjoying the oysters, this time the Dublin Bay oysters, or wherever they had caught them. The other photo is taken in France, whit some better students as I was – they were able to open the oyster ūüôā

And we finished our delicious day with some mussels, something that is a must be in Dublin Рyou know the song of poor Molly Mallone who was selling her mussels and cockles alive, alive ohh. So with all my thoughts with poor Molly I was enjoying the last delicious seafood of the day and then we went and bought some monkfish from the small seafood shop on the pier Рthere are lots of them, besides the little seafood restaurants. and we will definitely come back in summer and do it again.

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And here you can see what we made with our monkfish on the next day. Monkfish is also one of my favourites and I found it out during my Dublin time.

15 km walk on the Cliffs of Howth

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Howth is magic, it’s true – just as their web page says. We took a short ride from Dublin by train and after a half of an hour or a bit more we reached a magnificent small seashore village Howth. At first, we were a bit afraid of the weather, because just when we reached it started to rain, but we spent this part in a cafe and it passed quite quickly.

IMG_6175I didn’t know too much about Howth before – just knew that it’s one of the well-known seaside villages near Dublin, where it is possible to hike on the cliffs and buy fresh fish from the little shops on the pier. On that day the village was quiet, but the people who were spending their time there were absolutely aware that they are on holiday and in spite of the cool and windy weather everybody was wearing their summer clothes and outfacing the cold. I have to say that I was not so brave and during the first hour I couldn’t stop thinking about my raincoat that I had left.

IMG_6201The internet describes Hawth as a small and bustling fishing village which is popular among the tourists and locals and After walking through the small town or village you will soon reach the road that goes above the sea and after some time you will reach the sign that explains the different routes. You can pick from four different routes, which are called loops and they all actually start from the railway station, The Cliff Path Loop is 6 km long and is described as easy, the Tramline Loop is 7 km and also classifies as easy, the Black Linn Loop is a km longer and described as moderate and the last one Bog of the Frogs is 10 (but according to some pages 15) km long and marked as hard.

IMG_6227We took the last one because we both like walking and really wanted to spend the whole day outdoors. Almost the whole hiking path was on the clifftops and the landmarks that we passed are called Nose of Howth, which was the beginning of our hike with stunning views of the Lambay Island and Baily Lighthouse beneath. It took us about 3-4 hours to take the whole tour and during this time the weather changed from the threatening autumn to the mild summer day and the views beneath  us were marvellous and picturesque.

IMG_6241Especially nice were all these secret beaches and it was almost impossible to understand where were the tracks that reached them, but as we saw some people enjoying their time there, it was definitely possible to do it. The end of the track went over the golf ground, passed some really nice country houses and ended in the forest which was quite like a jungle and lead us back to the village at last.

IMG_6213This time, we didn’t find out how to get to these lovely little beaches beneath the cliffs¬†because we just wanted to walk through the whole Loop, take photos and enjoy walking. Maybe some next time it will be a good idea to take your picnic basket with some snacks and wine with you and enjoy the beaches beneath the cliffs. In this case, of course, it’s wiser to take the shorter Loop.

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We ended our day on the pier of course and had a look into every single little fish shop. The timing was not the best because it was the late afternoon and everybody knows that the best time to get fresh fish is at the early hours of the day, but anyway, we got some monk fish and for me it was the first time in my entire life to eat monk fish.

IMG_6296After that, we couldn’t help¬†but had to wonder around all these nice small seafood restaurants which were still quite empty, because it was not the real dinner time. but we found a really good offer and enjoyed our fish plate in a cosy little restaurant and we really couldn’t expect the better end of the day.

Back at home, we put our monk fish into the fridge to wait for the next evening, because after that huge fish plate and a bottle of white crispy wine we were too full to start to cook again. and I don’t have to say how tasty it was. I looked it up the dictionary and I know now the name in Estonian too, but I really had not eaten it before. Hopefully, I will eat it again quite soon, if not before, then the next summer.