Aoife Brad­shaw looks at the places to visit – and the many events, ac­tiv­i­ties and at­trac­tions on of­fer – in the of­ten won­der­fully pic­turesque north Dublin county of Fingal.

Hot Press - - Contents - WORDS: Aiofe Brad­shaw

A look at the many at­trac­tions that make Fingal a must-visit des­ti­na­tion.

Fingal is one of the four coun­ties of Dublin. It is in ef­fect the bulk of North Dublin, where bustling subur­bia meets rich farm­land; and where vi­brant coastal vil­lages and towns, burst­ing with en­ergy and life, of­fer a won­der­fully wel­come refuge from the city.

Both ur­ban and in­creas­ingly ru­ral as it stretches to the north, the scenic Fingal coast­line runs from Kil­bar­rack to the Co. Meath bor­der near Lay­town, twist­ing in and out of vil­lages, beaches and ports, from Sut­ton through Howth, Port­marnock, Malahide, Por­trane, Rush and Sk­er­ries, on to Bal­brig­gan.

As be ts a coastal area, there is a deeply­rooted mar­itime tra­di­tion in these towns and vil­lages. In­deed, the whole of Fingal is rich in his­tory and at­trac­tions. The long and di­verse story of the area that can be traced back to the Vik­ings, its very name de­riv­ing from the Ir­ish ‘Finn Gall’ – mean­ing for­eign tribe or ter­ri­tory of the foreigners. And with that nar­ra­tive comes a rich and re­ward­ing cul­tural her­itage.

As a re­sult, there is plenty to do, see and ex­plore in Fingal. The cal­en­dar also has plenty of ex­cit­ing events and fes­ti­vals run­ning through­out the year, com­bin­ing the best of mu­sic, food and crafts.


The coastal vil­lages of Fingal are some of the most scenic in Ire­land, full of great food, at­mos­phere and char­ac­ter. Here, we throw a spot­light on some of the vil­lages that are per­fect for a day-trip – or bet­ter still a longer stay!


Nes­tled be­tween Port­marnock and Swords, Malahide is a beau­ti­ful vil­lage, boast­ing a breath-tak­ing ma­rina. It is one of the most pop­u­lar towns, both for tourists and daytrip­ping Dublin­ers. Malahide’s cen­tre is where Main Street meets Church Road – also known as the di­a­mond. It’s a hub for shops, restau­rants and, of course, great pubs.

Malahide is also home to the iconic medieval Malahide Cas­tle, as well as a tran­quil beach. The best place for a fam­ily ex­cur­sion is Low Rock, which is shel­tered: the wa­ter is shal­low enough to swim there. Malahide’s most fa­mous pub is Gib­ney’s, where the ad­di­tion of a new rooftop bar means you can now en­joy a leisurely drink in the sun. There’s great live mu­sic in the evenings. Di­rectly across the road is the more re­cently built Fowler’s, while Gil­bert and Wright’s is an­other great spot, lux­u­ri­ously de­signed and serv­ing up some of the best cock­tails around. Mean­while for food, Café Provence of­fers an ex­cel­lent brunch menu; there’s a branch of the al­way­sex­cel­lent Avoca Café in Malahide Cas­tle;

Bon Ap­petit and Nau­tilus (what a view!) are both top of the range; and Scotch Bon­net and McGovern’s are fam­ily-friendly and well worth try­ing.


The ma­rina at Malahide brings a very spe­cial at­mos­phere to this lovely vil­lage.


The DART or Dublin Bus routes 32, 32x, 42 and 102 will all take you to Malahide vil­lage.


“Howth Mar­ket show­cases or­ganic lo­cal pro­duce, hand­made jew­ellery and vin­tage an­tiques.”

Howth is a charm­ing shing vil­lage sur­rounded by sub­ur­ban houses and rugged coun­try­side. With the trawlers set­ting out ev­ery day, this is a com­mu­nity that re­tains a dis­tinc­tive sense of iden­tity, and the won­der­ful seafood served in nearby restau­rants couldn’t be more lo­cal. Known for its lovely, brac­ing walk around Howth Head, and strolls along the pier, it’s one of the most pop­u­lar sea­side ar­eas of Dublin – and for good rea­son. There’s plenty of eye­catch­ing at­trac­tions to ex­plore, in­clud­ing Howth Cas­tle and Ire­land’s Eye – a dis­tinc­tive un­in­hab­ited is­land off the coast. For a more un­usual at­trac­tion, visit the Mu­seum of Vin­tage Ra­dio and Gramo­phones!

Mean­while, the re­mains of Howth Abbey, founded by Vik­ing set­tlers in 1042, are still vis­i­ble. Howth Mar­ket show­cases or­ganic lo­cal pro­duce, hand­made jew­ellery and vin­tage an­tiques, along­side hip stalls with strong cof­fee, cheese toasties and cup­cakes, among many other gen­uine home­made culi­nary de­lights. You’ll also nd reg­u­lar live mu­sic at places like the Abbey Tav­ern, the Bloody Stream and the Sum­mit Inn. Top it off with some tra­di­tional sh and chips at Beshoff Bros, tapas-style dishes at the Brass Mon­key Restau­rant by the har­bour or a bril­liant feast at Aqua Restau­rant, over­look­ing the sea. Fur­ther into the vil­lage, the leg­endary King Sitric is a won­der­fully

Howth Pier

Malahide Cas­tle

Sk­er­ries Mills

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