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The coast starts at Fairview, once a very fashionable suburb. Fairview Crescent, where Dracula author Bram Stoker was born, was apparently built deliberately to obstruct the view from Lord Charlemont’s Casino in Rialto, a charming Georgian folly. Fairview Park is notorious for “queer-bashing”.

The site of the Battle of Clontarf, where in 1014 Ard Rí Brian Boru beat a huge Viking army aiding King Sitric, the Norse ruler of Dublin, was in fact a long-drained marshy area near the old city. Clontarf is a pleasant but uninspiring suburb. Nearby St. Anne’s Park is attractive.

Bull Island is a wildfowl sanctuary with an interpretative centre, on a spit of sand dunes in Dublin Bay, accessible by a causeway. The beach, Dollymount Strand, is popular for swimming.

Howth is an attractive seaside town on Dublin’s northern Peninsula, accessible by DART. It features a popular yachting harbour, sea angling, good pubs and restaurants, and the ruins of Saint Mary’s Abbey, founded in the early C11th by King Sitric. Howth Castle is open to the public in summer and contains the small National Transport Museum, plus magnificent rhododendron gardens, the ruins of another ancient castle and a Megalithic dolmen tomb called Aideen’s Grave. There are walks up the Ben of Howth Hill and along the cliffs of Howth Head, and a Martello tower open to visitors. Boat trips are available to Ireland’s Eye, a small rocky island sanctuary for hundreds of seabirds, with the ruins of 6th Saint Nessans church and a Martello tower. Larger Lambay Island, with yet another Martello tower and an interesting castle, belongs to Lord Ravenscroft and is rarely open to the public.

The north Dublin suburb of Malahide has a nice marina and features Malahide Castle, owned and added to by the Talbot family from 1185 to 1976, so that it has a strange mixture of architectural features. It houses the National Portrait Gallery and the Fry Model Railway, which has a large layout of a miniature model of the railways around Dublin.

Newbridge House is a Georgian stately home at Donabate north of Malahide with an open farm and small Museum of Curiosities.

Skerries is a small quiet old seaside resort with friendly seals and views of the offshore Skerries islands.

Swords is famous for its ancient round tower.


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