Red Rock is a great name for a town. Sadly, it’s not a real place. The Irish soap about the Kielys, the Hennessys and the seaside town of Red Rock is really filmed in two of Dublin’s suburbs: Howth and Dun Laoghaire.
Howth peninsula is the northern tip of Dublin Bay and has long been a favourite with Dubliners keen to drink in some sea air. There’s a stunning cliff walk around Howth head to an area known as Red Rocks (sound familiar?), which owes its name to the red sandstone in these parts.
From the summit, walkers look down on Ireland’s Eye, an uninhabited island popular with guillemots, razorbills, fulmars, gannets, cormorants and puffins. You can visit the island in summer by hopping on one of the ferries that run several times a day from the west pier in Howth harbour.
Dun Laoghaire (pronounced “Done Leery”) is also a fun day trip. It’s half an hour’s drive in the other direction – at the southern end of Dublin Bay.
West Pier Lighthouse at Dun Laoghaire harbour
Dun Laoghaire is home to the fascinating National Maritime Museum of Ireland, a converted cathedral full of artefacts, maps and models. On Sundays, the People’s Park – a lovely landscaped park in the town centre – throngs with market vendors selling food and crafty things. Teddy’s ice-cream parlour on Windsor Terrace is an institution.
A 20-minute stroll south down the coast road brings you to the James Joyce Museum. It’s housed in a Martello tower, which was originally built to withstand an invasion by Napoleon and was the setting for the first chapter of Ulysses. The gun platform with its panoramic view is just as he described it. Nearby is a famous bathing spot that has a cameo in Ulysses – it’s known as Forty Foot and was for men-only in Joyce’s day.
However, you won’t spy the Neptune café or Gardai station in either Howth or Dun Laoghaire as those scenes are filmed in a studio in Dublin.
Red Rock is on BBC1 on weekday afternoons
Radio Times Travel holidays:
Dublin and Ireland’s Secret Heartland, 5 nights from £549pp. This gently paced holiday is based in a lovely four-star hotel, overlooking Lough Ennell, with its own leisure club and spa. The holiday includes something for everyone – from ancient Clonmacnoise and the Derryglad Folk Museum to Dublin and a River Shannon cruise. What’s included:
A visit to fascinating Strokestown Park House and Famine Museum
Time to explore lively, historic Dublin
Visit the Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens
Discover the historic, riverside town of Athlone
Enjoy a guided tour of ancient Clonmacnoise
Entry to, and a tour of, fascinating Belvedere House and Gardens
Cruise along the River Shannon
Entry to the Derryglad Folk Museum
Five nights’ dinner, bed and Irish breakfast accommodation at the four-star Bloomfield House Hotel, Mullingar
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