A Marvellous Day Out… with Victorian Explorer Beastie

Top of Bray Head

Okay, I don’t want to alarm anybody, but the other day I went into the living room to find a note on the floor…
Explorer Beastie Note

I’m sure he’s totally fine. He’s big enough to look after himself, and he did set out with a fresh sandwich in his backpack. That said, if anyone sees Explorer Beastie in the next couple of days, could you please ask him to call home?

Meanwhile, a new member of the family has dropped in to say hello. A throwback to the heyday of gentleman explorers, Victorian Explorer Beastie never goes anywhere without his pith helmet and a hipflask of good-quality gin (it’s hidden in his knapsack). Since the sun was out yesterday, I asked him to accompany me on a day trip to Bray – a seaside town just south of Dublin, in Co. Wicklow. It was a popular holiday destination back in the day, and I figured he’d feel right at home there.

The best way to get to Bray is to take the train. The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) gets you out there from the city centre in about 45 minutes, and the journey is an event in itself. Just make sure you’re sitting on the left-hand side of the train, or you’ll miss all the good stuff!

Victorian Explorer Beastie on the train
For the first few minutes, the train passes through regular cityscape scenery – office buildings, houses, apartment blocks. Then, suddenly, you break out into this:
Sandymount Strand

Sandymount Strand is a long, flat beach which is featured in James Joyce’s “Ulysses”. My quick snap from the grafitti-scratched train window doesn’t really convey the scale and the peacefulness of this stretch of coastline, but it makes it hard to believe that the city is just a few seconds back up the line! However, the star of the show is the section of the line between Dun Laoghaire and Killiney. Here, the track hugs the cliffs, allowing you to enjoy a head-spinning view of the small, sandy coves below (impossible to photograph, at least for someone with my current level of expertise) or a more tranquil vista of the Irish Sea.
Bray Head from the train
Once we arrived in Bray, we headed for the beach…
Victorian Explorer Beastie on the Beach

…walked along the promenade…
Victorian Explorer Beastie on the Promenade
… and then decided it would be a great day to climb Bray Head!

Bray Head

It was a pretty steep climb…
Climbing Bray Head

… but the view from the top was totally worth it!
View View from the top of Bray Head

And so was running all the way back down again!
Tree roots on Bray Head

Look out for more adventures with Victorian Explorer Beastie in the next while… at least until Explorer Beastie makes it home!