A closer look at Skerries

North of Dublin city, you’ll find the seaside town of Skerries. Bustling in summer months, the beaches are full to the brim with tourists and city dwellers looking to dip a toe in the sea.

However, Irish seaside towns take on a different vibe during the autumnal months and Skerries is still worth the excursion beyond September.

A seaside town that’s worth its salt all year round

Towards the end of the year, you’ll still find plenty of people braving the wind for a stroll along the seafront. The sea air, a tried and tested cure for what ails ya, feels just as good in your lungs in November as it does in July.

The name Skerries originally comes from the Norse word ‘skere’, meaning ‘a group of rocky islands’. This later morphed into the Irish word na sceirí, meaning ‘the rocks’.

But mention Skerries to people and they have their own interpretation of what the name brings to mind – seafood, beaches, windmills, ice-cream. Nobody mentions the rocks.

Wrap up warm, stroll the harbour with a 99 in hand and while away an afternoon with some bird watching.

Skerries was once home to St. Patrick’s Monastery, the site of a Viking invasion. It then grew into a thriving fishing port and is now known as a popular resort town. It has a whole host of TidyTowns accolades under its belt, including a first place prize.

It’s also famed as the meeting place between James Joyce and Flann O’Brien’s narrator in the latter’s The Dalkey Archive.

thatched roof cottage on lambay island

Lambay Island. Photo by Mel Gardner

The town itself consists of two streets – Strand Street and Church Street. There are several islands off the coast too.

There’s Shenick Island, St Patrick’s and Red Island, which are all uninhabited by people. Though they are home to a thriving bird population.

A Martello tower also sits on Shenick Island and can be reached by boat if you’re intrigued. Just be sure to get the landowner’s permission before heading out.

Then there’s Rockabill, which is made up of two islands, ‘The Cow’ and ‘The Calf’ and Lambay Island. Tours are available for the latter from Skerries Sea Tours.

And what’s in Skerries town?

A trip to the seaside for many means a sweet treat, disguised as a means to ‘cool down’, although there’s no excuse needed to pop into Storm in a Teacup which stays open all year round.

This quaint and quirky ice-cream parlour is situated inside a brightly coloured shed. It’s hard to miss and, if the pastel exterior doesn’t catch your eye, the queue will.

If you love Farmers Markets, make your way here on a Saturday.

The menu also extends to crepes, waffles and hot drinks, and is just as enticing on a windy winter’s day as it is during high season. Visitors can wrap up warm, stroll the harbour with a 99 in hand and while away an afternoon with some bird watching.

A little off the beaten track and 5km outside of Skerries, you’ll find Ardgillan Castle. Filled with gorgeous gardens and walkways, it’s also home to the dog-friendly Castle Tea Rooms.

two people sit outside the castle tearooms with their dogs

This is the first of its kind in a municipal park in Ireland. You and your pooch get to gallivant around five miles of woodland and flower gardens before chilling by the fire with something delicious for both of you. Although it’s BYOD, they’re just as welcoming to the dogless wanderer.

For the history buffs, the Skerries Mills are the marker of the town’s skyline and have been since the 12th century.

old stone mill set against blue cloudy sky in skerries

A windmill at Skerries Mills. Photo by Vini

Comprising two windmills and one watermill, tours are less than an hour. It is also home to a cosy café and hosts lots of community events, including art classes, men’s shed meetings and bridge games.

You’ll find Skerries Mills located between the train station and the main town. So it’s a great spot for visitors to check out at the beginning or the end of their excursion.

If you love farmers markets, you can also make your way here on a Saturday from 10am to peruse the stalls, which sell all sorts. Organic meat, jams and marmalades and even homemade candles are just some of the goodies on offer!

Festivals in Skerries also stretch beyond the summer season. Soundwaves Festival takes place every year in September and sees artists take over the town. This year’s festival has everything from rap and comedy to opera and juggling, so there really is something for everybody.

It’s worth spending some time in Skerries

For wanderers, explorers and locals alike, Skerries is a treasure trove of a town. There’s plenty to check out in town during quieter, colder months and beautiful beaches and coastline to enjoy during the summer.

All of this and much more makes Skerries a nice place to live and explore. This is a town that deserves multiple visits and is just as enjoyable in winter woollies as it is in shades and shorts.

Skerries is easily accessible from Dublin city centre by the number 33 bus or the commuter DART. We recommend the latter so you can glide along the coast of North Dublin and take in the views.

New to the city? Read our introduction to Dublin neighbourhoods for more local insights and lore.

Susie Santry transplanted from Cork to Dublin over a year ago and works as a social media and content specialist. Having once run a fashion and beauty blog she now prefers to write about people, places and food.


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