My regular reader knows I`ve been to Skerries before. And will recall that it`s a delightful harbour town north of Dublin city. With it`s seaside aspect, lengthy promenade, and touristy feel, it`s a lovely place for a run. So I could scarcely believe it when I realised today, that I hadn`t been back since my last jaunt there in July.
Parental duties dictated that I would have to give parkrun a skip today. But an evening run in Skerries more than compensated.
The evening was shaping up to be warm and dry. But, by 7pm, the sun was rapidly ebbing away in trails of golden light. I just about had enough time to amble and snap all around the harbour, before the light bled away over the horizon.
Photographs taken,I went for my running ramble about town. I`m not one of those runners who can work the same route day in, day out. Variety, for me, is essential. So, it was lovely to literally get lost in Skerries.
Once I`d peeled off the promenade and turned into the town itself, I quickly became absorbed into the labyrinth that is Skerries itself. Starting out, I suspect, as a few fishing cottages wedged in around the harbour, its coastal location and ease of access ensured it had a succession of invasions in it`s biennial history. And that is reflected in it`s placenames and buildings.
The little cottages gave way to Georgian houses along the harbour and later, Victorian ones. Further inland, semidetached houses from the 1970s and 80s reflected the time when Skerries became a commuter town for Dublin. And further out again, the 1990s and our crazy years of astronomical land prices, major property price rises gave way to high rise apartment blocks.
The name Skerries itself is Danish, meaning rocks or reef(skere) and small islands or islet(ey). I`d like you to think I figured that all out by myself while I was trotting around the town, but, in truth, I looked it up when I got home. And also found out that the island off Skerries(Shenick) which lends its name to some of the streets around the town, is also Danish and so it`s the word Holm as in Holmpatrick. The latter means Patrick`s Harbour.
Oh yeah, of course St Patrick was there. He`s a bit like an early day Kilroy of Kilroy was here fame. Only, instead of graffiti, St Patrick`s memory is preserved in placenames. We`ve Croagh Patrick in the West, Downpatrick in the North, Holmpatrick in the east. Google probably knows how many more in between, but that`s enough for me.
My own ramble was a lot shorter than the good saint`s. Not bothered by distance this time. I was happy to stop after forty minutes. By then, the night had closed in. Skerries was taking on a new life as people were decanted from taxis into pubs and restaurants about the town.
Time, then, for this little hen to head home and leave the noisy quayside, silent boats, and glittering harbour lights behind.