Saturday 3 December 2016

Ultimate prize for the town that got Saint Patrick's goat

Jane O'Faherty

Published 27/09/2016 | 02:30

Emma Hodgins from Drogheda and god-daughter Sadie Mae Butler enjoy an ice cream at Storm in a Teacup in Skerries. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Emma Hodgins from Drogheda and god-daughter Sadie Mae Butler enjoy an ice cream at Storm in a Teacup in Skerries. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Skerries Harbour after it was named Ireland's Tidiest Large Town at the TidyTowns Competition. Photo: Steve Humphreys
The Skerries seafront. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Maeve McGann, treasurer of the Skerries Tidy Towns committee holds the trophy alongside chairperson Anne Doyle. Photo: Mark Condren
Ray Hunt, general manager of Skerries Mills and Bakery. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Deirdre Fahy, owner of the Olive Deli and Cafe. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Out for a cycle. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Katie Mc Dermott, manager of Blue Bar in Skerries. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Photo: Steve Humphreys
Skerries after it was named Ireland's Tidiest Large Town at the TidyTowns Competition. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Skerries may now boast the title of Ireland's Tidiest Town, but that's not the only thing that's put the seaside hideaway on the map.

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The Fingallian fishing village has long been known as a haven for foodies.

Skerries Harbour after it was named Ireland's Tidiest Large Town at the TidyTowns Competition. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Skerries Harbour after it was named Ireland's Tidiest Large Town at the TidyTowns Competition. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Restaurants such as Blue Bar and Stoop Your Head along the harbour are particularly popular.

For something sweeter, the nearby Storm in A Teacup ice-cream parlour is a perennial favourite.

Although Skerries is best known for its beach, there is plenty for history buffs.

Skerries Mills Visitor Centre is the town's big attraction, with two windmills, a water mill and a bakery.

Attracting some 110,000 visitors per year, it also has a restaurant and craft shop on site.

Read more: Skerries named Ireland's tidiest town for 2016

Read more: Skerries praised for 'high standards' as it wins tidiest town accolade

The town is also a haven for book lovers. The Skerries Book Shop is a quaint hideaway for any avid reader and proprietor Paddy MacNeill is always prepared to give visitors a good recommendation.

Ray Hunt, general manager of Skerries Mills and Bakery. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Ray Hunt, general manager of Skerries Mills and Bakery. Photo: Steve Humphreys

For the more adventurous at heart, there are also regular nature trips around the town and further afield.

Skerries Sea Tours bring visitors to Rockabill Lighthouse, Lambay Island and Skerries Islands, while showing them the grey seals, roseate terns and other wildlife that is native to the area.

But Skerries hasn't always been so lucky. Legend has it that St Patrick once put a curse on the entire town when he was living on a nearby island.

The row broke out when locals stole one of the patron saint's goats, before killing it and eating it.

Deirdre Fahy, owner of the Olive Deli and Cafe. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Deirdre Fahy, owner of the Olive Deli and Cafe. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Angered, St Patrick is said to have cast a spell over the town, forcing all residents to speak like goats until they confessed their sins.

The myth is now part of the town's identity. Goats are emblems of everything from the local GAA club to the high-end craft shops.

Visitors can get to Skerries from Connolly Station via trains to Dundalk or Drogheda, with tickets from €4.60.

They can also travel from Dublin city via the 33, 33A and 33X Dublin Bus services, fares are €3.30.

Katie Mc Dermott, manager of Blue Bar in Skerries. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Katie Mc Dermott, manager of Blue Bar in Skerries. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Irish Independent

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