Imagine a bumpy track which allows you to ramble one mile into the sea. Imagine a startling 360-degree panorama which is both seascape and cityscape, framed by softly rolling green mountains.
Where is this exceptional place? It is not very far away. The South Wall of Dublin harbour, constructed in the 18th century, was restored and opened to pedestrians a few years ago. It offers, on a sunny day, one of the most exhilarating urban walks in the world.
The “sunny day” is the catch. I have spent whole weeks in Dublin in the summer without catching a glimpse of the sun. We were lucky this year.
My Dublin-born wife, Margaret, had long wanted to walk the South Wall from Poolbeg power station (disused) to Poolbeg lighthouse. The wall, about 10 yards wide and paved with rough flag-stones, projects a mile into the Irish Sea.
By the time we had completed the one-hour walk into the sea and back, it was starting to rain. We were supposed to join a group of friends on a boat trip and picnic to Dalkey island. I rejected the idea as ridiculous. An hour later, we were sitting on the island in bright sunshine, admiring Dublin Bay from another angle.