Thousands of travellers pass daily under a secret world as Dublin’s DART train glides between it and the horizonless expanse of blue it looks onto.
Known as ‘Dublin’s Bay of Naples’, Killiney Hilll can be found 10 miles south of the city. Rambling trails rise 550ft from sea to summit between tumbling walls of stone, peppered with delicate flowers and ferns, concealing behind them gorgeous Mediterranean gardens, offering hundreds of paths to wander down and get lost on a sunny day.
As we climb, we catch glimpses of Greystones and Bray to the south, and finally at the peak the views sweep to the south over the Wicklow Mountains National Park and to the north over Dublin city, and as far as the Mournes in Ulster.
Looking over Dublin Bay to the north-west we take in nearby Dalkey Island, the harbours and ports of Dalkey and Dun Laoghaire, and beyond them in the middle of Dublin Bay, The Great South Wall, a masterpiece of 18th century engineering, with its striking red lighthouse. Across the bay Killiney Hill is mirrored by Howth Head. Beneath us are dramatic exposed crags of rock engulfed in swathes of heather and gorse.
Laid out as a public park in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria's visit to Ireland and 50 years on the throne, and topped with a magnificent obelisk built as a famine relief project in 1741 when it was the private estate of the Talbot family of Malahide Castle, the very peak of the hill is known as 'Victoria Hill'.
As the steep roads with exotic Neapolitan names meander down the hill towards the beach and to Dalkey village, lush mediterranean gardens roll out on either side behind castellated cut granite walls and around stunning castles and mansions. Cutting steeper still are those networks of narrow stepped pathways with wild flowers growing out of tall damp stone walls, and a secret road called 'The Metals' that travels in a straight line from the Dalkey side of the bay right down to Dun Laoghaire pier.
The colours in this scarf are inspired by one of my first visits to what I used to call 'My Secret World', an attempt to find the top of the hill using these paths, without the use of a map, and before my way... As I explored I came across plants of all colours, eventually beating down thickets of heather and finding myself in the middle of a golf course on what I learnt was George's Hill, an entirely different peak.
Composition and Care
100% Silk, 180cm x 35cm, Dry clean only