Swords has been named as one ofIreland’s most desirable towns to live in, and its entertainment, retail anddining options, as well as general attractiveness, means it has much to offerthe holidaymaker too. Only 13km north of Dublin, and part of the capital city’scommuter belt, Swords has enviable transportconnections, a wealth of historical attractions, and many cultural diversionsthroughout the year that attract visitors from far afield.
First settled around 560AD, the hometown of Ronan Keatingsits on two rivers, the Broadmeadow and the Ward, with scenic walks aplenty andseveral large parks that cater for family fun and folics. With ancient castlesand stately homes to explore, golf courses, several shopping centres, andrestaurants to suit every taste and budget, holidays in Swordsare simply unforgettable.
Sights in SwordsIn the centre of town stands SwordsCastle, constructed around the start of the 13th century andcurrently undergoing substantial regeneration. Such is its present-day state ofpreservation however that it was used as a location for The Tudors, and tours of the buildings and courtyard are available,although by appointment only. Around the castle is the SwordsTown Park, with tennis courts for hire, and a playground. Nearby, St ColumbusChurch and its Round Tower are evidence of early Christian settlement in thearea.
To the east of town is found SwordsEstuary, popular with walkers and birdwatchers. And just across it an areacalled the Black Bridges, where wild swans are known to congregate.
A number of scenic parks dot the town, most notably the WardRiver Valley Park, spread over 200 hectares with woodland andwetland habitats, viewing platforms and picnic areas. 12th centuryfortifications are visible within the park. There are also several golf coursesand driving ranges in the close vicinity of Swordsfor anyone wanting to spend a few hours on the links.
For a pleasant day out, and a fascinating glimpse intohistory, it’s well worth visiting either MalahideCastle or Newbridge House for a tour.Showcasing landscaped gardens and historical artefacts, both are within a 10minute drive of Swords. At Newbridgeguests can have a refreshing afternoon snack in the tearooms, or take the kidsaround the adventure playground, while at Malahide,which dates back to the 12th century, golf and boules are available in thedemesne.
Events in SwordsOut of town heading toward Dublin, the NationalShow Centre is a major venue for dog shows, the Celtic Winners heldon St Patrick’s Day being Ireland’s most prestigious. For any dog-loversplanning to attend such an event, Swords makes anexcellent place to base yourself.
August sees the annual Fingal Horticultural Show held in Swords,while late June / early July brings the Flavours of Fingal festival toNewbridge House and Gardens. This immensely popular agricultural show hassomething for all the family, from children’s entertainments such as bouncycastles and face-painting to live music, cookery and floristry demonstrations,sheepdog trials and an interactive learning experience on biodiversity.Definitely one to keep in mind if you’re on holiday in Swords during the summer.