Only 30 minutes from Dublin City lies the working fishing port and picturesque harbour of Howth. Here the commercial world of fishing mingles well with the tourism economy of this small town. Fishmonger stores, carrying an array of local and Atlantic fish are adjacent to some of the finest fish restaurants in Ireland. In the harbour the sailing boats give way graciously to the fishing trawlers and the sea gulls chase the boats as they return, ladened with prawn, crab and lobster.
Just about 30 minutes by Dart from Dublin city, Howth is both a commercial and leisure harbour popular with visitors.
Fishing Port Howth Harbour
In addition to being a popular tourist location, Howth harbour is an active working port - being the largest fishing port on the East Coast.
On most visits, one will see fishing boats moored or leaving and entering the harbour. The harbour is also home to Howth Yacht Club HYC and Howth Boating Club.
The east pier is popular with visitors as they can walk the high pier walls and enjoy the view of Howth cliffs and Ireland's Eye.
Fresh fish can be bought from many of the fish mongers on the west pier.
The sea has played a major part of life in Howth for hundreds of years.
Today one can buy fresh fish from the fish mongers on the west pier, enjoy the antics of the seals and sea birds, but don't feed them as they lose their hunting skills, stroll about the harbour, walk the cliff paths and beaches or take a ferry around Ireland's Eye.
The St. Lawrence family were Lords of Howth from about 1180 to 1909 when the line of ascendency died out.
A castle has stood in its present position for over 700 years.
Within the castle grounds there is a bar and a number of golf and pitch and putt courses. These courses are open to non members.
The public can stroll about the paths within the grounds and visit the Rhododendron garden, particularly in May and June, when they are in flower.
Howth Head lies above the habour and has a variety of walks and tracks suitable for most visitors. The head is easily accessible by car and a car park is located right on the summit. Visitors arriving by train can walk the East Cliff path.
East Cliffs Howth Head
From the car park above Balscadden one can walk the cliff path right around to Howth Summit and the Bailey Lighthouse.
The walk takes about an hour depending on how long one lingers.
Below the cliffs many sea birds nest from April to July.
The east cliff path takes you around to the Bailey Lighthouse - the path takes you past some steep cliffs and hidden beaches.
From the summit one can walk back the road to Howth or if feeling fit continue the walk around to Red Rock and Sutton.
There has been a lighthouse on Howth head since 1667. The current building was erected at the new location in 1814.
In 1996 the lighthouse became automatic and has been unmanned since 1997.
Howth Head is joined to the mainland by a narrow isthmus at Sutton. The isthmus can best be seen from the top of the hill.
From Sutton, there is a coastal route that passes along the coast road till it reaches the Martello Tower and from there the route continues alongside the cliffs until it reaches the Howth Head Summit.
There is a small car park along the coast road - about a ten-minute walk from the gate to the cliff walk. The walk from the car park back to Sutton Cross and buses is about fifteen minutes and a further ten to the Dart.
Ireland's Eye is a small island just off the fishing village of Howth. While the island is uninhabited it can be accessed by small ferry operating form Howth Harbour. The island is shared by the sea birds and visitors.
Island Beach Ireland's Eye
Ireland's Eye has a fine sandy south facing beach which is popular with visitors during summer months.
You can take the ferry from the Howth Harbour and stop off on the island and later be picked up for the return trip.
The beach is overlooked by a Martello Tower and the ruins of a church.
The island is the nesting place of many varieties of sea birds such as guillemots, razorbills, fulmars. The island has a large colony of gannets which became established during the 1980s on the large sea stack.
There are a few pairs of puffins - so if you are lucky and careful you may see them close to the cliffs.
There are a large number of gulls and the Great Black Backed Gull has colonised the upper slopes and grass lands - making their nests right beside the paths and tracks.
During the nesting season - April to July these gulls make diving attacks on those who are careless or have walked too close to nests.
Around the Island
A tour around the island is a must for any visitor to Howth.
The trip takes about 45 minutes and brings you around the north face of the island which is rugged and sheer.
On the tour you will pass colonies of nesting birds ( during April - July), the sea stack, simply called The Stack, and the small islet of Thulla.
Around the Island
Ireland's Eye - Ferry
Throughout most of the year, particularly at week ends, a ferry runs a service from the East Pier to Ireland's Eye - the trip is either to tour around the island or disembark and be picked up later.
Due to the large number of nesting birds on the island during April - July, dogs should not be brought onto the island.
Ireland's Eye - Ferry
Things to do
Walking, strolling, seal watching, birding, sailing, climbing, water skiing, wining dining - Howth has it all and is just about 30 minutes from Dublin City.
Howth activities Things to do
Throughout the year Howth attracts many visitors - whether it's walkers who hike the cliff paths, or stroll the beaches or sailors who share the waters with the Howth fishermen, the village and harbour particularly, at week ends can be teeming with activity.
The village of Howth is on a hill overlooking the harbour.
On the road up to the village there are some fine views overlooking the port and island.
The village has quite a number of pubs and restaurants.
Howth and Sutton Beaches
There are a number of beaches close to Howth railway station - the closest is Claremont Strand which runs along by the railway.
At the west end of this beach, tide permitting, one can walk around to Sutton or Burrow beach.
It is possible to return to Howth by exiting Burrow beach and walking back along a small track that starts at the end of Burrow Road.
While Burrow beach always has water close to shore even at low tide one must be careful of the current that flows in the channel.
Howth and Sutton Beaches