Howth is a small town 14km (9 mi) northeast of Dublin city centre (still marked by 18th-century milestones). It is located on a peninsula closing Dublin's bay. It is most beautiful in Aug/Sept when the heather bathes the cliffs in red.
The main visual feature of Howth (pronounced hohth) is its harbour with fishing and pleasure vessels and a wharf lined with a number of seafood restaurants.
Howth is home to a handful of Irish celebrities including Gay Byrne and Dolores O'Riordan. Walking the cliff walk or climbing the Ben of Howth, a 561 ft (171 m) high hill on Howth Head, on a fine day is well worth your time. Although the water may be too cold to enjoy a swim, Howth has a small stretch of beach that has a beautiful view of mountains in the distance. The affluent suburb of Sutton is located on the western part of Howth Head and boasts a scenic seaside walk featuring a Martello Tower and numerous lavish seaside homes.
You can reach Howth using the DART, a fast train service, from Dublin's city center. A return ticket costs €6.00 from Connolly, Tara or Pearse stations in the City Centre and is valid one day, a single tickets costs €3.15 (or €2.41 with the Leap Card). There are trains every 15 minutes. Take the train north to Howth. You will arrive near the Harbour.
The train takes between 25 and 30 minutes from Connolly Station.
Notice: There is one train going to Howth, and the other going to Malahide. They both go in the same direction, but do not halt at the same stations. If it's not written "Howth", it's not going there.
You can take a bus from Connolly, line 31 will take you up to Howth Harbour and line 31B up to Howth's Summit. Tickets can be bought in the bus (prepare your change). There is approximately one bus every half-hour or so.
The bus needs to travel through heavy traffic and across a tram line to get to the stop opposite Connolly station and so the time can vary when it arrives, it is best to be at the Connolly bus stop at the time the bus is due to leave and be vigilant as many busses crowd the stop and some may not stop — be assertive when hailing the bus.
The 31 and 31B both start from the same location; Abbey Street Lower. It is just off O'Connell Street. Standing at the O'Connell Statue with your back to the River Liffey. Abbey Street is the first turn on the right. This is the street that the Luas goes on. Continue down this street to the crossroads and go straight through them. The 31 and 31B bus stop is the third on the left hand side of the street.
Think walking shoes, as you'll mostly be walking. There is only one main (and circular) road on the peninsula, that bus lines 31 and 31B take.
The old town and the harbor are very traditional. There are interesting ruins higher in the hills, and an old tomb west of the harbor.
- National Transport Museum, Heritage Depot, Howth Demesne (West from Howth Dart Station until the first bus stop; past the castle gates). The volunteer-run museum is located on Howth, in the grounds of Howth Demense, although its opening hours are limited, particularly off-season when it is mainly open at weekends. Approximately 100 items of Irish transport and vehicular history are on display, including some examples of the trams which formerly ran on the Hill of Howth.
- Howth Quarry (on the top of Howth Head). It is possible to drive up to the very top of the Ben of Howth (a radio mast). There are great views of Dublin bay from here and the whole area is popular with walkers.
- Footprints of King George IV. At the end of the West Pier, one can see the footprints of king George IV, where he landed on a visit to Ireland in August 1821.
- Howth Abbey (St Mary's Abbey) (Entrance located on Church Street). The ruins of this abbey built in 1235 are located within a small walled cemetery. There is a view of the harbour from the north wall of the cemetery.
- Howth Castle (West from Howth Dart Station until the first bus stop, past castle gates). Interior not open to public but the exterior is visible from the road. An inhabitable castle from 1450 not in ruins.
- St Mary’s Church of Ireland (West from Howth Dart Station until the first bus stop; to the left of castle gates). An attractive little stone church with an unusual spire built in 1866.
There is a walking trail starting east of the town that follows the cliffs all over to the southern part of the peninsula. Take the leftmost road from the harbour. The cliff's trail is indicated to the left a bit further. The view is breathtaking and it's really worth the walk. Along the way, you'll come across Dublin's most visible lighthouse, the Bailey Lighthouse (open for tours once a year during the summertime Howth Peninsula Festival). The southern part gives a great view of Dublin's bay and the city itself. The whole tour takes between 3 and 4 hours.
If you took bus 31B to Howth's Summit, reach the lighthouse from there (15 minutes walk), and do half the track—towards the north or the south. When you get off the bus, you will see The Summit Inn and a steep upward road beside it. Follow that road to the summit carpark at the top and from there you can choose North (left) or South (right). North will be busier but if you go South, you will be disorientated when you reach the end as it comes out about 10 minutes walk from a bus-stop. So north may work better.
It is also possible to go towards the center of the peninsula and walk to the three hills that dominate Dublin's view over the ocean. There is a golf course between two of the hills. The view is also very nice.
- Aqua Restaurant. Fine dining at the end of West Pier. Seafood restaurant with lunch and ala carte menus available.
- Ella. Very chic, has early bird menu.
- Cibo Cafe, Main St, ☎ +353 1 839-6344. Gourment pizzas and cocktails. Very "Sex and the City", sociable, no obligation to eat.
- Baily Hotel. Does carvery lunch, traditional food, roasts etc. All are reasonably priced.
- The Bloody Stream, Howth Railway Station, ☎ +353 1 839-5076. Right below the Dart Station. Great seafood.
- The Summit Inn. Very good and well prepared (sea) food at reasonable prices. The cook seems to know what he's doing. Perfect for a stop after a hill walk. Exactly opposite of the final bus station (#31 from and to Dublin).
The King Sitric fish restaurant at the harbour serves freshly caught fish at eye watering prices, several other local restaurants are better and cheaper-notably Ivans.
- The Abbey Tavern, Howth Castle, ☎ +353 1 839-0307. A welcoming pub with authentic fireplace. Occasional live music.
- Deer Park Hotel Golf & Spa, Howth Castle, Howth, North County Dublin, ☎ +353 1 832-2624. Deer Park Hotel is a historic hotel in Howth, a picturesque fishing village in North County Dublin. The hotel is located on the hillside of the Howth peninsula, in the grounds of Howth Castle. It boasts Ireland's largest golf complex and enjoys breathtaking views of Ireland's Eye and Dublin Bay.
It is possible to go on a birdwatching cruise to Ireland's Eye, a small island north of Howth. You can visit it and the monolithic ruins on it for a very reasonable price and if you're lucky you might be able to get the island to yourself. The boat departs from Howth harbour.