The Howth Cliff Walk: 5 Howth Walks To Try Today (With Maps + Routes)

The route in detail

howth cliff walk guide
Photo left: edmund.ani. Right: EQRoy

The short Howth Cliff Walk / the Howth Head walk is one of my favourite things to do in Dublin.

I’ve been doing it every couple of months with friends for around 15 years at this stage. 15 years… it feels crazy to even type that.

This is one of the more popular walks in Dublin, and for good reason – the coastal views that you’re treated to throughout are out of this world.

In the guide below, you’ll find everything you need to know about the various Howth Head walk routes, from where to park to the different trails to choose from.

The different Howth Cliff Walk routes

walks in howth
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

There are a number of different walking routes in Howth that treat those that ramble along them to views of Lambay Island, Ireland’s Eye, Dublin Bay and Baily Lighthouse.

Although each loop has a different name (and each follows a slightly different trail), they all tend to get referred to as the Howth Cliff Walk / Howth Cliff Path Walk online, which causes confusion.

The long loops

There are four long Howth Cliff Walk walking routes, each of which kicks off at the DART station in Howth Village (you’ll find a map for each route further down).

  1. The Black Linn loop (aka the Red Route)
  2. The Bog of Frogs loop (aka the Purple Route)
  3. The Howth Cliff Path loop (aka the Green Route)
  4. The Tramline Loop (aka the Blue Route)

The shorter Howth walks

There are also two shorter Howth Cliff Walks, but I’ve no idea what they’re officially called (I’ve tried to find the names, trust me!).

These walks kick-off at the car park up at Howth Summit (just up the hill past the Summit pub) and require much less effort.

Howth Cliff Walk maps, trails and guides to each of the five routes

If you fancy a long walk and you don’t mind walking at a reasonably steep incline for a decent chunk of time, the longer routes (trail guides below) are your best bet.

If you fancy a reasonably handy stroll that treats you to class views and that doesn’t require a whole lot of incline, the short routes (trails below) will suit you.

Route 1: The short-and-easy Howth Cliff Walk

OK, so I’m calling this the ‘short-and-easy ramble’ as I’ve no idea what it’s called… This is the Howth Cliff Walk that I do most frequently.

Now, you could also extend this and take a stroll down to Bailey Lighthouse, if you fancied. Take a right just after you walk in under the barrier at the car park and continue down the hill.

  • Starting point: The car park at Howth summit
  • Duration: 1.5 hours max (you could do it in less time if you don’t stop to soak up the views, but sure what’s the point in that
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Where to park: The summit Howth Cliff Walk car park (turn at the Summit pub)

Route 2: The Black Linn loop (aka the Red Route)

howth cliff walk red route
Photo via Discover Ireland

The next Howth Head walk is known as the Black Linn Loop. This is, as the name suggests, a looped walk and it follows red arrows from the DART station.

This is one of the longer Howth Walks, so make sure to bring some snacks and water with you to keep you going. 

  • Starting point: DART station in Howth Village
  • Finishing point: DART station in Howth Village
  • Duration: 2.5 hours / 8km
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Ascent: 160 m
  • Where to park: You’ll find plenty of parking near the DART station

Route 3: The Bog of Frogs loop (aka the Purple Route)

howth cliff path walk purple route
Photo via Discover Ireland

Next up is the Bog of the Frogs (what a name!) loop, aka the Purple Route. This Howth walk kicks off from the DART station and follows purple arrows.

This is the longest (and arguably the most challenging!) of the many different walks in Howth and takes a total of 3 hours to complete.

  • Starting point: DART station in Howth Village
  • Finishing point: DART station in Howth Village
  • Duration: 12 km / 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Ascent: 240 m
  • Where to park: You’ll find plenty of parking near the DART station

Route 4: The Howth Cliff Path loop (aka the Green Route)

howth cliff path route
Photo via Discover Ireland

Next up is the very popular Howth Cliff Path Loop. As was the case with the others, you’ll start and finish this walk at the DART station.

This ramble will take you around 2 hours and you’ll be treated to mighty coastal views for a good chunk of it. Follow the green arrows from Howth village.

  • Starting point: DART station in Howth Village
  • Finishing point: DART station in Howth Village
  • Duration: 6 km / 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Ascent: 130 m
  • Where to park: You’ll find plenty of parking near the DART station

Route 5: The Tramline Loop (aka the Blue Route)

howth head walk
Photo via Discover Ireland

Last but by no means least is the Howth Cliff path Tramline Loop. I’m like a broken record at this stage – this walk starts and finished at the Dart station and takes 2 hours to do.

You’ll follow the blue arrows from the village and, similar to the other strolls, you’ll be treated to class views throughout. 

  • Starting point: DART station in Howth Village
  • Finishing point: DART station in Howth Village
  • Duration: 7 km / 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Ascent: 130 m
  • Where to park: You’ll find plenty of parking near the DART station

FAQs about walks in Howth

 

We’ve had a clatter of emails over the years about walking routes in Howth after publishing this guide. In the section below, we’ll tackle the most FAQs.

If you’re visiting Howth, make sure to spend some time exploring – there are heaps of other brilliant things to do in Howth that’ll keep you occupied.

Which is the best walk in Howth?

Personally, I always go for the short walk (route one, mentioned above), but I know a lot of people that prefer the long trails (routes two, three, four and five above).

Where is the Howth Cliff Walk car park?

The Howth Cliff Walk car park will differ depending on which of the walks above you go for. If you’re doing one of the longer walks, there’s free parking nearby (you can’t miss it).

If you’re doing the shorter walk, aim for the car park up at Howth Summit (turn at the Summit pub and continue up the hill.

Update: someone has stuck in a place on Google Maps titled ‘Howth Cliff Walk car park’, but it’s nowhere near a starting point for any Howth Head walk (it’s in Sutton, for some strange reason).

How long is the Howth Cliff Walk?

Depending on which Howth Cliff Path Walk you go for, the walk will last between 1.5 hours and 3 hours. If you want to do a shorter walk, try route one mentioned above.

If you’d like to try one of the longer walks in Howth, try route two to five as mentioned above.

How to get to Howth from Dublin City

If you’re driving, Howth is a handy spot to get to and you shouldn’ have any issue finding it with Google Maps. If you’re taking public transport, you can take the bus or the DART.

Getting to Howth by bus

For those of you taking the bus to Howth, hop on the 31, 31 or 31b from Dublin City Centre. Check out the Dublin Bus website for more info.

Getting the DART to Howth

It’ll take you around 25 minutes to get from Dublin City on the DART. Check out the DART website for info on times.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I was in Dublin recently and took DART out to Howth on a Sunday morning. Had great weather for the cliff loop walk. Amazing views, not too difficult, and enough to do in Howth while waiting for the next train back. Definitely one of the highlights of my trip. The walk back to town after the summit isn’t that interesting so it might be worth taking another connecting trail.

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