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A Guide To Howth In Dublin: A Stunning Seaside Village That Packs A Punch

A Guide To Howth In Dublin: A Stunning Seaside Village That Packs A Punch

If you’re debating staying in Howth in Dublin, you’ve landed in the right place.

Like any capital, Dublin City can get a little crazy at times and, occasionally, you just need a escape the hustle and bustle for a bit.

Luckily, villages like Howth are on the DART line, which makes them easy to get to and they feel a world apart from the capital city.

In the guide below, you’ll discover everything from things to do in this mighty little village to where to eat, sleep and drink.

Some quick need-to-knows before visiting Howth in Dublin

howth dublin

Photo by Peter Krocka (Shutterstock)

Although a visit to Howth in Dublin is nice and straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location

You’ll find Howth in North Dublin, a 25-minute DART ride from the city. It’s also around a 20/25-minute drive from Malahide and Portmarnock and it’s around a 20-minute drive from Clontarf.

2. Well serviced by public transport

Howth is easily reached by public transport. You can reach Howth using the northbound DART from Connolly Station in Dublin centre and it takes around 25-30 minutes. Otherwise, you can jump on the number 31 bus that also leaves from Connolly Station.

3. Home to plenty to see and do

The Howth Cliff Walk is arguably the main attraction here, but there’s a few other notable things that make Howth a cracking day out. Also worth your time is the lovely Howth Village, Howth summit, Bailey Lighthouse, the gardens of Howth Castle and a hidden beach. 

4. Lots of great pubs and restaurants

And as is often the case with pretty seaside villages, there’s a load of great pubs and restaurants to enjoy while you’re here. Do your coastal walks first and reward yourself later with a pint and a meal as the sun goes down in Howth Village (that’s what I’d do anyway!). 

About Howth

history of howth

Photo by Aitormmfoto (Shutterstock)

One of Dublin’s oldest working harbours, Howth has been a fishing village and port since at least the 14th century and Howth Castle has stood on its present grounds in some form for over 750 years.

The harbour didn’t begin to take its present shape until the 19th century and only in the later 20th century were the leisure areas added, however it’s still an active centre of the fishing industry and one of Ireland’s “tier 2” fishing ports.

For travellers, though, it’s the gorgeous landscapes and fascinating history that keeps drawing people in. Howth gets especially busy in the summer, as people from all over county Dublin and beyond come to experience its unique charm.

Whether you’re a cyclist, jogger or walker, it’s one of the more stunning parts of the country yet is conveniently close to Dublin City. 

Things to do in Howth

So, we have a dedicated guide on the best things to do in Howth, but I’ll give you a quick overview of our favourite attractions.

Below, you’ll find everything from the Howth Cliff Walk and the towns many beaches to Baily Lighthouse and more.

1. The Howth Cliff Walk

cliffs in Howth

Photo by Cristian N Gaitan/

With its cinematic coastal scenes and easy-to-follow trails, the number one reason to visit Howth is to tackle the mighty Howth Cliff Walk (arguably one of the best walks in Dublin).

Despite the title, there are actually a number of different walking routes in Howth that treat the eye to lovely views of Lambay Island, Ireland’s Eye, Dublin Bay and Baily Lighthouse.

But for this purpose, we’re talking about the easy 1.5 hour walk that begins at Howth Summit car park and takes you north to Howth Head Peak where you should have some deadly views of Ireland’s Eye and Lambay Island. Here’s a guide to follow.

2. Ramble along the harbour

things to do in Howth

Photo by Gabriela Insuratelu (Shutterstock)

For something a little more leisurely, you can just stay in Howth Village and take a ramble around. This is regarded as one of Dublin’s most picturesque towns for good reason!

When the sun is shining, there are few better things to do than to grab an ice cream from Gino’s and then stroll around while soaking up the views. 

There are also a couple of fish and chips shops if you want that classic coastal break experience, as well as plenty of pubs to rest your legs with a pint.

3. Beaches galore

howth beach guide

Photos via Shutterstock

If you read our Howth Beach guide, you’ll know that there’s 4 main beaches in the area: Claremont Beach, Balscadden Bay Beach, Red Rock and a ‘hidden’ beach.

The ‘hidden’ beach is best viewed from above on the cliff walk but, as you’ll see us mention in our guide to the best beaches in Howth, you should avoid walking down to it.

Although Claremont and Balscadden Bay are relatively easy to reach, you need to go off-the-beaten path to reach Red Rock.

4. Howth Castle

howth castle dublin

Photo left by mjols84 (Shutterstock). Photo right via Howth Castle

Lying just south of Howth Village, Howth Castle is one of the longest continuously inhabited private homes in Europe and has been in the care of the St Lawrence family since 1177.

Though that means you can’t see inside the house, you can still walk around its charming grounds and view the ancient castle in all its glory. 

With the current castle dating back to around the 14th-century, its gardens are especially lovely in early summer when the azalea and rhododendron collections are in bloom.

Update: Howth Castle has recently be sold to an investment firm and they’re set to turn it into another castle hotel in Dublin.

5. Bailey Lighthouse

bailey lighthouse

Photo by xcloud (Shutterstock)

While there’s been a lighthouse on Howth’s south-eastern tip since the mid-17th-century, the current structure dates back to 1814.

Over the years, even with the lighthouse in place, the waters here have played witness to many tragedies. One of the most notable took place in 1853, when a paddle streamer struck the cliffs, resulting in the loss of 83 lives.

These days, Bailey Lighthouse is one of the most notable stops on the Howth Cliff Walk (you can admire it from afar).

6. The Hurdy Gurdy Vintage Radio museum

Howth attractions

Photos via Hurdy Gurdy Vintage Radio museum

Ignore the silly name for a moment, as this is a serious collection that’s arguably one of the more unique museums in Dublin.

And not only that, the building (The Martello Tower) was a genuinely important part of Ireland’s early communications network as the site where the first communications cable from Holyhead in Wales to Ireland was laid in 1852. 

Inside you’ll find Pat Herbert’s extensive collection of early Morse equipment, gramophones, crystal sets and valve radios, alongside ancient-looking photographs, telegrams, batteries, TVs, stamps, household items and more.

Places to eat in Howth

restaurants in Howth

Photos via Aqua Restaurant on Facebook

Although we go into the town’s food scene in depth in our Howth restaurants guide, you’ll find the best of the bunch (in our opinion!) below.

1. Aqua Restaurant

An award-winning seafood restaurant situated at the end of Howth Harbour’s west pier, Aqua has some of the best views of any Dublin restaurant. Its selection of locally caught fish is as fresh and full of flavour as you can imagine. 

2. Beshoff Bros – Howth

I’d argue that Beshoff Bros in Howth Village does the best fish and chips in Dublin. Buy a bag and head across the road and grab a bench that overlooks the harbour. If you feel like mixing it up, check out their calamari and chips. 

3. The Brass Monkey

A little further down from Aqua lies the Brass Monkey, a great spot for a less formal seafood experience. If you’re with friends, then order in a few pints and a mix of seafood platters. 

Pubs in Howth

best pubs in howth

Photos via McNeill’s on Facebook

There’s some mighty pubs in Howth that are perfect for a post-walk pint with friends. Below, you’ll find three of our favourites.

1. Abbey Tavern

Decked out in striking cream and blue from the outside, the Abbey Tavern in Howth Village dates back to the 16th-century. Serving exceptional food and drink under its historic low ceils, there’s always a lively atmosphere here. 

2. McNeills of Howth

Sitting at the top end of Howth Village, McNeills of Howth is a handsome spot to escape to if you’ve had enough of the busy harbour. And as soon as the kitchens close, the music starts so you can enjoy yourself long into the night.

3. O’Connell’s Pub

Perfectly perched to look out over the Harbour, O’Connell’s is in a picturesque spot. It’s also one of the first pubs you come across on your way back into town following the Howth Cliff Walk so we wouldn’t blame you for falling in here for a pint!

Howth accommodation

hotels in Howth

Photos via

There a handful of great places to stay in Howth, from guesthouses and pub accommodation to gorgeous holiday homes.

Note: if you book a hotel through one of the links below we may make a tiny commission that helps us keep this site going. You won’t pay extra, but we really do appreciate it.

1. King Sitric

Practically next door to O’Connell’s, King Sitric is an easy-going spot in a great location that provides instant access to the Harbour and the Howth Cliff Walk. Also offers free wi-fi and a restaurant with a varied seafood menu.

Check prices + see more photos here

2. Sweet Inn – Gorgeous Howth I

This holiday home is just north of Howth Village’s pubs and shops and is peaceful without being too far from the action. Features 3 bedrooms, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a kitchen and 3 bathrooms with a shower.

Check prices + see more photos here

3. Sweet Inn – Gorgeous Howth II

This holiday home has much the same features as the previous one but is much closer to town. And with access to a patio and free private parking, you’re in a cracking spot to go exploring in Howth. 

Check prices + see more photos here

FAQs about visiting Howth in Dublin

Since mentioning the area in a guide on where to stay in Dublin that we published several years ago, we’ve had hundreds of emails asking various things about Howth.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

Is Howth worth visiting?

Yes! Howth is a lovely little village that’s home to beautiful beaches, stunning cliffs and lots of lively pubs and restaurants. It makes a great day out.

Is there much to do in Howth?

There’s lots to see and do in Howth, from the 4 beaches and the Howth Cliff Walk to Bailey Lighthouse, Deer Park and the harbour.

Are there many pubs and restaurants in Howth?

Yes! There’s a good mix of casual places to eat and fancier spots for a bite in the town. There’s also several great, traditional style pubs on offer.

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