There are plenty of things to do in Howth in Dublin, regardless of whether you’re after a chilled afternoon or an active morning of exploring.
If you’re not familiar with Howth, it’s a lively little fishing village in North County Dublin, a handy 25-minute train journey from Dublin City.
And, although it’s the Howth Cliff Walk that tends to steal all of the attention, there’s loads of other things to do in Howth that make the town are great day-trip destination.
Below, you’ll find everything from walks and hidden beaches to historical sites, cosy pubs and info on what to do in Howth when it’s raining.
Table of Contents
Our favourite things to do in Howth
The first section of this guide is packed with our favourite things to do in Howth, in both the village and the wider headland.
Below, you’ll find everything from walks and tasty eats to stunning beaches, fine pints and much, much more.
1. Grab a coffee to-go from Bodega
If you rock up to Howth and you fancy a pre-walk caffeine-kick, head over to Howth Market and nip into Bodega Coffee (the dry almond croissants here are the business!).
You’ll get a tasty drop to-go from here and you can also stuff one of their very tasty cookies or baked-bits into your pocket to keep you going later one.
Il Panorama Cafe across from Howth harbour is another good option, as is The Grind, where you can get a decent stack of pancakes, if you’re feeling peckish.
2. Then head off on the Howth Cliff Walk
We have a detailed guide to the Howth Cliff Walk if you fancy giving it a bash. In a nutshell, the cliff walk is easily one of the best things to do in Howth if you fancy a ramble.
Now, you’ll need some level of fitness for this walk as there are plenty of inclines, a lot of rough path, and the walk itself can last up to 4 hours (depending on the loop you take).
The best advice that I can give you is to get up early, make your way to Howth Summit, and get stuck into the walk before the hoards of tourists and walkers arrive from 9 – 10 onwards.
There are 5 different trails to tackle (info and maps for each here) that vary in length and difficulty.
3. Followed up with a post-walk feed
You’ll have earned a hearty feed after you’ve spent a few hours conquering the cliff walk, and there’s some great restaurants in Howth to nip into.
If you’re after a fancy feed, and if you’re a fan of seafood, the likes of Aqua, King Sitric and The Oar House are good options.
If you’re prefer food to take away, you can’t go wrong with fish and chips from Beshoffs (just beware of the seagulls!!).
4. Then walk it off with ice cream and a ramble along Howth pier
If you’re looking for walks in Dublin that are in no way strenuous and that offer some decent views throughout, the one along Howth harbour and down to the pier is well worth a bash.
If you’ve room left, grab an ice cream from Gino’s and then head off on your merry way. The walk along the pier is short (you could do it easily enough in 20 minutes).
However, if you walk down to the end of the pier, there’s a nice lookout point out towards Ireland’s Eye.
You’ll often see people fishing to the left of this point. On occassion, you’ll walk up here and find that there’s a lad with a fiddle (or an entire band) playing away.
5. Before kicking-back in one of the town’s many mighty pubs
Hands down one of my favourite things to do in Howth is to spend an afternoon on the cliff walk followed by a few hours in the Abbey Tavern or McNeill’s.
If you visit during the winter, you’ll be greeted by a roaring fire and a friendly atmosphere. McNeill’s in particular has some great corners where you can perch yourself for a few hours.
There’s plenty of other great pubs in Howth, like O’Connells. Or, if you’re getting the DART home, the Bloody Stream is right by the station.
More popular things to do in Howth today
Now that we have our favourite things to do in Howth out of the way, it’s time to see what else this corner of Dublin has to offer.
If you book a tour below, we may make a tiny commission – you won’t pay extra, but we greatly appreciate it as it helps up keep this site going.
1. Visit one of the many beaches
There are several beaches in Howth that are well worth a visit to, however, one that gets recommend far to often online is its ‘hidden’ beach.
This beach is located along the cliff walk and, as you’ll discover here, it’s treacherous getting down to it and should be admired from above only.
There’s also the slightly hidden Red Rock Beach, which you get to from the Sutton Side of Howth Hill (info here), Claremont Beach and Balscadden Bay Beach.
2. Take a ferry from Howth to Ireland’s eye
First up is one of the more unique things to do in Howth – a ferry tour out to Ireland’s Eye – an island just off the coast.
On the tour, you’ll see everything from cliffs and Gannets, to (hopefully) seals, the island itself and plenty more. There are three companies, at the time of typing, offering tours to Ireland’s Eye from Howth:
Ireland’s Eye Ferries is the only company who seems to (from what I can see on their website) offer you the opportunity to go onto the island (boats return every hour).
3. Eat your way around Howth Market
Howth Market has been on the go for over 9 years. Back in 2013, the market became a permanent fixture and you’ll find it right across from the DART station.
Although the entire market is only open on Saturdays and Sundays (and on Bank Holiday Mondays) there are 4 permanent fixtures open throughout the week:
- Amore Gelato
- Howth Market Deli
- Unique Oak
- Gift from Howth
Inside the market, you’ll find everything from organic produce and freshly baked goods to jewelry, clothing, antiques and more.
4. Take the panoramic e-Bike Tour
If you’re wondering what to do in Howth that’s a little bit different, give the Panoramic e-Bike Tour a crack.
This is a 3.5 hour tour that’s racked up some solid reviews online. Over the course of the tour, you’ll see everywhere from Howth Castle and Deer Park to the Martello Tower and more.
You’ll soak up mighty views of Dublin bay, see Bailey Lighthouse and hear history, tales and local legend from your tour guide.
If you book this tour, we may make a tiny commission – you won’t pay extra, but we greatly appreciate it as it helps up keep this site going.
5. Drive to Howth Summit and walk down to Bailey Lighthouse
This is one of my favourite things to do in Howth when I don’t have the energy (or the time) to do the Cliff Path Walk.
If you fancy getting out for a handy walk that’ll treat you to some gorgeous coastal views, point your car, bike, or feet in the direction of Howth Summit.
When you pass beneath the metal frame that’s used to keep large campers and caravans out, you’ll see a little path to the right. Follow it.
This’ll take you past a derelict house on your left and down through some thick bushes. If you keep walking, you’ll be treated to the view in the snap above.
Continue down towards the Bailey Lighthouse. You’ll get great views of the lighthouse, cliffs on both sides, and the Dublin skyline.
6. Head off on the Howth Safari Hiking Tour
The Howth Safari Hiking Tour has excellent reviews online and it won an award last year for its incredible tour guides.
This is a 4 hour walking tour of Howth where you’ll lear about the history of the area while enjoying a hike in the proccess.
Over the course of your tour, you’ll see caves, coves, cliffs and plenty more while following an experienced adventure guide along the cliffs and through the woodlands of Howth.
7. Explore Howth Castle
I’ve never been to Howth Castle but, after reading about its history, I’ve whacked it onto my to-visit-sharpish list. Howth Castle dates back to the 1200s.
According to legend, Grace O’Malley, pirate queen of Connacht, visited the castle in 1575, apparently hoping to dine with Lord Howth.
It’s said that he turned her away, as the family was in the middle of having dinner… Apparently, she kidnapped the Earl of Howth’s grandson as payback, and only let him go when it was agreed that no guest would be turned away from the castle ever again.
Update: Howth Castle has just been bought by a company that plans on turning it into a luxury hotel… so the chances are you won’t get inside the castle unless you book a room.
8. Craft Beer and Seafood Trail
If you’d like to take a tour of some of the best pubs in Howth with a seasoned guide, this is another great tour to check out.
This tour takes you through Howth village and along the way you’ll hear stories from the town’s ancient past.
You’ll also: Taste 5+ local craft beers and munch away on a plethora of locally caught seafood while listening to stories about the areas history.
9. The Hurdy Gurdy Vintage Radio museum
The Hurdy Gurdy Vintage Radio museum is a good option for those of you wondering what to do in Howth when it’s pouring down.
You’ll find it in a Martello Tower – a building that hugely important in Ireland’s early communications network.
It was here where the first communications cable from Holyhead in Wales to Ireland was laid way back in 1852.
Inside, you’ll find an extensive collection of early Morse equipment, gramophones, crystal sets and valve radios, alongside ancient-looking photographs, telegrams, batteries, TVs, stamps and much more.
What to do in Howth: what have we missed?
I’m sure that we’ve unintentionally left out some great things to do in Howth, Ireland, in the guide above.
If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!
FAQs about the best things to do in Howth
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from the what to do in Howth when it’s raining to what Howth attractions are indoors.
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.
What are the best things to do in Howth this weekend?
If you’re wondering what to do in Howth this weekend, tackle the cliff walk first and then grab a decent bit of lunch after. You can then follow it up with a ramble on the pier.
What are the best rainy day Howth attractions?
If you’re wondering what to do in Howth in the rain, the Hurdy Gurdy Vintage Radio museum is worth checking out.
What are the best things to do near Howth?
If you’ve had your fill of the Howth attractions, there’s lots more to see nearby, from Malahide Castle and Portmarnock Beach to the many attractions in the City Centre.