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Howth (rhymes with both) is a small seaside town historically in County Dublin, 14 km northeast of Dublin city centre. It's on a "tombola" peninsula - once an island, it became connected to the mainland by a sandy isthmus, which is now the residential area of Sutton. The main reasons to visit Howth are for its beaches, clifftop walks and boat trips. It's glorious in August and September when the heather cloaks the cliffs in red.



The name "Howth" is probably from Old Norse Hǫfuð, a headland. Vikings colonised here from 819, and after their defeat by Brian Boru at Clontarf in 1014 they held out here until 1177. Then the Normans crushed them (hence the "Bloody Stream") and began building the castle. Howth developed as a fishing and trading port. In the 19th century it competed with Dún Laoghaire to be a shipping port for Dublin, but silting of the harbour meant it eventually lost its commercial business. Fishing continues and there's a coastguard base and leisure marina. In 1994 County Dublin was divided, so Howth is now in County Fingal, and in 2022 had a population of 8400.

The Tourist Information Centre is in the Old Courthouse by the harbour, open daily 9:30AM-5PM.

Get in


By train


DART trains run every 30 min from central Dublin, taking 30 minutes, see Irish Rail for times and fares. These trains start from Bray or Greystones and run north via Dalkey, Dún Laoghaire, Pearse Station, Tara Street, Dublin Connolly (for mainline trains), Howth Junction, Bayside and Sutton to 1 Howth station by the harbour.

Other DART trains run from Connolly to Howth Junction then continue north to Malahide, and don't come into Howth, so change at the Junction if you find yourself on one of these. Coming from the north, you can reach Howth by changing at Drogheda then Malahide then the Junction, without travelling into Connolly and out again.

By bus


Dublin Bus H3 runs every 30 min from Dublin Lower Abbey Street (opposite Abbey Theatre) via Amiens St outside Connolly Station, along Howth Road through Clontarf, Killester, Raheny and Bayside to Sutton. It then goes north side of the peninsula to Howth harbour and ascends the hill to The Summit.

Bus 6 is hourly and takes an hour, via the same route to Sutton then a scenic climb up the south side of the hill on Carrickbrack Rd then to the Summit and down to Howth harbour.

Nitelink Bus 31n runs from D'Olier St in central Dublin, departing Friday and Saturday at midnight then hourly to 4AM.

From the airport, Bus 102 runs every 30 min via Swords, Malahide and Portmarnock to Sutton station. Change there to bus, Dart train or walk to reach Howth.

By boat


Dublin Bay Cruises sail to Howth from Dún Laoghaire (east pier) March to September. They sail Tu-Su at 12:30, taking an hour, with views over Dalkey Island, Clontarf, Bull Island, Baily and Kish Lighthouses, Howth Head, Ireland's Eye and Lambay Island. The return sailing (from west pier) is at 2PM or 3:30PM. In 2024 an adult single is €25, which includes a voucher to return by DART train for only €2 if you don't sail back.

Get around


Buses H3 and 6 run through Sutton and Howth as above. Otherwise walk.

Taxi firms are Classic Cabs (+353 1 839 0122) and Coastal Cabs (+353 1 839 7777).


Howth harbour
  • 1 Howth Harbour is the second biggest commercial fishing port in Ireland and also contains a leisure marina. There are excellent views along the coast from the East Pier and a stone lighthouse at the tip of it. The West Pier just beside the Dart Station is lined with restaurants and there's an imprint of the footsteps of King George IV, who landed here on a visit to Ireland in 1821. (Yes, the cement was wet at the time, he was notoriously heavy but not that heavy.) In July 1914, 900 rifles were landed at Howth by Erskine Childers to arm the Irish nationalists; many were put to use in the Easter Rising and Anglo-Irish war.
  • 2 St Mary's Abbey is just a masonry shell within a cemetery. It dates back to 1235 though much modified over later centuries. Enter the cemetery from Church Street: the Abbey ruin itself may be locked, enquire locally about access, or just admire the setting with the old gravestones and views over the harbour and Ireland's Eye.
  • 3 Howth Castle. Closed. The castle dates from 1450 but was extensively re-built by Lutyens in 1911. The castle estate or desmesne includes much of Howth Head, with the outlying areas (eg the clifftop walks) having free public access. It's set in Deer Park, an extensive parkland with rhododendrons and a golf course. Since 2019 it's been closed for redevelopment as a hotel, but the castle cookery school has restarted. It's not known what will happen to the Transport Museum here.
  • St Mary’s Church of Ireland is an attractive little stone church at the castle gates, on Howth Rd west of the Dart station. It was built in 1866.
  • Dolmen Howth or "Aideen's grave" is a partly-collapsed megalith in the woods 300 m west of the castle golf club. "Portal tombs" of this style were built until around 2500 BC, but Aideen is a mythical figure from around 3rd century AD.
  • National Transport Museum, Heritage Depot, Howth Demesne D13 NF86 (next to the castle), +353 1 848 0831. Sa Su 2-5PM. Volunteer-run museum with some 100 vehicles, including the trams which formerly lumbered over the Hill of Howth. It needs to find a better home, because the exhibits are tightly parked together, and Ireland's transport history deserves a better display. Adult €4.50, child or conc €3.
  • 4 Ben of Howth is an open area of three hills. The highest, topped by radio aerials, is Black Linn, 171 m (561 ft) so it's a "Marilyn". You can drive or walk up: Greenhollows Quarry is active, so this part is ugly, with heavy machinery churning the track. The other peaks are Shielmartin Hill (163 m) 1 km west, and Dun Hill 500 m northwest. Good views over Ireland's Eye and on a clear day you can see the aircraft landing and taking off at Dublin Airport.
  • 5 Ireland's Eye is a small uninhabited island north of Howth, reached by a 15-min boat ride. There are ruins of a Martello Tower and the 8th-century "Church of The Three Sons of Nessan". Just off the Eye are the islet of Thulla and "The Stack" at the northeast corner. Birdlife includes guillemots, razorbills, fulmars, gulls, gannets, cormorants and a few puffins. Grey seals may haul out on the rocks. There are no restrictions on access, but please avoid the cliffs (e.g. for rock-climbing) April-June during the main nesting season. In summer boats ply to the island and others make non-landing cruises around it, enquire at Howth harbour.
  • Claremont Beach is right behind the Dart station down a rather grim concrete path, however there are nice views and its possible to walk (or scramble at high tide) along the sand all the way back to Sutton. A lifeguard is on duty in summer.


Howth cliff walk
  • Walk: a firm trail goes east of town along the cliffs all the way round to the south of the peninsula, passing Bailey Lighthouse. A complete circuit takes 3-4 hours.
- The lighthouse can also be approached by a 15-min walk from The Summit pub, but the lighthouse and its precincts are closed to the public.
- Inland trails loop over the hills, but you need stout boots and waterproofs, the "Bog of Frogs" route is well-named.
Maps for these and other loop walks are displayed by the Dart Station and available at the Tourist office in the Old Courthouse.
  • Beaches: at low tide a long sandy beach stretches along the north shore from Sutton to Howth Harbour. Dogs are welcome. The rising tide separates it into Burrow Beach to the west, Hole in the Wall in the middle, and Claremont Beach next to Howth Harbour. The far side of the harbour is Balscadden Bay, quite stony, then it's rocks and cliffs east of there. South tip of the peninsula is Jameson or Drumleck beach, small and not worth the extra distance. There are one or two beautiful little sandy coves on the south side of the Howth peninsula, accessible from the cliff walk which starts close to Sutton dinghy club.
  • Play golf at Deer Park by the castle, Howth Golf Club near the west shore, or Sutton Golf Club on Cush Point to the west.
  • Cinema: the nearest is the Odeon, 5 km west at 84 Malahide Rd, Coolock.
  • Howth Tradfest (Féile Binn Éadair) is a traditional music and ballad festival in May.
  • Howth Roots & Blues Festival is in August.
  • Howth Maritime and Seafood Festival is in September and replaces the Dublin Bay Prawn Festival.


  • Supervalu is at Sutton Cross, open daily 8AM-10PM.
  • Howth Market is on Harbour Rd next to the DART station, held Sa Su 9AM-6PM.


Howth Castle
  • Harbour restaurants are Aqua (below), Octopussy, The Pierhouse, Crabby Jo's, Beshoff's, Leo Burdock, Findlater, Mamó and Loft Bar and Grill.
  • 1 Aqua Restaurant, West Pier D13 H2V4, +353 1 832 0690. Tu 5:30-10PM, W-Su 12:30-3:30PM & 5:30-10PM. Fine dining at the end of West Pier. Seafood restaurant with lunch and à la carte menus available.
  • The Bloody Stream, Howth Dart Station D13 N8K7, +353 1 839 5076. M-Th 11AM-11:30PM, F Sa 11AM-2:30AM, Su noon-1AM. Great seafood.
  • Dog House (Blue's Tea Room), Howth Dart Station D13 EY10, +353 1 839 5188. Daily 11AM-11PM. Cafe and restaurant, comfortable and child-friendly, with indoor and heated outdoor seating.
  • 2 Summit Inn, Thormanby Rd, Howth Summit D13 XK50 (hilltop terminus of Bus 31), +353 1 832 4615. M-F noon-11:30PM, Sa Su 9AM-11PM. Good seafood at reasonable prices. Perfect for a stop after a hill walk.
  • 3 King Sitric, 6 East Pier D13 F5C6, +353 1 832 5235. Restaurant M Th-Su 12:30-9PM. This harbour restaurant serves freshly caught fish but is expensive. Also has rooms.


  • Abbey Tavern, 28 Abbey Street D13 E9V4 (next to Abbey), +353 1 839 0307. Su W Th 12:30-11:30PM, F Sa 12:30PM-12:30AM. Trad pub with authentic fireplace and decent food. Occasional live music.
  • Others are Harbour Bar, O'Connell's and McNeil's.


Ireland's Eye
Most visitors just day-trip from around Dublin, and there is limited accommodation here.
  • King Sitric Restaurant has rooms, see above.
  • Hazelwood B&B, 2 Thormanby Woods D13 P938, +353 1 839 1391.
  • Cornerville B&B, 83 Offington Ave D13 C1P0, +353 1 839 3585.
  • 1 Gleann-na-Smoi, Kilrock Rd D13 FP46, +353 1 832 2936. Small, homely B&B south end of town. B&B double €140.
  • 2 Marine Hotel, 13 Sutton Cross D13 P3Y8 (train to Sutton), +353 1 839 0000. Comfy hotel with its lawn rolling down to the shore of Dublin Bay. Facilities include a swimming pool, sauna, restaurants and bar. Close to Howth Village. B&B double €200.
  • 3 Martello Tower along the east coast is available for self-catering.



As of May 2024, Howth and Sutton have 4G with Eir and 5G with Three and Vodafone.

Go next

  • Dublin city centre has many attractions and amenities, with more pubs than you could shake a stick at.
  • Malahide to the north has a castle with rich 18th- and 19th-century furnishings.

This city travel guide to Howth is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.