Located only 20 minutes’ drive or easily accessible by bus or train from the Dublin Skylon Hotel, Howth (Rhymes with ‘both’) Head is a stunning picturesque fishing village located on the north side of Dublin Bay. For directions of how to get to Howth from the Skylon, click here.
History and Castle
Since 1180 the St. Lawrence family have been the Lords of Howth. Howth Castle has stood on its present site for over seven hundred years, the original one, a timber structure, having been sited on Tower Hill, overlooking Balscadden Bay. The current building is not the original castle, which was on the high slopes by the village and the sea. The great English architect Sir Edwin Lutyens restyled a 14th-century castle built here, overlooking Ireland's Eye and the north Dublin coastline. Howth was a trading port from at least the 14th century, with both health and duty collection officials supervising from Dublin, although the harbour was not built until the early 19th century. While the castle is still owned privately the gardens are free to all walkers and you can examine the castle closely as you walk by it to the gardens.
Pirates and Howth
A popular tale concerns the pirate Gráinne O'Malley, who was rebuffed in 1576 while attempting a courtesy visit to Howth Castle, home of the Earl of Howth. In retaliation, she abducted the Earl's grandson and heir, and as ransom she exacted a promise that unanticipated guests would never be turned away again. She also made the Earl promise that the gates of Deer Park (the Earl's demesne) would never be closed to the public again, and the gates are still open to this day, and reputedly, a place is set at table for unexpected guests.
Spectacular views and walks.
While in Howth, walk through the castle grounds and take a right at the Deer Park Golf Centre. This walk will bring you through the spectacular Rhodendrum Gardens and through a maze of stunning covered walkways. At the top take in one of the best views in the world where you can see north to the mountains of Mourne and to the south a complete panoramic view of Dublin Bay to Dalkey. Don’t forget your camera as proof because the views are unbelievable!
Island Boat Tour
While visiting Howth, take a stroll around the cliffs for some of the best views in Ireland, walk the piers or take a boat trip out to Irelands Eye Island, stopping off for fish and chips on the way for a picnic. The pretty village is crammed with interesting shops, bars and restaurants, and the historic castle and ancient monasteries are an amazing sight to behold.