The small island of Ireland's Eye is located about 1 km from Howth and can therefore be seen very clearly from the town. Ireland's Eye is a bird sanctuary - no one lives there, but in the summertime there's a small ferry service that runs between Howth Harbour and the island. At one end of the island, there's a big freestanding rock, which people call "the stack", and many seabirds gather around that area. Ireland's Eye is also home to a 19th century Martello tower, which can be seen from Howth, and the ruins of an 8th century church can be found on the island.
Leaving Howth train station, you'll see this sign post.
The green, blue, red and purple arrows are direction indicators for the various looped walks that can be enjoyed around Howth (and throughout Ireland).
These circular routes offer walks to suit all abilities, ranging from 5km - 17km.
CLICK HERE for info about loop walks around Howth and the Howth Coastal Path
Hopefully next time I'll get to enjoy the coastal walk. However, as I was only here in Ireland for the day, and had to return to Dublin in a few hours, I was intending just strolling around, re-visiting the places that I'd seen on my first short visit, and exploring some new ground.
So, come with me, and we'll head down towards the harbour.
I'm pleased that this church was open, and that I got the chance of a good look around, as there were some unexpected treasures inside.
The church contains a belfry, nave, transepts, sanctuary porches and a sacristy. Entering through the door (North side), I was surprised to see how light and airy the church appeared. The wooden timbered barrel like ceiling caught my eye. This is supported by stone corbels, which are carved angels heads. The part above the transept is supported by 4 polished granite columns. These have Corinthian capitals, which have finely carved acanthus leaves and scrolls, which are in the style of Greco - Roman.
The angels can be seen to be holding open scrolls with words.(pic 4) They form the verse from Psalm 91:11 "He hath given his angels charge over thee to guard you in all thy ways"
The pair of angels above the choir loft (which I missed) are in dedication of the Archangels Michael and Raphael.
In the choir loft (pic 2) is the church organ, which has 13 pipes.
The High altar (Central) is flanked by 2 smaller side altars. If you look on the high altar you can see the IHS monogram, (This is a medieval Latinised Greek symbol of the name of Jesus Christ)
In the apse is a tabernacle, where the Blessed Sacrament is kept. Here is another Christian symbol - The Ichthys, or fish symbol, which has been used as a symbol from as early as 1 AD
to denote Christians, sometimes as a secret sign, or more publically as today, when it appears on car window stickers and jewellery etc.
Why a fish though? It could have been due to the number of fishermen amongst the disciples, though it could be that Ichthys is an acrostic (where the first letter of a poem etc. read downwards forms a word) of Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour.
- Stand by for a quick Greek lesson, with help from Wikipaedia!!
Iota (i) is the first letter of Iēsous (Ἰησοῦς), Greek for Jesus
Chi (kh) is the first letter of Khristos (Χριστóς) "Christ" or "anointed".
Theta (th) is the first letter of Theou (Θεοῦ), that means "God's
Upsilon (u) is the first letter of huios (Υἱός), Greek for Son
Sigma (s) is the first letter of sōtēr (Σωτήρ), Greek for Savior
Ichthus ( or ΙΧΘΥΣ) is Greek for fish.
The Left side Altar is dedicated to 'Our Lady' (pic 5) Beneath the attractive Byzantine canopy is a statue of the Virgin Mary, standing on a crescent moon, which is traditionally associated with her Assumption into Heaven. This is described in Revelation 12:1-2.
The letters M and I ( Maria Immaculata) are intertwined on the altar. This is to denote the Immaculate Conception of the future Mother of God. The Greek Α (Alpha) and Ω (Omega ) can also be seen - these are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet and signify that ' God is the beginning and end of all things'
The Altar on the Right side is dedicated to The Sacred Heart of Jesus (pic 3). The main tabernacle of the church resided here between 1981 and 2006, which meant that the statue of The Sacred Heart was ousted to the shelf which is to the right of the altar.
By now I'd forgotten that I was in a Catholic church in an Irish fishing village, it felt more like I'd been transported to Italy or Spain!
This church had still more of interest to see, so onto my next tip...
Howth Marina is owned by The Howth Yacht Club (which is the largest yachting club in Ireland, with over 2,000 members).
The Club was formed at least as far back as 1895, and plays an important role in Howths social calendar.
For land lubbers like myself, the marina is a pleasant place to wander around, admiring the smart vessels moored here, wondering why the owner chose the name that they did for their yacht, and looking for the swishest 'gin palace'and trying to guess who could own it!
There are often Regattas and races held, which can be quite exciting.
Information for those mooring here etc
CLICK for more info for sailing conditions etc
The club offers temporary membership to those spending the winter here.
Howth Yacht Club Marina
Harbour Road, Howth , Co Dublin
Tel:+21 (353) 1839 2777, Fax:+21 (353) 18392430, VHF Channel Ch 80/37
Situated on the northern side of Dublin Bay. Available at all states of tide and offer excellent protection from every wind direction.
Prior to arrival, intending visitors are requested to call Howth Marina on Channel M (37 A) or 80 so that a berth may be allocated to them. On arrival please register at the Marina Office at the top of the Marina bridge.
Complete marina services including 24 hour toilets and showers, 24 hour laundry and water and electric. Good provisioning, fuel and LPG are available locally.
Near the lighthouse on the East Pier, is this plaque.
It reads- in Gaelic and English
On Sunday 26th July 1914 Erskine Childers and the crew of the yachy "Asgard" landed here with guns and ammunition for the Irish Volunteers to fight for the freedom of Ireland.
Robert Erskine Childers was born in England in 1870. An orphan, he spent school holidays at his Aunts home in County Wicklow. Graduating from Cambridge University, he became a civil servant, working as a Clerk for the British House of Commons.
He also served during the Boer War in a horse artillery company in Africa, and in
1914 in the Royal Navy(where he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross)
A keen sailor, his yacht was often to be seen sailing around British and European waterways. Another of his interests was writing, his novel, 'The Riddle of the Sands' is considered to be the first thriller ever written!
His visits to Ireland had foistered an interest in its politics and saw Ireland as an integral part of Great Britain, the same as Wales and Scotland.
A liberal, he supported Gladstone's 1911 Home Rule proposal. The Irish of Ulster opposed the notion, with The Ulster Volunteers forming as a militia force. The importing of weapons was prohibited, but their arms were smuggled in from Germany, with Great Britain doing little to stop these activities.
Enter Childers, who decided to even the score, with some pursuasion from Padraic Pearse, a plan was hatched that must have appealed to the 'Boys Own' adventurer. He was to sail to Germany, to bring back weapons for the Irish Volunteers. As he was seen so often sailing between Britain and Ireland, it wouldn't look too suspicious.
His crew were his wife Mary A. Osgood, her friend, Mary Spring-Rice, and a British aviator.
Securing 900 rifles (of quite an age, but still deadly) and 25, 000 rounds of ammunition, they left Germany, on the pretext of taking their load to Mexico. Despite hitting one of the worst storms in the Irish Sea, Asgard entered Howth Harbour, and the weapons were distributed to Irish Volunteers, before Childers sailed back to Britain.
The Irish Volunteers plan to march to Dublin, was thwarted by the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and a Scottish Regiment who'd been consigned for the purpose, by setting up a road block at Clontarth.
to be continued......
Harbpour Road, is home to some of Howths best known Restaurants and shops. It carries on from Howth Road, until , opposite the childrens playground, it curves into Abbey Street.
At both ends of the road are apartment blocks for rental, and some offer self- catering facillities for holiday makers. As you can imagine, with views over the Marina, Harbour, Irelands Eye and beyond, these 'To Lets' aren't cheap!
Some of the shops here include
The Gem Newsagents
De Stafford Bridal
Susan Eve - Clothing
Hair and Beauty
Moda Vida -
No 10 - El Paso (Tapas)
No 12 Casa Pasta (Mediterranean)
The Waterside Bar and Wheelhouse Restaurant
Beshoffs Traditional Fish and Chips
Mauds Cafe -Ice Creams
Dee Gees Cafe.
Car Parking, Childrens Play ground, seating, Public toilets at East Pier end
The Old Courthouse dates from the 1870's . As well as being the Village Court house, this single storey building has also been used as a prayer hall, and a tax collection point.
Nowadays, it is the local branch of An Taisce, (Irelands National Trust), as well as holding Bric a Brac sales etc.
On the day that I was visiting, there was a Second hand Book sale.
I had a quick look in, to have a peep at the Old building- nothing much to see, and to look for a book or 2 - Couldn't find anything that interested me, and they were quite expensive - 3.50 euros for a tatty paperback.. There were quite a few books about Irish History, and religious books.
Hardly anyone knows about this beach. Even I didn't know til recently and I've been living only 3 miles away from it for the past year! :-)
It is a lovely wide quiet beach, however there are literally no signposts for it at all. (very strange, I think)
It is a great spot for photography. You have a great view of the West Pier in Howth, the boats off the harbour, Ireland's Eye island, Sutton and the rest of North County Dublin. Also, you can take your dogs and even your horse to the beach. You could also go kite-surfing, if you're into that.
Baily Lighthouse is the lighthouse standing on the south eastern part of Howth Head. There has been a lighthouse on this site since 1667, but first the lighthouse was standing higher up, which often made it obscure by fog, so a new lighthouse was built closer to the sea in 1814. After several shipwrecks in the area the lighthouse finally got a fog bell in 1853. Through the years modernisations was done.
The lighthouse has been a training facility for new lighthouse keepers.
In 1996 Baily Lighthouse was the last Irish lighthouse that became automatic.
If you walk Abby Street up from the harbour you will come to the Roman Catholic Church of The Assumption, a church built in 1899. When I was walking up to the summit the church was open, but as I came down it was closed. Inside the church there is a simple wooden roof and some fine stained glass windows. The church has got streets on all sides and if you are walking to the summit you should take the road on the left side of the church.
The Irish poet WB Yeats lived in Balscadden Cottage, on Howth Hill.
The view of the sea from the cottage is stunning.
Cliffs are behind the house.
As it is a private residence, you cannot enter it, but if one is a Yeats aficionado, then you will want to see it whilst in Dublin.
Well, you couldn't miss this if you tried. It is located at the end of the pier. It is automatically operated.
From the lighthouse, you have a great view of Howth village, the Summit and across the sea to Lambay Island
In the Howth tourist office the young man recommended us the rhododendron park, but we wanted to make a cliff walk. He obviously though that we were too old to make it, but we were stubborn and found our way there. There were all kinds of warnings like "uneven surface" but we found the path quite easy to walk. We really enjoyed our walk very much. The scenery was so beautiful. Sea under us, lots of bushes, heather and many different flowers in bloom, but the best of all was the peace. There were hardly any other people there and we really loved that.
Walk through the town centre and eventually you reach the marina area of Malahide, which like Howth, is full of fancy pleasure craft! Compared to the main streets and their small town feel, the marina area seems a lot more upmarket with new residential developements and ethnic restaurants dotting the seafront.
In the grounds of Malahide Castle are a couple of other attractions.
The picture is of a ruined church next to the castle and also close by are the walled gardens which you have to pay extra to get into. They didn't seem to be open when I was there so I assume they have more restricted hours.
Further away from the castle, but still in the grounds, is Frys Model Railway museum and also a doll/toy museum both of which are signposted.
East Pier, Howth, Ireland
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
I had been wanting to stay in Howth, and was pleasantly surprised, when I came across this hotel on...more
Nashville Road, Howth, 3, Ireland
Good for: Solo