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Malahide Castle was the home of the Talbot family for almost 800 years, except for a brief period when, yes, you guessed it, Oliver Cromwell commandeered it and gave it to Miles Corbet who was promptly hanged after Cromwell's demise. In 1975, the last of the Talbots, Rose, sold the castle to the Irish State, you can see her portrait as a little girl with red shoes as you walk up the stairs. The guide said that she died earlier in 2009 and that she was the last heir of the Talbot family.
After leaving the dark wooded Oak Room, the tour becomes an audio tour pumped through speakers in each room. The Great Hall at the end of the tour is the most memorable room in the Castle, the audio tape points out the portrait of Cromwell that is oddly still hanging in the room along with the portraits of 14 members of the family that were killed in the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 which may help explain why there are no remaining heirs today.
Visiting the Castle is by guided tour only, admission is currently 7.50€ for adults. It was not included on my Heritage Card but appears to be included on the Dublin Pass
Updated Aug 5, 2009
If you find yourself with a nice day, taking a walk along the cliffs of Howth is a fine idea. The various paths all start at the DART station and are very subtly marked (by this I mean not marked very well) with different color arrows-yellow (cliff path), blue (tramline), red (Black Linn) and purple (bog of the frogs) although somehow the yellow path from the map ended up having green arrows. The paths vary in length from 6-10 kms and are estimated to take 1.5-3 hours and ranging in difficulty from easy-hard.
I was able to find the start of the Cliff Walk by using the map in the Howth is Magic brochure, once I found the King Sitric restaurant, I followed Balscadden Rd to the start of the path. All of the paths share the 1st part of the cliff walk and then go in different directions around when you spot Bailey Lighthouse. At that point, I had enough of walking along the cliffs and followed the shorter yellow (green) or blue path back to town.
For a good portion of the Cliff Walk, I saw no people at all and then a couple here and a couple there, some people were driving up to the parking lot near the lighthouse and starting the walk from there and doing it in the opposite direction. And just like on Irish roads, there's frequently only room for one on the path and someone has to give right of way!
At no point on the walk was it scary because of the height, you are far enough back from the cliff's edge for it not to seem like you are up that high. Part of the trail was muddy and lots of it covered in fairly dense vegetation so I recommend wearing good shoes and long pants. It's not a paved path so it is not handicap accessible. You can see a part of the path in picture #3.
Updated Aug 3, 2009
The Howth is Magic map also had a spot that was marked "feed seals" on west pier, when I went by there around 1 or 2 pm, someone had bought some fish from a store across the street and there were 4 or 5 seals pleading for food with their big brown eyes. When I returned after dinner, there were no seals to be found so if you want to see them, earlier in the day is probably better. I think the sign said 2€ for seal food, if someone else hadn't been doing it, I certainly would have.
In addition to the friendly common seals in the harbor, Howth is home to a variety of birds, the sign at the start of the Cliff Walk mentioned fulmar, kittiwake, guillemot, and razorbill nesting along the cliffs, gannets, puffins, peregrine falcons and cormorants at Ireland's Eye and grey seals, porpoises and minke whales off the coast.
Updated Jul 30, 2009
As you can probably tell from my previous 2 tips, I enjoyed looking around this church. For most of the time, I was the only person in the building, which enabled me to wander around without disturbing anyone wanting to pray.
One of the most striking parts for me, was the beautiful colours of the stained glass in the South and North windows.
In the apse of the Sanctuary are a series of three windows dedicated to The Blessed Virgin Mary (pic 2)
Left - The Annunciation to Mary, by The Angel Gabriel, that she was to conceive and bear a son (From Luke1.31-32). It is considered to have a pre- Raphaelite appearance.
Middle - The Assumption of Mary, Our Lady into Heaven. As in the statue of her on the Altar (see previous tip) she is standing on a crescent moon. It shows the disciples gazing into her empty tomb, while St John the Evangelist looks towards heaven. Of note is the architectural style of both Heaven and Earth, which the artist has chosen as Romanesque.
Right - This is of Jesus crowning his Mother Queen of Heaven, watched by Angels and Archangels. The artist has shown Mother and Son, to be of similar age to depict that 'in eternity, time has no meaning'
Also in the South Window are 2 richly coloured smaller glass windows.
Above the right transept side alter is a lovely scene of The Nativity, where Mary and Joseph gaze at the infant laying in the manger. The expressions on the faces and the reds golds and blues of the robes and halos attracted me.
The window above the left transept depicts a young Madonna and Child (pic 1) Again richly coloured - (Mary is wearing robes in the royal colours of red and blue), and with tender expressions. Being seated on a throne emphasises that she is seen as the Queen of Heaven.
The artistic style, although western, follows the Byzantine icons of the Hodegetria.
Ok, back to the Greek lesson!- Hodegetria (Οδηγήτρια), literally means: "She who shows the way"; In these icons Theotokos is seen holding the Infant Jesus at her side while pointing to Him as the source of salvation for mankind.
Theotokos (Θεοτόκος or Theotókos) is one of the Greek titles of Mary, the mother of Jesus, that is commonly used in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches.
Theotocus is the English translation
Theotokos translates as God-bearer or the one who gives birth to God. Although not a literal translation, the term Mother of God is more commonly used by English speakers.
The south facing Stained Glass windows were made by the prestigious Pontificial Art Studio of Frank Mayer and Co, who have been producing high quality Sacred Art in Munich, Germany since 1847. They have provided the beautiful stained glass for many churches and Cathedrals around Ireland and other Countries including Australia and the USA.
The North Window (pic 3 and intro page), I think was my favourite, the stunning stained glass panels are set into the rose or wheel window, which is above the choir loft.
The central panel shows Christ's death on the Cross, and encircling this, are 8 smaller scenes including His passion in the Garden of Gethsemane, and people he encountered on the journey to Calvary. This piece of art was created by Mary Peart, an Irish stained glass artist, and installed in 1980.
Frank Mayers company have had another input into this church. Around the walls of the nave can be seen representations of the Fourteen Stations of the Cross - (From the Condemnation of Christ to Death, until his burial) These are well worth a close look at (pics 4 + 5)
These old works of art are painted three dimensional plaster casting, which sits in a wooden framed base. The figures are very detailed, with wonderfully expressive faces. Some are quite gruesome though!
They were created by Frank Mayers company, though I'm not sure when. They were recently restored (2006) by one of the church Parishioners, who is an artist.
In picture 4, in front of one of the Stations of the Cross pieces, is a statue. There are quite a few of these devotional statues around the church. The figures in this photograph are Saint Anthony (Franciscan) of Lisbon and Padua and the infant Jesus.
Other figures include ;A Shrine at Lourdes, with the Virgin Mary appearing to Saint Bernadette, St Anne as a mother and teacher of a young Mary, St Therese Martin (Carmelite) of Lisieux, who is known as "The Little Flower" and is the Patron Saint of AIDS sufferers, illness, missions, florists and aviators!
The 2 unpainted statues in the transept porches are of St Joseph, who is Patron of the Universal Church, and St Patrick Irelands Patron Saint.
I thoroughly enjoyed coming across this unexpected treasure. It was similar to my experience of wandering into the lesser known churches in Venice and being surprised by the art work inside.
Well worth a visit.
UPDATE- Returned to Howth 4 months later, and again enjoyed visiting this church.
Updated Jul 15, 2009
Once you reach Howth Castle, if you keep walking up the same road, you'll eventually reach Deerpark Hotel, which is mostly famous for its very nice golf course (take a look at photo #3, it almost looks like that Windows screensaver!). Right to the side of the hotel, there's a walking trail that leads to the beautiful rhododendron gardens of Howth Castle, and these are open to the public. We happened to be there on the 1st of May, when the rhododendrons were in full bloom and colours, and it was truly worth the short hike!
Updated Jun 6, 2009
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.
Written May 31, 2009
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.
Updated May 6, 2009
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...
Updated Apr 25, 2009
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.
Updated Apr 17, 2009
Address: Howth Marina Harbour Road, Howth, Co Dublin
Phone: + 353 1 8392777Fax: + 353 1 8392
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......
Updated Mar 23, 2009
Address: East Pier, Howth Harbour, Howth
2 Reviews and 238 Opinions I had been wanting to stay in Howth, and was pleasantly surprised, when I came across this hotel on...