Insider Tips

Howth Dublin: An Itinerary

By Visit Dublin

15th December 2014

Fresh from their Malahide adventure, American writer Kate Burke and photographer Chloë Keogan spent a day exploring the north Dublin fishing village of Howth...

Sailing boats moored in Howth HarbourI awoke on the morning of the Howth journey to sunshine streaming through my curtains. Having met Chloë in Dublin city, we hopped on to the DART at Pearse Street, and within a half hour, had arrived at our seaside destination.
Our first stop of the day was Ireland’s Eye, a small, uninhabited island located directly north of Howth Harbour. Once we’d climbed aboard the Christmas Eve, part of the Ireland’s Eye Ferries fleet, our tour guide Ken pointed out some of the island’s famous features. We admired an eighth century monastic ruin, and one of the 26 Martello towers that are dotted along the Dublin coast. Built in the nineteenth century as defensive forts, these towers stand over 12 metres high and have thick walls to withstand attack by cannon.


When we reached the island, Ken led us to its highest point, from which we took in an absolutely spectacular 360 degree view. Gazing north beyond Howth Harbour to Malahide and Lambay Island, and south to the iconic Poolbeg towers and Dublin docklands, I stood transfixed. Even Ken, a man born and bred in Howth, took the time to snap a few photos!

Lady taking a photograph of the sea from Howth

Howth Abbey

As we made our way back to land, Ken pointed out Howth Abbey, now a ruin and cemetery in the village. The original church was founded by the Viking king Sitric in 1042, and its graveyard is home to some elaborate tombs.


We’d worked up an appetite by the time we reached land, and made our way to The Bloody Stream, conveniently located just under the DART station. Since Howth is famous for its fishing, we were eager to sample some local seafood. I went for the crab cakes, while Chloë chose salmon. Both were spectacular – and clearly fresh from the ocean. Or an alternative option is Wright's Findlater Howth which is on the right as you enter the village overlooking the harbour, which is an award-winning bar and restaurant who do a superb early bird menu!
Plate of food on display

At the summit

The meal was exactly the fuel we needed ahead of the next leg of our adventure; the cliff walk to Howth Summit. We took the next two hours to amble upward (it’s a gentle incline though, and suitable for all ages and levels of fitness). Once at the summit, we had a fantastic view of the city. Gazing back at the village, we could see the South Pier from which we’d set sail earlier, as well as Dalkey Island.


Dusk was just beginning to fall as we made our way back down the track towards the pier, and we took a moment to admire one of the most breathtakingly beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.   

Secret sauce!

Peckish again, Chloë and I opted for the relaxed and comfy surroundings of the Abbey Tavern for dinner. Since they source all their seafood from Howth’s West Pier, my expectations were pretty high, but The Abbey surpassed them ten times over. When I enquired about the delicious, albeit mysterious sauce that topped my plaice, the waiter responded “it’s a secret!” In that case, it’s one they should definitely keep…

View overlooking Howth Head in the evening sunset


Winding down the night, we made our way back towards Howth DART station. Tucked in right beside it is a very unusual gem, the Dog House Blues Tea Room. A unique and cosy space, it’s full of nick-nacks, mismatched furniture, fairy lights and - a bed. Yes, you read that right! Their tasty tiramisu was a perfect way to finish up our adventure.

As we bid the lovely fishing village of Howth adieu, I wished I’d had the chance for just one more day. However, I get the feeling there’d probably never be a time when I’d be ready to leave Howth.

Read about Kate’s visits to Malahide, Dún Laoghaire and Dalkey.

Visit Dublin

Visit Dublin | Dublin's Official Tourism Site

Tweet us @visitdublin