The hustle and bustle of Dublin is all part of the appeal of the city, and for a few days, the Irish capital is a fun and exciting place to be. But if you're finding yourself looking for a break from the excitement of the city, then a trip to Howth is ideal. It's a very short distance from Dublin but with its peaceful seaside setting, it feels like a world away. We wanted to publish a guide for anyone planning to visit Howth in 2023, let's get into it:
Where is Howth?
As we mentioned in our introduction, Howth is just a stone's throw from Dublin. It's about 25 minutes from the city by train, and won't cost more than 4 euros per adult for a single. It's about 30 minutes from Malahide and about an hour from Bray.
What is there to see and do during your time in Howth?
Despite the relatively small size of Howth, there is quite a bit to see and do in the village. Here are some of the highlights:
Ye Olde Hurdy-Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio
At 5 euros for an adult ticket, this museum is a total bargain and is such a quirky place to visit that you should definitely pay it a visit during your trip to Howth. Based in a Martello tower, the museum is dedicated to vintage radios and the history of telecommunications, with a range of items and artefacts dating from the 1840s to the present day. If you're a fan of gadgets and gizmos then this museum is a must-visit, and to be honest even if telecommunications doesn't interest you too much, we still think you'll find the museum interesting. It's also really interesting to explore the building itself. Learn more here - hurdygurdyradiomuseum.wordpress.com
Eat some seafood
Howth is jam-packed with seafood restaurants, to the point where unless you're staying here for a week, there is no chance that you will have time to visit them all. Luckily, each of the seafood restaurants that we visited seemed to offer something different depending on your tastes and budget. When we asked locals, Octopussy seemed to be the restaurant that most of them recommended - it's a seafood tapas restaurant which is cheap but really delicious. Other popular restaurants include The Oar House, Aqua, and Wrights Findlater.
On the other side of the train station from Howth Castle you'll find Claremont Beach, a vast, sandy beach which is a joy to stroll along. You'll be able to enjoy stunning views of Ireland's Eye, an island which is just a few kilometres off the coast of Howth. If the sun is out then you should definitely grab an ice cream and take it with you to Claremont Beach. And if you don't mind a bit of cold, then a dip in the sea is very refreshing (just take a dryrobe with you and you'll be fine). If you're happy to walk along the sand then you can actually walk all the way towards nearby Sutton.
Take a boat trip around Ireland's Eye
Ireland's Eye is just a couple of kilometres off the coast of Howth, and you can see it very clearly from the village. But if you want to get even closer to the island then there's a boat trip company operating from the harbour which runs regular boat trips around the island. The boat trip is called Ireland's Eye Ferries and as of 2023, it costs 20 euros per person for a trip around the island, which won't take longer than an hour. Learn more here - irelandseyeferries.com
Visit the markets
Another thing which is really impressive about Howth is the market - here you'll find a number of businesses selling delicious food, with everything from local meats and dairy products to food from further afield. You'll also find locally-made jewellery and clothes, as well as other items which would make for perfect gifts.
This market is open every Saturday and Sunday, as well as on Bank Holidays from 10am to 6pm. Learn more here - howthmarket.ie
There are also a few fish markets in Howth, such as Reid's. This market sells everything from cod fillets to long rays. If you're staying at an Airbnb in Dublin with cooking facilities, then buying a bit of fish to take back with you is a great idea. Learn more about Reid's fish market here - facebook.com
St. Mary's Abbey
St Mary's Abbey is very small but is still interesting to visit, and to be honest even if you're not particularly interested in the history of the building itself, the views from the abbey across the water are stunning. The current abbey dates from the 14th century and is in remarkable condition given the age and exposed location. As we say, it's lovely to explore, but please be respectful of the graves within the grounds of the abbey, as there may be people paying their respects during your visit.
St. Mary's Church
Just before you reach Howth Castle from the train station you'll find St Mary's Church, which is a little bit hidden from the main road but is absolutely worth a look. This church has a very attractive spire and some really nice features inside, which you're welcome to enter and see for yourself. Learn more here - stmaryshowth.com
Get some fish and chips
We'll keep this brief because the subject of fish and chips is quite controversial in Howth - every establishment claims to do the best version of fish and chips, and it can be quite overwhelming trying to decide where to go. We chose Leo Burdock's near the train station which was great, with very fresh fish, lovely chips, and other options (including healthy chip shop options like we wrote about previously). But we're also told that Beshoff Bros is excellent, as are a few other places. The only way to find out is to visit Howth several times and try a few different places.
Anything else to mention?
Howth is deceptively large, so once you're in the town you might want to hire a bike instead of walking around, especially if the sun is out. There are hire bikes dotted around the village, including next to the train station and next to the East Pier. If pedalling seems like too much work, it might be worth getting a good electric bike. See our recommendations for the best electric bikes you can buy.