Dublin Ireland Expert

I Heart Howth

“I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex.” Oscar Wilde


This is Howth


Very fresh fish, but somehow polite as well


Shades of gray and green

Yesterday I went to Howth again. Americans want to say “Howth” just as it seems, but it is pronounced “Hothe”, an Old Norse word that means “head” in English. Howth is a magical coastal village on the northern boundary of Dublin Bay. It’s just a thirty-minute train ride from Dublin’s Tara Street station.  I have been meaning to go back to it for almost two years now, but for reasons that I can’t quite remember, I waited until yesterday afternoon, when it was cold, cloudy, and windy, to return. Somehow the Irish weather just makes it that much sweeter to come inside for warmth and shelter. Howth has stunning cliff paths, fish, and razorbills, fulmars, and skylarks. And after the walking and the bird watching, there is delicious seafood and then more wandering. And that’s all there is to Howth. It should be labeled “the village of simple pleasures.” And just like so many other places that I have loved in Ireland, I discover that I am not the first person to recognize just how special and beautiful Howth is. The Vikings knew it as far back as 819 AD and Larry Mullen Jr. and his family live there now. I’ll say it again, Vikings AND Larry Mullen Jr. – you can’t make this stuff up.IMG_20160809_155022851

My guide to simple pleasures in Howth – 

IMG_20160809_181707880Pick a time to visit Howth. You don’t need a whole day – an afternoon will do. Enjoy the idea of getting away from the city even if only for a few hours. Take in the Irish sea outside the window on the train ride. Linger for a moment to take in the feeling of Howth when you arrive. This is one place that does not require a map! Walk up and down the sea walk to check out the most amazing fresh fish markets I have ever seen. Watch fathers and sons repairing their boats together. Go to Octopussy for lunch. Try the hot prawn salad with mango, pineapple, and avocado. Add on an order of chips. Buy souvenirs – jams made with Irish stout, pottery, art.  Go for tea and a pastry at The Dog House Blue’s Tea Room. Talk to strangers – (after all, strangers are friends that haven’t met yet.) IMG_20160809_173102329Sit outside under a tent on red velvet couches or go inside where there are many little rooms and corners. Find one that suits you. Try a pot of pina colada tea, a cupcake, and a good book from the library nook. I found a good one on Michael Collins. (It seems to be that when Collins was just six years old, his father died after a heart attack. On his deathbed, he pointed to Michael junior and said to the assembled family: “Mind that child. He’ll be a great man yet and will do things for Ireland.” And of course he did.) IMG_20160809_175632742Pick a time for the return train. Change the time to an hour later. Let the village remind you that the perfect combination of pleasure, beauty, and history is the essence of Ireland.


9 thoughts on “I Heart Howth

  1. Andrea D. Snedegar

    As always, Kathy, beautifully written!! Sounds like a charming town, you captured its essence! What a journey for you, so special….so happy that you share it with all of us!!

  2. daveyinthevalley

    Hi Kathy Davey here, that was a very good piece on Howth, you made me feel so blessed to have a place like Howth to go too. Its a very scenic place, you really can chill out there, and its so tranquil, you nailed Howth very well Kathy, your
    quote on Larry Mullins and the Vikings is great!

    Thank you for your interest in ireland and all things Dublin, If I can be any help to your blog let me know. I have allot of interesting info for to share with you on Dublin. My dad was born and reared in the heart of Dublin, My ancestors come from the Liberties on my dads side, and on my mam side she comes from the north side of inner city Dublin so please feel free to contact us on any info.

    Beanacht agus Bail Dhia Ort

    1. Kathy Post author

      Hiya Davey! Thanks a million for reading and responding!! I would love to get more information about Dublin sometime. I look forward to seeing you again the next time I’m in Ireland.

  3. Carol

    Kathy, you captured the simple beauty of an afternoon in Ireland perfectly. I haven’t been to Howth but the curio shops and hours spent meandering under a gray sky sound just like the towns in Kerry. This quote seemed especially apt: “strangers are friends that haven’t met yet”!

  4. Joyce Hess

    This is one of the day trips we took on our recent week long stay in Dublin. A real highlight for sure walking the cliffs and back through the town for lunch. We then took an hour long ferry ride along the cliffs from Howth to Dun Laoghaire and trained back to Dublin from there. As Kathy said so well, it was the simplicity of the surrounds that was so replenishing. Wish I didn’t live 3000 miles away.

  5. Donna pappas

    I look forward to reading your notes on Dublin. I am learning so much about Ireland and am impressed by its natural beauty enhanced by your photos. Perhaps it is your exquisite detail of the places you visit that is luring me to change my thinking on a country I never wanted to visit.
    Donna Pappas