What do you do if you’re spending a week or so in Dublin, don’t have a car, but want to get out of town and see more of Ireland than the big city? A day trip to Howth could be just what the doctor ordered.
It’s easy to get to on the DART, walkable, offers beautiful views, good dining options and is not far from the center of the city.
EAT: The House Restaurant & The Brass Monkey
When you go to Howth, you should go hungry so you can enjoy the little pubs, cafés, and, of course, the world-famous smoked salmon from Wrights of Howth.
We wandered up the main street up into the hills (take a left out of the DART station, bear right onto Church Street and continue on up the hill to the right to Main Street) and into this adorable restaurant called The House Restaurant.
We ordered a full Irish breakfast (the “House Fry”) and the pancakes for a good sampling of breakfast items and we were wowed by the pancakes. I think they still were some of the best I’ve ever had, topped with fresh fruit, yogurt, granola and maple syrup. The beans on toast with melted cheese was also delicious. Everything was really fresh and well-cooked. I would definitely go back there the next time I’m in Howth!
If something a bit different strikes your fancy, head to The Brass Monkey for some tapas and very reasonably-priced wines by the glass or bottle. If you’re there in time to take advantage of it, there’s an early bird menu from 12p-7pm Monday through Saturday which features a prix-fixe 2-course menu with tea and coffee for only €22.50 per person.
Don’t leave Ireland without trying the amazing smoked salmon from world-famous Wrights of Howth! Pick some up at the source here in town, or even in the airport on the way home. It goes really nicely with McCambridge’s brown bread. Just saying.
SEE: Howth Castle, THE OLD ABBEY AND NEW(ER) CHURCH
After chowing down on delicious pancakes, walk off some of your meal by checking out the Old Abbey and the big church in Howth, which is the Church of the Assumption, built in 1899.
Around the Old Abbey, you’ll find beautiful views of the sea and boats, and you can walk around the graveyard of the abbey.
St. Mary’s Abbey was originally built in 1042 by a viking king who also founded the Christchurch Cathedral in Dublin. Now it is unfortunately in ruins, but makes for some beautiful, haunting photos.
Heading up further from the abbey, check out the amazing vantage points from the spots in front of Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio, which is located in Martello Tower #2 and has a vast collection of gramophones, old radios and other radio-related paraphernalia.
If your feet haven’t failed you, head over to Howth Castle and Grounds to see the restored Georgian kitchens and even take a cooking class at the Cookery School there. Courses start at €65 per person. Check out their class schedules here, which include dinner party classes, seafood, thai cooking, and more: http://www.howthcastlecookeryschool.ie/classes/.
DRINK: THE PUBS
The Cock Tavern, established in 1780, is one option for a pint, just across from the Abbey ruins. According to TripAdvisor, it recently was re-opened but it’s best to check with the place directly before planning to visit.
If even older, historical pubs and taverns strike your fancy, head to the Abbey Tavern, parts of which have been on this site since the 16th century. This world-famous spot hosts an Irish cultural show – inquire with the restaurant for details and schedule.
How to get to Howth from Dublin Centre
Take the DART from any one of the DART stations in Dublin in the direction of Howth. The ride is about 35 minutes from Connolly station and will cost you only €4.70 for a return ticket (roundtrip) from Connolly, Tara or Pearse stations in the City Centre to Howth. Trains depart every 15 minutes.
Take the 31/a bus from Talbot Street.