It’s easy to see why, with its historic castle, rugged coastline, majestic structures, nearby islands and even its wildlife. And this makes Howth one of the best towns to visit in the country.
There’s plenty to see and do that’ll keep anyone occupied and most likely wanting more.
Intrigued yet? Here are some of the best things to do in Howth that’s bound to make your trip truly worthwhile.
Things you'll find in this article
- 12 Best Things To Do In Howth, Ireland
- 1. Explore Howth Castle
- 2. See St. Mary’s Abbey
- 3. Watch a Traditional Show at the Historic Abbey Tavern
- 4. Howth Cliff Walk
- 5. Hurgy Gurdy Vintage Radio Museum
- 6. Howth Summit
- 7. Check Out an Amazing Lighthouse
- 8. Take a Ferry to Ireland’s eye
- 9. Visit Howth Market
- 10. Walk down Howth Pier
- 11. See More of Howth Village
- 12. Explore Howth with a Local
12 Best Things To Do In Howth, Ireland
1. Explore Howth Castle
A definite must-visit and one of Howth’s best attractions is its historic castle.
Steeped in legend including that which involves pirate queen Grace O’Malley, Howth Castle is among the oldest occupied buildings in Ireland.
It was also the seat of the St Lawrence family, Lords of Howth from the Norman Invasion until 1909.
The castle and its estate are nestled on 450 acres of land that’s also home to the National Transport Museum of Ireland, a collapsed portal tomb that dates back to 2500 BC and its massive rhododendron gardens, said to be the largest in Europe.
It is also one of the best castles to visit in Ireland.
2. See St. Mary’s Abbey
This unmissable structure which is among the best places to see in Howth was originally a church built by King Sitric, the Viking King of Dublin in 1042. It stood on an elevated ground overlooking the bay, it was later replaced by an abbey.
A part of this structure was adopted by the St Lawrence family of Howth Castle, used it as a private chapel as well as a burial area. To this day, you can still find the tomb of the 13th Baron of Howth and his wife on the eastern side.
3. Watch a Traditional Show at the Historic Abbey Tavern
While in Ireland and especially in the gorgeous town of Howth, one of the best things to do is enjoy some traditional Irish music mixed with a dance show.
A recommended place for this kind of uniquely Irish entertainment is the Abbey Tavern, which has been around since 1962.
Take in the distinct sound, the fascinating musical instruments and even the dance interpretations — definitely a great way to acquaint yourself with Irish culture.
4. Howth Cliff Walk
A Howth activity that’s a must any time of the year is the cliff walk. Set out early and wear appropriate shoes, as you’ll spend a few hours hiking through inclines and rough paths.
Easily among the best things to do in Howth, this also requires a good fitness level as the hike can be a bit strenuous but definitely worth it.
The walk follows cliff tops and circles the peninsula while offering great views of the rugged coastline, sea birds in flight and you may even spot some grey seals. This is also one of the best hikes in Ireland.
5. Hurgy Gurdy Vintage Radio Museum
Whether you’re into history and old school sound equipment or not, the Hurdy Gurdy The Museum of Vintage Radio is still one of the interesting places to visit in Howth.
It is located in a beautifully restored Martello Tower with scenic views of Howth Harbour and home to a diverse collection of vintage radios, music boxes, and gramophones.
Brilliantly curated by Pat Herbert – a committed collector for over forty years and ran by a team of volunteers, it is a fascinating place to see and a definite must when in Howth.
6. Howth Summit
Put on your favorite sturdy and weatherproof hiking shoes, and embark on a challenging ascent to Howth Summit. The trail starts at the train station, moves onto the hill and rocky paths before you are rewarded with stunning panoramic views over the whole area. You can also reach the summit by car or by the 31B bus but be sure to check the weather at the summit can get too foggy at times.
7. Check Out an Amazing Lighthouse
Howth is home to two lighthouses — Baily Lighthouse and Howth Lighthouse. The Baily Lighthouse is situated by the entrance to Dublin’s Port on Howth Head.
This 13- meter tall structure sits out on the cliffs and has sprawling views of the Irish Sea.
The Howth Lighthouse meanwhile is located downtown along the harbor wall.
Built-in 1817, this charming lighthouse is a great spot to see the town from an entirely different perspective, see the local fisherfolk set up their fishing lines or even watch the seals play.
8. Take a Ferry to Ireland’s eye
This is among those fun things to do in Howth that takes you away from the pretty village for a while and put into the sea, on board a ferry that is, and into Ireland’s Eye.
This is an uninhabited island off the coast of Howth and only reachable by boat.
There are two types of tours that you can do when visiting the island. One takes visitors around the island, where you get to see a variety of seabirds, a colony of seals or go by a cave and the Martello Tower.
The other tour type takes visitors right into Ireland’s Eye, and enjoy stunning views from the top of the island or walk along the sandy beaches.
9. Visit Howth Market
A perfect Howth activity any time of the day, a visit to the market is a must. The Howth The market has been a favorite spot among locals and visitors alike for the past nine years, and that’s even if most of it is only open on weekends and bank holidays.
Sample both local and international food, fresh produce, baked goods, and even jewelry and clothing. There are also popular shops that are open during weekdays such as Amore Gelato, Gift from Howth, Howth Market Deli and Unique Oak.
10. Walk down Howth Pier
A go-to spot for locals and nearby residents and a wonderful must-do for visitors is a stroll down the scenic Howth Pier. This is one of the best places to visit in Howth if you want to see it from a different perspective.
There’s the picturesque Howth village on one side and the magnificent coastline along the cliffs of Howth Head in the other.
There are also plenty of spots in the pier where you can dit after exploring and enjoy chips or ice cream. Be sure to watch out for seagulls though, as they’re pretty aggressive and might steal your food.
11. See More of Howth Village
While you’re in Howth, be sure to explore this lovely quaint village. Stroll along the traditional main street, buy a few souvenirs in the little shops, have a pint in one of the pubs or feast on fish and chips.
You may also walk along the harbor and see Howth fisherfolk boats come in and out of the port. This is among those things to do in Howth that just lets you relax as you take in the scene.
12. Explore Howth with a Local
If you fancy seeing Howth’s best and those that are off the beaten track, how about exploring it with a local? Apart from the stunning scenery and the quaint small-town vibe, you also get to hear bits and pieces of local history and trivia.
Definitely the best thing to do in Howth on weekends, check out and sign up for the ‘Hidden Howth’ tour, where you get to see Howth through the eyes of a local. This adventure takes over three hours, where you get to experience the area like a local.
You to learn about the Norman and Viking invaders, the history of its 700-year old castle, see the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey, see a few islands and lighthouses and even a colony of seals.
Thinking of visiting Howth and don’t know where to stay? Here’s our list of the best hotels in Howth that you can choose from.
Hi, I’m Christine – a full-time traveler and career woman. Although I’m from the Philippines, my location independent career took me to over 40 countries for the past 8 years. I also lived in 3 continents – from the Caribbean, South East Asia to Africa. But despite living in several countries, my love for Ireland remains the same. A country that had been a part of my life since I was 14 because of my love for Irish music and bands. Ireland Travel Guides was born because of this passion and hopefully, in some little ways, this website will be able to help you on your next trip to Ireland.