Howth is located on the peninsula of Howth Head, which begins around 13 km (8 mi) east-north-east of Dublin city, on the north side of Dublin Bay. The village itself is located 15 km (9 mi) from Dublin city centre (the ninth milestone is in the village itself), and spans most of the northern part of Howth Head, which is connected to the rest of Dublin via a narrow strip of land (or tombolo) at Sutton Cross. Howth is at the end of a regional road from Dublin City and is one of the northern termini of the DART suburban rail system. It is served by Dublin Bus.
The island of Ireland's Eye, part of the Howth Estate, and of the Special Area of Conservation, lies about a kilometre north of Howth harbour, with Lambay Island some 5 km further to the north. A Martello tower exists on each of these islands with another tower overlooking Howth harbour (opened as a visitor centre and Ye Olde Hurdy-Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio on June 8th 2001 ) and another tower at Red Rock, Sutton. These are part of a series of towers built around the coast of Ireland during the 19th century.
At the south-east corner of Howth Head, in the area known as Bailey (historically, the Green Bayley) is the automated Baily Lighthouse, successor to previous safety mechanisms, at least as far back as the late 1600s.
In Howth you can find St. Mary’s Church and Graveyard, a church, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The earliest church was built by Sitric, King of Dublin, in 1042. It was replaced around 1235 by a parish church, and then, in the second, half of the 14th century, the present church was built. The building was modified in the 15th and 16th centuries, when the gables were raised, a bell-cote was built and a new porch and south door were added. The St. Lawrences of nearby Howth Castle also modified the east end to act as a private chapel; inside is the tomb of Christopher St. Lawrence, 13th Lord Howth, who died in 1462, and his wife, Anna Plunkett of Ratoath.
Howth is a popular area for birdwatching and sailing, and is also popular with anglers. Anything from cod to ray can be caught from Howth's rocky shore marks, and sea mammals, such as seals, are common sights in and near the harbour.
After King Brian Boru's defeat of the Norse in 1014, many Norse fled to Howth to regroup and remain a force until their final defeat in Fingal in the middle of the 11th century. Howth still remained under the control of Irish and localized Norsemen until the invasion of Ireland by the Anglo-Normans in 1169.
Without the support of either the Irish or Scandinavians, Howth was isolated and fell to the Normans in 1177 and one of the winning Normans, Armoricus Tristam, was granted much of the land between the village and Sutton. Tristam took on the name of the saint on whose feast day the battle was won, and built his first castle near the harbour — and the St. Lawrence link remains even today, see Earl of Howth.
Howth was a trading port from at least the 14th century, with both health and duty collection officials supervising from Dublin, although the harbour was not built until the early 1800s.
A popular tale concerns the pirate Grace O'Malley, who was rebuffed in 1576 while attempting a courtesy visit to Howth Castle, home of the Earl of Howth. In retaliation, she abducted the Earl's grandson and heir, and as ransom she exacted a promise that unanticipated guests would never be turned away again. She also made the Earl promise that the gates of Deer Park (the Earl's demesne) would never be closed to the public again, and the gates are still open to this day, and a place set at table for unexpected guests.
On the grounds of Howth Castle lies a collapsed Dolmen known locally as Aideen's Grave.
In the early 18th century, Howth was chosen as the location for the harbour for the mail packet (postal service ship). One of the arguments used against Howth by the advocates of Dún Laoghaire was that coaches might be raided in the badlands of Sutton! (at the time Sutton was open countryside.) However, due to silting, the harbour needed to be frequently dredged to accommodate the packet and eventually the service was relocated to Dún Laoghaire. George IV visited the harbour in 1821.
Among Howth's better known residents are legendary broadcaster Gay Byrne (who lived close to the Bailey Lighthouse in Howth until 2008 and now lives in Sandymount), Booker Prize-winning novelist John Banville, U2 drummer Larry Mullen, Senator and retail pioneer Fergal Quinn and musicians Barney McKenna and John Sheahan of The Dubliners and Dolores O'Riordan of The Cranberries. Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy lived in Howth for a time . Actor Stuart Townsend was born in Howth. Author and philosopher Robert Anton Wilson resided there for six years in 1980s. Multiple Eurovision Song Contest winner Johnny Logan and his famous tenor father Patrick O'Hagan lived for many years in Howth, and Lynn Redgrave and husband John Clark raised their family there in the early 1970s. Composer Brian Boydell was born in Howth and returned as an adult to live there with his family. Producer and Director team Moya Doherty and John McColgan of Riverdance live with their family near Howth Summit.
From the ArchivesMay 25th, 1894 ; the Trinity Polymath John Pentland Mahaffy Spoke at a Meeting against a Dublin-Howth Tram
May 25, 2013; The Rev. Dr. Mahaffy proposed the following resolutionThat the proposed tramway is unnecessary, there being already a convenient...
Portrait of the artist as a Howth resident ; Artist Una Sealy has returned to Howth village with her husband Chris and their two children. She draws inspiration from newly- caught fish on the pier, the rugged landscape of the headland - and the backs of her neighbours' houses, writes Kate Mc Morrow
Mar 28, 2002; When artist Una Sealy and her husband Chris Leonard returned from San Francisco four years ago with their baby son, Douglas, she...