One of the more popular walks in Ireland and a great practice for a Camino, a few kilometres from Dublin City Centre. Sure what more could you ask for? I happened to have some time to hand this morning and decided to go along and visit the area. I wanted to bring my new DSLR camera for some practice shots. And I had the village to myself too.
Howth is a perfect spot to go if you want some free space or if you have a few things on your mind, but be wary, it is a tourist area, so the earlier the better. I arrived just before 10am after 2 train trips and headed straight for the trail head. The start of the cliff walk is about ten minutes walk away from the village, which is full of cafes, bars and shops and enough to keep you occupied. The DART brings you right to its doorstep. And with every great day out you learn a few things:
- The route includes the ruins of the 15th-century St Mary’s Abbey. Its bells were rung in foggy weather to guide Howth’s fishermen safely home.
- During the 18th century there were many shipwrecks in Dublin Bay, resulting in the construction of Howth harbour in 1807.
- Howths Martello Tower, one of many built around the coasts of Ireland and Britain during the Napoleonic Wars was to protect against invasion by the French.
- Ireland’s Eye island to the north is a bird sanctuary and site of an early Christian monastery. (pictures below)
- The Howth Cliff Path Walk passes Balscadden House, home of the young William Butler Yeats.
- To the south you can see the coast of Wicklow and the scenic Bailey Lighthouse built in 1814.
- There has been a lighthouse here since the mid 1600’s (source:
There are 4 routes you can take, varying in difficulty. I had hoped to take the purple route but due to blustery winds, I took the lower path. Afterward, I had a coffee and watched life go by. I’ll be back before I go to Spain.