A 25-minute ride on the Dublin Area Rapid Transit (Dart) train, the picturesque fishing village of Howth is the closest spot for a proper day out. City dwellers often visit this rocky peninsula to relax and recharge. Fresh sea air is the perfect motivation for a coastal hike, though there are also sights like Howth Castle and Gardens, the National Transport Museum, and St. Mary’s Abbey (temporarily closed) medieval ruins to explore.
Steps from the train station, artisanal food, handmade jewellery and Irish crafts spill from market stalls. Between these hawkers and the antique shops in town, you’re bound to find a souvenir. When you’re hungry, Howth’s waterfront restaurants serve fresh catches straight from the trawlers and dinghies along the pier. Thankfully, the nightlife that made Dublin famous doesn’t fade along the way here.
Grab fresh fish and chips from Beshoff Bros, a treasured takeaway on Harbour Road. Sprinkle on some salt and vinegar and enjoy them picnic-style in the park as you watch sailboats bob along the bay. Just beware of swooping seagulls hungry for a bite. For a more formal sit-down meal, head to The Brass Monkey, Octopussy’s, or Aqua at the end of the pier.
The porches at Wright’s Findlater and Bloody Stream are made for pints and people-watching. If you’d prefer to cosy up somewhere snug, enjoy trad live performances at Abbey Tavern up the street from St. Mary’s ruins.
A short walk to town and easily accessible from the train station, Tara Hall boutique bed and breakfast offers warm welcomes, private terraces and delicious brekkie. The more modern Marine Hotel in Sutton is a solid backup.
If you only do one thing…
Lace-up your sneakers and head on the Howth Cliff Walk, a family-friendly path with panoramic views over the peninsula. On clear days, Lambay Island and Ireland’s Eye nature reserve and bird sanctuary appear on the horizon.