While studying abroad in Dublin, I have taken quite a few day trips around the beautiful country of Ireland. However, it’s the day trip that I took to Howth that sticks out the most in my mind! From its blue waters to the beautiful cliff walk, Howth is one day trip that you can’t miss if you’re exploring the Dublin area.
Transportation from Dublin to Howth
Option 1: Take the DART from Dublin Connolly Station to Howth Railway Station. I personally didn’t take the DART because the bus was cheaper, and I was not on any time crunch. It also seemed like there were no option to take the train during my trip, as there were absolutely no tickets available at all online for months out. You can supposedly buy these tickets online or right at the train station and it takes about 25 – 30minutes. I know some people who have done this option; through my research, I have found that it costs about €6 each way.
Option 2: Take Dublin Bus 31 from right outside Dublin Connolly to Howth Railway Station. I have a Dublin Student Leap Card, so I pay slightly less for bus trips, but it cost me about €5 – 6 round trip for the day. The ride is about 35 minutes from the Dublin city center, which isn’t bad at all. Plus, once you are outside of Dublin, you still get a lot of scenic views all the way to Howth!
Things to Do in Howth
Howth Cliff Walk: This is the main reason that so many people come to Howth! There is a 6km cliff walk with nonstop stunning views the entire way. There are a few different routes you can take, which will change the length, depending on how you are feeling that day. I personally chose to do the easiest one, and then ended up just walking a bit further and turning back around back towards Howth village. The walk takes anywhere from 1.5 – 3 hours, once again depending on the route you choose.
There are different spots where you can pull off to the side and stop to enjoy the view too! Be warned, this is probably not for those who hate heights. The entire walk there is nothing between you and the water below, and there are times when you are pretty close to the edge. Really make sure to enjoy the views though. There are so many great photo opportunities!
Howth Harbour: This is a stop that you will walk by if you start the coastal cliff hike on the village side. You can’t miss it! There’s a bunch of little shops to explore and you can watch all the boats in the water as they bob up and down. Plus, you can get some pretty great shots of the water and all the boats. There’s even a little playground near the harbour for kids to play on.
Howth Market: Directly across from the harbour is Howth Market. The stalls here are open only on the weekends and on bank holidays from 9AM – 6PM; however, I was there on Earth Day which was a Monday this year and all the stalls were open. There’s a bunch of great spots to eat here, including hot dogs, traditional Irish treats and candy. There’s also a coffee shop right near here which is great if you arrive in the morning and need a pick-me-up!
One of my favorites inside Howth Market was Amore Gelato. I happened to be there on a pretty warm day, so I had to stop and grab some gelato! It was reasonably priced and tasted delicious! My cone was the one on the left – bubblegum. Highly recommend!
Balscadden Bay Beach: This is a great little stop off while you’re on your way upwards towards the cliffs. I didn’t see anybody swimming in the water while I was there, but there were a bunch of people standing with their feet in or just sitting near the water. It is a rocky beach, but there’s spots where you can stand on a cement walkway, which is what I did! There are some great views if you stand here and look around you, so be sure to take some pics on your camera.
Balscadden House: This was a pleasant surprise that I didn’t even know was in Howth! I was on my way up to the cliffs, and you actually end up passing directly by Balscadden House, which is where the Irish poet W.B. Yeats lived. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to actually be a museum or anything; it actually looked like people lived here now. But still, it’s pretty awesome to casually stroll by a famous poet’s home!
Now, remember, this is Ireland! There is going to be the possibility of every type of weather on any given day. Plus, you’ll be right on the water, which means it’s most likely going to be windy. I went in April when the weather was in the 50’s, and I was perfectly comfortable wearing a hoodie with a pair of leggings. You’ll also want to make sure that you have a pair of durable sneakers or hiking boots. I saw way too many people wearing nice fashionable shoes, which is a terrible idea. DON’T DO IT. There’s always the possibility that it’s going to be muddy and it is a hike, so just wear what you think is comfortable to move in and please, please, please wear good shoes.
Also, since it is a very beachy area, you might want to bring along a waterproof camera or high quality selfie stick!
Here’s what I did the day that I went to Howth!
- Pack a lunch. I knew ahead of time that I’d rather just grab a snack at Howth Market, so my friend and I packed lunchboxes with sandwiches and chips.
- Get to Howth around 11 AM. This isn’t that hard to do, as buses run pretty regularly. I caught the 31 bus to Howth. Arriving around this time allows you to have a good amount of daylight to spend in Howth, plus you’ll beat the crowds which come around 1 PM.
- Explore Howth Harbour. Walk around the harbour and explore all the stores next to the seafront.
- Wander over to Howth Market. See what options there are! You might want a snack later after you come back from the hike.
- Begin the coastal cliff walk! I walked over to an information booth near the harbour and grabbed a map of the route. There are also signs everywhere, so you can just follow the color for the level of walk you chose.
- After about an hour or so in, my friend and I found a nice little spot to lay out a blanket and eat lunch. We sat and had quite the view! Many people did this too. There were so many people laying out and eating lunch at the same time. If you don’t want to sit directly in the dirt/grass, then perhaps pack a blanket to bring along with you.
- Walk back towards the town. I highly suggest going back the same way you came instead of looping all the way around, because you get to see a completely new view. You see all the stuff that was behind you since it’s now in front of you, and you’ll end up wanting to take a whole bunch more photos!
- On the walk down, pull off near Balscadden Bay Beach. There, you can sit and enjoy the view and maybe skip some stones or dip your feet in the water!
- Continue walking towards the town and go to Howth Market! I suggest getting Amore Gelato or another snack after your long hike!
- Grab the bus back to the city center. I was home by 5PM the day that I went to Howth! It really isn’t that long of a day trip unless you want it to be.
I hope you enjoyed learning more about how to get to Howth from Dublin! It’s one of the best day trips I’ve been on so far during my semester here in Dublin, if not the best.