The Howth peninsula forms the northern arm of Dublin Bay and was one of my favorite childhood haunts.
Less than 5 miles from where I grew up in Raheny, I loved to explore the hills and cliff paths of this majestic headland.
I was looking through photos on my external hard drive the other day when I rediscovered some shots I took from the hill of Howth on a bright sunny day.
And so I thought why not take a little trip to Howth Hill. The views from the top are spectacular. Dublin Bay and the city stretch out before you to the south, and the islands of Lambay and Ireland’s Eye dot the Irish Sea to the north.
When sauntering between Shielmartin and Howth Hill the right-of-way meanders across Howth Golf course.
From every corner of the course golfers can admire the city.
This little cottage on the golf course caught my eye. I’m not sure if anyone ever lived here since this old home is boarded up, but that little bench beneath the window is an ideal spot for a little rest, especially for anyone longing to drink in the beauty of Dublin Bay.
And boy, oh boy, is Dublin beautiful when the sun shines.
The views along the hilly path to the summit of Shielmartin Hill take in the entire sweep of Dublin Bay.
Shielmartin Hill rises to a height of 535 feet, and the Ben of Howth is a towering 561 feet, so I suppose the term “mountain views” may be a little bit of a stretch.
The Ben is the highest point on the peninsula, but is crowned with communication masts.
But whether these elevations are hills or hummocks, the panaromic views from the top are well worth the climb.
Gorse and heather blanket these hills, adding a magnificent splash of color.
The Dublin and Wicklow Mountains rise in the distance, with Dalkey Island marking the southern arm of the bay.
On a clear day the north Dublin coast line from Portmarnock and onto Malahide, Donabate, Skerries and beyond are clearly visible. If you’re very lucky even the Mourne Mountains in County Down can be seen.
Howth harbor is a picturesque fishing village with it’s two piers reaching towards the island of Ireland’s Eye, sheltering the ships and boats moored in its waters.
Just beyond Ireland’s Eye lies the larger Lambay Island, home to an ancient monastry founded by Saint Colmcille. The Vikings arrived here in later years, and as a child I imagined marauding Vikings landing on Lambay’s shores. In 1904 the island was purchased by the Baring family and they live there to this very day.
I have lovely memories of rambling across the bens of Howth with my grandaunt when I was a little girl. Rain or shine we trudged along these hilly paths, singing songs, reciting poetry and telling tales.
My favorite stories told of Finn McCool climbing these slopes in giant steps. I imagined our ancient hero standing atop these bens surveying Dublin Bay and the Irish Sea.
These hills are formed of quartzite, a magnificent rock of iron infused hues. The quartzite of howth is beautiful with warm flushed tones of red, golden yellow and a rusty brown. But be fair warned quartzite can be very slippery when wet or frosty. Tread with care on the hills of Howth.
Here’s a little slide show I put together on YouTube with more of the photos I took from Howth Hill ..
And so if you find yourself in Howth, why not take a little saunter across its bens, and savor the beauty of Dublin and beyond.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom