near Howth, County Dublin, Ireland
Howth Castle is set in floral gardens and grounds of over 250 acres near the village of Howth overlooking Dublin bay, 9 miles north of Dublin.
Howth Castle is a series of irregular buildings, some castellated others not, with the appearance of having been added to in many different periods. In parts the castle is in good condition but some parts have been left and are in disrepair. The Martello Tower forms part of the collection of buildings, mainly from the 16th century. Within the grounds there are also a number of interesting features including a ruined square tower, Aideen’s grave; a Neolithic tomb, the Deer Park hotel and golf course.
The castle is the ancestral home of the Gaisford St. Lawrence family who are descendents of the Baron; later known as the Earls, of Howth and not open to the public. It is still possible to visit the grounds during the summer which are known for their beautiful collection of over 2,000 varieties of rhododendron.
The grounds are also home to the National Transport Museum of Ireland and the fully restored Hill of Howth Tram along with tractors, trucks, fire engines and lorries can all be seen there.
Howth Castle was built in 1464 and added to many times over history especially in the 16th and 18th centuries.
Very little has been written about the castles history but one of the most notable events seems to be a visit from the Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley. During a trip to Dublin in 1576 she attempted to visit the 8th Baron Howth who was sitting down to dinner and therefore ‘not available’. She was so angry that the gates were closed upon her that she chose to retaliate by abducting the young grandson of the Baron. He was finally released when a promise was made for the gates to always be open to unexpected visitors and for an extra place to be set at the table; a tradition which is said to still be honoured today.
The book ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ by James Boyce is based around Howth Castle and the surrounding area.
Other Castles in the Area
Aras an Uachtarain, County Dublin
Ardgillan Castle, County Dublin
Ashtown Castle, County Dublin
Athcarne Castle, County Meath
Bremore Castle, County Dublin
Clontarf Castle, County Dublin
Dublin Castle, County Dublin
Gormanston Castle, County Meath
Malahide Castle, County Dublin
Manderley Castle, County Dublin
Powerscourt House, County Wicklow
Pucks Castle, County Dublin
Rathfarnham Castle, County Dublin
Robswall Castle, County Dublin
Swords Castle, County Dublin
Tulleys Castle, County Dublin