Monday, March 28, 2011

Howth - Ireland

Howth - Ireland by infomatique
Howth - Ireland, a photo by infomatique on Flickr.

Howth is an area in the Fingal County Council administrative area of County Dublin, Ireland. Originally just a small fishing village and surrounding rural district, Howth is now a busy suburb of Dublin, with a mix of dense residential development and wild hillside. The only neighbouring district on land is Sutton, also on the Howth peninsula.

Howth is located on the peninsula of Howth Head, which begins around 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) east-north-east of Dublin city, on the north side of Dublin Bay. The village itself is located 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Dublin city centre (the ninth of a series of milestones from the GPO is in the village itself), and spans most of the northern part of Howth Head, which is connected to the rest of Dublin via a narrow strip of land (or tombolo) at Sutton Cross.

Howth is at the end of a regional road from Dublin City and is one of the northern termini of the DART suburban rail system. It is served by Dublin Bus.

Howth is a popular area for birdwatching and sailing, and is also popular with anglers. Anything from cod to ray can be caught from Howth's rocky shore marks, and sea mammals, such as seals, are common sights in and near the harbour. Howth is also a popular destination for cyclists and hillwalkers, particularly on weekends.

Howth Head is one of the dominant features of Dublin Bay, with a number of peaks. In one area, near Shielmartin, there is a small peat bog, the Bog of the Frogs. The wilder parts of Howth can be accessed by a network of paths (many are rights of way) and much of the centre and east is protected as part of a Special Area of Conservation of 2.3 square kilometres (570 acres).

The island of Ireland's Eye, part of the Howth Estate, and of the Special Area of Conservation, lies about a kilometre north of Howth harbour, with Lambay Island some 5 km further to the north. A Martello tower exists on each of these islands with another tower overlooking Howth harbour (opened as a visitor centre and Ye Olde Hurdy-Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio on June 8 2001) and another tower at Red Rock, Sutton. These are part of a series of towers built around the coast of Ireland during the 19th century.

Howth Castle, and its estate, Deer Park, are key features of the area.
On the grounds of Howth Castle lies a collapsed Dolmen known locally as Aideen's Grave.

At the south-east corner of Howth Head, in the area known as Bailey (historically, the Green Bayley) is the automated Baily Lighthouse, successor to previous safety mechanisms, at least as far back as the late 1600s.

In Howth village is St. Mary’s Church and graveyard. The earliest church was built by Sitric, King of Dublin, in 1042. It was replaced around 1235 by a parish church, and then, in the second, half of the 14th century, the present church was built. The building was modified in the 15th and 16th centuries, when the gables were raised, a bell-cote was built and a new porch and south door were added. The St. Lawrences of nearby Howth Castle also modified the east end to act as a private chapel; inside bis the tomb of Christopher St. Lawrence, 13th Lord Howth, who died in 1462, and his wife, Anna Plunkett of Ratoath.

Also of historic interest is The College, on Howth's Main Street.

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