Do the Howth Cliff Walk Plus Malahide Castle in a Day

Howth Cliff Walk views of Dublin Bay and Baily Lighthouse

About This Dublin Day Trip Itinerary

One Day in Dublin City Itinerary Rating: Intermediate
This North County Dublin itinerary is recommended for people with the following interests: nature, hiking, history

North Dublin Coast Itinerary in Brief

  1. Coffee at Steam in Dublin City Centre
  2. Take the DART train to Howth 
  3. Hike the iconic Howth Cliff Path Loop to Howth Head
  4. (Weekends) Browse Howth Market
  5. (Seasonal) Go Birdwatching at Ireland's Eye island
  6. Eat a fresh fish lunch in Howth at the Oar House
  7. Grab a pint or a hot whiskey at the Abbey Tavern
  8. Take the DART train to Malahide
  9. Tour historic Malahide Castle
  10. Eat dinner back at Legal Eagle on the northside of the River Liffey back in Dublin City
  11. Catch a gig at SIN É music pub

Explore other one day Dublin City itineraries here:
One Day in Dublin City Itineraries

North Dublin Coast Detailed Itinerary

Start your day out in Dublin with coffee at Steam in Dublin City Centre. Steam serves locally owned and roasted Cloud Picker coffee and is associated with The Alex, a hip hotel. 

Consider taking your coffee to go and make your way to the Pearse Street DART station. Catch the train and travel along the Dublin North Coast to Howth.
Howth Walk: Ireland's Eye

The Howth Cliff Walk (Estimated Time: 2 Hours)

Hike the iconic Howth Cliff Path Loop. Follow the colored arrows along the route to make sure you stay on track. The Howth coastal loop walk begins with a slow ascent out of Howth Village. You may find the number of signs cautioning: Warning! Dangerous Cliffs to be disconcerting but don't let them deter you. Look down to breathtaking views, just be careful not to stray too close to the edge. Keep an eye out for Baily Lighthouse in the distance.

I definitely recommend wearing long trousers for this hike because there are a number of thorny species living alongside the trail. The trail is quite narrow in parts and you'll have to push aside the brush to get through. Look out at the lighthouse in the distance and then turn upward toward the summit. Roughly hewn steps are there to aid your climb. The Howth Cliff coastal walk trail is about 6 km and takes about 2 hours to complete.  

If you visit Howth on the weekend, take some time to browse Howth Market for a snack or sweet treat after your hike.

Howth Market Dublin

Ireland's Eye

Seasonal ferry tours run to the islands off the coast of Howth. Make sure to check with the ferry company to confirm the point of departure. Some boats leave from Howth West Pier and other leave from East Pier. You can take a 15 minute boat ride and go birdwatching at Ireland's Eye island. You'll definitely spot seabirds nesting on Ireland's Eye. If you're lucky, you may even see puffins. Ireland's Eye offers beautiful vistas and great walks. Just be careful if you go during seagull nesting season. The adult gulls are incredibly aggressive if you get too close to their nests. The nests are actually pretty hard to avoid because there are so many.

Howth Restaurants

Howth is a fishing village by nature and seafood restaurants abound. After a morning spent in nature, you can browse posted menus at various Howth restaurants or take my advice and stop for a fresh fish lunch along Howth Harbour at the Oar House seafood restaurant. You might even spot a grey seals in the harbour on the way. When we visited, we were seated at a table near the kitchen which we were led to believe by the hostess was suboptimal (it was the last table they had available). It turned out to be a fabulous seat to watch the staff prepare their award winning seafood. One of the chefs leaned over and asked me if I'd like to try an Irish oyster. I'd never had one before so decided to give it a whirl. I wouldn't eat them by the bucket but I enjoyed the one. It had a slimy texture but was nice and salty -- very fresh. Share one of the extremely large mains or order your own if you're feeling particularly hungry. We opted for the plaice with butter and almonds. 
Howth Walk: Seal in Howth Harbour
We were pretty stuffed after we finished our food at the Oar House when the chef leaned over the counter again with a full dessert plate in hand and asked if we'd like a brownie on the house. It would have been rude to say no ;-) 

After lunch, opt for a pint or a hot whiskey at the Abbey Tavern to aid your digestion. The Abbey Tavern is particularly atmosphere on a cold day when the smell of a roaring peat fire adds to the atmosphere. 

Malahide Castle

Continue your day exploring Dublin's North Coast by taking the DART to Malahide. 
Malahide Castle
Walk from the Malahide DART station to Malahide Castle, the flagship attraction here. Don't be surprised by how far off the main road it is. You'll walk through a lovely ivy covered forest to get there. The castle looks even cooler up close after the half mile walk. Photos aren't allowed inside, but it's definitely worth taking the tour. The castle was occupied by the same family, the Talbots, for more than 800 years. At the end of the tour, stop for a spot of tea. Explore the grounds of Malahide Castle on your return to the train station. You'll find an overgrown ruined church and cemetery with a sculpture of a dog standing guard nearby.

Dinner and a Gig Back in Dublin Town

Dinner at Legal Eagle in Dublin
Take the DART train to Connolly station and then walk or take the Luas toward Smithfield. Eat dinner at Legal Eagle on the northside of the River Liffey back in Dublin City. The Legal Eagle serves hearty gastropub fare and a fab gin and tonic. 

After dinner, catch a gig at SIN É music pub which is located nearby.SIN É is known for an eclectic mix of musical performances so there is bound to be something on that's worth seeing as a finale to this one day in Dublin itinerary exploring Howth and Malahide.

Howth Cliff Walk and Malahide Map

Click on the image below to open an interactive Google Map outlining the Howth Cliff walk, other points of interest in Howth, Howth restaurants, and Malahide Castle.

Howth and Malahide Map

Guide to Sidewalk Safari Dublin City Itineraries

  • Leisurely: No need to get up super-early to start this itinerary which is always good if you experienced a little too much of Dublin's famous craic the night before. Take your time exploring the sights on these itineraries or take detours that you discover on your own in the process of following my suggestions.
  • Intermediate: You should be able to comfortably fit in the activities recommended even if you don't get an early start. There is a fair amount of walking involved in these itineraries to get from place to place.
  • Ambitious: Lots to see plus a lot of walking. Make sure to get an early start or you won't make it to everything on the list.
The perfect formula for a day out in Dublin City includes: breakfast/coffee, morning activities, lunch, afternoon activities, a pub stop, dinner, and evening fun.

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Do the Howth Cliff Walk Plus Malahide Castle in a Day
Do the Howth Cliff Walk Plus Malahide Castle in a Day
Do the Howth Cliff walk and visit Malahide Castle on a day out in Dublin. Take the train to Howth DART station and eat at Howth restaurants. See both Howth and Malahide in a day using public transportation.
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