Howth Castle - for your eyes only

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From EUR 50

Get under the skin of the most authentic, ancient and living, of Norman Irish noble adventures. Turn the pages of history, step by step, exploring the upstairs and downstairs of Howth Castle, the intimate, private and warm hearth of history, legend and mythology. This is Ireland's ancient peninsula of Binn Eadair, more recently named Howth by the Viking invaders who made it home in 814. 

 

Vanquishing the combined forces of Irish and Norse families who fiercely defended Howth, Sir Almeric made the St. Lawrence family name and fortune by taking this coveted territory through force of arms on the 10th of August 1177 at the brutal battle of Evora Bridge. Real games of thrones were fought within arrowshot of the old Keep on the battlefield you can still observe. Get rich or die trying .... his courage and determination created a legacy that endures to this day. Gifted the King's Clothes for preserving the monarchy of Henry the 7th and visited for afternoon tea by Queen Victoria the St Lawrences were famously loyal to their leige and their loyalty has been repaid in the hard earned coin of endurance. 

 

Grace O'Malley knew it well, though was not made welcome and exacted a Queen's ransom for the insult. Anointed by Queen Elizaabeth in London she breezed in with her head held high but was soon brought down to earth by the barred gates. 

 

Steadfast over 800 years, riding out the turbulent storms of European and Irish history. Resolutely the Gaisford-St Lawrence have equally steadfastly defended and protected the nature of Howth from their indomitable redoubt of Howth Castle. Play your own cameo in a glorious story, the unfinished journey of Ireland since the Norman Conquests, that still has no end.  

 

This is a rare, prestigious and exclusive opening to the footprint and interior of Howth Castle, one of the longest continuously inhabited private homes in Europe. Discover the tales and stories from within the personal and public rooms. Contemplate the eminent and august Lutyens Library, built to house the collection of Thomas Gaisford, Regius Professor of Greek, Curator of the Bodleian Library and Dean of Christchurch College, the furniture, paintings and artefacts.  

 

As the most reliable port in Ireland, from the Tuatha Dé Danann through the Celts and Vikings, until 1820, Howth Castle was an elegant appointment kept by Kings, Queens and Dukes and an invitation sought by every VIP up to the present day. Reflect on your ambition and what it takes to forge an enduring dynasty. 

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Allow the atmosphere to penetrate by arriving early.

Stroll through the centuries around the north west walls and towers of Howth Castle. Immerse yourself in the history of Binn Eadair and ancient Ireland before the coming of The Normans.

Contemplate the big picture from outside. You will then join the characters in the revealing work over the Drawing Room fireplace.  

Examine the Gate Tower from the 1400's and connect with Grace O'Malleys " Granualie" visit. She was turned away, coming home from her audacious season with Queen Elizabeth at court in London. Her bold reaction to this violation of the norms of Irish hospitability was The Abduction of The Heir and the famous noble ransom.

Climb the steps to the front door and be welcomed to the Great Hall. Interpret the broad strokes of the Gaisford-St Lawrence family through the precious portraits and artefacts, including the Great Sword of Howth and the surprisingly beautiful fireplace, salvaged by Lutyens, an intriguing precursor to Microsoft from over 100 years ago.

Adjourn to the Dining Room, classically furnished and decorated with famous paintings by famous sportings artists from the fin de siecle. Observe Dean Swift in all his political glory, did he perhaps visit too often? Too close, never mind his position, to his "blue eyed nymph".

Cherish the precious and cosy Sidney Hall and Lutyens loggia with the chance of a visit to the lawn and private gardens should weather permit.

Contemplate The Drawing Room. Beautifully authentic 18th century Irish gold furniture and period china. Reflect on the entire effect that so enchanted no less than Queen Victoria for afternoon tea, HG Wells, Dean Swift and Bing Crosby, among others.... There is tragedy and ghosts still here. 

Pass through The Boudoir, a shrine to equine accomplishment, to the Lutyens Library. Reflect on the collection, design materials and workmanship so characteristic of this innovative and revered architect of Imperial Britain.

Pass down the backstairs, behind the scenes, to the 17th Century kitchen house adorned by the antlers of the long extinct Irish elk, now the perfect home for Howth Castle Cookery School.

Return to the Walled Garden and savour the baking and historical awareness we have awoken together. 

    

 

      

 

Highlights

Meet with kindred spirits in the beautiful Walled Garden. Wander the authentic landscape of Binn Eadair into ancient times. Cherished by the Tuatha Dé Danann, Howth was taken by the early Celts. Sense the hermetic nature of Celtic Christianity at our own island of Saints and Scholars at Inis MacNeasain before the terror of The Vikings. Understand the renaming of this place as Howth. Grasp the vigour, courage and ambition of The Normans and contemplate the resilience of this family. One of the longest inhabited stately homes of Europe. This is the true story of Ireland and Europe, still being written after the Norman Conquest, The Lambert Simnell Plot, The Flight of The Earls , the Wild Geese and Independence ...become part of it.  

Insider tip: Prolong your experience. Savour the excellent refreshments and home baked goodies in the Walled garden. Take the space and inspiration to digest the entire experience. Under your own steam, stroll through the famous Rhododendron Gardens and seek out Aideen's Grave. Enjoy an hour or two exploring Howth Harbour. Take a ferry cruise around Irelands Eye, still owned by the St Lawrence family, from the new jetty on the West Pier. 

Route

  1. Dublin