Howth Head
Howth Head is a headland
Headlands and bays
Headlands and bays are two related features of the coastal environment.- Geology and geography :Headlands and bays are often found on the same coastline. A bay is surrounded by land on three sides, whereas a headland is surrounded by water on three sides. Headlands are characterized by high,...

 north east of Dublin City in Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

. Howth falls under the local governance of fingal
Fingal is a county in Ireland. It is one of three smaller counties into which County Dublin was divided in 1994. With its county seat located in Swords, it has a population of 239,992 according to the 2006 census...

 county council. Entry to the headland is at Sutton
Sutton, Dublin
Sutton is a residential suburb of Dublin's Northside, Ireland, at the base of Howth Head, the peninsula which forms the northern edge of Dublin Bay.-Location and geography:...

 while village of Howth
Howth is an area in Fingal County near Dublin city in Ireland. Originally just a small fishing village, Howth with its surrounding rural district is now a busy suburb of Dublin, with a mix of dense residential development and wild hillside, all on the peninsula of Howth Head. The only...

 and the harbour
A harbor or harbour , or haven, is a place where ships, boats, and barges can seek shelter from stormy weather, or else are stored for future use. Harbors can be natural or artificial...

 are on the northern shore. Baily Lighthouse
Baily Lighthouse
The Baily Lighthouse is a lighthouse on the southeastern part of Howth Head in Dublin, Ireland. It is maintained by the Commissioners of Irish Lights.-Early history:...

 is on the southeastern part of Howth Head. Nearby are the districts of Baldoyle
Baldoyle is a small coastal area on the northside of Dublin, Ireland. It is in the part of the historic County Dublin now administered as Fingal.-Location and Access:...

 and Portmarnock
Portmarnock is a small suburban village to the north of Dublin, Ireland. It is in the administrative county of Fingal.-Location:Portmarnock lies on the coast and, owing to its proximity to Dublin city, is a form of dormitory village north-northeast of the city centre...



The earliest mention of the peninsula was on a map attributed to Claudius Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

, where it was called Edri Deserta or in Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 Edrou Heremos. Here it was portrayed as an island, but it is not clear if this was due to actual separation from the headland or inaccurate information available to the cartographer.


Originally an island, Howth Head is connected to the mainland via a narrow strip of land, or tombolo
A tombolo, from the Italian tombolo, derived from the Latin tumulus, meaning 'mound,' and sometimes translated as ayre , is a deposition landform in which an island is attached to the mainland by a narrow piece of land such as a spit or bar. Once attached, the island is then known as a tied island...

, and forms the northerly bound of the great crescent of Dublin Bay
Dublin Bay
Dublin Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea on the east coast of Ireland. The bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south...

, roughly corresponding to Killiney Hill
Killiney Hill
Killiney Hill is the southernmost of the two hills which form the southern boundary of Dublin Bay . Crowned by an obelisk, the hill is 153 metres high and offers beautiful views over the surrounding areas : Dublin to the northwest; the Irish Sea and the mountains of Wales to the east and...

 in the south.


Most of the headland is hilly, with peaks such as the 171m Black Linn, by the Ben of Howth
Ben of Howth
The Ben of Howth is a hilly area on Howth Head, adjacent to the 171 metre high Black Linn, the peninsula's highest point. Lying approximately 1½ km to the south of Howth village, the nearest road is Windgate Road, from which a path leads west past Green Hallows quarry.Two of Howth's...

, Shielmartin Hill
Shielmartin Hill
Shielmartin Hill or Shelmartin is a peak on Howth Head. From it can be seen Portmarnock, Sutton, Bull Island and the coastal areas behind it, and most of Dublin Bay.-Form:...

 (163m), Carrickbrack and Dun Hill, and craggy areas such as and Muck Rock (Carrickmore), and Kilrock, and there are steep cliffs around parts. Gorse
Gorse, furze, furse or whin is a genus of about 20 plant species of thorny evergreen shrubs in the subfamily Faboideae of the pea family Fabaceae, native to western Europe and northwest Africa, with the majority of species in Iberia.Gorse is closely related to the brooms, and like them, has green...

 grows in many places on the headland.


As one of the northern termini
Train station
A train station, also called a railroad station or railway station and often shortened to just station,"Station" is commonly understood to mean "train station" unless otherwise qualified. This is evident from dictionary entries e.g...

 of the Dublin Area Rapid Transit
Dublin Area Rapid Transit
The Dublin Area Rapid Transit is part of the suburban railway network in Ireland, running mainly along the coastline of Dublin Bay on the Trans-Dublin route, from Greystones in County Wicklow, through Dublin to Howth and Malahide in County Dublin.Trains are powered via a 1500V DC overhead catenary...

 system (DART), Howth is a popular destination for day-trippers from the capital. Hikers can choose from a wide range of routes, including the Cliff Walk or making for the ancient cairn
Cairn is a term used mainly in the English-speaking world for a man-made pile of stones. It comes from the or . Cairns are found all over the world in uplands, on moorland, on mountaintops, near waterways and on sea cliffs, and also in barren desert and tundra areas...

 on one of Howth's several summits. On clear days, the Wicklow Mountains
Wicklow Mountains
The Wicklow Mountains form the largest continuous upland area in Ireland. They occupy the whole centre of County Wicklow and stretch outside its borders into Counties Carlow, Wexford and Dublin. Where the mountains extend into County Dublin, they are known locally as the Dublin Mountains...

 can be seen, with Dublin city below. Slieve Donard
Slieve Donard
Slieve Donard is a 850 m mountain in County Down, Northern Ireland. It is part of the Mourne Mountains and the highest peak in Northern Ireland and in the wider province of Ulster. It is the 19th highest peak on the island of Ireland...

, an 852 metre peak in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 may also be visible - a distance of 90 km (55.9 mi). Quite frequently, Snowdon
Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales, at an altitude of above sea level, and the highest point in the British Isles outside Scotland. It is located in Snowdonia National Park in Gwynedd, and has been described as "probably the busiest mountain in Britain"...

 (1,085 m) in Snowdonia National Park
Snowdonia is a region in north Wales and a national park of in area. It was the first to be designated of the three National Parks in Wales, in 1951.-Name and extent:...

 in Wales can also be seen - a distance of 138 km (85.7 mi).

Popular culture

Howth Head is also the location where Leopold Bloom
Leopold Bloom
Leopold Bloom is the fictional protagonist and hero of James Joyce's Ulysses. His peregrinations and encounters in Dublin on 16 June 1904 mirror, on a more mundane and intimate scale, those of Ulysses/Odysseus in The Odyssey....

 proposes to Molly in James Joyce
James Joyce
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century...

's Ulysses
Ulysses (novel)
Ulysses is a novel by the Irish author James Joyce. It was first serialised in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, and then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach on 2 February 1922, in Paris. One of the most important works of Modernist literature,...

. In the short story Eveline, another work of James Joyce
James Joyce
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century...

's from the collection, "Dubliners
Dubliners is a collection of 15 short stories by James Joyce, first published in 1914. They were meant to be a naturalistic depiction of Irish middle class life in and around Dublin in the early years of the 20th century....

", it is mentioned that Eveline and her family once had a picnic on the Hill of Howth. Howth Head is also central to Joyce's final work, Finnegans Wake
Finnegans Wake
Finnegans Wake is a novel by Irish author James Joyce, significant for its experimental style and resulting reputation as one of the most difficult works of fiction in the English language. Written in Paris over a period of seventeen years, and published in 1939, two years before the author's...

in which one of the principal characters, HCE, is, among other things, representative of the mountain.

Howth Head is also mentioned in the lyrics of the title track of Kate Bush
Kate Bush
Kate Bush is an English singer-songwriter, musician and record producer. Her eclectic musical style and idiosyncratic vocal style have made her one of the United Kingdom's most successful solo female performers of the past 30 years.In 1978, at the age of 19, Bush topped the UK Singles Chart...

's 1989 album, The Sensual World
The Sensual World
-Personnel:*Haydn Bendall: engineer*Andrew Boland: engineer*Stoyanka Boneva: vocals*Kate Bush: piano, keyboards, vocals, background vocals, producer*Paddy Bush: mandolin, background vocals, valiha, whip, tupan*Clare Connors: violin...

: '...took six big wheels and rolled our bodies / off of Howth Head and into the flesh, mmh, yes...'. The song is inspired by Molly Bloom
Molly Bloom
Molly Bloom is a fictional character in the novel Ulysses by James Joyce. The wife of main character Leopold Bloom, she roughly corresponds to Penelope in the Odyssey. The major difference between Molly and Penelope is that while Penelope is eternally faithful, Molly is not, having an affair with...

's soliloquy in Joyce's "Ulysses".

External links

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