Exploring Howth: A Comprehensive Guide to the Tramline Loop and Beyond

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If you’re seeking an adventure that combines breathtaking coastal views with a touch of Irish history, then Howth – Tramline Loop is your go-to destination. I’ll be sharing my firsthand experience of this picturesque trail and the unique charm it holds.

In this article, we’ll explore the scenic beauty and the rich cultural heritage of the Howth – Tramline Loop. We’ll delve into the route details, what you can expect to see and why it’s a must-visit for any avid hiker. So, lace up your hiking boots and let’s embark on this virtual journey together.

Stay tuned as I unravel the secrets of Howth – Tramline Loop, a hidden gem that’s waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just someone who loves the great outdoors, you’re in for a real treat. It’s more than just a trail, it’s an experience that’ll linger in your memories for years to come.

What is Howth – Tramline Loop?

I’m sure you’re wondering – what’s this trail that I’m so passionately raving about? Well, the Howth – Tramline Loop is a majestic coastal trail that’s nestled in the heart of Howth, a charming fishing village just a short distance from Dublin, Ireland.

Back in the day, an old tramline used to run through these parts. Though it has now been repurposed, it gives this hiking trail an exquisite touch of history. It’s not just a trail; it’s a journey through time – a thrown-back experience to an era long gone! The rusting remains of the tramline’s infrastructure are still part of the landscape, adding to the unique charm of the route.

The trail is roughly 10 kilometres in length, and it should take you about 3 hours to complete – well worth every minute. You’ll be greeted by undulating paths, steep cliffs, and panoramic views of the Irish Sea. If you’re lucky, you might even get to witness some local wildlife; seals are a common sight in these parts.

Dotted along the trail are signs explaining the historical significance of the areas you’re passing through. You won’t just see the beauty, you’ll learn the stories too. In fact, you’ll almost feel as though you’ve become part of the narrative itself!

This trail is hailed as one of the best hiking experiences in Ireland for a reason. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a novice, this one’s for you. The terrain can get a little challenging at times, but trust me, it’s every bit as rewarding as it seems.

No piece about Howth – Tramline Loop is complete without mention of the iconic Howth Head Lighthouse. It’s a sight to truly behold, painting the perfect backdrop to this extraordinary trail.

Why Should You Do the Howth – Tramline Loop?

If the initial description of Howth – Tramline Loop has intrigued you, let’s delve deeper into why this trail deserves a spot on your next adventure itinerary.

Stunning Coastal Views

There’s no denying that the breathtaking views this trail offers are its biggest draw. As I made my way along the 10 kilometres of craggy coastline, I was greeted with a dramatic vista of the Irish Sea. Glassy turquoise waters stretched out as far as the eye could see, creating a stark contrast against the rugged, green coastline of cliffs. There were numerous vantage points on the trail that provided panoramic views – I felt as though I was truly on top of the world. The view from the top of Howth Head Lighthouse was especially unforgettable.

Historical Landmarks

The physical remnants of the past make the Howth – Tramline Loop more than just a hike; it’s a journey back in time. Not only were there the obvious historical markers – such as the age-worn tramline – but also several signs along the path offering a rich narrative of the area. These signs featured interesting facts and stories about the history and heritage of Howth and the surrounding area. The iconic Howth Head Lighthouse, a beacon of local history, added to the overall sense of taking a step back into a time-gone-by.

Natural Beauty

Lastly, it’s impossible to talk about the Howth – Tramline Loop without mentioning its immense natural beauty. Even beyond the coastal views, the trail unravelled a mosaic of terrain types, each more enchanting than the last. Green fields rolled into dense forests, interspersed with heather-covered hills, coastal flora, and a variety of wildlife. It was much more than a walk; it was an immersive exploration of raw, Irish nature that challenged me physically while stimulating my senses. Even for experienced hikers, the diverse terrain offers a captivating sense of novelty.

Through all this, the trail remains user-friendly for all levels of fitness and experience, making it an accessible adventure that promises rich visual rewards, historical insights and natural splendour.

How to Get to Howth?

Reaching Howth shouldn’t be a challenging task, whether you’re local or flying in from afar. The small fishing village is an accessible gem nestled on the outskirts of Dublin.

Firstly, Dublin Airport, the nearest international airport, is just a 20-minute drive away. You’ll find plenty of taxis or transfer buses at your disposal. Check your options before you travel and book in advance if possible to save time and money.

Here’s a handy breakdown of how far Howth is from key locations:

Location Driving Distance Time
Dublin Airport 16 km 20 minutes
Dublin city centre 15 km 30 minutes
Wicklow 57 km 1 hour 10 minutes

If you’re travelling from Dublin city centre, you can hop on a train from Connolly, Tara Street, or Pearse stations. The journey typically takes 30 minutes on the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) service. Besides, it’s an inexpensive way of travelling, with single adult fares typically costing less than €3.

In case driving is your preferred way of moving around, the R105 route will take you directly from Dublin city centre to the heart of Howth. Parking is readily available in the village, but do remember, it can fill up quickly on sunny days or weekends.

For those looking to minimise their carbon footprint, cycling is also an option – especially on a sunny day! Dublin Bikes, a public bicycle rental scheme, operates throughout Dublin city and suburbs.

So there you have it! Multiple ways to reach this beautiful coastal trail. So what are you waiting for? Your Irish adventure is just a journey away.

Next, we’ll cover tips and insights about what to expect from the coastal walk on the Howth – Tramline Loop. From time to time, the weather in Ireland can be a significant factor. It’s always best to be prepared. But that’s a subject for our next section.

What to Pack for the Howth – Tramline Loop?

It’s time to delve into what you should consider packing for your adventure on the Howth – Tramline Loop. Bear in mind, Ireland’s weather can be a bit capricious so preparing well is key to a memorable and comfortable journey.

Sturdy Footwear

On the top of the list is sturdy footwear, suitable for varied terrains such as grassy fields, rocky cliffs and paved roads. It’s essential to have shoes that are water-resistant and provide good ankle support. It’s wise to avoid items such as sandals or flip-flops.

All-Weather Clothing

Next, keep in mind the unpredictable nature of Ireland’s climate. Expect anything – from sudden sunny spells to rain and a gusty wind – all in one day! It’s a good idea to wear layers which can be easily added or removed as the weather dictates. Also, don’t forget a waterproof jacket – we’re known for our showers!

Food, Water and Snacks

No matter which season you decide to undertake the Howth – Tramline Loop, it’s crucial to stay hydrated and energised. There are several opportunities to stop and picnic along the trail so bring some snacks and a packed lunch. Bring a refillable water bottle for hydration.

Camera and Binoculars

Remember, you’ll be treated to magical views of the Irish Sea and lush landscapes. A good camera is a must to capture these unforgettable moments. Binoculars are an added advantage, especially if you’re a bird-watching enthusiast.

Everything else boils down to personal preference but these essentials will go a long way in ensuring an enjoyable walk. It’s always better to be well-prepared and ready for anything!

The Tramline Loop Trail

Spending time in nature is an amazing experience and there’s no better way to immerse yourself in the splendour of the Irish countryside than with a walk on the Howth – Tramline Loop trail.

Starting Point

The best place to start the trail is from the Howth Railway Station as it provides explorers with plentiful parking options and is clearly signposted to get you on the right path without any hassle. Once you’re there, you’d appreciate the charm of the quaint little Irish town.

Trail Difficulty

Even though the trail does have some steep inclines, it’s been categorised as a moderate hike, suitable for most fitness levels. There are optional bypasses around the tougher areas, so you don’t have to worry if you’re new to this. No mountain climbing experience is necessary, just a will to soak in nature’s beauty!

Trail Length

The Howth – Tramline Loop spans about 7 kilometres and takes approximately 2 to 3 hours to complete, depending on your pace. Take your time, there’s no rush – the breathtaking views are surely worth an extra moment or two.

Trail Distance Estimated Completion Time
7 km 2-3 hours

Trail Highlights

Here’s where it gets really exciting! The trail showcases a selection of historic landmarks and natural wonders. Visit the old tramline, encounter numerous signs detailing the rich heritage, and lose yourself in the stunning Irish Sea vistas. Add these wonders to your camera roll so you never forget the rugged, green coastline and the various terrain types. These highlights are certain to keep you engaged throughout your adventurous walk.

Where to eat in Howth?

Having spent a few hours wandering around the picturesque Howth – Tramline Loop, you’ll no doubt start to feel your stomach rumbling. Fear not! Howth is a haven of culinary delights, catering to various tastes and dietary requirements.

Traditional Seafood Restaurants

Given its coastal location, Howth’s seafood is unsurprisingly phenomenal. If fresh seafood is what you’re after, you’re well catered for here. One of the standouts has got to be Octopussy Seafood Tapas. This atmospheric spot serves a variety of seafood tapas, each bursting with flavour, thanks to locally sourced ingredients. It’s not just locals that swear by this place – its reputation has spread far and wide.

Cafes and Bakeries

Cafes and bakeries abound in Howth and they’re the perfect spot for a mid-walk snack or a hearty brunch before hitting the trail. One such gem is The Dog House Blues Tea Room, situated in a unique wooden building with an eclectic interior. It serves excellent coffee and an array of delectable homemade pastries – a veritable treat for the taste buds.

For the health-conscious among us, check out Thyme Out. This quaint cafe boasts a menu filled with organic, locally-sourced ingredients and a range of vegetarian and vegan options.

Pubs and Bars

Howth’s pub scene doesn’t just offer the chance to wet your whistle with a local beer or two – these venues are often steeped in history too. The Abbey Tavern, a classic Irish pub, is one such place. Dating back to the 16th century, this pub oozes traditional charm and serves great food to boot.

Don’t fancy a pub? There are plenty of modern bars as well, such as The Brass Monkey. This waterfront spot offers a wide selection of beers, wines and cocktails, complimented by an imaginative food menu. Make sure to grab a seat outside for the best view of the harbour.

Where to Stay in Howth?

Seeking comfortable lodging after a vibrant day exploring the Howth – Tramline Loop or enjoying the local pubs and eateries? Let me guide you through the best places to rest your head in this charming harbour town.


When it comes to hotels in Howth, you’re not short of options. Two top contenders for your comfortable night’s stay are Deer Park Hotel and Marine Hotel.

Deer Park Hotel situated in the picturesque grounds of Howth Castle, offers an unforgettable stay with panoramic views of the Irish Sea. It’s the perfect place to unwind with its on-site golf course, spa, and casual dining options.

Alternatively, you could give Marine Hotel a shot. It’s nestled right in the heart of the bay, offering the most magnificent coastal views. They provide a cosy modern setting with dedicated service that’d make you feel right at home.


If you’re after a homier ambience, consider staying at a guesthouse. King Sitric and Howth Lodge & Boathouse are top on my list.

King Sitric, located on the waterfront, boasts eight uniquely styled bedrooms, each offering a magical harbour view. Who knows? You might just fall asleep to the gentle lulling sounds of the sea.

A short walk from the Harbour is the historic site of Howth Lodge & Boathouse. What once served as a police station, this guesthouse now offers spacious rooms with vintage aesthetics. Trust me, it’s worth the stay!


Prefer the good old traditional B&B experience? You’ve got that covered too! Choices like Ann’s of Howth and Hazelbrook House won’t disappoint.

Ann’s of Howth is a plush Edwardian home that’s perfect for a serene getaway. Their rooms are tastefully decorated, and you can expect a hearty Irish breakfast each morning.

Hazelbrook House, on the other hand, offers a convenient location near the Harbour and friendly hosts who are known to go above and beyond to ensure your comfortable stay. Plus, you’d get to enjoy a homemade breakfast spread that’s absolutely delightful.

Finding the right accommodation is an integral part of your Howth experience. Don’t rush your decision and make sure to pick a place that aligns with your vacation vibe.


I’ve taken you on a journey through the Howth – Tramline Loop, revealing its natural allure and historical charm. It’s a trail that’s as much a treat for the eyes as it is a test for the legs. You’ll find the dining scene in Howth is as diverse and captivating as the trail itself. From the freshest seafood at Octopussy Seafood Tapas to the cozy ambiance of The Dog House Blues Tea Room, there’s a culinary delight for every palate. And when it’s time to rest your weary feet, Howth offers a variety of cosy accommodations, from the luxury of Deer Park Hotel to the homely comfort of Hazelbrook House. So, lace up your hiking boots, pack your camera and let the Howth – Tramline Loop be your next adventure.

What is the Howth – Tramline Loop?

The Howth – Tramline Loop is a stunning coastal trail located in Howth, Ireland, offering beautiful coastal views, historical landmarks, and a rich natural beauty. Suitable for all fitness levels, the trail spans about 7 kilometres and takes approximately 2 to 3 hours to complete.

What kind of terrain does the Howth – Tramline Loop offer?

The Howth – Tramline Loop offers a diverse terrain, making it an ideal trail for adventurous walkers. It caters to all levels of walking abilities with optional bypasses for more challenging areas.

Where can I eat in Howth?

Howth boasts an array of dining options ranging from traditional seafood restaurants and health-conscious spots like Octopussy Seafood Tapas and Thyme Out, to coffee shops like The Dog House Blues Tea Room, or pubs and bars like The Abbey Tavern and The Brass Monkey.

Where can I stay in Howth?

In Howth, you can choose to stay at hotels like Deer Park Hotel and Marine Hotel, guesthouses like King Sitric and Howth Lodge & Boathouse, or B&Bs like Ann’s of Howth and Hazelbrook House. All of these establishments have been recommended by the author.

How important is choosing the right accommodation in Howth?

Choosing the right accommodation in Howth is vital to enhance your experience, ensuring comfort and relax after a day exploring the trail or enjoying the local cuisine and culture. Different types of accommodation are available depending on your preference and budget.

Olivia Sinclair

Olivia Sinclair

Olivia is the founder of The Dublin Buzz, believing that you don't need to spend big in Dublin to have a great time. She began with a weekly free event newsletter to showcase some of the great things to do for free in Dublin each week.