Howth Castle has its origins in medieval times. In 1177 Almeric, the first Lord of Howth, came to Ireland with John de Courcy. Legend has it that on 10th August, the feast day of St Lawrence, at Evora Bridge, close to the Church of Ireland church, he won a victory which secured him possession of the Howth peninsula. In gratitude for this he is said to have taken the name of St Lawrence. His descendants (the Gaisford-St Lawrence family) still own and live in the castle.
Almeric built his castle of wood above the harbour but it is evident from a deed that by 1235 a new castle had been built on the present site. The earliest surviving parts of the present structure date from the mid-fifteenth century.
The house has been extensively altered by succeeding generations to adapt it to their times, most notably in 1738, when the house took on its current appearance and again in 1911 when Sir Edwin Lutyens renovated and added to the house.
Howth Castle Cookery School is based in the beautifully restored Georgian kitchens in the Castle. The School was opened by sisters-in-law Christine and Edwina St Lawrence in 2008 to share their knowledge about food and carry on the traditions of exceptional cooking and grand dining practised in the Castle for centuries. The kitchen dates from about 1750, when it replaced an earlier Elizabethan structure. It was renovated in 1911 by Sir Edwin Lutyens who was employed to modernise and extend the house.
While Howth Castle remains a family home, guided tours are available throughout the Summer. Details are posted online.
Groups or individuals may book a guided tour (by email only). Contact details are available here.
The Cafe in the Castle is located in the beautiful walled garden and serves freshly brewed coffee, home baked treats, lunch and afternoon tea. Cafe opening hours: April & May, Sat and Sun only, 10.00 am – 5.00 pm. June/July/August – open every day 10.00 am – 5.00 pm.