Howth Castle & Gardens
One Family’s Home for over 800 Years
Howth Castle is the private residence of the Gaisford-St Lawrence family. The house is not normally open to the public, but the family recognises that there is an understandable interest in it and its contents.
We believe that the fact that the house has been home to the same family for so long is what makes it unique. Unlike many other houses of its size in Ireland, it is not a museum or a hotel but a home which we enjoy sharing with others.
It 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 feastday 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 still own and live in the castle.
Visiting Howth Castle
While Howth Castle remains a family home, we enjoy showing the house and its contents.
Educational groups, recognised bodies or groups and associations with an interest in seeing the castle and its contents are given guided tours if at all possible. Normally the tour is given by a member of the family. All must make appointments well in advance.
Tours are tailored to the requirements of the group. Cookery Courses or demonstrations at Howth Castle Cookery School in the old castle kitchen can be attended as part of a tour by prior arrangement.
Organisers of any groups interested in a tour should contact us through this website. We welcome schools and organisations that help educate young people at a much-reduced rate.
We can look after people with reduced mobility but need some advance warning to make it easier for them to gain access.
The castle gardens are worth a visit and there are some excellent free walks; they’re noted for their rhododendrons (which bloom in May and June), for their azaleas and for the long, 10m-high beech hedge planted in 1710.
There is also a ruined square tower, Aideen's Grave, a Neolithic tomb and the Deer Park hotel and golf course.
Howth Castle Cookery School
Ireland’s most uniquely situated cookery school; Howth Castle Cookery School is based in the beautifully restored Georgian kitchens in the Castle, hence the name.
Howth Castle Cookery School was opened by sisters-in-law Christine and Edwina St Lawrence in 2008 to share their passion and knowledge about food and carry on the traditions of exceptional cooking and grand dining practised in the Castle for centuries.
Sadly Christine died in 2011 but her legacy of no-nonsense classic home cooking derived from her French parentage and her upbringing in Rome lives on in the ethos of the school.
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.
A large and beautifully proportioned room, the kitchen has, as its main central feature, a thirty-foot high cupola. This is not only magnificent, but it serves a purpose – it is the kitchen’s ventilation system!
A truly unique space, Howth Castle Cookery School inspires and excites all those who attend its cookery courses and demonstrations, offering the perfect marriage of state of the art cooking and AV technologies, with old world atmosphere and charm.