A friend of mine who grew up in Dublin couldn’t wait to recommend that we visit the small harbour town of Howth during our trip. Just north up the coast on a little peninsula and a short train ride on the DART line from the centre of Dublin, Howth is a lovely, picturesque place to do a day trip especially if you like fish!
We arrived a little while before lunch so we ambled along the harbour and out to the lighthouse to see the view over to the Eye of Ireland. We were lucky with the weather in that there was beautiful sunshine, but it was also really windy!
We saw boats coming and going including one bringing in its haul of fish and all the fishermen sorting out their nets. There were plenty of seagulls about ready to viciously snap up any scraps that were up for grabs. We thought it best to keep our distance!
As I mentioned, Howth is great for buying fresher-than-fresh fish with shops along the harbour selling allsorts of freshly caught fish, smoked fish and live lobsters. I love being able to stay in an apartment or airbnb so I can pick up all kinds of local produce and be able to cook something with them. Unfortunately, we only visited Howth on our last day in Dublin so we had already checked out. Perhaps that was a blessing in disguise because I pretty much wanted to buy everything!
Beshoffs of Howth
Beshoffs of Howth is the first main fishmonger that you get to along the harbour. They have a food market with a huge fresh fish counter with whole fish, fillets and all manner of shellfish. The counter runs almost the length of the shop!
As well as their fresh fish, they also have a counter of smoked fish, other miscellaneous seafood produce and some prepared meals. Plus, once you’ve finished ogling at all of the delicious fish, you can treat yourself at their oyster bar where they serve a range of seafood snacks.
Wrights of Howth
Wrights of Howth is a similar affair only their crabs and lobsters are in tanks so you can see them moving around – you really can’t get fresher than that!
The selection of fresh fish fillets was mouthwatering and they also had a smaller selection of deli products like chutneys etc.
There’s also a Wrights of Howth concession in Dublin airport with a bigger selection of the deli products, but plenty of smoked and fresh fish too as well as some prepared sandwiches and salads. On our way home I treated myself to a gorgeous smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel to eat on the plane.
If you’re going to Howth then you have to try one of the seafood tapas joints scattered around the harbour. We got ourselves a table in a little cosy nook in the corner of Octopussy’s, a tiny little restaurant serving absolutely delicious seafood.
Octopussy’s get all of their fish from the Celtic Fisher which we saw moored in the harbour alongside the restaurant.
I started with three oysters which were just as fresh as you’d expect from being right by the sea, and continued with grilled crab claws smothered in garlic butter that I could have eaten all day long! We also sampled the monkfish bites which were on as a special, as well as a beautifully rich, smoky, creamy seafood chowder full to the brim with the most succulent seafood. It was a perfect chowder to warm us up after a brisk breezy walk along the harbour!
Needless to say that they also did a smashing job of their fish and chips with crisp golden batter and plump white fish inside.
Octopussy’s have some outdoor seating, but eating in our cosy nook indoors was nice and warm, and also meant we wouldn’t have to fight off seagulls!
For more great things to see and do in Dublin, see my Dublin Highlights post with my roundup of some of the bests pubs, museums and more! Next up I’ll be sharing my favourite breakfasts in Dublin…