Where previously access to the castle was only permitted to specially organised groups, guided public tours are now due to take place on Sundays during August and September. The tours will last 70 minutes, with tickets costing €20 with discounts available for families, students and senior citizens.
Howth Castle is the private residence of the Gaisford-St Lawrence family, who first came to Howth in 1177. Legend has it that on 10 August, John de Courcy won a victory at the nearby Evora Bridge which secured him possession of the Howth peninsula. In gratitude for this he is said to have taken the name St Lawrence, with his descendants still owning and living in the castle today. It is among the few houses in Europe to have been continuously lived in by the same family for such a period.
The existing structure of the castle dates back to the 15th century, with the Gate Tower and Keep from that period still standing. It has evolved over the centuries and offers a unique illustration of how historic houses have changed in Ireland.
“We are delighted to welcome visitors for Guided Public Tours for the first time. We understand that there is a lot of interest in Howth Castle as it is one of the oldest residential castles in Ireland and we are offering a tour which will provide a real insight into the grounds and it’s residents over the centuries,” said Julian Gaisford-St Lawrence who currently lives in the Castle.
Visitors will see the formal rooms which have welcomes guests such as Ireland’s Pirate Queen, Grace O’Malley, Queen Victoria, Joan Rivers and Bing Crosby.
Tickets for tours are available to book online at the Howth Castle website.