Home And Away Guide: King Sitric Howth Co Dublin

Some of Ireland's most charming coastal suburbs lay North of Dublin city. Howth an idyllic fishing village is easily accessible by bus and commuter train (DART). There are also miles of walking trails for you to explore from the harbour to Howth Head with options for every level of walker. The cliff route to the summit is stunning, with views of Dublin Bay and Lambay Lighthouse. Ireland’s Eye a small uninhabited island is situated directly north of the harbour.

The most spectacular feature is the freestanding rock called “the Stack”, which plays host to a large variety of seabirds, including thousands of guillemots, razorbills, fulmars and gulls. Ireland’s fifth gannet colony became established on the Stack in the 1980s, and there are now a few hundred pairs breeding there each year. There is a large cormorant colony on the main island and a few breeding pairs of puffins and if you’re lucky the resident seals will also be playing by the east pier.

Nearby the village of Malahide boasts a variety of characterful bars and stores surrounded by amenities that include a stunning marina and championship golf course. For those who enjoy coastal walks head to the beach. It stretches over a mile and features a route that takes visitors to nearby Portmarnock. Malahide Castle nearby dates back to the 12th century and was home to the notable Talbot family for almost 800 years. The house is furnished with beautiful period furniture together with an extensive collection of Irish portrait paintings, mainly from the National Gallery of Ireland.

After walking through Malahide Castle, relax with a cup of tea and scone at the impressive Avoca Cafe. Some of the best seafood in Dublin can be enjoyed in Howth! Leading the charge is "King Sitric". Joan and Aidan MacManus's well-known restaurant attracts visitors all year around. It's in a Georgian house, with the yacht marina and port on one side and splendid sea views. Seafood is the order of the day, with lobster a specialty. Another house specialty is fillet of turbot with crab mash and caviar cream sauce. Aidan is a well known Euro-Toques chef and his food philosophy is seen in menu cover notes that state the restaurant's commitment to quality local produce. In more recent times the opening of East Café Bar at King Sitric has revitalised the East Pier area - now the West harbour area. It’s run by son, Declan with girlfriend Susan McKiernan. This family enterprise is proving a real winner; offering a limited menu, fantastic food and great value, plus stylishly casual surroundings. Bedrooms are named after lighthouses; those on the first floor have the best views. Each room is furnished simply but comfortably, with good fixtures and comfortable, firm beds. The outstanding aspect here is the sea views from each room, which improve the higher one goes.

King Sitric is a member of Ireland's Blue Book a collection of Irish Country House Hotels, Manor Houses, Castles and Restaurants located throughout the island of Ireland. These charming and stylish hideaways are the perfect choice for a midweek or weekend break and those seeking a romantic getaway. Activities vary from golf, fishing, spas and cookery schools or just relaxing in warm and comfortable surroundings. Residential packages include one night's deluxe accommodation, with evening meal and fully cooked to order Irish Breakfast all from €150.00. You’ll feel the difference the moment you arrive.  www.irelandsbluebook.com

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