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Paramount Hotel - Things to Do

Howth Head in Dublin, Ireland


Howth Head is a headland north of Dublin City, near the districts of Baldoyle and Portmarnock. Sutton lies at the entry to the headland and on part of the southern side, and Howth district occupies the rest, with the village and harbour on the northern side.

Originally an island, Howth Head is connected to the mainland via a narrow strip of land, or tombolo, and forms the northerly bound of the great crescent of Dublin Bay, corresponding to Killiney Head in the south.

Most of the headland is hilly, with peaks such as the 171m Shielmartin Hill and 163m Ben of Howth, and there are steep cliffs around parts. Gorse grows in many places on the headland.

The earliest mention of the peninsula was on a map attributed to Claudius Ptolemy, where it was called Edri Deserta or in Greek Edrou Heremos. Here it was portrayed as an island, but it is not clear if this was due to actual separation from the headland or inaccurate information available to the cartographer.

As one of the northern termini of the Dublin Area Rapid Transit system (DART), Howth is a popular destination for day-trippers from the capital. Hikers make for the ancient cairn on Howth summit, from where, on clear days, the Wicklow Mountains can be seen, with Dublin city below. Quite frequently, Snowdon (1,085 m) in Snowdonia National Park in Wales can be seen - a distance of 138 km (86 mi)!

Howth head also happens to be the location where Leopold Bloom proposes to Molly in James Joyce's Ulysses. In the short story Eveline, another work of James Joyce's from the collection, "Dubliners", it is mentioned that Eveline and her family once had a picnic on the Hill of Howth. Howth Head is also central to Joyce's final work, Finnegans Wake, in which one of the principle characters, HCE, is, among other things, representative of the mountain.

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