As a Howth native, I would’ve said I knew the place backwards – all the walks, all the best places to eat, where serves the best Guinness, but when I got a text from my sister asking if I wanted to bring the kids on the Howth Express, I’d know idea what she was talking about. Nor had I ever been to the National Transport Museum of Ireland at Howth Castle, which, admittedly I knew about but had no interest in…. let’s just say I’m tucking in to a good slice of humble pie!
So, we jumped on the Howth Express train just opposite the old Courthouse building at Howth pier and needless to say, the kids were super excited. Our driver was great, as we drove along we got a little bit of Howth history but he very much played to the kids in the audience; winding up the wooded driveway of Howth Castle there was much talk of pirate queens, dragons, and monkeys in the trees!
The biggest surprise of all was the Transport Museum. It’s grandiose title ‘The National Transport Museum of Ireland’ is perhaps slightly misleading as it is more like a large shed packed full of every type of vehicle you can imagine! What it is though, is a rustic treasure chest of local history. While most museums cordon off exhibits and have security guards watching over it, Howth Transport Museum does not. The kids were allowed on to most of the exhibits with parental supervision – this is interactive at it’s best! Lots of old vehicles of every type: trams, fire engines, buses, tanks… you could go upstairs, sit in the driver seat, ring the bells – the kids absolutely loved it and I have to say, so did I. I’ve run up and down the old tram lines as a child many times, but never really gave much thought to the trams that used to run on them. As it turns out, they were rescued from Gerry O’Brien’s stables many years ago by a group of locals and restored.
The train came and picked us up again, after a little play in the grounds of Howth Castle and then back to the pier. Oh, and on the QT, if I was to go for some food afterwards, I probably would go to House in the village for a family friendly atmosphere and great food, and perhaps a sneaky pint in The Summit (well earned if you take the cliff walk from the village up the hill!)>