A Snapshot of Howth Harbour Past !

Howth Harbour CIRCA 1950

Howth is a picturesque village clustered around and above a busy sailing and fishing port on the north coast of the rugged peninsula, which forms the northern side of Dublin Bay on Ireland’s East Coast.

Howth Harbour was built from 1807 and was at that time the main Dublin harbour for the packet boats from the UK. Howth Rd was built to ensure rapid transfer of incoming mail and dispatches from the harbour to the city. The replacement of sailing packets with steam packets in 1818 reduced the transit time from Holyhead to seven hours, but Howth’s period of importance was short – by 1813 the harbour was already showing signs of silting up, and it was superseded by Dun Laoghaire in 1833. The most famous arrival to Howth was King George IV, who visited Ireland in 1821 and is chiefly remembered because he staggered off the boat in a highly inebriated state. He did manage to leave his footprint at the point where he stepped ashore on the West Pier.

Howth 17 Sailing boats rigging in Howth Harbour CIRCA 1920

In 1914 Robert Erskine Childers’ yacht, Asgard, brought a cargo of 900 rifles into the port to arm the nationalists. During the Civil War, Childers was court-martialled by his former comrades and executed by firing squad for illegal possession of a revolver.

I spent the first 25 years of my life growing up in this Village and have very fond memories of both the place and the people . The fishing industry was the main employer for many decades, in fact my first job after leaving school was to go out fishing – Sadly this industry has dwindled in Howth, with only a handful of full time Howth fishermen left today.

I was given the opportunity to try and a copy and restore a collection of local images. These images were all shot on Glass plate (both positives and Negatives were included in this rare collection). Unfortunately given there age and due to bad storage over the years most of them were very badly damaged but i feel repairable – As for “Provenance of Age” Given the material they were shot on “glass plate” – The fact that “The Church of the Assumption Howth ” which was built in 1899, dose not appear in some of the photos.

Howth Village CIRCA 1895

And finally the Howth Coastgaurd Station ,which was located at the end of the West pier is clearly visible in quiet a number of the images (This Station was blow up by the IRA in early 1921) I can make a Guess that the images were taken between the 1890s and the 1950s .

There is still a fair bit of work to do but i have manage to restore a batch and am looking forward to getting on with the project – I have chosen a selection to share on this blog – Enjoy !


One thought on “A Snapshot of Howth Harbour Past !

  1. Hey David, These are simply stunning & have brought back so many memories of my chilhood. would you have any pics that would have the IC Trawl building in the back? I would love to get one for my dad for Christmas. Hope all is well & your are staying healthy!! Thanks a mill, Pia

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