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The North Coast & Malahide Castle Tour

Dublin Bus North Coast And Malahide Castle Double Decker Tour Bus

It was the last Saturday of November, a cool crisp sunny day, when I arrived outside Dublin Bus office on O’Connell Street here in our wonderful city of Dublin. My day out would start at 11am when I, with about 40 other passengers, mostly tourists, boarded a double decker bus and left the city to begin our North Coast and Malahide Castle Tour. Our bus driver and our guide was a man called Derek, who, may I say, knew more about Dublin than Dublin knew about herself. Me being a Dubliner didn’t know half of the facts that this man knew, and I’m delighted he shared that interesting information with us.

Malahide Castle Tour - the front of Malahide CastleOur 1st port of call was Malahide Castle, situated north of the city. While we weaved our way out of the city Derek our driver informed us when we passed various different buildings and street roads that this person and that person lived here or was born here. We passed Mount Temple School made famous by all four members of U2 who were past students. The drive was glorious and our drive out in total took no more than 40 minutes. We pulled on to the Castle grounds, and we could see this splendid building which is surrounded by its own land, totaling 268 acres. The grounds also boasts its own Abbey with its own graveyard too.

We were taken to the Castle after a small walk through the grounds. Our guide was a lady called Caroline. Our first room was covered with wood carvings and it didn’t look that bright in colour. It’s called the Oak Room and although this room dated back to the 17th Century, any materials that was used for anywhere in the Castle was recycled and used again. Although the Oak room was old, it looked very dark and bleak, even the chairs and tables. A room I wouldn’t have liked to stay overnight in, but it did have its own window shutters again in oak, which were lovely.

Malahide Castle TourThe next room is known as The Small Gathering Room. This room had lovely colourful paintings on the walls, big huge marble fire places with fancy built in designed marble art, a craft I never saw before. Again this room had lovely antique furniture and fittings.

The next room was called the Great Hall Banquet Room. This room was highly decorated with huge paintings of past owners. One such picture stood out not only cause its size, but it was a picture titled “The Battle of Boyne”. a famous Irish Battle. This room was, in the past, a room to hold parties and display wealth as people did so in those times. Throughout the Castle I passed various statutes bearing the Lion. Caroline pointed out that this was the crest of past owners. Another wall plaque bared not only the Lion but a hound, that meant strength and loyalty.

About Malahide Castle

For years the Castle stayed with one family, the Talbot family. It was only in the last 75 years or so that it was sold to the Office of the Public Park, after the Castle became to expensive to run. The owner at the time was a woman who never married and had children, so there was no one to leave it to, and no money to keep it going in the Talbot family. So she sold it one a condition that should she return to Ireland she would be given a room for her stay, as she lived abroad. The Castle was sold but some of the furniture was sold openly on the front lawn, so some of the houses original pieces where bought and taken away to their new home. There is some mixed information on this as she was supposed to sell the lot the Castle and the furniture, but she held a public auction on the front lawn.

Like all old Castles and houses there are ghost’s haunting the Castle, one of the most famous is Puck, who was a servant. Puck fell in love with a maid, sadly for Puck she wasn’t interested so one day he was found hanging in the great hall, and it’s believed at times he can be seen in that room.

Another ghost was a solider to Oliver Cromwell who, when he invaded Ireland, took ownership of the Castle for about 10 years. The soldier’s name was Moyle Colbert, and he was hung when Oliver returned back to the Castle after been away. Colbert was hung after he was found guilty of treason, a death sentence crime back then. So every April the 19th, he and his horse can be seen galloping up the drive way the way he used to do when he was alive.

Back to the tour…

The Castle tour was very interesting, but I found it to be a very short tour and our group was quite large, which was noticable as we all had to walk from one room to another together. Caroline our tour guide was able to answer any questions we may had and she knew her stuff.

Once the Castle tour was over I found a bench and sat down for a couple of minutes. I could see the airplanes take off from Dublin airport, and I just sat and watched. I decided to go back and get a cup of tea. Situated at the entrance is an Avoca store with gift shops, cafes, etc., so I grabbed a cup of tea and sat outside where the public park their cars.

Howth Harbour TourOur next port of call was Howth Harbour, but firstly we would drive down to Portmarnock, a beach resort which becomes very busy in the summer months. We then headed towards Sutton, a quite expensive seaside area north of Dublin.

We arrived in Howth and we had 1 hour to look around and take in the sights. I had been previously been in Howth and I like to walk down at the harbour which is still been used daily for boats, and fishing trawlers either docking or setting out.

Howth Totem PoleThe harbour is quite busy with fish mongers and seaside cafes selling local produce. The sun was now hiding and I could feel the wind cutting through me. I went down as far as I could, took a few photo’s, then had a look around before going back to the bus. Once aboard we then headed to the summit of Howth Hill. We parked the bus off and most of us who had cameras got off and took lovely photos of Dublin bay. It was breathtaking to see Dublin from this height.

View Alan’s photos of the Irish Sea, Dublin Bay and Poolbeg, from Howth Hill

When our tour ended we were dropped off back in Dublin City. I got back in about 4pm so the tour actually lasted about 5 hours altogether. It is worth doing, and also to bring a camera as the views are breathtaking, weather permitting.

Final Thoughts

The tour was great and full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered, Derek our driver and tour was brilliant he knew how to tell us what we needed to hear, as i said the Castle Tour was very interesting but I found the tour of the Castle to be short. It is worth doing this tour.

The North Coast & Malahide Castle Tour

Tickets: €24 (adults) or €12 (children)
Bookings: book online at or ring Dublin Bus on 01 7033 028
Location/Time: Depart outside Dublin Bus O’Connell Street at 11am

Useful Links

Dublin Bus Tours
Malahide Castle
Howth Tourism

IMAGES: All images taken during the tour – image credit: Alan Finn/

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