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A Castle and the National Transport Museum in Howth

I spent Friday during my stay in Dublin visiting Newgrange and the Hill of Tara on my own, with twenty of my newest tour group friends. Come Saturday MJ and I had the weekend together! We planned for one day to include a trip to Galway and the Cliffs of Moher, and the other to spend local to the Dublin area. After consulting weather reports, Saturday became the day we stayed near Dublin. However, we’d both already done all the major sights in Dublin itself. Instead we decided to hop on a DART train and head out to Howth. What’s in Howth aside from some nice views? A privately owned castle you can wander around, and the National Transport Museum!

We had a leisurely morning that allowed us to get to Howth in time for lunch. We ended up with a great lunch outside at the restaurant attached to the Howth train station, The Bloody Stream. Gotta love Viking-inspired naming! We then walked over to the transport museum.

The transport museum is tucked behind Howth Castle. It’s home to dozens of vintage vehicles housed in a pair of warehouses, with a strong preference for buses used throughout the 20th century. There were also work vehicles, a firetruck going back more than a hundred years, and a few things that ran on rails. I’m a rail fan, so some quick research on their website ahead of time clued me in to the handful of vehicles that would be of particular interest to me.

The first was their tram No. 253. With the exception of tourist buses and Amtrak, double-decker vehicles are pretty rare in the United States. I’ve never seen a double-decker tram (streetcar) running before, as none of the lines I’ve visited were double-decker capable. However, they’re incredibly common in Europe. From vintage trams to modern buses, the double-decker style in the British Isles seems to be the norm rather than the exception. This means that tram 253 and the other two I visited were all double-deckers. What a treat!

Tram 253

The next tram I was visiting was right nearby, decked out in varnished grained teak was tram No. 9. I was more excited about 253, but this one was just stunning. It had been beautifully restored and shined from it’s corner of the museum.

Tram 9

After visiting these trams, I caught sight of No. 224, one of the most popular vehicles in their collection. At first glance it’s a tram, but closer inspection reveals the truth: it has tires, and “false tramway truck frames were fabricated, giving the tram a highly authentic appearance.” Not only that, it’s a former trailer that’s been so extensively rebuilt that it is now serving as a replica of the original Dublin No. 224, a former trailer, which records show met it’s demise around 1923. The full story is on their website, a fascinating read for people interested in the sorted history which also includes the death of a passenger in 1898 that led to a change in how trailers were used in Dublin at the end of the 19th century.

Replica Tram 224

I do happen to like fire trucks as well, so photos of them and various other vehicles in the transport museum made their way into my album for the museum: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/albums/72157687000431984

Once we finished walking around the Transport museum we made our way back to Howth Castle. Since it’s a private residence, tours are only done on a booked schedule, and only certain days of the week. Still, the owners allow people to walk around parts of the grounds, so it was nice to walk around a bit and take some photos. See, as the stereotypical American, I love castles.

More photos of the castle and other adventures around Dublin throughout the week are in my Dublin and Howth album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/albums/72157689479792585