On a steep slope about 13km (8 miles) north of downtown, this 12-hectare (30-acre) garden was first planted in 1875 and is best known for its 2,000 varieties of rhododendrons. Peak bloom time is in May and June. Also on the grounds is the National Transport Museum of Ireland (tel. 01/832-0427; www.nationaltransportmuseum.org) a collection of public-service vehicles from the 1880s to the 1980s. It's probably one for enthusiasts, but charming in its own way.
Howth Castle Legend -- Although Howth Castle is not itself open to the public (only the grounds are), there is a great legend associated with the place that's worth repeating. According to local lore, the pirate Grace O'Malley once came to visit the Baron Howth, but the servants would not let her past the gate, as he was eating dinner. This enraged her so much that she kidnapped the baron's grandson, and said she would only let him go when the baron agreed always to lay an extra place at his table, in case a stranger should arrive and need hospitality. To this day, his descendants still honor that agreement at every meal. It pays to be polite.
- © Frommer's 2013
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Ask Dublin Locals about Howth Castle Rhododendron Gardens
- tel: 01/832-2624
- Howth, County Dublin
- Gardens: Apr-June daily 8am-sunset. Transport Museum: Jun-Aug Mon-Sat 10am-5pm; Sept-May, weekends and public holidays only 2-5pm
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