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Fingal Local Studies and Archives acquire Howth Castle item

Fingal Local Studies and Archives has announced details of a number of important acquisitions from the collections of Howth Castle.

Following the sale of the Castle and estate in 2018, the contents of the Castle and its library were auctioned in September 2021, marking the final chapter in the family’s 800 year history with the Howth Peninsula.

Sir Almeric Tristram, the first Lord of Howth, came to Ireland with John de Courcy in 1177.

Legend has it that on the feast day of St. Lawrence he won a victory that secured him possession of the Howth peninsula and in gratitude for this he took the name of St. Lawrence.

In 1767, George III granted the titles of Viscount St. Lawrence and Earl of Howth to Thomas, the then Lord Howth. In 1909, the last Earl of Howth died and his nephew Julian Gaisford inherited the castle.

Fingal Local Studies and Archives acquired several items of historic value and interest at the Howth Castle Library Auction.

These include The Earl of Howth Estate Atlas, a manuscript atlas produced by Hodges, Smith & Co. in 1863, which contains over 20 hand coloured maps with details of every field in the estate and the names of the tenants thereon.

The Howth Castle Rent Book dates from 1766 – 1780 and contains 140 pages of hand-written entries of tenants, the rents they paid and any amounts owed.  Also obtained was an Illuminated Address, illustrated by the illuminator J. Hopkins and sent on behalf of the tenants in North County Dublin to the Earl of Howth on the death of his father in 1874.

It is signed by nine of the tenants.

These three items alone are extremely important as sources for local and family history in North County Dublin.

Fingal Local Studies and Archives also acquired Almanacs from 1765, 1775 and 1776 along with an 1840 edition of The Antiquities of Ireland by Francis Grose.

At the Howth Castle Contents auction we acquired a George Petrie pencil and water colour drawing “Howth Castle” dated 1819, a watercolour “Ireland’s Eye” by Frederick Lawless dated 1879, a Francis Grose original watercolour “St. Mary’s Abbey, Howth” along with 6 original hand-coloured James Malton’s Views of Dublin and several photographs of Howth Castle.

Mayor of Fingal Cllr Seána Ó Rodaigh said “I am delighted to see Fingal Local Studies and Archives acquire these important historical items from the Howth Castle Auction. They are beautiful documents and they will be of huge interest and become a valuable resource for historians local history enthusiasts.”

AnnMarie Farrelly Chief Executive of Fingal County Council said “These items from Howth Castle particularly the The Earl of Howth Estate Atlas and the Howth Castle Rent Book, are hugely important acquisitions for our Fingal Archives and will be a fantastic source of information regarding life on the Howrh Estate and the families who lived and worked there.  It is in keeping with our priority as a Council to protect our Heritage that we can now preserve these items of historic value and make them available to the public.”

Fingal Local Studies and Archives acquire, preserve and make available historical records relating to the County. The Howth Castle Estate was and is of enormous significance to the Howth peninsula. These items will greatly add to the knowledge and understanding of the history of the Howth Castle Estate and Howth itself. The service welcomes all those interested in the local, family or social history of Dublin, with particular reference to Fingal and can be contacted at

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