Traffic Management and Parking proposals for Howth

In Autumn 2005, Fingal County Council sought comments in relation to traffic management and parking in Howth.  A public meeting was organised by the Community Council which I attended.  There was a general opposition to car parking control/charges at that meeting.  I undertook at that meeting not to support such charging while there was general opposition in the community.

There were good reasons for charging discussed at the meeting.  Additionally, the Transportation Department of the Council is enthusiastic about experience in Malahide, as indeed are a number of the Malahide councillors and I understand community organisations.  I also have become aware of good reasons for such charging; see

Fingal County Council Transport Department believes it will convince Howth residents about the parking scheme.  Information on the scheme in Malahide is here.

I would welcome any feedback.

I attach the submission made to the County Council by the Howth Sutton Community Council.



Howth Sutton Community Council ( HSCC ) is the umbrella group for every significant organisation operating in the Howth Sutton peninsula and there are currently forty member organisations involved.
In addition to the usual residents associations, the Community Council incorporates the Chamber of Commerce, Howth Comhair Iascaire Teo, the main churches, Drug Awareness Group, GAA, Howth Celtic, Howth Golf Club, Howth Yacht Club, Heritage Society, Tidy Towns and Credit Union.  Also represented are the Garda Siochana and Fingal Co Council.   From this it will be seen that proposals emerging from the HSCC are representative and reflective of those of the key business, religious, public and sporting organisations in the area.

HSCC is supportive of the introduction of a Parking and Traffic Plan for the area and wishes to be involved with Fingal Co Council in the development of such a plan. However, it is anxious that any such plan will not be a revenue raising effort but one which is sympathetic to the cultural, historic and touristic environment of the area.  It is also concerned that the plan will take into account the requirements of people who live and work in the area.


In preparing this submission, the HSCC held a public meeting in the Baily Court Hotel in Howth to discuss the subject.  This meeting was representative of all sections of the community and was well attended.  In addition, two local Fingal councillors attended and addressed the meeting – Joan Maher and David Healy.

The meeting emphasised the importance of local consultation – which did not properly take place in the past – and welcomed the commitment of Fingal officials to ensure that proper consultation would be a feature of any future plan.

The meeting also agreed that any plan should be an integrated one incorporating parking, traffic flow and traffic calming, speed limits, bus and taxi stops, loading bays, handicapped and disability requirements, traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, footpath and safety.


The Department of the Marine is responsible for and controls the Harbour area and, therefore, has a substantial role in public amenities, parking, green areas, footpaths, etc in Howth.  It is essential that any plan for Howth should be formulated jointly and agreed with the Department of the Marine.

We are, therefore, requesting that the formulation and agreement of the plan should be a tripartite one –Fingal Co Council, Department of the Marine and the Howth Community.


To quote from the introduction to the Fingal County Councils excellent SSAO booklet

“Dublin has one of the most spectacular settings of any Europenan capital and Howth is arguably the brightest jewel in that setting.  The peninsula and nearby Ireland’s Eye contain scenery and habitats as fine as any in the country”.

“The Howth Special Amenity Area Order is a recognition of the quality of the area. To receive this designation an area must be of either outstanding natural beauty or it must have special recreational value or it must be an area where there is a need for nature conservation.”

The main touristic attractions in Howth are the harbour area for its nautical amenities, the village for its traditional appearance, the Summit area for its unspoilt, wild natural beauty and views and the Balscadden and East Mountain areas for its cliff walks and marvellous scenery.

It is within these settings that a parking and traffic plan must fit.

With regard to the Harbour and Village areas, any plan should take the following into consideration.

a.    Howth has an old village traditional ambience and any traffic plan should be sympathetic to this
b.    Howth is an important touristic and visitor centre
c.    Howth is more residential that commercial.  There is no necessity to introduce an element in plan to prohibit access to traffic or cars as, say, in city areas.
d.    Howth is a destination and is not on a main thoroughfare to any other destination
e.    Howth differs substantially from the larger towns in Fingal, such as Swords, Malahide, Balbriggan, Skerries and plans introduced there are not necessarily transferable to Howth.


The following elements should be taken into account in any parking review for Howth
i.    Staff parking
ii.    Visitor parking
iii.    Local shopping needs – very short stay
iv.    Local delivery to shops
v.    Church parking
vi.    Park and ride
vii.    Disabled parking
viii.    Harbour commercial requirements
ix.    Boat and yachting parking requirements

The following figures are estimates rather than based on an exact scientific count

i.    There are approximately 320 parking spaces between Teelings Garage and the top of the Upper Main Street (excluding the Harbour but including Harbour Rd car park)
ii.    Approximately 264 of these are from Teelings Garage to the East Pier
iii.    There are only 90 spaces approx between Harbour Rd and the top of Uper Main Street (incl Church Street)
iv.    Apart from Harbour shop and factory staff and customer parking, the Harbour car park is used mainly by DART users and visitors to Yacht Club

i.    Essential that Department of Marine is involved in parking plan and that any plan agreed is an integrated one
ii.    There is a necessity to provide an area for staff car parking to free scarce spaces in the Lower and Upper Main Street areas
iii.    Special parking to be allowed around the Catholic Church and St Mary’s at specified times i.e. Mass/Service times, Funerals and Weddings
iv.    Local Delivery;  there are too few spaces available in the village centre for general use to allocate all day loading bays. Loading bays should be confined to commercial vehicles for a limited period e.g 7am – 10.00 am.
v.    Local Shopping:  consideration must be given to facilitate the quick “shop visit” whether this be to newsagent, chemist or shop
vi.    Harbour Parking
a.    Howth is an important sailing venue – boaters need all day parking for cars and trailers
b.    Howth is a commercial harbour – no blockage of fish unloadings or businesses on piers
c.    Harbour is a big day-trip destination, especially on weekends
d.    Park and ride; residents of Sutton, Bayside, Raheny, Portmarnock, Baldoyle and Malahide would not use Howth Harbour for all-day parking if sufficient facilities were provided at their own nearest stations.


a.    Residents and business in Howth do not want introduction of Pay and Display
b.    Council should explore with Dept of Marine possibility of extending Harbour Rd Car park
c.    There is a necessity for a major new space – Council should explore Edros site and Council site near Techrete currently owned by Dublin City Council
d.    Strict parking restrictions at churches should be frozen for special occasions – masses/services, funerals and weddings
e.    Parking spaces should be provided on both sides of St Mary’s Place now that bus stop is no longer in use
f.    Lr Thormanby Road parking (at Catholic Church) should be transferred from residential side to Church side of street


There is a need to revisit the reserved disabled parking spaces around Howth to ensure they are suitable in terms of
a.    proximity to shops
b.    proximity to churches
c.    on flat areas to facilitate exit or entry to/from cars
d.    facilitated by ramp or flat access to footpaths etc, particularly at crossing points


OBJECTIVE ; to slow traffic on Harbour Road, through Howth village centre and on Thormanby Road.

Speeding is not a major issue on Harbour Road, mainly because with parking on both sides, the roadway is extremely narrow – to such an extent that two busses or heavy vehicles cannot easily pass each other.  This attempt at traffic calming creates its own safety issues and should be addressed.

Speeding down Thormanby Road and through the Howth village centre are seen as being issues which need remedy.  

We propose the following initiatives:

a.    Speed limit of 30 km per hour to operate from DART station along Harbour Road, Church Street, Abbey St and Main Street to Church
b.    New low-profile traffic roundabouts to be installed on Thormanby Road at Nashville Road and Asgard Park.  These would both slow traffic down and facilitate exit from these two roads
c.    The slowing of traffic through Howth village centre is treated separately below


a.    Traffic travelling too quickly on stretch from Church to Health Centre
b.    Problem of safely accessing Upper Main St from Lr Main St
c.    Safety issues involved with cars from Upper Main St merging with cars from Thormanby Road direction at McDermotts Chemist shop


We propose the replacement of the current rectangular island in front of Church with a circular floral island which would serve as a traffic island. This would have the following benefits

a.    Slow traffic from all directions
b.    Provide safe traffic access to Upper Main Street
c.    Provide safe traffic from Upper Main St to Lr Main Street.


There are currently some bottlenecks in Howth which should be improved.  We propose the examination of the following;

a.    Introduce one-way traffic only on St Laurences Road (at Spar shop) – traffic flow to be from Lr Main Street to Harbour View
b.    Tucketts Lane – currently unofficially one way during school times by agreement with parents and locals – to be made official
c.    Harbour Road should be widened.  This can be achieved by moving the footpath to behind small concrete railings/wall.  This would also improve pedestrian safety
d.    Explore possibility of widening road at Balscadden to facilitate return to two-way traffic.


a.    Chicanes / Build-outs.  These are currently causing accidents and a danger to safety on both Harbour Road, Main Street and Lr Thormanby Road.  They are difficult to see in dark and wet conditions and create dangerous situations rather than helping safety.  They also make parking difficult if not impossible at times. We propose consideration of the following;
b.    Remove the build-out at the harbour exit to Harbour Road
c.    Remove build-out outside Findlaters opposite exit from harbour
d.    Remove build-out at Library bus stop
e.    Remove build-outs from Library to Asgard Road
f.    Adjust buildout at junction of Church St / Harbour Rd


Currently the right of way at the junction of Abbey Street/Harbour Road goes to traffic emerging from the direction of the East Pier.  In essence this gives right of way totraffic emerging from a car park over the main traffic flow.  It is potentially a dangerous situation and we recommend that the right of way revert to traffic from Abbey Street.


We contend that ramps are unsightly and damaging to both car and passenger. They also create problems for cyclists.  We believe these would be out of context within the Howth traditional environment and unnecessary if other measure proposed were introduced.


Howth is adequately serviced at present and no changes are recommended


Howth is adequately serviced at present time and no changes recommended


We request that any survey carried out incorporate a review of the road and footpath infrastructure to facilitate the disabled, handicapped and elderly.


Footpaths should be resurfaced where damaged


There is a necessity to introduce bye-laws limiting areas where these may be parked


Currently Dublin Bus has moved its Howth depot from St Mary’s Place to the Summit.  This is satisfactory within the context of the current schedules.

However, the HSCC is in discussion with Dublin Bus about the possibility of running every second bus clockwise and anti-clockwise aroung the peninsula. This could only be achieved if a suitable village bus depot was provided.

We suggest that the area in front of the DART station would be the most suitable for this. However, this would require that it be a no-parking zone for other vehicles.  We recommend that this form part of the overall study.