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From Retail to Tour Guide: Mark McHale’s Journey to Howth

Many people dream of leaving their jobs to do something more exciting. Mark turned this dream into reality and left his retail job to open up his own tour business in Howth, Ireland.

Here, Mark talks about his experiences as a tour guide, his favourite place in Howth, and the best part of his job.

Howth is a small fishing village at the bottom of a peninsula east of Dublin. It can be reached easily by bus and DART.

Nestled at the foot of fern-covered cliffs, a sanctuary for birds and with its own harbour, Howth is a beautiful getaway for everyone who wants to leave the bustle of Dublin city behind. Thanks to its harbour this place has plenty of fishing, recreational sailing, and boating in general.

Not far from Howth, Ireland’s Eye provides shelter to sea birds.
Photo: Katharina Laumann

Visitors can choose between a variety of options. There are three different cliff walks taking you along the edge of the peninsula and on small paths surrounded by broom and heather. Lucky hikers can even see llamas, which are kept in a meadow on top of the cliffs.

From April to June, the plants on the cliffs surrounding Howth are in full bloom.
Photo: Katharina Laumann

Howth Market pulls visitors in with food and souvenirs in its small stalls.

Fans of animals can go on a boat trip to see sea birds and (with a bit of luck) seals.

If you are really lucky, a seal will come close. But it is forbidden to feed them.
Photo: Katharina Laumann

And lots of seafood restaurants, pubs and cafes invite tourists and locals to relax.

This is the background to Mark’s free walking tours (yes, free; although he also does special tours that need to be paid).

About two years ago he quit his job to start his own tour business in Howth. Ever since visitors are greeted by Mark and his sign, when they leave Howth station.

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