So how did the Museum come about?

Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio

The Martello tower stands on the site of a former motte castle of the St. Lawrence Estate. It is also said to have been the site of the original Howth Castle. The museum gets its name from a comment made by the late Seán Lemass (former Taoiseach) while visiting the radio studios of Radio Éireann in Dublin. He referred to the radio service as “the old hurdy-gurdy” as whilst on his visit to the studios the RTÉ Concert Orchestra (then known as the Radio Éireann Light Orchestra) was tuning up… and the sound was reminiscent of a ‘hurdy-gurdy’.

The museum first opened in 2003, Pat Herbert, the curator, had been looking for a suitable premises to display his vast collection of radios, gramophones and other radio-related paraphernalia. Fingal County Council offered the recently refurbished Martello Tower to Pat for use as a museum. Pat maintains the museum as a labour of love. It is not run as a commercial enterprise. He enthusiastically gives of his time voluntarily, purely for the pleasure and enjoyment he derives from it. He is joined in his efforts by a team of volunteers, who all provide tours and introductions to the collection.


From May to October the museum is open daily

11am until 4pm.

During the months of November to April

the Hurdy Gurdy is open only on

Saturday & Sunday 11am until 4pm.

Admission is charged to Adults & Students/OAP’s, but children are admitted free.

Howth map small

Click on the map to enlarge

To see more pictures of the museum and its collection see here.

Check out this excellent video for a ‘flight’ over Howth that includes our Martello Tower.

To contact the museum email:

13 thoughts on “Museum

  1. The Museum is a credit to Pat Herbert and all his helpers – a tremendous asset to Howth and the northside of Dublin, attracting enthusiasts from all over the world and preserving the technology of the past for young people in the future. Well done to Fingal Co. Council for such inspired use of the Martello Tower.

  2. Just had a lovely evening chatting to Pat & Joe well done great display and the passion for your radios is brilliant

    • Many thanks for visiting the pop-up museum in Ballina & for connecting with Pat & Joe. They both have a fantastic amount of knowledge and Pat’s collection is exceptional. Enjoy the rest of #loveBSF2015

  3. I was at the museum today with my 14 year old son. The guy doing the tour was excellent. He really knew his stuff and helped to bring all the history and nostalgia to life.
    A great way to spend a couple of hours.

    • Many thanks for your interest in our Museum. You can take a DART from any of the Dublin main train stations (Pearse, Connolly or Tara St. Stations) to Howth. Then it’s a short walk through Howth past the west and East piers up to Abbey Street. The pathway to our Tower Hill is opposite the Abbey Tavern pub. There is a map linked on our home page for specific directions. Hope you enjoy your trip to Dublin – we’re open weekends only in November 11am-4pm. Have a safe flight.

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