So how did the Museum come about?

Ye Olde Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio

To contact the museum email:

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 maintained the museum as a labour of love. It is not run as a commercial enterprise. He enthusiastically gave his time voluntarily, purely for the pleasure and enjoyment he derived from it. He was joined in his efforts by a team of volunteers, who all provide tours and introductions to the collection. Sadly, Pat passed on in June 2020, but his family are supporting the continuation of the museum in our Martello Tower. Pat’s private collection was sold at auction early in 2022. His collection that is housed in the Martello Tower in Howth is still intact.

Please note – due to Covid-19 the museum is currently closed for the safety of our volunteers and visitors – we hope to be in a position to re-open for weekends only during April 2022 and then daily from 1st of May to the 31st October 2022. Opening hours will remain 11.00-16.00, but we will be operating via pre-booking and time slot allocation only from April 2nd 2022.


To ensure a safe and enjoyable visit you will need to book a ticket online.

Booking your visit to the museum is via online booking only, please book here to secure your tickets.

We are asking all visitors to wear a face covering whilst inside the museum, this is due to the poor ventilation and limited space available for visitors within the museum’s Martello Tower.

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:

21 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.

  4. We are from Howth Sea Scouts and would love to visit. Could you email me to arrange please? We are a group of about 20 children and 4-5 adults.

  5. Hi, my husband has a collection of old antique bakelite radios. Mr Drumm from the antique shops in Malahide suggested I contact you and ask if you were interested in any of them. I can email photographs of them to you if interested. Thanks you. Alison.

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