The History of Wright’s Findlater Howth

Wright’s Findlater is a notable landmark in Howth, Ireland, with a rich history tied to the architectural and social landscape of the area. Originally constructed in the 19th century, the building that houses Wright’s Findlater was initially built in the style of a church exemplifying gothic revival architecture, a style that was popular during the Victorian era, characterised by its pointed arches, intricate detailing, and lofty proportions.

The building was used as a public house, quickly becoming a central social hub in Howth. Its name, “Findlater,” comes from Alexander Findlater, a whiskey trader and businessman who funded the construction of several churches across Ireland in the 19th century and later began trading in Whiskey. The transformation from church architecture, for use as a pub, demonstrates a typical shift in building utilisation in many communities, reflecting changing social and economic needs over time. Indeed, Findlater also sold a large range of groceries and some locals of Howth recall being ‘’sent down by their mothers to buy a pound of butter’’, which was wrapped in parchment paper and secured with twine. The Findlater company built a solid foundation of trust and reliability within the community and expanded its trade to a wide variety of goods. Through the generations the Findlater’s contributed to politics, the military, charity, and the well-being of the city of Dublin.

The Findlater building sits parallel to the edge of the original harbour wall of which the iron ladders are still in situ today. The harbour was completed in 1813, comprising the East and West piers. The East Pier started 1807 under Captain George Taylor, but he was succeeded by John Rennie in 1809. The most famous arrival to Howth was King George IV, who visited Ireland in 1821 and is chiefly remembered because he staggered off the boat in a highly inebriated state. He did manage to leave his footprint at the point where he stepped ashore on the West Pier. You can find this footprint if you take a stroll down!

Today, Wright’s Findlater offers dining and drinking experiences, capitalising on its historic and scenic location overlooking Howth harbour. This landmark not only serves as a gathering place but also stands as a testament to the adaptive reuse of historic buildings, preserving architectural heritage whilst meeting contemporary needs.

Findlater – Then & Now

1860 - Alex Findlater & Co. 2003 - Wright's Findlater Howth

1860 - 2003

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