I had the chance to tour Howth Castle with a small group of colleagues from work. We made advance reservations, and the owner of the castle, Julian, gave us a most interesting guided tour through the preserved rooms and gardens. Julian is a wealth of information, with an infectious laugh. The art, architecture, styling, and artifacts of Howth history are fascinating. The library was one of our favorite rooms, with an impressive and vast collection of titles. Julian showed us brilliant illustrations from horticultural volumes from the 1800s that will stay in my mind for a long time. The tour is unique because Julian and his family live in part of the castle, so you not only get quite a history lesson, but Julian shares stories about what its actually like to live there (the good bits and the challenging bits!). Julian and his family arranged for casual refreshments in the garden after the tour.