The Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio, housed in a 19th century watchtower, illustrates the history of telecommunications from its origins in the 1840s to the present day. The museum maintains exhibits that include early valve radios, early Morse Code equipment, crystal sets and gramophones, with artifacts dating from the early 1900s. This impressive collection of radios and memorabilia was amassed over four decades. Hurdy Gurdy tells its story using both equipment and visuals, and its walls are decorated with vintage advertising posters, photographs and other radio-related artifacts.
The museum is located in the Martello Tower on Abbey Street, Howth Co. Dublin -- one of many such towers built as defensive lookouts for an anticipated Napoleonic invasion that never arrived. With stunning views overlooking Howth Harbour, this location is noteworthy as it formerly housed the cable station where radio pioneers Marconi and Lee de Forest conducted ship-to-shore wireless radio experiments in the 1900s. It is also the site where Ireland was first connected to Britain by an undersea telegraph cable in 1852.
Note: The intro to this video is in German, but the tour guide speaks in English. It gives a good idea of what to expect in the museum.
Working Radio Station
Hurdy Gurdy Museum is also a working amateur radio station (EIOMAR) and operates using Morse Code on Sundays.
Opening Times and Fees
May through October
The museum is open 7 days a week, from 11 AM to 4 PM.
November through April
From November to April it is only open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11AM to 4 PM.
Individual: 5 euros. Group (min 8 persons): 4 euros.
Just 30 minutes from Dublin centre, Martello tower is on Abbey Street, Howth. Dublin commuter trains, known as DART trains, run frequently to Howth.
Hurdy Gurdy Museum in Martello Tower, Howth. Image by William Murphy