I said I was going to explore more of Ireland this Summer, and since I am currently living in Dublin what better place to start?! Over the last few weekends (and parts of last year too) I have made it my business to explore this county beyond Grafton Street and its surroundings. The city has a lot to offer in terms of nature and pretty views – and no matter the weather I just love visiting anywhere with water! I grew up in what some may call ‘The Middle Of Nowhere’ so a part of me really enjoys escaping city life for awhile, as well as getting in some fitness outside of the four walls of my gym. So here are some of my favourite (and free!) walks within reach of this bustling city.
Dalkey & Killiney Hill Walk
This walk is perfect on a sunny day. Starting at the DART station in Dalkey and leads you all the way to Killiney by the stunning South Dublin coast line which is about 2km from one town to the other. Then, when you reach Killiney you can choose to go into Killiney Hill Park and walk up the hill to see stunning aerial views 153 metres high of both the coastal line, as well as the city on the other side of the hill. There is a DART station in Killiney if you feel like you’ve hit your limit, or you can walk back to Dalkey and treat yourself in one of their many gorgeous little cafes.
Howth Cliff Walk
Admittedly, Howth is my favourite place in all of Dublin. I will go here rain, hail or shine. I’m not sure there is any particular reason as to why this is, I just find it so charming and gorgeous. The cliff walk along Howth gives you stunning views and on a clear day you can see for miles. It’s about 6km in total to do the loop but you can turn back whenever you feel. To top off this walk you should treat yourself with some fish and chips from Beshoffs…. I think it might be a cardinal sin to leave Howth without consuming fish & chips!
Phoenix Park is a really nice place to go for an easy going, casual walk. Just outside of Dublin’s City Centre not only it there a park to explore but this is also where you will find Dublin Zoo. If you aren’t that keen on paying to enter then don’t fear as there are huge numbers of deer living in the wild around the park and they are absolute beauties! (just don’t get too close!)
St. Stephens Green
I don’t think a list of Dublin walks would be complete without St.Stephens Green! Even though it isn’t huge at only 22 acres, but it is the perfect escape of the city life. Much like Central Park in the middle of Manhatten, St.Stephens Green provides a little safe haven in the heart of Dublin for you to relax. There are quite a few entrances into the green making it easy to come and go as you please from all parts of the city. The bonus with Stephens Green is you can enjoy the break from city life – then hit it with a bang when you’re finished!
Having only gone here recently with not much knowledge about it, I was pleasantly surprised with Malahide Gardens & Castle. The castle is surrounded by lush greenery with loops of 5km for those looking for a decent, scenic walk. Entry into the castle and garden grounds is free, but you have to pay a small fee if you would like to enter the castle. There is an avoca on site, as well as a playground and several pitches so it is definitely a great place to bring the family for a little break.
Bray to Greystones Cliffwalk
This walk which is roughly 6km along the cliff between Bray & Greystones provides stunning views. Although it is not technically in Dublin you can get a DART as far as Bray and if you are feeling lazy and don’t want to do the walk back you are in luck, as there is also a DART in Greystones! You have a constant view of the water as far as the eye can see, with beaches at both towns. If you walk from Bray to Greystones you can take a wander up to the famous Happy Pear restaurant – but be prepared to queue! (they are very famous!)
Carrickgollogan Forest Walk (Ballycorus Lead Mines)
This is a walk I have not yet done personally, but it’s definitely on my list! This walk is situated down in the South East corner of County Dublin. With woodlands covering over 200 acres there are about 8km of forest roads at Carrickgollogan which provide a variety of walks. Two of the main attractions are the viewing rock at Carrickgollogan hill to the south of the property and the now disused lead mine chimney at the northern boundary. If you choose to go on this walk there is a viewing rock up a moderate hill that will provide you with stunning views of the surroundings.
South Wall Walk (Poolbeg Lighthouse)
This is a really different walk to any of those mentioned already. This walk takes place down a 2km pier that stretches out into the sea with a stunning little lighthouse at the end. It is not the most exerting walk but the views more than make up for it. The lighthouse at the end in joined to a wall which is decorated in graffiti (the nice kind!). I only ever did this walk on a cold and cloudy day and absolutely loved it, so I can only imagine when the weather is nice how beautiful it would be and the view you would get from the end of the pier!
Honestly to see Dublin in it’s true beauty I think you would have to experience at least one of these. Some of my favourite memories in other cities are from stunning views gotten from walking further afield – and Dublin is no different. These are just a handful of the beautiful walks I have experienced but I’m sure I will experience even more in the future! Plus walking on one of these routes gets in your daily exercise in while being able to take in the gorgeous surroundings 🙂
How do you like to escape city life? Have you done any of these walks before?