22 Of The Best Walks In Dublin For A Weekend Wander
You can’t bate a lovely stroll with some fresh air smacking you straight in the face. Whether you’re just an average dog walker or an outdoor enthusiast, Dublin is a place with its fair share of walks to do for all fitness levels.
The city provides everything you could want in terms of walking, from lovely city parks in the bang centre of the city to sandy beaches by the coast. It is a metropolis filled with walkers, after all.
This guide we’ve created has 22 of the best walks in Dublin that will give you some inspiration for your next weekend. There’s no doubt there’ll be a few on this list you’ve never even heard of.
Let’s go walking!
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Killiney Hill Walk – Killiney, Dublin
Located on the south side of Dublin, the Killiney Hill walk is a popular spot that you should check out for one of your weekend strolls.
The 2.9km walk is short and a little steep in places, but the views from the top are bound to take your breath away.
Most visitors start their trip at Killiney Hill car park and make their way up the hill from there. Once you begin, head straight ahead and follow the trail for the guts of 20 minutes, and you’ll reach the top where the historical monuments sit.
Along the way, you’ll encounter some side trails that may entice you to change your course of direction. There are a couple of different routes that walkers can take, which confuses the heck out of some people. Each route brings you to some beautiful viewpoints, so I’d advise you to try checking them all out if you have time.
St.Anne’s Park – Clontarf, Dublin
St. Anne’s Park is a popular place for family walks in Dublin.
The park is over 200 acres in size, which makes it the second-largest in the whole of Dublin, so it’s best you keep close to your group at all times to avoid getting lost. There are an endless number of trails that will lead you through the park’s charming forests to some of its tranquil streams.
Besides walking paths, St. Anne’s Park is home to some fabulous, colourful rose gardens, which are known to peak from June to September. There’s an annual festival of the roses that takes place towards the back end of July, which is filled with a myriad of activities that you and your family can take part in.
Whilst on your walk, be sure to stop by the Red Stables Food Market that takes place every Saturday from 09:00 am to 17:00 pm. You can pick yourself some local fresh delicacies to enjoy the following evening.
One of the downsides of visiting St. Annes Park can be trying to get parking. There are a couple of car parks scattered around the ground between Raheny and Clontarf. They can fill up quite quickly, which results in people parking on the side of the road. If you decide to park on the road, make sure you’re parking in a legal place as fines are given out regularly for people parking illegally.
Bushy Park – Terenure/Rathfarnham, Dublin
Bushy Park is one of the more hidden walks outside of the city of Dublin that lovers of nature will adore. It’s a haven for people looking to wind down and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
You’ll find Bushy Park in the village of Terenure, on the border with its neighbour, Rathfarnham. The park is quite small in comparison to others on this list, with only 50 acres in size. You shouldn’t cast it aside, though; Bushy Park boasts the majestic Dodder River and some interesting bridges that walkers enjoy searching for.
Visitors tend to enjoy strolling through the woodlands to discover what wildlife there is around. Birdwatching is a popular pastime in Bushy Park; in fact, treecreepers and wrens have been spotted on a regular basis. At least you’ll have some company on your walk. For more information on what birds have been spotted in the park, you can get updates here.
There’s an abundance of car parks scattered around Bushy Park, so there’s no need to worry. Just keep an eye on the park’s closing times, as they’re subject to change depending on the time of year. You can see the schedule here.
The Hell Fire Club – Montpelier Hill, Dublin Mountains
Known as Dublin’s most haunted house, the Hellfire Club is a bit of a mountain walk with a twist.
The Hell Fire Club sits on top of the 383-metre-tall Montpelier Hill. Its supernatural history tends to lure walkers who are looking for a little bit more than just an everyday walk in the park. It’s said that many years ago, a man was once invited into the old clubhouse by members of the seedy “Hell Fire Club” to play a game of cards. During the game, a card was dropped on the ground, and the man who was invited in to play knelt down to pick it up, and he saw that one of the members had hooves instead of feet. Since then, there has been a myth floating around that the house is haunted.
There are two walks that you can take to the top of Montpelier Hill. The first is the Montpelier Loop, which is more or less just straight up to the top; it’s 4 km long and a little less strenuous than the second route. Alternatively, strollers looking to test themselves a little more can take the Hell Fire Forest Loop that brings you up and around the whole mountain; this one is 5.5km and is sure to have you panting. Whatever route you choose, you’ll be rewarded with a view of Dublin you never knew existed. Check out the trail map on the Dublin Mountains website.
Night walks are quite popular up to Dublin’s Hellfire Club. If it’s something you’d be interested in, you’ll need to know the car parking times so you don’t get locked out. Car parking is available at the bottom of the hill, but it only stays open for certain times. From April to October, it is open from 07:00 am to 21:00 pm and from November to March, it’s open from 7:00 am to 17:00 pm. Outside of those times, you can park your car in front of the gate and walk up at your own risk.
Bull Island – Dublin Bay
Lying along the north shore of Dublin Bay, Bull Island is one of the country’s national treasures. It’s easily one of the most popular places for a nice coastal walk in the county. The island is man-made and was created over 200 years ago, during the period when the North Bull Wall was being assembled.
Two things you’re guaranteed when you take a beach walk on Bull Island: 1. Stunning views 2. A whole lot of wind. Make sure you bring some windproof gear to protect yourself and a set of binoculars to watch the ships go by.
Bull Island, also sometimes referred to as North Bull Island, is 5km in length, which makes it the perfect size for a decent walk on the weekend.
What makes Bull Island so renowned is not only that it is a unique sandy spit, but the titles it has earned over the years, such as a Natural Nature Reserve and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Car parking is readily available at Bull Island. If you can’t manage to get parking, there’s an alternative option at the Bull Wall, but be warned, the road isn’t the easiest to get down when it’s busy.
Balgriffin Park – Donaghmede, Dublin
A secret spot for a north Dublin walk, Balgriffin Park, is ideal for anybody who’s into suburban recreational areas.
Balgriffin Park is hidden among a couple of newly developed apartment complexes in the Donaghemde area, which is less than a 20-minute drive from Dublin Airport.
For families, Balgriffin Park is an ideal location to spend your Sunday afternoon. Walking trails are in abundance, and a playground sits on-site if you want to bring the kids along. Only 1 km away is the only operating stone-roofed church left in Ireland—St. Doulagh’s Church. The church occupies part of the monastic settlement that dates back to the 7th century and was founded by the very man himself, St. Doulagh. It’s worth checking out if you’ve got some time.
To finish off your saunter, head down the road to Kinseally and check out Abbeyville. It dates back to the 18th century and is sometimes referred to as the “big house” because it was the home of the ex-Taoiseach Charles Haughey.
Malahide Castle And Gardens – Malahide, Dublin
Malahide Castle is a pretty nice place to walk in Dublin.
The medieval fortress is nestled on 268 acres of land in the leafy suburb of Malahide. It dates back to the 12th century and is sometimes referred to as “the most haunted castle in Ireland.”
Visitors can enjoy the many trails and pathways for recreational use. There’s even a trail just for kids called the “fairy trail.” It has some cool little fairy houses and sculptures for children to interact with and solve some clues. After the fun and games, your well-deserved coffee awaits at the Avoca Cafe.
A day can easily be spent on the grounds of Malahide Castle as there are a ton of activities you can do, including playing a game of pitch and put, taking a look at the botanic gardens and exploring the castle itself.
Parking is widely available in the park and all major forms of public transport head in that direction.
Barnaslingan Wood – Kilternan, Dublin
One of our favourite forest walks in Dublin is Barnaslingan Woods.
Barnaslingan Wood is a forest located on the edge of the Scalp, which is one of the region’s most astonishing natural features; it’s basically a steep-sided rift on the edge of a mountain.
The forest comprises of two brilliant trails that walkers can enjoy. Both of them are under 2 km, which is ideal for somebody looking for an easy walk out in nature near Dublin city centre.
Reaching the edge of the Scalp is the highlight of each trail. The view is quite unique as it overlooks a hidden back road whilst many mountains can be spotted in the distance. Finding the area can be somewhat difficult, especially in the dark. You’ll be able to download a trail map here for a better idea of where it is.
There is a car park at the entrance to the forest. I’d advise you to lock your vehicle as the area the forest is in is quite secluded and it’s widely known that vehicles sitting there are an easy target for thieves.
Poolbeg Lighthouse – Great South Wall, Dublin
The Poolbeg Lighthouse trail is another one of Dublin’s good aul walks, and the lighthouse itself is one of the most iconic landmarks in the county.
Built back in 1768, the lighthouse once operated with only candles for light. Over the years, local walkers have made Poolbeg Lighthouse their strolling area, whilst tourists flock to catch an amazing sunset.
The most popular trail is from Sandymount Strand to Poolbeg Lighthouse. It’s 5km in total and ideal for people who want to avoid the sand but catch the fresh sea breeze.
As you arrive at the lighthouse, be sure to keep an eye out for the local fishermen practising their trade. Who knows, they might even let you have a shot.
When you walk around the lighthouse itself, the creative murals produced by local artists will catch your eye. Nothing beats a nice bit of visual stimulation whilst out on a walk.
By the end of your walk, you’ll probably be shattered. Sometimes there’s a coffee van pulled up along the Great South Wall where you’ll be able to grab yourself a warm cup of java and refuel.
Cruagh Woods – Dublin Mountains
Next, we have an easy hike that’s close enough to the centre of Dublin, Cruagh Woods.
Cruagh Woods is the one walk in Dublin everybody needs to experience at least once in their life. The mysterious south side forest gives visitors a taste of Dublin’s tranquil nature that’s not widely spoken about.
When it comes to walking trails, you’re spoiled for choice, but the one that stands out the most and is the most popular among regular walkers is the Cruagh Slí na Sláinte which stands for the Path to Health. It’s a really enjoyable 5-km route suitable for people of all ages.
Hiking is common in the Cruagh Woods. Visitors should expect some sharp areas of incline, so prepare yourselves.
For people who want to take it up a notch, the Cruagh Woods is also a great access point to the Dublin Mountains Way, which passes through the forest. It has plenty of hiking places for the elite to explore.
Portmarnock To Malahide Trail – Dublin
The walk between the two alluring coastal towns of Portmarnock and Malahide is another exceptional route in the Dublin area.
A 12km point-to-point stroll, the walk between the two gives people the chance to experience local life in Dublin whilst also getting to see some admirable beaches along the way.
Following the coastline, the trail is mostly on the road, with an option for you to take it to the sand if you desire. For those of you with dogs, there are a couple of areas where you can let your little woofer off the leash and roam free.
Whoever doesn’t really feel up for the 12km, that’s okay. The walk can be cut short by driving closer to the final point and parking up. All along the trail, there are places where you can pull up and park your car.
Grand Canal Way – Lucan, Dublin
The Grand Canal Way is a massive 132km walk that begins in Dublin and leads all the way down through the midlands to the river Shannon. It’s a huge ramble that many people attempt to complete every year.
Beginning in one of Dublin’s suburbs, Lucan, the Grand Canal Way takes 5 days to complete in total. Obviously, you don’t have to do the whole thing, but extreme walkers may be up for the challenge.
Whilst on the track, walkers should expect to come into contact with some historical landmarks, such as cottages and canal locks. You can find the exact location of these on the map that can be downloaded here.
Iveagh Gardens – Dublin City Centre
The Iveagh Gardens are one of the less explored parks in Dublin. It sits behind the National Concert Hall and shocks a lot of visitors when they eventually find it, and for good reason. It gives off a sense of tranquillity that’s hard to come by in Dublin.
Inside the grounds, you’ll be treated to well-groomed lawns of grass, a small but beautiful cascading waterfall, a maze, and much more. The Iveagh Gardens were awarded a Green Flag in 2019-2020. A Green Flag is an award for meeting EU standards in terms of cleanliness.
The park itself is small, at only 8.5 acres, but ideal for a quick walkabout.
The River Liffey Walk Stretch
The River Liffey trail is undoubtedly a contender for one of the best Dublin city walks. Walking this trail is a great way to get a real feel for Ireland’s capital.
This walk starts at Heuston station and takes you through the quaint streets of historic Dublin. The Halfpenny Bridge and the Spire are just some of the many sites you’ll get to see along the way.
Point to point, from Heuston Station to the 3 Arena is 5km in total, and if you want to go back to the beginning, it adds up to 10km. It sounds like an exhausting day of walking, but not to worry, there are tons of benches along the Liffey where you can plant yourself down to have a break.
The National Botanic Gardens – Glasnevin, Dublin
One of the top walks in Dublin is the National Botanic Gardens. It’s a place of peace and calm on the outskirts of the city in the suburb of Glasnevin.
Stroll and admire the 15,000 plant species from all over the world that call the gardens their home, some of which are endangered species that are actually extinct in the wild. Whilst on your journey through the grounds, check out the state-of-the-art glasshouses. Each one houses a different species of plant.
The gardens are free to enter from 9:00 a.m. during the week and from 10:00 a.m. on weekends.
For those who want to extend their walk, check out Glasnevin Cemetery, which is right beside the gardens. Some of Ireland’s most high-profile figures in history are buried there, including Michael Collins and Eamon De Valera.
Tibradden Wood To Ticknock – Dublin Mountains
Hiking enthusiasts, this Dublin Mountains walk is for you.
Tibradden to Ticknock out and back is a whopping 15km hike right in the heart of the Dublin mountains. The area itself is near enough to Dublin city and has plenty of hikes for people with all levels of fitness.
The trail walk starts at the popular Tibradden Wood Forest, where the Dublin Zip It Adventure Centre is. From there, hikers will embark on a journey through the rugged Dublin mountains on the Tibradden boardwalk. This walk is bound to test even the most experienced hikers in the game.
Walkers should keep an eye out for the remains of the Tibradden Cairns, which are suspected to have dated back to the Bronze Age. An interesting find, to say the least.
Parking can be found at Tibradden Wood Forest and Tiknock. It doesn’t matter where you park, but I’d recommend starting at Tibradden Wood as the beginning of the walk isn’t as bad as Ticknock.
Donabate To Portrane Trail Walk – Dublin
The Donabate to Portrane cliff walk is a 4 km round trip. It’s one of Dublin’s hidden gems that give walkers some great seaside views, and the great thing is, not many people even know about it.
Most people park at the Shoreline Hotel in Donabate and make their way towards Portrane, but you can do it the other way if it suits. Starting your journey from Donabate, you’ll make your way onto a sandy path that will lead you to the cliff walk.
On your stroll, you’ll encounter tons of little side walkways that will lead you down close to the sea, where you can embrace the crashing waves. If you look out across the water, you should be able to spot Lambay Island, which is the home of a small population of wallabies.
Merrion Square – Dublin City Centre
Merrion Square is one of the Dublin city centre’s most stunning squares and dates back to the Georgian era. The recreational ground is filled with walking trails for people of all ages to enjoy.
The square itself is surrounded by some of the city’s remaining Georgian houses, which have become a massive tourist attraction over the years. In the past, and still today, Merrion Square was seen as a stylish place to live since it was home to these houses. An alternative to walking in the park would be to head outside the gates and walk around the square. That way, you’ll get to see these masterpieces.
Merrion Square is 11.7 acres in size and attracts quite a lot of local families that are in search of a quiet place to get their bodies moving.
Howth Cliff Walk – Howth, Dublin
Howth Cliff Walk is one of the best scenic walks around Dublin.
While there are quite a few trails you can take, the most popular one is the Howth Cliff Path Loop. The trail begins in the attractive village of Howth and brings walkers up to the striking clifftops, where they’ll begin their stride.
The walk takes 2-3 hours, depending on your level of fitness. It’s best you take your time, as it is a cliff walk after all.
As you come towards the end of the trail, you’ll be able to see the Baily Lighthouse, which was built in 1814. It’s worth checking out on your walk.
You may or may not have heard of the “secret beach.” It’s a tiny, hidden beach that sits below the cliffs. To access it, type it into Google Maps and it will bring you to the area where it is. You’ll have to do a bit of searching for the bush you’ll have to walk through to get there. When you find it, be careful walking down the path. There are no handrails for you to hold on to. An accident can happen if you fool around.
Dún Laoghaire East Pier Walk – Dún Laoghaire, Dublin
The Dun Laoghaire East Pier Walk is another marvellous south Dublin walk that cannot be left out of this.
A relatively easy walk, the Dun Laoghaire Pier Walk is a popular place for an evening walk to catch the sun going down while it illuminates the town’s buildings.
In total, the 2.7km walk takes 35-40 minutes to complete without stopping. For those looking to satiate their hunger, there are a couple of pop-up food stalls on the pier where you can grab a bite to eat or a scrumptious 99.
Grey seals are known to creep around the harbour. They often pop their heads up at short notice and frighten the hell out of you. Make sure you give them a wave.
The Bohernabreena Reservoirs Trail – Bohernabreena, Dublin
The Bohernabreena Reservoir Trail is one of the low-key walking/hiking trails in Dublin that blows everybody away when they see it. I only came across this walk last year and was really surprised by it (in a good way).
The two Bohernabreena reservoirs sit hidden away in the Glenasmole Valley, which is right on the border with Wicklow.
To start the loop walk, you have to park at the Bohernabreena car park. Be mindful that there are only 15 spaces in the whole car park, so get there on time. From there, the loop is around 9 km in total and can take up to 3 hours to complete. On the walk, you’ll encounter lush forests, two lakes, and a sensational mountain backdrop. Although the walk is quite long, there’s something new at every corner, which makes it exciting.
Ardgillan Castle – Balbriggan, Dublin
Ardgillan Castle is quite a bit outside of Dublin city centre, but once you get there, you’ll realize that it has some of the most lovely woodlands with a handful of walking routes along with some stunning rose gardens that will give even the strongest humans some allergies.
The park is just under 200 acres in size and has a total of 5 miles of paved footpaths that visitors can use to explore the depths of the grounds. Getting lost is something that’s sometimes unavoidable at Ardgillan Castle, but that’s what makes it that little bit more enjoyable.
From the top of the park, you can catch a glimpse of the Irish Sea in the distance. To get closer, head down to the lady’s stairs, which cross a rail line and bring you to the seaside, where you’ll only be a stone’s throw away from the lovely harbour of Skerries.
Written By Adam
Where In Dublin is owned, controlled and run by Adam Ryan. He’s a one-man army who knows Dublin like the back of his hand and strives to help anybody planning on visiting Dublin enjoy themselves.
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