There are an abundance of great hikes near Dublin. From coastal strolls to more strenuous hikes, Dublin has something for every level of fitness.
If you’re living in the Dublin area and you’re looking for a great walk to get you out and into nature, here are some of our favourite places to explore during the evenings or over the weekend. They range from Dublin city walks, forest walks, hikes in the Dublin Mountains, cliff trails, and hiking in Wicklow and all are within easy access of the city and are self-guided so you can set off by yourself or with friends.
Here are 7 of Outsider’s favourite hikes near Dublin:
1. Great South Wall Walk
This is a beautiful coastal walk that starts in Irishtown, just 2km from Dublin city centre. From there, you can walk 4kms out into Dublin Bay along the Great South Wall until you reach the Poolbeg Lighthouse at the end.
It can be tricky to figure out how to get there. You start at the park in Irishtown/end of Sandymount Strand and just follow the trail around the coastline from there. After around 2kms, you’ll get to the start of the South Wall and continue another couple of kilometres along it to get to the lovely red lighthouse.
There are stunning views of the Poolbeg Chimneys, Dublin Bay, Howth Head, Dun Laoghaire Harbour and the Dublin and Wicklow mountains beyond. The surface can be a bit uneven along the sea wall at times, so be sure to wear walking shoes (not heels!). It’s also a great spot for bird watching if that’s your vibe.
2. Ticknock Walk
Ticknock offers a great network of mountain and forest walks just a stone’s throw from Dublin. Nestled in the hills just beyond Sandyford in south Dublin, you can drive to Ticknock from the city centre in around half an hour but the walk will make you feel like you’re lost in the wilderness.
There are around 10km of walking trails through forests and mountains with incredible views of the greater Dublin area from the top of Three Rock Mountain. You can do an out and back if you don’t want to go too far, or there are plenty of loop walks in this area like the Fairy Castle Loop which is 5.5kms.
The trails are fairly well maintained, with some rocky and muddy sections, and are of moderate difficulty with some steep climbs. The main forest roads are very doable for children and families.
3. Howth Cliff Walk
The cliff walk around Howth is another hidden gem in Dublin that you could miss completely if you didn’t know it was there. The full loop around Howth Head is 12kms, but you can do an out and back from the north or south sides if you want a shorter option – both have truly magnificent views!
It’s a really rewarding walk with rugged cliffs, rocky coastlines, the Baily Lighthouse, remote beaches for swimming, sea stacks and plenty of climbing to get your heart pumping. The trail can be rocky and uneven at times with sharp cliff drops so make sure you’re wearing the right footwear and don’t bring a buggy on this one.
To get there, you can catch the DART from Dublin in just 24 minutes or it’s a 15km journey by car. The full loop would take around three hours and also takes you through a golf course, with a marked route for walkers. There are great cafes and seafood restaurants in Howth to reward yourself once you’ve finished.
4. Spinc Glendalough
This is a fairly strenuous and tough mountain walk from the Medieval monastery in Glendalough, Co Wicklow, that will take you through a glacial valley, forests, mountain tops and along the upper and lower Glendalough lakes. The full Spinc walk is a 9km loop that can be pretty steep in places depending which direction you go. It’ll take you around 3/4 hours.
Glendalough is around an hour’s drive from Dublin so this trail gives you a great sense of being away from it all high in the mountains, without having to drive too far. You can start in the car park beside the Glendalough Medieval Monastic site that’s free, or from the Upper Lake Car Park that cuts out some of the walk that’s chocker full of tourists, but you’ve to pay around €4 to park here.
This walk is highly recommended for a good work out and great views. You’ll see glacial valleys with ice carved cliffs, waterfalls, scree slopes and a Miners Village that dates back to the 1800s. There is wooden boardwalk along the boggy section of the trail and also uneven rocky steps down into the Miners Village so bring decent footwear.
5. Bray Cliff Walk
This is another stunning coastal path that takes you 7km along the cliffs between Bray and Greystones. If you want to go one way from Bray for example, you can hop on the DART to take you back from Greystones.
The path winds its way along the side of Bray Head and is well maintained, although muddy in places at certain times of year. It also has beautiful sea views, cliffs, marine wildlife and it’ll take you around two hours depending on your pace.
You can also climb to the top of Bray Head if you want an even better view along the east coast, over Dublin city and out to the Dublin and Wicklow mountains.
6. Dublin Mountains Way
The Dublin Mountains Way is around 40kms of trails that traverse across from Shankill in the east to Tallaght. The route is fully way marked (yellow walking man symbol) so no navigation skills are required and you can do it in stages, or all in one if you’re really keen and you set off early!
You could do it in three stages from Shankill to Three Rock Mountain, from there to the Hellfire Club and from there to the Sean Walsh Park in Tallaght. From Tallaght, you can get a Luas or a bus back into the city.
The route runs past forests, mountains, valleys, the Glenasmole Reservoir and will give great views over Dublin city to the north and into the wilds of the Wicklow Mountains in the south. The Wicklow Way runs alongside the Dublin Mountains Way at times. The signs read DMW and WW to avoid confusion.
7. Malahide to Portmarnock Coastal Walk
This is a very easy 4km coastal path between Malahide and Portmarnock on the northside of Dublin city. It’s tar sealed and wide so can accommodate buggies and kids on bikes. The coastal route passes the lovely Malahide Village and marina, the beach and rocky shoreline, Lambay Island and brings you around to the Velvet Strand and Ireland’s Eye Island at the Portmarnock end.
There are plenty of other options if you want to add on to your walk, by exploring Malahide Castle and Demesne or there’s the Robswall Park Hillside Hike at the end of Malahide beach if you want to cross the road and head up the hill for a better view.
There are loads of cafes, restaurants and places to relax in Malahide, Portmarnock and along the route. There’s also the Portmarnock ice cream stand right on the Velvet Strand that opens during the summer months if you want a treat.
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