There’s something incredibly comforting about visiting Ireland. Many of us have roots that go back hundreds of years – after all, Australia was where many Irish emigrated to in the 1800 and 1900s.
Either way, it’s clear from the minute you step off the plane that you are in a special place and these walks in and around Dublin showcase the country in all its splendour.
Kiltipper to Glencullen/Dublin Mountains Way Delving deeper into the Dublin Mountains, serious walkers will love this excursion. For this 32km hike through the mountains, be prepared for an ascent of 400 metres overall. The Dublin Mountains Way is divided into sections and this walk starts at Kiltipper and goes through bog, forest and woodland, along rivers and up mountains. Glencullen is your final destination, and Johnnie Fox’s pub is where you can reward yourself with their famous seafood and live traditional music.
Howth Cliff Walk From the blustery sea coast and exposed rugged cliffs to tranquil inland meadows and charming historical sites, this 6km route has it all! Highlights include glimpses of the ruins of 15th century St Mary’s Abbey, fantastic views over Dublin Bay and even the Mourne Mountains in County Down in the distance on a clear sunny day. The first half of the walk is through dreamy fields of gorse, heather and bracken, as seabirds wheel below. Once you’ve made the turn, you’ll be enchanted by paths lined with wild buddleia and fuchsia, and greeted by butterflies and birdsong.
Dalkey and Killiney Hill To discover why Killiney and Dalkey have distinctly Mediterranean-sounding street names, this walk will surely impress. Take the train to Dalkey, follow Sorrento Road towards Sorrento Terracewhere, track the edge of the sea along the Vico Road, and uphill to Dalkey Hill. Once there, you’ll understand the reason for all those grand Italianate names as you look out over Dublin’s answer to the Bay of Naples. You’ll also enjoy views of the Sugar Loaf Mountain, the Wicklow Mountains and Dalkey Island, with its stony Martello Tower. When you head downwards over the hill and towards the sea and up to the top of Killiney Hill, you’ll find paragliders setting off into the blue skies.
Montpelier Loop Trail/Hellfire Club In the mood for scandal, tales of debauched aristocrats and even murder? Then this loop walk will take you to the very spot where some 18th century’s young and idle rich were said to party hard – and even play cards with the devil. Starting near Montpelier Hill, the top of the trail sits the ruins of ‘Mount Pelier’, what became known as the Hellfire Club, built around 1725. On the loop back down is an option for the longer walk through Massey Woods, where you’ll find Steward’s House, where more of the Club’s scandalous parties took place. Today, the house is said to be haunted. On the way through these eerie woods, the waymarked path passes all sorts of curiosities, including a Bronze Age wedge tomb, an icehouse and the remnants of the fine gardens that were once laid out here.
Dun Laoghaire East Pier
This 2.6km walk is perfect to work up an appetite or even walk off a good lunch. About 15 minutes southbound on the train from the city centre, it is a relatively short out-and-back walk looking out to sea and over the marina. There are two piers to choose from, both of which curve around like pincers to create the harbour. The East Pier is the most popular for walking and is slightly shorter than the West Pier. Dating from Victorian times, the piers are made of enormous slabs of granite (that glow in summer) that were quarried locally. You’ll feel the water spray as the waves crash against the walls on blustery days, so rug up!