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Dublin - Top Tips

Dublin City Nature Walks to Escape the Madness

23 August 2019 · 5 min read
Dublin City Nature Walks to Escape the Madness

Escape the buzz of the city for some fresh air and natural wonders. Ireland’s capital has some of the finest parks and its coast allows for beautiful walking trails, all located just a few minutes away from the city centre.

The Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin

The Botanic Gardens is both an oasis of calm and one of Ireland’s premier scientific institutions. Just three kilometres outside Dublin city centre you can easily reach the gardens by public transport or even walking for the fleet of foot.

The centrepiece is undoubtedly the restored glasshouses that date back to 1862. They are now home to over 20,000 species of plant.

Once you reach the Botanic Gardens you have two options. You can stroll around the 19.5 hectares of taking time to relax by the River Tolka which flows through the land.

Or you can attend one of the many weekly events hosted by the Office of Public Works who are in charge of the Gardens.

While you are out in the suburbs, why not take a look around the historic Glasnevin Cemetery that is connected to the botanic gardens trail? The cemetery is the final resting place for leading Irish figures including Constance Markievicz, Michael Collins, Luke Kelly and Brendan Behan.


The Phoenix Park

Phoenix Park is one of the largest parks in Europe which has plenty to offer especially when it comes to walking trails. Here are just some of the tourist attractions worth seeing

  • The Magazine Fort – built originally in 1611 the Phoenix Lodge was turned into an ammunition’s storage unit in 1734.
  • The Phoenix Monument – this impressive structure is in the middle of the park, on the beautiful tree-lined Chesterfield Avenue. The Phoenix Monument was carved in Portland stone in the shape of a Corinthian column with a Phoenix bird rising from the ashes at its pinnacle. It is in the centre of the Park and forms a focal point of a large roundabout.
  • Prehistoric Burial Chamber – this megalithic tomb is estimated to be 5,500 years old. The tomb was opened in 1838 and the skeletons, pottery and other relics are now in the National Museum.
  • The Wellington Testimonial – Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington, who is reputed to have been born in Dublin. He is more famous for defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. It was completed in 1861 and is the tallest obelisk in Europe.
  • The Papal Cross – this marks the site where Pope John Paul II delivered an open-air sermon to more than 1.25 million people on the 29th September 1979.

Along your walk, you could also stop off at the president’s house Aras an Uachtarain, Dublin Zoo or Ashtown Castle which is one of the park’s oldest buildings which was built in the 1430s.

When walking in Phoenix Park you are never alone, with over 600 wild deer that is a good chance you make a happy encounter.


Irishtown Nature Park

Irishtown Nature Park which is between Irishtown and Sandymount strand offers a 7-kilometre man-made walking trail.

The park was the idea of a group of residents from the Sandymount and Merrion Residents Associations. The area had been used as a dumping ground during the 1970s building boom. The concerned residents suggested creating a nature reserve to cover the wasteland. During the 1980s, Dublin Corporation helped the residents’ groups to develop the park with planted seeds, trees, and tall grasses.

Today the nature park is home to many flora and fauna such as herons, Brent geese and the red-tailed bumblebee.


Howth Cliff Walk

Breathe in the fresh sea breeze and explore Howth head cliff walk. The well-established trail is open to everybody at every walking level just follow the green arrows. Take in the panoramic view of both Dublin Bay and Howth harbour.

To begin the trail, you’ll need to make your way through Howth Village. This will allow you to pick the place for your post-hike refreshments. For a small village, Howth punches above its weight for great pubs and restaurants.

If you travel out of the city centre the DART will you there and back. The commute takes approximately 30 minutes depending on the time of day.


Dun Laoghaire Pier

Dun Laoghaire offers many activities along the Pier and in the water,  such as sailing, fishing and if you are in the mood for a refreshing dip you can also go swimming. The pier walk is only 2.6 kilometre.

The town was formed as a result of a piece of legislation  passed in 1816. This called for the building of a port to serve Dublin.

It was more commonly known at the time as the anglicised version of the spelling, Dunleary. Then, it was renamed Kingstown in honour of King George IV’s 1821 visit as Ireland was still part of the Union.

In 1920 the original Irish form of Dunleary was restored, the pronunciation is the same – Dún Laoghaire.

Over time, the town became a residential location, a seaside resort and the terminus of Ireland’s first railway in 1834.


Grand Canal

This is the ideal city centre walk to brighten and waken up your day. The Grand Canal runs the length of the south side of Dublin city centre which can be joined at any time.

The Grand Canal and the Royal Canal are two canals that connect Dublin with other parts of Ireland. The Grand Canal spans from the Southside of Dublin to the River Shannon in the west, winding through several towns along the way.

The Royal Canal crosses the Northside of Dublin also connecting with the River Shannon but further north than the Grand Canal. Both were working waterways with the last cargo barge passing through the Grand Canal in 1960.

Allow 40 minutes at a brisk pace to walk form Harold’s Cross Bridge to Grand Canal Dock.


North Bull Island

This manmade island is home to 8,000 wildfowl an over 180 different bird species have been recorded. The island features a 10km walk that is suitable for all level and is ideal for nature lovers.

North Bull Island is incredibly important for nature conservation has been recognised since 1914 when it was listed as a Rothschild Reserve. It was the first National Bird Sanctuary, designated in 1931. It was designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1981 and is also part of the Dublin Bay Biosphere Reserve. This is the only Biosphere Reserve entirely in a capital city in the world. Most Dubliners wouldn’t know that North Bull Island has the most conservation designations of any site in the Republic of Ireland.


Bray to Greystones cliff walk

This cliff walk is a breath-taking coastal path from Bray to Greystones. The 6-kilometre trail takes two and a half hours and is suited for every level of fitness with the option of taking the DART for the way back.

Once Greystone reached, we advise a stop at Happy Pear for some well-deserved food. You can choose from flavourful vegan dishes, indulgent coffee, smoothies and much more.


From a stroll in Dun Laoghaire to a brisk coastal hike, take your time on one of the many trails and parks that Dublin has to offer. The DART will give you access to all the coastal town of Dublin Bay and is available from Pearse Station located just next to our hotels.

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