The best hikes in Dublin is probably the last blog post I thought would ever feature here! Whilst you all know I love to travel and explore, I am fairly unfit so I don’t go out of my way to overexert myself. Climbing Vesuvius in Italy was probably the closest i’ve gotten to a proper hike before, and then this year the Diamond Hill in Connemara over the Summer. But alas, lockdown has not only allowed me to explore my beautiful home country but with further restrictions limiting me within my county, I’ve now also discovered some fab walks and the best hikes in Dublin.
I’m lucky that Dublin isn’t just a bustling city but also has the escape of the beautiful Dublin Mountains to explore with its stunning views which span across Wicklow too. They’re technically hills though rather than mountains so don’t worry there are no strenuous climbs, your general walking gear will do! We did invest in waterproof boots and jackets for the winter months because there’s nothing worse than wet runners and feet.
Many of the hikes in Dublin in this post are in the Dublin mountains but not all, some are closer to home and some are park and beach walks, but I can personally recommend them all, and there’s definitely something for everyone in terms of difficulty level. They’re all dog friendly hikes and walks too of course, and Rocco and Bear are big fans.
Photos, videos and location tags are all saved in my Hikes highlights and guides on Instagram also.
We’ve actually been going to Ticknock since before lockdown was a thing, it has been one of our go to places to bring the dogs and there are plenty of trails to explore here. The main loop is about 4km but it is partially paved which I personally wouldn’t be a fan of – I prefer more of a natural terrain or going through woods, especially with the dogs. So we take the more secluded trails here. They have mountain bike only trails too so do be careful as you are venturing around. Endless trails and plenty of views, you could spend hours here and every time we go we find new routes and paths and lose ourselves in the woods.
Cruagh Forest to Tibradden Mountain
This was an accidental find. We were heading to the Hell Fire Club but traffic was mayhem and then they closed the car park, so we continued driving until we spotted a sign for here. Probably one of my favourite trails and again similar to Ticknock there are many routes and trails so you can make it as long or as short, or as easy as you would like. There’s boardwalk here that takes you up the mountains which is optional, and there’s a fab place to have a BBQ / picnic too. Easily do a nice 10km plus alot more here.
Hell Fire Club (and Montpelier Hill)
Probably one of the more popular trails, a lovely 5km loop with a visit to Montpelier Hill, again you can go off track and add more steps to your hike, and more intensity too. We ventured down a trail and to say I struggled to get back because it was so steep is an understatement! So do be mindful when you do start to venture onto the side paths. It only added an extra km but certainly lost an extra few hundred cals!
Two Rock Mountain (via Tibradden Trails)
This is another one of my favourites, however personally I generally prefer a looped trail which this isn’t, because in my head the further I go the closer I am to the end too! This one is predominantly up hill, but not intense. Again stunning views like everywhere in the Dublin Mountains! Lots of boardwalks and then some rough terrain and stone hopping, plus dirt roads. It’s around a 10km there and back trail, again expandable if you wish, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This will be the first trail I will head to once lockdown lifts a bit for sure.
Bring your hiking boots!! This is a lovely venture through the woods but it can be messy and mucky particularly in the winter months but there is a gravel trail that you can take that skirts around the woods if you prefer. You know by now that I love a natural or wooded trail over a paved path but this hike has a nice mix of both. We didn’t meet a soul in the woods which is great during this socially distant time of ours, and it was fab. You’re looking at 5km, again you could do more.
Of all the years I have lived in Dublin I have never visited once of the most iconic places, shame on me! But as soon as restrictions got tighter and I could only move within 5km this was the perfect place to go. We walked from Grand Canal Dock so added an extra 2.5km there and back to our trek, but the Poolbeg loop itself is around 11km. To say we were a little raging we didn’t drive the car to Sandymount was an understatement, but that was mostly because it got dark quite quick and it isn’t greatly lit along the trail. This trail is obviously quite different than the Dublin Mountains where we would normally have the dogs off their leashes, but there are a few beach spots along this trail so we were able to let them loose a few times which they loved. The pier itself is much longer than I thought, people were jumping into the (baltic!) see, and there was a guy selling hot drinks from a van too. A nice walk if you’re nearby!
Carrickgollogan (and Barnaslingan)
There are a few loops to go on here (including Barnaslingan), but you also have the option to climb up the summit with stunning 360 views of Dublin, and a visit to the leadmines. The two loops are around 5km so definitely an easy trail if you skip the elevation gain on the summit, but I do recommend giving it a go so you can check out the views for sure – there are some video shots on my instagram.
St Annes Park
We’ve been going here since we first got Rocco (4 years ago!) because it also has a dog park but it is a gorgeous place to go for a walk. It has a mix of wooded areas, fields and streams and of course the park area with the pond too. We always go off the beaten track where there are no people as we like to let the dogs explore. My favourite park in Dublin for sure!
At first I didn’t love this because it felt very open, but as soon as I got to the wooded part of the trail I loved it, such a cute walk with the little bridges, waterfalls, viewing platform overlooking the lake and lovely walks along the river bank. Marlay House is here too which has a courtyard of craft shops. There’s of course a dog park that you can let the dogs run around in, and a walled garden! The only downside here is that we didn’t really let the boys off the leash (other than the dog park part) whereas most the other places mentioned in this post they are mostly off leash. A lovely 4km walk at the very least!
Make sure to check the tide times! This is another place we have been going to for years, and another one that is great for social distancing because once the tide is out there are miles and miles to explore. We will sometimes walk along the beach from the main entrance to the strand, or we will start the walk to Poolbeg lighthouse I mentioned above and then venture off the path before the pier and head down to the strand from there which is the far side of the main entrance. Lovely views and lovely to watch the sun go down, but definitely check the tide times before you take the trip there. We actually walk from Grand Canal Dock to here for an extra 5km to our walk (2.5km there and back).
The largest enclosed public park in any capital city in Europe, and it has gorgeous free roaming wild deer! Also home to our fab Dublin Zoo and of course, our president. There is lots to see here – we have a fort, monument, burial chamber, walled gardens and of course the Papal Cross and the unmissable Wellington Testimonial which is the tallest obelisk in Europe. We kept the dogs on a leash for a good bit of the walk here because of the wild deer but also because there is a main road through here but when we went into the wooded areas and deeper into the park we were able to let them off. Fab park, just make sure not to feed the deer or go closer than 50m, they’re gorgeous though so hard to resist! A loop around here will easily get you around the 6km mark.
Bull Island (Dollymount Strand)
This is our go to beach for walks and picnics in the hotter weather, again a great place for socially distant walks, safe for the boys to run free and really lovely fluffy sand in the summer. The boys both learned to swim at this beach because it’s warm enough for us to get in with them during the warmer months. It’s not far from St Anne’s park mentioned above either so nice to have the choice of both if you’re around Raheny.
Lots more pictures, videos and location tags for the best hikes in Dublin on my instagram saved to a highlight and in my guides section @AJmakeup – and all are dog friendly hikes and walks!
Happy hiking! x