The Poolbeg Lighthouse Walk (officially known as the Great South Wall Walk), is one of the best walks in Dublin.
This is a lovely (and tough, at times!) 4km stroll that’s perfect for kick-starting an active weekend (it’s also one of our favourite things to do in Dublin!).
In this guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know, from where to get parking and how long it takes to where to grab a coffee nearby.
And yes… this is the walk that takes you out into Dublin Bay to see the fat little red lighthouse that you can see when you fly into Dublin!
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The Poolbeg Lighthouse Walk
You’ll find Poolbeg Lighthouse on the Great South Wall (the South Bull Wall) where it has been since way back in 1768.
Interestingly enough, when the Great South Wall was built it was 3 miles long. At the time it was the world’s longest sea wall.
The Poolbeg Lighthouse Walk is a gorgeous coastal walk that’ll blow off the thickest of cobwebs. Now, there are two routes you can tackle here, depending on your starting point.
Route 1: The shorter Great South Wall Walk
First up is the shorter Poolbeg Lighthouse walk. This is a roughly 4km ramble that takes you from a car park at the start of the Great South Wall right out into Dublin Bay.
Where to park
You’ll find parking for this version of the Great South Wall walk in a little car park just off Pigeon House Road. If you stick ‘Great South Wall parking’ into Google Maps it’ll take you there.
How long the walk takes
This walk is deceivingly long. According to Google Maps, the walk from the car park above to the lighthouse and back should take 40 minutes.
However, any time that I’ve done it the wind has been crazy (you’re walking out into Dublin Bay and are therefore completely exposed) and it’s taken 60 minutes in total.
Is it hard/buggy friendly?
This walk is harder than it looks due to the exposure to wind. It’s a lovely little ramble, but on a windy day, it can be tough going.
The Great South Wall walk from the starting point above is buggy friendly as you’re strolling along reasonably (there are bumps and holes in places) smooth ground.
Route 2: The Sandymount Strand to Poolbeg Lighthouse Walk (the longer route)
The second option for the Poolbeg Lighthouse walk is a longer trail that kicks off from nearby Sandymount Strand.
Now, although there’s a number of car parks nearby (see below), it can get pretty busy here, so you’re better off starting this walk early if you want to avoid hassle with parking.
Where to park
You’ll find parking for this version of the Great South Wall walk in a car park right next to the strand. If you stick ‘Sandymount Strand Car Park 1’ into Google Maps it’ll take you there.
How long the walk takes
So, this is going to depend on whether you stick to the road or cut across the beach. If you stick to the path, it’ll take around 2 hours and 20 minutes to get there and back.
If you cut across the beach (note: check tide times in advance), it’ll take roughly 2 hours in total. I haven’t done the route across the beach, personally, so I’m not completely sure on how long it takes!
Is it hard?
This version of the Poolbeg Lighthouse walk is tough-ish due to its length and the fact that once you reach the Great South Wall you’ll be pummeled with wind.
However, if you take a little 10-minute detour and grab a coffee from Cafe Java in Sandymount, you’ll have a decent caffeine kick to keep you going.
The routes on a map
You’ll find the two different routes for the Poolbeg Lighthouse walk on the Google Map above. These walks are both very straightforward.
However, the one place you could go slightly amiss is when you leave Sandymount Strand and start making your way into the industrial estate that leads to the Great South Wall.
The history of the Great South Wall
The construction of the Great South Wall started back in 1716. The wall, which was then known as ‘The Piles’, was completed around 1729.
It was regarded as a considerable engineering achievement at the time. When the Great South Wall was built it was 3 miles long.
It was, at the time, the world’s longest sea wall. The Poolbeg Lighthouse was built in 1768 and initially operated on candlepower.
According to multiple sources, it was the first lighthouse in the world to do so. It later changed to oil (in 1786) and the lighthouse was redesigned and rebuilt again in 1820.