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Poolbeg Lighthouse Walk: Parking, The Trails + A Handy Map

Poolbeg Lighthouse Walk: Parking, The Trails + A Handy Map

There are two versions of the Poolbeg Lighthouse Walk (officially known as the Great South Wall Walk).

The long version starts out on Sandymount Strand while the short version starts from the car park on Pigeon House Road. Here’s some key info:

  • The long walk: 11km and takes 1.5 – 2 hours
  • The short walk: 4km and takes 40 – 60 minutes

Widely considered as one of the best walks in Dublin, these trails take you out into the heart of Dublin Bay. Find maps of both trails along with parking/public transport info below! Enjoy!

Some quick-need-to-knows about the Poolbeg Lighthouse Walk

Poolbeg Lighthouse walk

Photos via Shutterstock


Although the Great South Wall Walk is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location

You’ll find Poolbeg Lighthouse on the Great South Wall (the South Bull Wall) where it has been since way back in 1768. It’s around a 20-minute drive from the centre of Dublin City.

2. Two trails

There’s two different versions of the Poolbeg walk – a long one and a short one. The first starts from the car park on Pigeon House Road, and takes between 40 and 60 minutes to complete. The second kicks-off from Sandymount Strand and takes around 2 hours.

3. Poolbeg Lighthouse parking

If you’re doing the short version of the trail, park in the car park on Pigeon House Road (here on maps) or in the nearby Shelley Banks Car Park (here on maps). If you’re doing the longer walk, try and nab a spot on Sandymount Strand here or here.


4. Difficulty level

The short version of the Poolbeg Lighthouse Walk is relatively handy, the only thing to note is that it gets extremely windy, so dress appropriately. The longer version of the walk is also pretty handy, it’s just much longer.

5. Via public transport

If you’re taking the bus, you’ll want to aim for stop 7934 on Sandymount Strand. Several buses stop here, like the 47 (takes about 15 minutes). The easiest thing to do is to use Transport for Ireland’s Journey Planner and enter your location and stop number 7934.

The story behind 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 and, when the Great South Wall was first built, it was an impressive 3 miles long.

It was, at the time, the world’s longest sea wall. The now-iconic 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.


An overview of the short Poolbeg Lighthouse Walk

First up is the shorter version of the Poolbeg Lighthouse walk. This is a roughly 4km ramble that starts from the Poolbeg Lighthouse parking mentioned above.

It follows a relatively flat (although not really buggy friendly!) trail all the way out to the little red lighthouse.


The trail

If you look at the map above, you’ll see the two car parks. The one at the start of the trail is tiny and fills up quickly.

The Shelly Banks car park has a decent bit of space. From either car park, the trail is very easy to follow.

Keep on rambling along it, out into Dublin Bay, until you reach the red lighthouse. You can soak up views of the surrounding coastline from here.

Finishing up the walk + coffee/food

When you’re ready, just retrace your steps back to the car.

Now, if you fancy coffee or food pre-or-post ramble, you’ve a few options nearby.

The nearest is Deke’s Diner, where you can grab a hearty feed. Just down the road you’ll also find The Merry Cobbler where you’ll get pub grub.


And overview of the longer Great South Wall Walk

The second option for the Poolbeg Lighthouse walk is a longer trail that kicks off from nearby Sandymount Strand.

For those of you taking the bus, this is the walk you’ll be doing. For those of you driving, there are two car parks along this road.

The trail

Now, there are two ways to tackle this trail – the first is to follow the route on the above map.

The second is to cut across the strand, which shortens the walk. Please make sure to check the tide times before hand!

Just note that you won’t shave much time off the 2 hours this trail takes by crossing the beach.


Finishing up the walk + coffee/food

To finish up the walk, you’ll need to retrace your steps and make your way back to Sandymount.

If you fancy a post-walk feed, Brownes, BuJo and Pete’s are all good options

More mighty Dublin walks to tackle

best dublin walks

If the Poolbeg walk has left you with itchy feet, you’re in luck – there’s an almost endless number of other walks in Dublin to head off on.

Below, you’ll find a handful of Dublin Mountains walks along with coastal rambles and more. Dive on in!

  1. Bohernabreena Reservoir (20-minute drive from Dundrum, and there’s a 1.5 hour trail)
  2. Cruagh Woods walk (down the road from the Hellfire Club and there’s a lovely 4km/1-hour trail)
  3. Ticknock and Tibradden (two great trails that get very busy at the weekends)

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