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A Guide To The Historic Vico Baths In Dalkey (Parking + Swim Info)

A Guide To The Historic Vico Baths In Dalkey (Parking + Swim Info)

You’ll find the historic Vico Baths in Dalkey, along the affluent Vico Road.

Although it earned global fame in recent years thanks to visits from the likes of Harry Styles and Matt Damon, this is far from a new addition to Dublin.

The Victorians built the Vico Road in the late 1800s and the Vico Bathing Place has been one of the most popular places to go swimming in Dublin ever since.

Below, you’ll discover the history of the baths, a map showing how to get to them along with info on parking (a headache). 

Some quick need-to-knows about the Vico Baths


Although a visit to the Vico Baths in Dalkey is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location

The Vico Baths are around a 15-minute walk south of Dalkey Town and are only accessible through a small gap in a wall on Vico Road, after which you’ll need to follow the signs and handrails down to the famous spot.

2. Parking

While the cliff-hugging Vico Road is beautiful and riviera-esque, it’s also very narrow with zero places to stop or park. You can sometimes nab a place here, on Sorrento Road, however, the hassle free Vico Baths car park is the one in Dalkey Train Station (13-minute walk away).

3. Swimming + safety

Although this is a hugely popular swim spot, there are no lifeguards, so you need to be a capable swimmer. Always take time to understand these water safety tips before entering the water.


4. A chilly tradition

Average sea temperatures in Ireland range from 8.8⁰C to 14.9⁰C, so jumping into the Vico Baths for a dip isn’t for the fainthearted! And, while people head for a dip here throughout the year, it’s the traditional Christmas morning swim that it’s arguably best known for.

5. Famous faces

On June 22nd, 2022, Harry Styles from One Direction fame was spotted swimming at the baths. A year or so previous, photos of Matt Damon fresh out of a dip went viral.

About the Vico Baths in Dublin

South County Dublin is home to many popular swim spots, namely the Forty Foot, Sandycove Beach, Killiney Beach and Seapoint Beach.

However, none command views like the Vico Bathing Place, but where did it all begin?!


The early days

Very little is known about the building of the actual Vico Bathing Place.

The oldest reference that I could find was on a map from cartographer John Rocque that dates to 1760. 

The map shows a ‘Bath house’ was present in the location at this time.

Although the Vico Road opened in 1890, it’s like the public gained access several years previous, in 1885, when previously private land was opened to the public.

It was once ‘gentlemen only’

Unfortunately, not everyone was able to enjoy the waters and views back in those days as, like many other bathing spots in Dublin, Vico was for gentlemen only.

Such were the importance of the bathing rules, there were penalties for those who broke them.


The Eire sign

Another interesting curiosity you may notice on your walk down to the Vico Baths is the enormous ‘7 EIRE’ sign on the right-hand side.

This is a relic of the Second World War and was constructed due to Ireland’s neutrality.

Between 1942 and 1943 large signs – visible from above – were placed across the coast to act as navigational devices for planes when

crossing over the country.

Things to do nearby

One of the reasons that a visit to the Vico Baths in Dalkey is one of the more popular day trips from Dublin City is due to the sheer volume of things to do nearby.

Below, you’ll find some brilliant walks, hikes and great places to eat a stone’s throw from the Vico Baths.

1. Sorrento Park (5-minute walk)

A cracking spot for views is Sorrento Park, just a 5-minute walk north of the Vico Baths. Though it’s less of a park and more of a small hill, you won’t really be thinking about trivial details like that when you head up to its grassy summit and take in the gorgeous views of the coast stretching out in front with the Wicklow Mountains behind. Nearby Dillon’s Park is also excellent.


2. Killiney Hill (5-minute drive)

Killiney Hill Walk

Photo via Shutterstock

For nearby views from a higher elevation, make the 5-minute drive and tackle the Killiney Hill Walk. The walk up the hill is an easy little ramble and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views towards Dublin city from the Obelisk, and vistas of the curving coast and Wicklow Mountains from the Viewpoint located just a short walk south.


3. Killiney Beach (15-minute drive)

Killiney Beach

Photos via Shutterstock

When the sun comes out, how about drying off from your Vico Baths dip down at Killiney Beach? It’s a 15-minute drive through Killiney‘s winding roads and, stony though it may be, it’s got some of Dublin’s cleanest water (multiple Blue Flag winner) and has some lovely views of the mountains.


4. Dalkey Island

Dalkey Island

Photos via Shutterstock

Lying just a few hundred metres off the ragged Dalkey coastline, Dalkey Island is visible from the Vico Baths peeking out just beyond Sorrento Point. Though uninhabited, it’s full of ancient history and is reachable by boat (see our Dublin Bay Cruises guide) and (if you’re made of sterner stuff) kayak.


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