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25 Brilliant Walks In And Within Driving Distance Of Dublin That You Can Try This Weekend

25 Brilliant Walks In And Within Driving Distance Of Dublin That You Can Try This Weekend

Howaya! If you’re living in County Dublin and you fancy getting in a decent hike or walk this week, this guide should tickle your fancy.

It’s packed with a clatter of different walks and hikes that are either in Dublin or that are within driving distance of Dublin.

The only one that’s a good drive away is Cuilcagh – it’ll take you 2 hours to get there but it’s worth the spin.

Right – I’ll stop boring you now. G’wan. Get scrolling and you’ll discover a wallop of different rambles that you’ll (hopefully) love!

1. Ticknock Fairy Castle Loop

Ticknock hill walk

Photo by J.Hogan (Shutterstock)

The ramble up at Ticknock is easily one of the best walks in Dublin and it’s one that many people living in Dublin tend to miss!

I’ve been doing several walks in the Dublin Mountains over the past couple of years and, in my opinion, Ticknock is the best.

Whenever I take a spin out to Sandyford, which is rare these days, I chisel out some time to head off on the Fairy Castle loop on Ticknock Hill.

This is a lovely looped walk that takes buckets of the seemingly never-ending views of Dublin that envelope you when you reach the top.

The need-to-knows

We’ve written out an easy-to-follow guide to the Ticknock Walk that has info on where to park, routes to take etc, but here’s some quick info:

  • Walking time: Roughly 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Tip: Dress for the weather. If you plan on going off the path, it’ll be muddy after rainfall
  • More info: See our detailed guide to the walk

2. The Sugar Loaf

great sugarloaf walk

Photos via shutterstock.com

Now, if you read our guide to the best places to visit in Wicklow, you’ll probably recognise several of the hikes and walks below.

The first takes us to the Great Sugarloaf with its pointy peak which looks a little like a wizards hat from afar. Moving on… Standing at 501m above sea level, the Great Sugarloaf is the perfect place for a casual early-morning climb.

On a clear day, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of Dublin, the Wicklow Mountains, and the Irish Sea from its summit. The climb here shouldn’t take you any longer than an hour if you take the trail that starts in the carpark to the south of the Sugarloaf.

Just be careful if you’re leaving your car here – I’ve heard of a heap of break-ins taking place. Drive time from Dublin Airport: 55 minutes.

The need-to-knows

  • Walking time: Roughly 1 hour 
  • Tip: Leave absolutely nothing on show in the car
  • Drive time from Dublin Airport: 55 minutes
  • More info: See our detailed guide to the walk

3. The Killiney Hill Walk

Killiney Hill walk dublin

Photo by Globe Guide Media Inc (Shutterstock)

If you’re in search of some handy Dublin walks that’ll treat you to some mighty views without taxing your legs too much, give the Killiney Hill Walk a lash.

There are two different routes to the top that you can take: if you’re after a short walk, drive up as far as the car park on Killiney Hill.

If you fancy a longer ramble, take the DART to Dalkey and then walk up to the summit of the hill from there.

The need-to-knows

We’ve written out an easy-to-follow guide to the Killiney Hill Walk that has info on where to park, routes to take etc, but here’s some quick info:

  • Walking time: Between 20 and 50 minutes, depending on where you start the walk
  • Tip: Bring a picnic and chill on the grass at the summit while soaking up the view
  • More info: See our detailed guide to the walk

4. Trim Castle

trim castle

Photos via Shutterstock

It wasn’t until last Sunday that I realised that there’s a brilliant looped walk near Trim Castle in Meath. The trail starts just to the right of the car park near the castle.

It follows a river for a good chunk of the walk (offering great views of the castle) and then loops around through a field with a handful of sheep and then returns to the castle.

The walk takes around 30 minutes if you’re just sauntering along. Head into Trim Castle beforehand for a nosey around first (€2 for the grounds and €5 to get up to the keep), then head off on the walk.

You can round the visit off with a post-walk feed or coffee in the nearby Trim Castle Hotel. This is a handy 50-minute drive from Dublin Airport. Here are loads more things to do in Meath while you’re there.

The need-to-knows

  • Walking time: Roughly 30 minutes
  • Tip: Grab a post-ramble feed in Trim Castle Hotel after
  • Drive time from Dublin Airport: 50 minutes

5. The Hellfire Club Walk

hellfire club walk

Photo by Poogie (Shutterstock)

The Hellfire Club Walk (officially known as ‘the Montpellier Loop Trail’) is a lovely Dublin walk that will treat you to a spectacular panoramic view out over Dublin City.

This is a reasonably handy walk, depending on fitness levels, that takes you up Montpelier Hill to the ruins of a supposedly haunted lodge.

The need-to-knows

We’ve written out an easy-to-follow guide to the Hellfire Club Walk that has info on where to park, routes to take etc, but here’s some quick info:

  • Walking time: Roughly 1 hour + (depending on how much time you spend at the top)
  • Tip: Dress for the weather. Boots or runners with a sturdy grip are recommended.
  • More info: See our detailed guide to this Dublin walk

6. The Carlingford Greenway (Louth)

the carlingford greenway

Photo by Tony Plevin via Ireland’s Content Pool

Next up is a walk that can easily be turned into a cycle, if you’d prefer to hop onto a saddle and spin along it. The Carlingford Greenway in Louth follows a disused railway line and offers walkers fine views from the edge of the stunning Carlingford Lough.

The greenway is 7km long and can take from 2 and a half to 3 hours (you’re walking from  Carlingford to Omeath and back again). 

Over the course of your spin here you’ll encounter fields packed with sheep, old railway crossings, a couple of bridges and plenty of views of the stunning scenery that surrounds the area. It’ll take you 70 minutes to get here from Dublin Airport.

The need-to-knows

  • Walking time: Roughly 3 hours
  • Tip: You could always rent a bike in Carlingford and cycle it if you fancied
  • Drive time from Dublin Airport: 70 minutes

7. The Howth Cliff Walk

cliffs in Howth

Photo by Cristian N Gaitan/shutterstock.com

You’ll regularly see me bang on about this being one of the best walks in Dublin. The Howth Cliff Walk is one that I’ve been doing with friends for around 15 years at this stage and it never gets old.

There are a couple of different ways of tackling this walk: you can start it from the DART station for a longer stroll or you can kick it off from the car park at Howth Summit.

Those that head off on this walk will be treated to incredible coastal views throughout. If you’re looking to escape Dublin without actually leaving Dublin, Howth is a solid option.

The need-to-knows

We’ve written out an easy-to-follow guide to the Howth Cliff Walk that has info on where to park, routes to take etc, but here’s some quick info:

  • Walking time: I’ve done it in 120 minutes on a fine summers day. Allow for longer if you’re battling the wind in winter.
  • Tip: Wear layers! It gets very windy on this walk but you’ll also work up a sweat.
  • More info: See our detailed guide to this Dublin walk

8. Tonelagee

tonlegee hike

Photo by zkbld (Shutterstock)

If you fancy grabbing a look at Ireland’s heart-shaped lake, get yourself up Tonlagee Mountain in Wicklow this weekend. 

I did this hike recently and it took around 3 hours from start to finish (note: there are longer hikes around Tonlagee!). We parked in Turlough Hill car park and followed the trail directly across the road to the top.

We kept going until we had a decent view of Lough Ouler (above) and chilled on the grass for a bit. The climb from the car park to the summit is steep, but there’s a nice trail to follow.

It’ll take you 70 minutes to drive from Dublin Airport to Turlough Hill car park. Nip into our Wicklow guide for loads more to see and do nearby.

The need-to-knows

  • Walking time: Roughly 3 hours
  • Tip: Follow the route outlined in this guide
  • Drive time from Dublin Airport: 70 minutes

9. The Carrickgollogan Forest Walk

Carrickgollogan walk

Photo by Poogie (Shutterstock)

Our next ramble, the Carrickgollogan Forest Walk, in our Dublin walks guide takes us 2.5km south of Kilternan village on the Dublin/Wicklow border.

The walks here are relatively short (more info below), but you’ll be treated to magnificent views of the Dublin and Wicklow countryside and the sea beyond.

According to the folks at Coillte, the main attractions here are, ‘the viewing rock at Carrickgollogan hill to the south of the property and the now disused lead mine chimney at the northern boundary.’

The scenery that you can soak up from the viewing rock makes this one of the best walks in Dublin. On a clear day, you’ll see everywhere from south Dublin to north Wicklow

The need-to-knows

The walks here are nice and handy. Coillte have published a guide to the walks here that you should have no trouble following.

  • Walking time: The walks here are relatively easy. The Lead Mines Way will take around 40 minutes, while the Mountain Acces Route takes around 30.
  • Directions: Start your walk in the car park and follow the linear trail that takes you to the top of Carrickgollogan Hill.

10. The walk at Loughcrew

The next stop on our list takes us to out to Loughcrew Cairns in Meath. Interestingly enough, the cairns at Loughcrew are far older than Newgrange (they date back to 4000 bc – mad stuff!)

Now, although this is the highest hill in the county, it’s just 276 meters high, which means that you’ll reach the top in around 10 to 15 minutes.

Once you’ve reached the top, you’ll be treated to fantastic views of the lush green countryside that surrounds the hill. It’ll take you just over an hour to get here from Dublin City.

The need-to-knows

  • Walking time: Roughly 25 minutes 
  • Drive time from Dublin Airport: 65 minutes

11. Tibradden Mountain Trail

Tibradden walk

Photo by Poogie (Shutterstock)

The Tibradden Wood walk is one that tends to get overlooked quite a bit. To be honest, I hadn’t heard of it until last year. Then we gave it a crack one Sunday morning and I’ve been back three times since.

Tibradden lies between the Cruagh and Kilmashogue mountains (about a 40-minute drive from Dublin City and a stone’s throw from Johnny Fox’s Pub).

At the highest point on Tibradden, you’ll find an open cairn and kist burial site. When you reach here, take a breather and admire the views that surround you.

The need-to-knows

Similar to Carrickgollogan, the walks here are nice and handy. We’ve prepped a handy guide for you here with info on parking, difficulty, etc.

  • Walking time: The Tibradden Mountain Trail takes you on a 2.4km 2 hour (depending on pace) stroll through the forest and then on a hike up the mountain to the cairn at the summit.
  • Directions: Start your walk in the car park at the Zipline centre and follow the red trail/red waymarkers that’ll take you to the top of Tibradden Mountain.

12. The Bray Head Walk

The climb up Bray Head is one of my favourite (handy) hikes near Dublin. You’ll find this 241m tall hill and headland slap bang in the middle of the towns of Bray and Greystones.

It’s a reasonably easy climb to the top and it shouldn’t take you any longer than an hour to get up and back down again. At the top, you’ll find a now-iconic concrete cross which was placed there back in 1950.

It’ll take you around 50 minutes to get here from Dublin Airport. If you’re not driving, hop on the DART.

The need-to-knows

  • Walking time: Roughly 1 hour 
  • Drive time from Dublin Airport: 50 minutes
  • More info: See our detailed guide to the walk

13. The Great South Wall walk

south wall walk

Photo by Eimantas Juskevicius (Shutterstock)

Yes, this is the walk in Dublin that takes you out to the fat red lighthouse. This is a mighty coastal walk that’ll blow off the clingiest of cobwebs.

The walk takes you 4km out into Dublin Bay along the Great South Wall until you reach Poolbeg Lighthouse at the very end.

Expect stunning views of Dublin Bay, Howth Head, Dun Laoghaire Harbour and the Dublin and Wicklow mountains.

The need-to-knows

We’ve written out an easy-to-follow guide to the Poolbeg Lighthouse Walk that has info on where to park, routes to take etc, but here’s some quick info:

  • Walking time: I’ve done it in 60 minutes during the summer but allow 80 to be safe
  • Tip: Be prepared for a whole load of wind. You’re in the middle of Dublin Bay, after all. Dress appropriately.
  • More info: See our detailed guide to this Dublin walk

14. The Hill of Tara

the hill of tara

Photo via Tourism Ireland

The mighty Hill of Tara was once the ancient seat of power in Ireland. According to legend, it was here that 142 kings reigned. The walk here is nice and leisurely.

Grab an ice cream or a coffee from the little shop next to the car park and set off for a ramble. It’s said that a quarter of the landscape of Ireland can be seen from the Hill of Tara on a clear day, which is pretty mental when you think about it!

It’ll take you 40 minutes to drive here from Dublin Airport and there’s a decent bit of parking right next to it.

The need-to-knows

  • Walking time: This is a short one. 20 minutes max. 
  • Drive time from Dublin Airport: 40 minutes

15. The Malahide to Portmarnock Coastal walk

malahide to portmarnock coastal walk

Photo via Google Maps

I live in Swords (about a 20-minute spin from Malahide), and I’ve done this walk 20 or 30 times over the years.

This is one of the many Dublin walks that’s perfect for those of you looking for a moderate ramble with friends on level ground that offers great ocean views throughout.

The need-to-knows

This is a very handy trail to follow (literally one path), but here’s some quick info so you know what to expect:

  • Where to start the walk: Park the car along the coast road in Malahide. Avoid the beach car park as it’s infamous for break-ins.
  • Walk time: I’ve done it in 30 minutes solo on one occasion and it took an over an hour on another with a group.

16. The Spinc Loop

 

the spin loop in glendalough

Photo © The Irish Road Trip

 

I’ve done the Spinc Loop about 40 times over the years and it never gets old. This, in my opinion, is the best hike near Dublin. It’s challenging in places, handy in others and the scenery throughout is glorious.

This walk will take you along the Spinc ridge overlooking Glendalough, offering endless panoramic views over Glendalough and the surrounding hills and mountains.

You’ll return past the Glenealo River via a couple of gorgeous waterfalls into the Upper Lough. There is a well-marked trail to follow for the entire walk, so you’ll have no hassle finding your way around. 

The last two times that I’ve done this walk/hike it’s taken 4 hours. That includes several stops. Distance from Dublin Airport: 1 hour.

The need-to-knows

  • Walking time: Roughly 4 hours (basing this on the last two times I did it)
  • Tip: Chuck some water and snacks in a backpack
  • Drive time from Dublin Airport: 60 minutes
  • See more trails like this in our guide to the best Glendalough walks

17. The North Bull Island walk

Bull island walk

Photo by Dawid K Photography (Shutterstock)

I seem to have a lot of ‘favourite walks in Dublin’… The beauty of this one is that you can perfectly pair it with a pre or post-walk feed in Clontarf.

You’ll have views out towards Poolbeg, the Great South Wall and the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains at the beginning, while the middle of the walk will take in the coast road at Sutton and beyond to Howth Hill.

The need-to-knows

  • Where to start the walk: Park the car along the path (not too far in as you don’t want to make it impassable for wheelchairs and buggies) a good distance up from the bridge.
  • Time it’ll take: This is another relatively handy one. Allow 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on pace.
  • Walk time: I’ve done it in 30 minutes solo on one occasion and it took an over an hour on another with a group.

Directions

  • After parking the car, head straight until you reach the Our Lady, Star of the Sea, Statue. 
  • From here, make your way along Dollymount Strand. You’ll want to take a left about halfway up the beach and make your way out towards St. Anne’s Park
  • When you reach the coast road, continue back towards the bridge you drove over before you began the stroll and you’ll be back to the starting point. 

18. Explore a chunk of the Mourne Mountains 

Slieve Donard walk

Photos via Shutterstock

If you’ve never ventured out as far as the Mournes in County Down, you’re in for a treat – there are several different walks and hikes that you can embark upon.

My favourite hike here is the one that takes you up Slieve Donard (the highest mountain in Northern Ireland). The trek to the top is fairly challenging (it’s 850m high), but the views from the summit are out of this world. 

It’ll take you just under 90 minutes to get here from Dublin Airport. I’ve done this hike a couple of times over the years and it’s taken between 4 and 5 hours on each occasion. 

The need-to-knows

  • Walking time: 4 – 5 hours if you do the Slieve Donard hike
  • Drive time from Dublin Airport: 90 minutes

19. The Slieve Foy walk

Slieve Foye Carlingford

A very dodgy photo I took on an old phone in 2018

Slieve Foy is the highest peak in the Cooley Mountains and it’s the perfect place to spend an active morning or afternoon. You can do a loop walk here that follows red and blue arrows along forest roads, grassy tracks and mountain paths.

As you get stuck into the climb you’ll be treated to a gorgeous panoramic view out over Carlingford Lough. The walk here took us around 2 and a half hours the last time that we did it.

Now, we probably could have finished it a little quicker, but got lost at one point and sat down for a while at another. Distance from Dublin Airport: 70 minutes.

The need-to-knows

  • Walking time: Roughly 2 hours
  • Drive time from Dublin Airport: 70 minutes

20. Lough Tay to Lough Dan

lough tay walk wicklow

Photo by Lukas Fendek/Shutterstock.com

There’s a lovely stroll from Lough Tay to Lough Dan that’ll treat you to brilliant views from start to finish. The walk takes around three hours and climaxes with a mighty view out over Lough Dan.

This is a nice alternative to the walks in Glendalough and you’re likely to only encounter a tiny fraction of the people that you would on the likes of the Spinc Loop. Distance from Dublin Airport: 1 hour.

The need-to-knows

  • Walking time: Roughly 3 hours
  • Tip: Leave absolutely nothing on show in the car
  • Drive time from Dublin Airport: 60 minutes

21. The Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk

bray to greystones walk time

Photo by Petra Zierer (Shutterstock)

If you fancy a longish stroll that’ll banish the thickest of cobwebs, then the Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk is just the job.

At 7k in length, this walk should take you around 2 hours to complete, and you’ll be treated to stunning coastal scenery throughout. The walk takes you along a coastal path that winds along the side of Bray Head Hill.

If you’re driving, park your car in Bray, do the walk and then grab the DART back to Bray from Greystones. 

The need-to-knows

  • Walking time: Roughly 2 hours 
  • Drive time from Dublin Airport: 50 minutes
  • UPDATE: A large section of this walk is now closed off

22. The Slieve Gullion Forest Walk

slieve guillion forest park

Photo by The Irish Road Trip

You’ll find Slieve Gullion mountain in south County Armagh. It’s here that, on a clear day, you’ll be treated to views like the one in the (blurry) photo above – patchwork-like green fields as far as the eye can see.

There’s a 15.2km circular route up Slieve Guillion that’ll take you through gorgeous woodland, along steep paths and across peaty grounds (decent footwear is essential!). 

This is a brilliant walk that can take the guts of 4 hours when you factor in time for stops.

The need-to-knows

  • Walking time: Roughly 3 – 4 hours
  • Drive time from Dublin Airport: 60 minutes

23. The Djouce Mountain Trail

Djouce walk

Photo by Semmick Photo

At 725 metres, Djouce is the 74th–highest peak in Ireland. It’s also one of the most accessible peaks in the Wicklow Mountains, as you’ll discover in our guide to the Djouce Mountain Walk.

The folks at the Office of Public Works have a well-marked route here and there’s an extensive boardwalk for you to saunter along. The walk here can take between 1.5 and 2 hours, depending on pace and boasts stunning views throughout. 

In particular, the view out over Lough Tay from the summit is pretty damn special. It’ll take you just under an hour to reach the starting point from Dublin Airport. There’s also the nearby Djouce Woods Walk (and the Devil’s Glen Walk).

The need-to-knows

  • Walking time: Roughly 1.5 – 2 hours 
  • Tip: Leave absolutely nothing on show in the car
  • Drive time from Dublin Airport: 55 minutes
  • More info: See our detailed guide to the walk

24. The Boyne Greenway

The Boyne Greenway is another route that’s perfect for walking and cycling. If you walk it at an easy pace, you can expect it to take around 4 hours in total.

Kick your walk off at Dominic’s Park on the south bank of the River Boyne, continue along the river (near the Mary McAleese Bridge), go on past the Boyne Canal, and then on to the Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre at Oldbridge.

Drogheda is a handy 35-minute drive from Dublin Airport. If you’re looking for a more detailed breakdown of this walk, you can find one here.

The need-to-knows

  • Walking time: Roughly 4 hours 
  • Drive time from Dublin Airport: 35 minutes

25. Cuilcagh (Fermanagh)

cuilcagh mountain

Photo left: Irish Road Trip. Right: Joseph Molloy (shutterstock)

This is one of several walks that you can take on the long distance Cuilcagh Waymarked Way – a 33km walking route that encapsulates Cuilcagh Mountain and the surrounding area.

The Cuilcagh Legnagbrocky Trail is a pretty straightforward route which will appeal to walkers of medium to high fitness levels.

This isolated walking route showcases the scenic wilderness of Cuilcagh Mountain over the course of a fairly moderate walk.

We’re prepared a detailed guide to the Cuilcagh walk that outlines everything from where to park to what you can expect if you give it a lash.

The need-to-knows

  • Walking time: Roughly 2 hours and 45 minutes (basing this on my previous 2 visits)
  • Tip: Bring water and snacks in a backpack
  • Drive time from Dublin Airport: 120 minutes

Looking for other things to do in Dublin?

castles in dublin ireland

Photo by neuartelena (Shutterstock)

Nip in our guide to the best things to do in Dublin if you fancy seeing what else there is to do in around the city and the wider county!

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