This past year, I have humbly taken advantage of what Dublin has to offer — in particular, its seaside. This article is a homage to Dublin’s coast and all the many food accounts on Instagram. Despite the longing you feel when you see a plane blazing a trail through the sky, the DART line can transport you to somewhere with just as many aesthetic photo opportunities as an exotic holiday destination (although this is often weather dependent). If you like to walk, talk and eat like me, here are some great Dublin day trips that tick all these boxes.
Howth, in my childhood memories, is a bag of hot chips and being all wrapped up in winter, walking along the harbour. This Northside location has grown to be one of my favourite places to go in Dublin. The Howth Cliff Walk offers both a stunning view of Dublin’s peninsula and the blue horizon of the Irish Sea no matter what route you decide to take. Ranging from 6-12km, the most popular route is what’s known as the Howth Cliff Path Loop, where you start and finish at the DART station in Howth Village. This 6km ramble will take you around two hours and you’ll be treated to coastal views for the majority of it. On a sunny day, if you feel like a paddle, there are plenty of ideal swimming locations along the walk, with my friends commenting on many claiming that they look like a “TikTok beach”. Naturally, if you’re in Howth you should visit Beshoffs Bros located in Howth Village for fish and chips, and I would also recommend Minetta Delicatessen in Sutton Cross on the Howth Road for toasties.
Dalkey is certainly thriving post-lockdown. If you’re a sea-swimming lover, the famous Vico Baths are worth a visit. This secluded dreamy spot is about a 15 minute walk from Dalkey DART station. When the tide is right you can plunge into the deep waters from a perch, making for a refreshing swim. When in Dalkey, you might even catch a celeb, as it houses Ireland’s very own Bono and, on season, Matt Damon. Ken (Ken The Ferryman) is a native of Dalkey and provides a ferry service to and from Dalkey Island at €10 per person. If you want to live your best Sing Street fantasy, this trip is for you. Also, overlooking Dalkey Island is Dillon’s Park, an ideal spot for a picnic. Walk into Ragazzi Gastro Market in Dalkey Village and you’ll feel like you’re in Rome, with Italian radio stations constantly playing and affordable and tasty pizza on offer. For ice cream, I’d recommend Bel Gelato. Killiney Hill forms the southern boundary of Dublin Bay and can take anything from 20-40 minutes, depending where you start from. The view from the top is certainly worth the climb and you could sit there for hours making out places in the city. Again, if you feel like a swim, White Rock on Killiney beach is also a popular spot.
Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk
These next two locations aren’t in Dublin, but are accessible by Dublin Bus and DART. If you’re looking for a day out and want to bring your Fitbit along, the Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk in Wicklow sits in a spectacular coastal setting linking the two seaside towns. It takes about two hours to cross 7km. Whether you start your excursion in Bray or Greystones, both towns have plenty to offer to hungry walkers. Greystones is the home of The Happy Pear, the natural food café, juice bar, and fruit and veg shop located on Main Street. Vegan or not, you’ll enjoy a fresh and delicious meal. When I’ve done the Bray to Greystones Walk, I have taken the DART to Greystones and then walked on to Bray (taking a detour up Bray Head, which I’d recommend for the view) to then go on for food at Box Burger. Equipped with outdoor seating, Box Burger has always been filling and satisfactory. If in Bray on a colder day, the café at The Martello Hotel makes hot chocolates themed around popular chocolate bars. Be kind and treat yourself to one. Also, if you’re constantly on the hunt for unique pieces of vintage clothing, take a visit to the independently run Finders Keepers second-hand shop (@finderkeepersbray on Instagram).
This is now where I pretend to be Roz Purcell and enlighten you with some of my favourite hikes in and around the Dublin area. The Hellfire Club and Massey Woods Loop (8.7km) is located near Bohernabreena and is rated as moderate, taking about two and a half hours. Car parking facilities are limited at the entrance to the Massey Woods, but are better at the Hell Fire Carpark. The view from the Hellfire Club on top of Montpelier Hill gives such a vast and exquisite view of Dublin and parts of Kildare. This is definitely one to tick off the bucket list. The Ticknock Fairy Castle Loop (5.5km), also rated as moderate, takes around two hours to complete. Through the Three Rock Wood, it boasts superb Dublin views from the Fairy Castle mountains. The loop then overlaps a little with the Dublin Mountains Way and the Wicklow Way before returning to its start point.
Now after two summers without being able to go abroad, I think I (and many others) have come to truly appreciate the beauty of our country. After so much time being cooped up inside everyone wants to be out and sociable and to visit new places. Dublin is full of hidden gems as well as well-known hotspots, and it is certainly never a bore.