Last week I spoke about the healing power of nature and how beneficial grounding and being out in nature can be for our health on a deep level. This week I wanted to share with you some of my favourite spots to get out in nature in or around Dublin. I really feel we are truly blessed to live in this beautiful island and having travelled all over the world, very few places have held such a place in my heart as Ireland does. It is the perfect time of the year to get out, explore and be in nature.
My top 10 favourite Spots in or near Dublin
Portmarnock and Malahide coastal walk
Many of you know about how much I love Portmarnock beach and how often I am down there. The Velvet Strand is a gorgeous beach with beautiful views and a great stretch for walking or running. There is lots of parking along the road or public parking beside Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links or Portmarnock Golf club. It is close to Dublin City Centre and served by bus, train and dart. You can start your coastal walk from Portmarnock and continue towards Malahide (approx. 4km) for more sea air and gorgeous views.
Glendalough – The Spinc Trail and the Derrybawn Woodlawn Trail
Glendalough is a natural and historical haven for me and has almost a mystical energy to it. There are plenty of tracks and trails (Downloadable PDF) around Glendalough, where you can enjoy views of both the upper and lower lakes, St Kevin’s Church and round tower, Poulanass waterfall and much, much more. A favourite trail of mine is The Spinc which has a lot of uphill and steps but rewards you with magnificent views. If you prefer a flatter terrain Derrybawn Woodlawn trail is another favourite trail of mine.**
St Catherine’s Park
St Catherine’s park is a little gem nestled in between Westmanstown and Lucan village consisting of 200 acres of woodland and grassland with the River Liffey running through it. It also has playgrounds, skate parks, football pitches and fairy trails. Whether it is a family day out or a walk with your dog (it also has a dog run). You will love the space and tranquillity of this park.
Howth Cliff Walk
Howth cliff walk is a great trail for all levels of fitness and has so many places of interest and beauty along the trail that you will be spoiled for choice. It is also close to the city centre and easily reached by bus, train or dart. Howth is situated on a peninsula northeast of Dublin City and is a gorgeous fishing town with plenty of places to eat and drink. Along the trail you will have great views of Howth harbour, Ireland’s Eye, Lambay Island, Howth Castle, Howth lighthouse and so much more. I love this trail any time of the year on a clear day as the views are so beautiful.**
The Phoenix Park
The Phoenix Park is notably Dublin’s most famous park and is actually the biggest enclosed park in Europe. Not only is it home to the Irish president and American Ambassador but it is also home to Dublin City Zoo and to a host of wildlife including the famous herd of fallow deer. The park is twice the size of Central Park in New York and is easily accessible from all over Dublin City. Go explore and enjoy all of the trails and activities within.
Bray to Greystones
Another wonderful coastal walk from one bustling seaside town to another, a little over 6km each way. Both Bray and Greystones are on the dart line and so are easily reached from Dublin City Centre. With beautiful views the whole way around this walk is very popular on any day of the year. Probably more so in recent years as the Happy Pear have really put Greystones on the map. I love to start in Bray, head to the The Happy Pear in Greystones for some delicious food and then make my walk back to Bray.
St Anne’s Park
Another great park very close to the city centre and a relatively new favourite of mine having moved to the Northside. It is a big park of about 240 acres nestled in between Raheny and Clontarf and is steeped in nature, history and beauty in equal measure. There is lots to do and see in St Anne’s and plenty of places to wander and explore. My favourite spot to sit and soak it all in is the rose garden. There is always something on in St Anne’s from the weekly fun runs and yoga to the markets and festivals you have no excuse not to visit and enjoy it all.
Hill of Tara
The Hill of Tara is a little further outside the city, about a 45 minute drive but I promise you it is worth it. The Hill of Tara is one of the most important and ancient sites in Ireland and can be found with in the mystical Boyne Valley along with Newgrange, Nowth, Dowth, Lough Crew and Slane. There is lots to explore at the Hill of Tara or you can just stroll around and soak in the abundant ancient energy and peace found there. There is a lovely Cafe there also to warm up on a cold day.
Clontarf / Bull Island
Bull Island is a UNESCO Biosphere reserve and so if you are a nature lover this is the place to go. The special flora and fauna of the reserve attract plenty of wildlife. It is a great place to be within nature and go for a dip while still seeing the famous landmarks of Dublin City – Poolbeg towers, North & South Bull Walls and Howth Head. Right beside busy Clontarf and newly refurbished Clontarf Baths there is any number of places to eat or grab a coffee after a nice walk. My favourites are Bay, Fishbone, Kennedys and Happy Out
Lough Dan, Lough Tay and Knocknacloghoge
Another stunning area right beside Dublin in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains. We really are spoiled for tracks, trails and stunning scenery in this part of Ireland. This area is a place I love to get lost in for a few hours and breathe in the breathtaking views and at this time of the year I think it is at it’s most beautiful. Here is a guided walk around the area, this is definitely one not to be missed. Check out Video showing the stunning views.of the area by a wonderful photographer Ciarán Cassidy. **
**Always be careful when venturing out in nature, make sure you have the right equipment and tools to stay on track and are safe on your trail. There are lots of guides and groups that you can join and learn from. Don’t be silly and put yourself in danger.**