Walking can be one of the best ways to discover a new city away from the tourist trail, understand its layout and observe the everyday life of locals. Download some offline Google maps, pull on a pair of sneakers and head out the door for some fresh air and exercise. Here are 10 of our favorite routes to explore when you study abroad in Dublin.
1. PORTOBELLO GRAND CANAL. Be prepared to meet joggers, cyclists, friendly dogs, families, students, beautiful barges, swans, ducks, and people generally hanging out, enjoying the scenery when you walk along here! The Portobello Grand Canal flows behind Griffith College where CAPA students take classes, and the cafés and bars dotted along the canal make it a popular spot for everyone to enjoy.
Photo: Portobello Grand Canal by Hayley O'Brien
2. BRAY - GREYSTONES. Just outside of Dublin, in a place called Wicklow, you’ll find one of the most gorgeous cliff walks that Ireland has to offer. Take the DART from Tara Street to Bray, and then embrace the 7km stretch of cliffs and coastline to Greystones. We recommend grabbing a bite to eat at The Happy Pear restaurant once you reach Greystones, before getting the DART back to Tara Street!
Photo: Bray by Hayley Ni Bhriain
3. PHOENIX PARK. Phoenix Park is twice the size of New York’s Central Park, and home to the President of Ireland, numerous festivals, and plenty of wildlife and animals. On a sunny day, we recommend hiring a Dublin Bike and cycling around the Park to soak up the atmosphere, but it's a great place to take a long walk beyond the noise and traffic of the city as well!
Photo: Pheonix Park via Geograph.ie
4. GLENDALOUGH. Glendalough (pronounced: ‘Glendalock’); or Gleann Dá Lough, meaning ‘Valley of the Two Lakes’ in Irish, is a glacial valley in County Wicklow - a beautiful place to spend a day walking around and exploring. There are nine color-coded walking trails maintained by Wicklow Mountains National Park. They vary in difficulty. You can go with a guide or trek alone. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the stunning scenery!
Photo: Glendalough by Stefan Floper
5. GRAFTON STREET AND ST. STEPHEN'S GARDENS. Grab an ice cream from Murphy’s on Wicklow Street and walk up Grafton Street to St. Stephen’s Green Gardens; here are two fantastic walks in one! Grafton Street is one of the main shopping streets in Dublin, with a number of high street stores, as well as street performers and live music. At the top of Grafton Street you’ll find St Stephen’s Green Gardens; filled with landscaped flowerbeds, trees, a fountain and a lake.
Photo: St. Stephen's Green by Hayley Ni Bhriain
6. IVEAGH GARDENS. Often described as a ‘hidden gem’ in Dublin city, you need to know where to look to find this inviting green park. Visit the Iveagh Gardens to for a stroll around the walkways and then chill out with a good book, step back from the noise of the city and just enjoy the breath-taking sense of space. The Iveagh Gardens have wonderful landscaped gardens and a beautiful waterfall – you’ll find it hard to believe you’re still in Dublin city center!
Photo: Iveagh Gardens by William Murphy
7. THE RIVER LIFFEY. A waterside stroll down the world-famous Liffey River will take you from Dublin’s Docklands, which was once a run-down area but is now known as Dublin’s Silicone Valley after some serious renovations, past numerous bridges ranging from very old to very modern, and eventually to the edge of Phoenix Park where you can carry on walking if you're feeling energetic!
8. HOWTH. Howth is a beautiful seaside village, which can be easily reached by DART from Dublin city center. Strolling along the Cliff Path Loop, you get an excellent view over Dublin Bay, and if you’re lucky enough, you may even see some seals splashing around and diving for fish in the water! Check out the bustling village while you're there as well and catch a glimpse of the Baily Lighthouse.
Photo: Howth by Doyler79
9. THE WICKLOW MOUNTAINS. Take a break from the city with a trip to the Wicklow Mountains where you can spend some time meandering through the paths of flora and fauna while listening to the relaxing rush of Ireland’s highest waterfall! Powerscourt Waterfall is nestled at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains. A trip to this waterfall is the perfect resting spot for a picnic or a BBQ after an afternoon of hiking.
Photo: Powerscourt Waterfall by Jonathan Schachter
10. MERRION SQUARE GARDENS. These beautiful gardens are located at the heart of Georgian Dublin, and are home to many fine sculptures commemorating historical events and people, including the famous Oscar Wilde sculpture CAPA students love to visit. There are often events and markets happening between the four walls – definitely worth a visit and a walk around the surrounding area where you can spot some of the city's famous colorful doors.
Photo: Merrion Square Gardens by Ottoman