I’m sure you’re wondering what are the best places to walk your dog in Ireland, well it is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. With summer just around the corner, we would like to offer our readers some fresh ideas for places to take their dog when the sun starts to shine. Your dog loves new adventures and places as much as you and a break from the routine can be exhilarating for the both of you. So we are going to start a series where we will detail some of the best walking trails in Ireland, categorised by county.
Let us get it started with the big smoke, and the best places to walk your dog in Dublin; here are 7 of the best places to go for a scenic and relaxing walk with your dog in our capital city. But don’t just stop there; we would like you to submit to us your favourite place to take your dog for a walk, and we can hopefully bring some friends for your pooch to meet out on his (or her) walkies!
Montpelier Hill, Co. Dublin – Walk Length 4.5km
Montpelier Hill is a 383-meter high hill in south Dublin that has a ruined building at the top. The building is a hunting lodge built around 1725 by William Connolly, and was apparently used from 1735-1741 to house members of the ‘Hell fire club” who partook in supposed debauchery and occult practices in the lodge.
Nowadays, it is a great place to take your dog for a walk, ascending through the forest along the hilly terrain is great for some exercise and the breadth of sounds and smells is sure to have your dog very excited. At 4.5km, it’s not too long, but it is recommended you walk clockwise up the hill to enjoy the views on your return journey.
Montpelier hill being the closest of the Dublin mountains to the city means the views of greater Dublin are nothing short of spectacular. From the rolling hills below you look up to see the Poolbeg chimneys, and with the glisten from the water in Dublin bay, it forms a truly mesmerizing sight.
Portmarnock, Co. Dublin – Length 2.4km (each way)
This long stretch of beach has a great mix of seaside leisure and fun-filled adventure for your dog. Along the shoreline there is some beautifully soft sand at low tide that your dog can explore and in late summer the water is always inviting for a dip. The dunes on the landward side will offer a fun obstacle course for your pooch as you twist and turn through each to reach the end of the beach.
The beach is alive with remnants of the water dwellers washed along the shore; you can find lots of dried sea kelp and some cool shells for you to take home. Just be careful of letting your dog walk through broken shells as they could cut their paw and be quite painful.
With the bird sanctuary of Ireland’s eye just 6km from the shore, the views are simply breathtaking, the glow of the early morning sunrise makes the bright orange sky look like it is lit up by neon lights.
Tip: If you are driving to the beach, there is access from the golf course car park.
Loughshinny head – 1.3km (each way)
Loughshinny, Co. Dublin
This coastal trail will have your dog vigorously wagging their tail in excitement by what they see. Along the pier your dog can explore some of the fishing vessels unloading their freshly caught shellfish such as lobster, you might even get a quick bite to eat straight from the sea!
Moving along the sandy beach you will come to a trail, which leads up to Loughshinny head, dominated by the historic Martello tower, erected in the 19th century as a fort and lookout post for attacking enemy ships. Fires were lit in Martello towers along the coast of Ireland when an enemy ship was located to alert the next tower down the coastline.
There are some amazing folded rock formations beneath the head as well, the sedimentary rock folded up in strange positions, formed during more geologically active times in Ireland. One of the more secluded walks along the north Dublin coastline, but nonetheless very spectacular and steeped in history.
Malahide Castle – 4.5km along perimeter
Malahide, Co. Dublin
On a bright summer’s day there is few better places in Dublin to take your dog than the stunning Malahide Castle and Gardens. With the sun shining down, the place will be alive with children and wildlife, and definitely some other dogs for yours to get acquainted with.
The paved trails make easy walking, both through the open green spaces and even through the tall trees of the surrounding forests. Letting your dog off the lead will be easy, with wide-open green grass to get some serious running done. There is also adventure to be had, divert from the pathways and you can take a trip through a deep forest and see what you find.
The castle itself is a spectacular relic from the 12th century, and was in the ownership of the Talbot family for a staggering 791 years from 1185 until 1976, when it was sold to Fingal county council, who opened the park to the public.
Dollymount strand – 4.5km
Bull Island, Clontarf, Dublin 3
Dollymount strand is one of the most popular walking destinations in all of Dublin, with the windy beach attracting lots of wildlife, especially birds & beautiful views as far as the Poolbeg lighthouse and even Dun Laoghaire in the distance.
Walking along the wooden bridge that takes you from Dollymount to Bull Island, you see the distinctively Irish feel of the green-tinged water lapping up against the wooden posts beneath your feet. At the end of that walk is the Star of the Sea statue that marks the entrance to Bull Island. What a great place to take your dog for a walk, the fresh air blowing across the Irish sea, the perfect shells to be found along the beach, and the crystal-blue big sky above.
An evening stroll along the beach on Bull Island is enough to make anyone feel a sense of belonging in one of the finest beaches in the county of Dublin. Make it to the end and you may even find some seals enjoying the final rays of sunshine beaming down from the west.
Phoenix Park – 11km around the perimeter
Dublin City Center
One of the largest walled parks in all of Europe’s capital cities at 1750 acres; the phoenix park offers a very wide array of terrains and pathways for you and your dog to traverse. From the Wellington monument, the largest obelisk in Europe at 62 meters tall, to the Papal cross, erected in 1979 for the visit of Pope John Paul II when an open air mass gathered a staggering 1 million people to the Phoenix Park.
Chesterfield Avenue cuts through the entire length of the park but the park also has trails to take you close to the duck pond and let your dog get acquainted with the wild deer, but just keep them on a lead to ensure they are safe.
You may also take a trip towards Aras an Uachtarain, where our president Michael D. Higgins lives with his two Bernese mountain dogs Bruno and Shadow.
Howth head – 6.5km
Howth, Co. Dublin
Ah Howth head, one of the most peaceful and at the same time exhilarating walks to take with your dog in any part of Dublin. The steep terrain is sufficient for some great exercise for you and your dog any day. Be warned though, some of the paths along the cliff faces at Howth head are narrow, and dogs have been known to get into a little bit of difficulty.
The best part of the walk along Howth head is the Baily lighthouse, built in 1667, and electrified in 1972, this lighthouse was the very last one in Ireland to go automatic, although a lighthouse keeper still lives in the keeper station at the foot of the lighthouse.
The cliffs offer a wonderful view of Dublin and allow walkers to get up close and personal with the rich waters of Dublin Bay. It is best advised to avoid the narrower passages of the cliff walks if walking with your dog and instead take the more inland trails along the head itself, which still offers a bird’s eye view of the splendor of Dublin.
So there you have it, 7 magnificent places to take your dog for a walk this summer, be sure to bring some water for both of you as some of these trips can be long and tiring, but they are all definitely worth it.
Think we’ve missed something? Tell us about your favorite walks in Dublin, or your own county in the comments.
Part 2: – Wicklow
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