As one of Dublin’s most iconic landmarks, the Poolbeg Lighthouse walk makes for a fantastic day-out, year-round. In this walking guide, we’ll share all our insider tips from directions to useful info.
The Poolbeg Lighthouse stands majestically in Dublin harbour, lighting the way for those navigating the coastline and offering an excellent walking route for those keen to smell the salty air, and appreciate Dublin from a different angle.
You are sure to have seen it on postcards or punctuating the Dublin horizon. Still, many visitors and even locals have never experienced the Poolbeg Lighthouse walk.
Read on to learn all you need to know about this hidden gem experience in the heart of Dublin.
Overview – what to expect
Located at the mouth of the River Liffey in Dublin city is the Poolbeg Lighthouse: a classic fire-truck-red lighthouse situated at the end of the Great South Wall.
Founded in 1767, this lighthouse remains active to this very day. On its inception, the Poolbeg Lighthouse was driven by candlelight. In 1786, however, oil became the sole fuel source.
In 1820, the lighthouse was remodelled into the version we see standing today. And while its primary function is as a means of illumination, waring off sailors from the approaching harbour walls, the Poolbeg Lighthouse also makes for an excellent place for a unique walk near Dublin city.
When to visit – beautiful sunrise and sunset views
Although the Poolbeg Lighthouse walk sits more on the spectrum of ‘hidden gems’ in Dublin, this can be a popular spot with Dublin locals, so the best time to visit is off-peak.
Sunset and sunrise on the weekdays are a solid shout and can offer dreamy backdrops of Dublin city, as well as some fresh sea breeze to soothe the soul.
We do advise, though, to avoid walking the Great South Wall at night as there are no lights to safely navigate the way or barriers to shield you from the pier’s edge.
What to see – best bits
The Poolbeg Lighthouse walk offers stunning sights. No matter whether you turn north or southbound, your eyes are sure to feast on endless cityscapes and unfolding mountains that skim the clouds and stretch into the far-off distance.
Make sure to take note of Dublin city skyline, the neighbouring coastal village of Dún Laoghaire, and Howth Peninsula, which scoops around Dublin Bay.
How to get there – directions
The easiest way to get to the Poolbeg Lighthouse walk is by car.
To make matters simple, we’ve gone ahead and outlined the driving route from the 3 Arena – one of Dublin’s most iconic music venues located nearby.
There’s a free parking lot at the start of the walk, which makes the whole experience all the more seamless.
How long is the experience – how much time you will need
The Poolbeg Lighthouse walk is four kilometres (2.5 miles) each way, making it an eight-kilometre round trip (5 miles).
Depending on your pace, this should take you between 60-80 minutes from start to finish.
Things to know – things to be aware of
The Poolbeg Walk is an adventurous and outdoorsy experience. Given that you will be walking the Great South Walk – which juts out into Dublin Bay – you will be surrounded by the sea, its crashing waves and wild winds.
Make sure to wear suitable walking shoes and bring a rain jacket in case the weather turns.
Please note that there are no facilities such as bathrooms along the Poolbeg Lighthouse walk. However, a coffee truck serving fresh brews (and sometimes hot whiskeys in the winter) often comes to keep walkers warm during peak times.
Where to eat – delicious Irish cuisine
Nearby, The Fair Play Cafe is a local hidden gem. We suggest you get the full Irish breakfast and a good cuppa tea to warm your bones after your Poolbeg Lighthouse walk.
Alternatively, the Press Cafe is a stunning spot and great place to enjoy some homemade food, after an adventure around Dublin Bay.
Where to stay – fantastic accommodation
If you are keen to stay outside the city and soak up local vibes, we suggest the four-star Sandymount Hotel.
Expect modern furnishings, community vibes, and a warm welcome in this hotel near the Poolbeg Lighthouse walk.