Ireland is a small island sitting with the wild Atlantic Ocean to the West and the Irish Sea to the East.
With dramatic coastlines tracing the Irish terrain, Ireland offers some amazing coastal walks. Take some steps inland, and you’re spoilt for choice there too, with woodland trails, forest hikes, and wild, nature-filled expeditions through ancient lands.
While some locals (as well as tourists) think that Dublin is only about city vibes, they couldn’t be more wrong. The beauty of a trip to Dublin is that it marries city life and nature.
You could spend one day socializing in some of the capital’s coolest bars and shopping on the most prestigious high streets, and the next day you could be taking in bird’s-eye vistas over dramatic valleys and fresh-water lakes.
If you’re planning a trip to the Emerald Isle, Dublin should not be missed. And, more so, neither should these top five hikes and hill walks within an hour of Dublin.
5. Killiney Hill Park – for a fun walk with friends
Killiney Hill Park is made up of two summits worth wandering: Killiney Hill and Dalkey Hill.
Located on the Southside of Dublin, not far from the city, this well-maintained park is perfect for an outing with friends as well as those who want to go solo; it is well-managed, safe, and frequented heavily by locals and their four-legged furry friends.
There are a few routes you can choose to take, and the trails are well laid out too. The routes are generally around 2 kilometres and easy for those who are moderately fit. The summits offer the most unspoilt views of Dublin Bay, Killiney, and Dalkey villages.
These routes are definitely worth a visit when visiting Dublin, and a café and car park in the locale offer ease of accessibility.
Location: Killiney Hill Park, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland
4. Bray Head Cliff Walk – for a DART-accessible coastline walk
Next up has got to be the Bray Head Cliff Walk, which winds and twists along the coastline of Wicklow, just past the border of Dublin. The great thing about this walk is that there is a DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) train station at both Bray or Greystones—the start and end points of this route—so accessibility is on point.
Both ends offer terrific amenities with restaurants, cafes, beaches, and entertainment options year-round, making both areas well worth a visit. This walk is 7 kilometres in distance and takes around 2.5 hours. It is not advisable for young children.
Location: Bray Head Cliff Walk, Bray, Co. Wicklow
3. The Sugar Loaf Trail – for breathtaking Wicklow views
This is a 2.5-kilometre popular mountain trail located in County Wicklow, accessed by car within an hour of Dublin city. The trail, although steep at the final ascent, is relatively easy and would be manageable for families of moderately fit and active older children and adults.
The summit offers breath-taking views over County Wicklow and the neighbouring county of Dublin. A car park at the base of the Sugar Loaf Trail offers ease of accessibility when parking in the locale. Dogs must be kept on leashes at all times.
Location: The Sugar Loaf Trail, Co. Wicklow
2. Howth Cliff Path Route – for a stunning vantage point
Howth is a picturesque seaside town on the Northside of Dublin. It can be accessed via car from the city in less than 30 minutes, and similarly by bus or DART in under an hour. The Howth Peninsula itself is a stunning sight, jutting out into the Irish Sea and offering endless hikes and hill walks within an hour of Dublin.
The Howth Cliff Path Route is a fantastic and manageable trail to undertake. This route handily starts at the DART station in Howth Village, following through the village and along the cliffs to Howth Summit—a stunning vantage point.
The trail then traces back through Howth to the village, ending at the starting point. This moderately difficult route is about 7-kilometres in distance and can take between two and three hours.
1. The Spinc, Glendalough – for a challenging but scenic climb
Topping our list of hikes and hill walks within an hour of Dublin is this difficult walk in Glendalough in County Wicklow. The trail—which is denoted by white arrows along its route—is popular among amateur adventurers and hikers who want to stretch their legs not far from the city.
The strenuous climb offers views over dramatic mountain ranges, rivers, lakes, forests and valleys. The route totals 9 kilometres and takes around three to four hours to complete.
This route is only advised for fit and experienced hill walkers. Appropriate footwear and weatherproof attire are advised, as hikers will be exposed to the elements on the route.