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Co Dublin: one walk, one run, one hike, one swim, one cycle, two parks and two outdoor gyms

Your essential, outdoor, family-friendly guide to Co Dublin

When the weather is good, there is so much to do outdoors in Ireland – solo, or with family or friends. Here are seven activities - with locations, descriptions, tips and some maps for a general guide.

Below you can read John O'Dwyer's pick for a great walking path, Conor O'Keeffe on a running route, Rozanna Purcell recommends a hiking trail, Mary McCarthy on an outdoor swimming location, Ian O'Riordan picks a cycle trip, Sylvia Thompson on two family-friendly parks and Fiona Alston selects popular outdoor gyms.

And remember, whatever you do and wherever you go, please be safe. And enjoy.

Name Ardgillan Demesne
Distance 3.5 km loop
Approximate duration 1 hour
Difficulty Easy
Starting point Google Maps Ardgillan Castle (grid reference O 219 609); you can follow this AllTrails guide
Amenities Parking and tearooms
Ideal for walks with small children, as the path is buggy-friendly and rewards with a magical prospect over the great turreted castle to the Irish Sea and the Cooley and Mourne Mountains beyond. Follow the perimeter wall of the demesne through alternating woodlands and meadows.


Name:Carrickgollogan – Lead Mines Way – (Orange)
Route type: Loop
Grade: Easy
Length: 2km
Footwear: Road or Trail Runners
Background: Embrace impressive views over Dublin Bay, the city and the coast on this gentle 2km forest loop near Kilternan, County Dublin. An easy forest loop over woodland paths, the pleasant Carrickgollogan Lead Mines Way takes just 40 minutes to complete.

Route Information: This trail loops anticlockwise around lush Carrickgollogan forest, giving walkers the option of veering north to the disused 19th-century lead mines chimney or south to Carrickgollogan Hill. The historic lead mines chimney was in use until the 1920s, from this point you'll embrace views of Dublin City, pretty Dublin Bay and its recognisable coastline. The viewing rock atop Carrickgollogan Hill boasts more superb views, this time of verdant south Dublin and north Wicklow. The climb to the hill is short and traverses a moderately sloped footpath. After your loop, nearby Kilternan is the place to stop for that well-earned cup of tea. (Aided by: Discover Ireland and Coillte)

Hike name Fairy Castle Loop, Ticknock
Distance 6km
Elevation gain 444m
Approximate duration 1hr 45 mins
Difficulty Intermediate
Route type: Loop
Starting point See Sport Ireland 
Amenities Parking
Dog-friendly? Yes
Tips Get there earlier to get a space, especially at the weekends; on the route up, take the forest path, and don't forget to take in the views of Dublin Bay when you reach the masts.

Name: Velvet Strand
Location: Google Map: Carrickhill, Portmarnock
Brief description:
Long gently sloping beach facing east. Terrific views of Ireland's Eye and Lambay Island
Amenities: Toilets at shelter beside the Martello Tower, car park (at Carrickhill)
Lifeguard: Summer months
Water quality: Excellent – Fingal County Council January 2020
Tips: Convenient to get changed and leave your stuff in the shelter. There is a good place to swim directly in front of the shelter as it gets deep fairly quickly. Gorgeous at sunset and in summer there will always be a few swimming.

Name: Dublin Mountain View
Start location: Dublin City Centre
Route: To the mountains or the sea? Dublin is blessed with options for both when it comes to pretty cycling routes, only the mountains afford the better views: from the city head southside towards Dundrum, the best ascent from the back of Marlay Park to Cruagh Road and Tibradden, across and through Glencullen, turning left at the village crossroads, and from there the descent around Barnacullia and back into the suburbs.
Distance: 33km
Time: 2-2.5 hours.
Highlights: The perfectly sweeping panoramic view of Dublin Bay from the last descent off Barnacullia
Look out for: The Blue Light pub, open for refreshments, on the left hand side of that last descent.
Tips: The ascent from the back of Marlay up Cruagh Road is certainly challenging in places, only less severe that the Killakee alternative, or is it?

Park name:
St Anne's Park, Raheny/Clontarf, Dublin
Amenities: At almost 100 hectares, this is the second largest park in Dublin: Perfect for long walks through a beautiful variety of trees, wildflower meadows and a rose garden.
Special features: A well equipped playground for children, football pitches, tennis courts and café and food market with outdoor seating areas. Check out the chestnut walk from the rock garden to the duck pond and spot the many follies dotted throughout the park.
Access: Dublin City Bus nos 29a, 32 and 130 stop nearby; Car parking along the edges of the park. Google Map "St Anne's Park".
Dogs: Dogs are welcome on leads.
Tip: Take a walk on nearby Bull Island if you're on a day out.

Park name:
Cabinteely Park, old Bray Road, Cabinteely (off N11 or take junction 15 from M50), Dublin 18
Amenities: This 45 hectare park has a spacious variety of adventure playgrounds, grassy meadows, a small forest and pond.
Special features: Look out for sculptures along some of the paths and enjoy the Japanese style cafe.
Access: Bus numbers nos 84, 84a and 145 and car parking. Google Map "Cabinteely Park".
Dogs: Yes but must be kept on leads except in the dog park.
Tip: Keep your eyes peeled for rare birds including the great spotted woodpecker.

Name: Clontarf Promenade, Dublin 3
Equipment: Rower, walker, fitness rider, bicycle, back stretch, leg press, shoulder flexor, body twist, lat pull-down, chest press, stepper, dip bars, shoulder flexor (wheelchair), body twist (wheelchair), chin-up bars (wheelchair), hand cycle (wheelchair).
Location: Google Maps
Information: Lots of equipment at this outdoor gym area, with two spots for gym equipment flanking a calisthenics gym.

Landsdowne Valley Park, Dublin 12
Equipment: Ab curl, shoulder flexor, body twist, stepper, fitness rider, bicycle, cross trainer, chest press, lat-pull down, leg press.
Location: Google Maps
Information: Plenty of room in this park for a warm-up or cool-down run/walk. There is also a pitch-and-putt course.

Get Active Series
- 32 great walking routes in Ireland - one in each county
- 32 great hikes in Ireland
- 32 great running routes
- 32 great outdoor swim locations
- 32 great cycling routes
- 32 great parks
- 32 great outdoor gyms