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day-trip 1: Bray to Greystones
irst you need to get yourself to Bray, by DART (Dublin Area Rapid Train), and from there you need to locate the seafront (turn left and left again). At the end the road climbs up a little: follow it until you see a path on the right, which you take. itr goes up to the side of the hill where the cross stands, it only takes 45 minutes to get there. It's a good place to stop for lunch and to enjoy the views over Bray Bay and the Wiklow mountains. To go to Greystones ignore the path, it takes you back to bray via the back of the hill: just walk down towards Greystones through thick thorn bushes, or else to walk down the hill from the same path you came from and follow the normal trail to Greystones. It's signedposted as "cliffwalk". If you see a warning sign saying that the trail is closed because the terrain is unstable and the path was washed down to the sea… ignore it, it‘s not true! It just means that some of it collapsed a little (especially the protective wall) but it is really safe to walk there anyway.
The path is about 5 miles long and it‘s mainly on flat ground so it‘s easy to walk. It ends on Greystones' pebble beach. From there there are regular buses going back to Dublin.
Equipment: A packed lunch and some water. Comfortable shoes. Long trousers are a must if you decide to walk down through the thorn bushes.
day-trip 4: Dun Laoghaire to Sandycove
From Salthill and Monkstown walk along the beach heading in souther direction as far as the town of Dun Laoghaire. This is where the ferries from Holyhead in Wales arrive. Have a look around the town and maybe find a pub to have a pint. Then return the the seafront and walk along the paved path as far as Sandycove, which is the village just south of Dun Laoghaire. There‘s a nice round harbour there and a martello Tower. This is where James Joyce lived for a while and where the first 4 chapters of Ulysses take place. The tower has now been turned into a museum which you can visit – and it‘s very interesting even for those who are not so much into literature, as it is possibly the only Martello Tower that you can go inside. When you are finished make your way to the DART station of Glasthule/Sandycove and take your train back to Dublin.
day-trip 5: Glendalough area
Glendalough means the valley of the two lakes and it‘s located in county Wicklow. It‘s an old monastic settlement in a spectacular location. Kevin buses stop for three hours there: wander around and explore the settlement: the old cemetery, the round tower and celtic crosses, and a little church called Saint Kevin‘s Kitchen (the oldest building). You'll see a path that goes over a river and then forks: go fist left and see some ruins of nice old churches, then go back and follow the path though the wood and along the lake: here again you‘ll come across other interesting monastic ruins. You can go all around the lake - the beach is where they filmed the famous scene of the hand stretching out of the water in the movie "the lady of the lake".
From the parling lot and pub, in less than an hour walk, you can follow a path in the forest which leads you past the two lakes to the end of the valley. There you can find the ruins of an old tiny mining town. it's a nice place to set up camp if you have a tent.
Equipment: A packed lunch to eat on the bus to save time, and some water. If you decide to camp, bring a tent, a stove and water purifying tablets.
day-trip 2: Killiney Head and Killiney Beach
The starting point is Dalkey, south of Dublin (go there by DART). From Dalkey station go left and follow the road. Keep looking left: eventually you‘ll find a sort of a path/alley going up with bushes on the sides and a few large stones that pave the ground (in doubt ask – the tricky part is to find the correct alley). Walk right up and you'll see a sign pointing Killiney Head. The path leads you uphill for about 30 minutes, as far as a watch tower. As you take in the view you'll notice where Killiney Beach is. If you look carefully, you can still find a path that leads you directly down to Killiney Beach: a long, albeit windy, nice pebble beach.
A curiosity: from the beach you will see 2 large houses: one is a very posh hotel, the other is where Bono of U2 lives: rumours have it that he is often spotted walking along this beach. However I can't confirm it.
Equipment: comfortable shoes, something to drink
day-trip 3: Howth Head & Beach, Ireland's Eye
Howth is a fishing village with a quite large marina. You could start by taking a walk around the harbour to the lighthouse (seals can be occasionally spotted from there) and the town itself, as there are some nice ruins of an abbey. Then at the end of the village take the road that goes uphill and make a small detour when you see the Martello Tower (a round defensive tower). From there follow the road and go straight up to the top, where there‘s a parking lot: it‘s the begining of the short cliff walk. When you reach the end of the walk you should be near the road again, so make your way back to Howth and have lunch in one of the seafood restaurants: the King Sitric is well known and delicious.
For the afternoon you have 2 options: you can contact a local fisherman (you‘ll see plenty on the pier) and have him take you out to the little island in the bay: Ireland‘s Eye. There‘s another tower, some ruins and a loud birds‘ colony. There is nowhere where the boat can dock, so you sort of have to jump from there onto the island, which can be a bit of a slippery trick: wear adequate shoes. The second opportunity is to walk along the sandy beach as far as Sutton, maybe go for a swim too if it‘s not too cold.
Equipment: For the cliff walk, a copy of Joyce's Ulysses.
You'll easily recognise the spot where Leopold Bloom (James Joyce‘s anti-hero in Ulysses) and his unfaithful wife Molly had one of their first dates.
If you decide to go to Ireland's eye, wear non-slippery shoes.
Jogging more than the memory
Staying in the city centre but wish to jog somewhere free from traffic fumes? No problem! Dublin offers several choices thanks to its abundance of well-sized parks. On the northside a chain of parks links the old Blessington Street reservoir with the Royal Canal via an old Canal extension that has been landscaped quite beautifully. To the west lies Phoenix Park, so huge that one could happily jog there daily and never duplicate the same route. My personal favourite is on the south side, where the Grand Canal towpath means one can run under the road bridges and avoid having to run at street level for decent stretches. A word of warning - despite the nice splash of green on the city map avoid Mountjoy Square near O'Connell Street (not a very safe part of the city) and St Stephens Green during mid-day (way too many perambulists for a clear run).
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