About two and a half years ago, Frank and I moved from smack dab in the middle of Dublin city (granted not a great area but the location! ideal) to one of the little villages a short bit out of the main city centre.
At first I missed the buzz of the city and was a little sad I couldn’t just easily meet a friend for a quick pint somewhere handy for both of us. After a little while though I grew to love being outside of the city, choosing to be in the buzz when I wanted to and generally just being outdoors so much more.
Also, where we live now is luckily only about a 5 minute walk from the DART station and only about a 20 minute train ride into the heart of Dublin. But besides the ease of getting into Dublin, it’s so great to have access to really nice places with max a 40 minute trip away.
So in light of this, I wanted to round-up my 6 favorite stops along the DART line. Anything I’ve included I’ve been to so many times (probably at least 6x each and others countless times) and genuinely if I have a free afternoon or morning, I hop on the train to take me to some place for a bit of fresh air. Lots of these include two of my favorite weekends things: coffee and nice scenic walks.
1. Bray & Greystones
These two are grouped together in my book, because the Bray to Greystones cliff walk (or the opposite direction) is one of the best ways to spend a sunny morning or afternoon out of Dublin city. It’s the perfect level of difficulty (runners will do just fine) and offers gorgeous views of the sea. Great to go with your group as you can easily chat along the way (or go solo) and pet the dogs that pass you by.
Either direction will lead you to lovely treats to reward you after your walk. In Bray there’s Platform Pizza with homemade lemonade, seriously tasty wings and top ingredients on their pizzas. In Greystones everyone and their mother loves The Happy Pear (which I don’t dislike it’s always just too busy) so I opt for the sweet Cafe Gray, which has the tastiest lemon blueberry drizzle cake.
Two parts to Killiney worth a visit – Killiney Beach and Killiney Hill. There’s a gorgeous extra long stretch of a beach where you can catch people fishing, dogs walking and people attempting to swim. It’s a rocky beach so not ideal for lounging on a towel, but there’s stunning views of the coast here.
Part two is Killiney Hill, another great walk without being too difficult. It’s the perfect mix of woods/coast and takes about 2 hours to complete. I like to do the walk first then sit for 15 minutes on the beach while waiting for the DART back to town.
Just the stop before Killiney, but Dalkey is a good place to stop on the way back from your many little walks or even if you’re looking for something a little different for dinner than Dublin city. My favorite little place to have a bite to eat outside is The Tramyard cafe and there’s about a million specialty food shops to pop into.
Also my favorite Italian restaurant Ragazzi’s is here. Frank and I always feel so welcome there, the food is so tasty and not overpriced at all. And of course, there’s a great (extremely) short little walk that takes you along the coast but really is gorgeous.
I’ve written about Howth a couple of times before but really, it’s fantastic. One of the best coastal walks in the east coast is here, sorry still have yet to find ones to match the west. I know I’m harping on about the coastal walks, but truly if you’re visiting Ireland you’ve gotta appreciate the islands edges.
Not into walks? There’s a sneaky little beach where you can actually stretch out in a towel. I always walk the furthest I can to get a quiet little space, or you can hop off at the Sutton station and grab a space near there. If you want to avoid the sea completely, there’s beautiful gardens as well. Also there’s my favorite fish & chips and a nice pub next to the water. Howth’s been getting all the press lately, which is great, but also please go early in the morning and avoid the swarms on a nice day.
If you walk out straight towards the sea from the dart you’ll reach the beginning of Clontarf. There’s a really nicely done pedestrian walk along the coast (grab a coffee here before you head out) and if you’re feeling a long walk, you can head out towards Bull Island. Even better, rent a bike and have a quick cycle on the path.
Either way, you’ll cross over a wooden bridge which you are unsure will continue to hold, and reach a really nice view of Dublin and the Poolbeg Towers. If you look to your left you’ll see a massive beach and perhaps even people attempting to surf.
6. Seapoint, Monkstown, Dun Laoghaire & Sandycove
These four stops are all the ones just after my own DART stop so there’s a lot I can say about these spots. They’re all really quite close to each other and merely walking distance so you could easily spend an afternoon covering off these few. All have their own merits but here’s a note about each.
Seapoint – this is my local little beach. There’s always people swimming, literally every day of the year, and no matter the weather it makes for a dramatic short walk along the water. When it’s windy there’s kite surfers, when it’s quiet there’s paddle boarders but people watching is generally a given here.
Monkstown – if you get off at Seapoint, it’s about a 15 minute walk to Monkstown. Here is where there’s some seriously tasty restaurants and a great little Avoca to buy some food for dinner, or stop and sit outside at Cinnamon for coffee & a cake.
Dun Laoghaire – this one gets a lot of press as well, as there’s a whole bunch to do in this sizeable village. There’s two calm piers that take about 30 minutes each to walk. And again because I’m clearly geared by treats, there’s the Dublin’s favorite Teddy’s for 99s or the absolutely decadent Scrumdiddly’s that have every topping and delicious hot fudge sauce. Also on Sunday’s there’s a farmers market (again go early on this one because past 12pm on a nice day it is jammed) and stop by my favorite little shop for really inexpensive lovely paper supplies and more.
Sandycove – if you keep walking on past Dun Laoghaire, you’ll walk towards Sandycove. You’ll literally see a sandy little cove and if you round that corner, you’ll stumble to the Forty Foot, a common place to swim. If the water’s way too cold, loop up towards the main road and grab a coffee at this new coffee shop Hatch, sit outside on the bench and people watch before you head back into town.
P.S. While I’d love to share lots of nice camera photos – I’ve been awfully bad at taking the good camera along with me, so some of these spots I’ve never actually taken good quality pics at. So in the interest of consistency, everything is coming from my Instagram page.