Outdoor Dublin -
how to enjoy the capital in the sun
Occasionally, the sun shines in Dublin and when it does you need to do as the Irish do and savour every minute of that raging ball of fire.
Whilst many of Dublin’s attractions are geared towards indoor spaces, Dublin has some fantastic outdoor spaces too. To experience them you need to leave the cluttered streets of the city centre and go a little further afield.
Oddly, one of the most attractive places in Dublin is Glasnevin Cemetery. Under the imposing round tower of the O’Connell mausoleum, a guided tour will introduce you to many of Ireland’s most notable political figures. There’s also the adjacent John Kavanagh’s – The Gravediggers Pub that reputably sells the best Guinness in Dublin (damned if we know) and has a nice patch of grass in front.
For a more traditional outdoor experience, there’s Phoenix Park, Europe’s largest urban park. This vast area contains formal gardens, the largest obelisk in Europe, the city’s zoo and free-roaming deer. Rent a bike to stand the best chance of making your way around even a fraction of the park. It’s not the most interesting of parks and it does feel a little overwhelming in size but on a sunny day the atmosphere is fantastic.
Hop on the DART and head to the village of Howth. Here you will find beautiful cliffs walks on the Howth Head peninsula. Heading out of the bustling harbour the bright yellow gorze-lined path offers walkers fantastic views of Lambay Island and Baily Lighthouse and out into the Irish Sea. Before returning to Dublin, you must get fish and chips at one of the two fish and chip institutions of Howth - Leo Burdock's or Beshoff Bros.
For a different perspective of Howth Head and the Dublin area, take to the waves on a Dublin Bay Cruise. Starting from the port (closest to the Point LUAS red line tram stop), these diminutive vessels take in the city’s port as well as the coastal towns of Howth and Dun Laoghaire. On a sunny day the coast looks glorious and envelops the brute of a port.
A little further from Dublin City, albeit only a 40 minute train journey north from Dublin Connolly station, is the charming town of Skerries. This seaside gem offers two quality beaches on which to get sunburnt whilst enjoying views of a couple of offshore islands . In the pretty harbour, Joe May's Pub actually allow you to take drinks across the road to sit on the harbour wall for one of the most perfect places in County Dublin to sup a pint.
There are plenty of other green areas to sit and stroll, including St Patrick’s park (in the mostly figurative shadow of St Patrick’s Cathedral), St Anne’s Park and St Stephen’s Green.
As for drinking outdoors in the sunshine, Dublin represents a battle for limited space. Drinking anywhere in public is illegal in Ireland so that rules out the continental tradition of park drinking. Visit one of Dublin’s urban rooftop spaces or urban beer gardens – not always the prettiest but at least blessed by the sun – like the Bernard Shaw or the Living Room. Top tip: start drinking at 11am and never give up your seat.