Insider Tips

The Essential Dublin Docklands Photo Tour

By Visit Dublin

19th April 2021

Discover the Dublin Docklands, a place where history and modern life meet making it the perfect place to bring your camera for some incredible photos. Whether you’re a hobbyist photographer or a smartphone user with a great eye, this vibrant part of the capital features Irish history, modern architecture, interactive museums and epic boat trips that are snap-worthy, Insta gold waiting to happen.

Here are some of the unmissable places you have to check out on this essential Dublin Docklands photo tour.

By the Liffey

Start your photo tour off on the banks of the Dockland’s lifeblood, the River Liffey. Snapshots of mighty boats sailing the river, incredible architecture and some sights unique to Dublin.

Samuel Beckett Bridge

Named after one of our greatest novelists and playwrights, the Samuel Beckett Bridge is a work of art in its own right. This engineering marvel is supported by 31 cable stays from a leaning, white, steel support and spans the River Liffey to Sir John Rogerson's Quay in the Docklands. Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava envisioned the bridge to look like a harp resting across the Liffey.

Light shining across the cables create spectacular shadows on the road and river below, with the National Convention Centre making a fantastic backdrop for your photo. The entire bridge swivels 90 degrees to allow large boats through, which is a desirable image for any photography enthusiast in the capital.

Grand Canal Docks Sign

Wander down the walkway by the river towards BrewDog and grab a photo of the Grand Canal Docks sign. The large white lettering on the sign stands guard over where the River Dodder, Grand Canal and River Liffey meet before flowing out into Dublin Bay. Set yourself up from a distance and get a photograph of this snippet of Dublin’s history with the modern city behind it, or make your way to the sign and get some close-up shots of the textures and colours of the ageing metal letters.

Grand Canal Square

Walk around the corner into nearby Grand Canal Square and experience a thriving hub of modern culture and fantastic dining; you might even see kayakers and wakeboarders out on the water. This is where you’ll find striking architecture, historic buildings and a whole host of picture-perfect scenes.

Designed by the renowned landscape architect Martha Schwartz, Grand Canal Square is one of Dublin’s most instantly recognisable places, particularly at night. The tall, red poles tower above the square and beautifully complement the surrounding blue and green neon lights. With the magnificent Bord Gáis Theatre in the background, there’s no end to the photo ops here.

Bord Gáis Energy Theatre

Architect Daniel Libeskind is well known for his imposing and jagged designs, such as the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the Imperial War Museum in Manchester, and of course our very own Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. The building, which is Ireland’s largest fixed-seat theatre, anchors the end of Grand Canal Square with the commanding entrance standing like the bow of a ship docked in a port.

The angular steel and glass facade blends contrasting textures and colours, giving eagle-eyed photographers the chance to take some gorgeous abstract photos.

Boland’s Mill

Glance over towards the modern office blocks from Grand Canal Square and spot the historic Boland’s Mill. Once a bustling mill that provided jobs for locals, it was used by Éamon De Valera and the Irish Volunteers as their headquarters during the Easter Rising and is now a hotspot for photographers.

Cross the street to Grand Canal Quay to get the best viewpoint of the 19th century, six-storey stone warehouse with barges and boats docked below the famous Boland’s Mill typography. This is a shot that your social media followers need to see.


What better place to finish your photo tour of the Dublin Docklands than by getting some wonderful sunset snaps by the sea in Sandymount. With some of Dublin’s most famous structures and a beautiful beach, you may find yourself here long after the sun has set.

Poolbeg Towers

Poolbeg Towers, Poolbeg Stacks, Poolbeg Chimneys, whatever you want to call them, we’re all familiar with the iconic red and white striped chimneys that dominate the Dublin landscape. You can see them on your hike in the Dublin Mountains or swim at Seapoint, but the best way to experience the Poolbeg Towers is from right here in Sandymount.

Over the years, the chimneys have come to represent Dublin and are one of the city’s most loved landmarks. Take your photos from the beach or at any of the great vantage points along the Poolbeg Lighthouse Walk.

Poolbeg Lighthouse

Continue your picture search on the 5km-long Great South Wall walk towards the photo-worthy Poolbeg Lighthouse at the end. This vibrant red structure is over 250 years old, jutting out into Dublin Bay atop the South Wall. There are incredible views ideal for photos all along this sea wall, which happens to be one of the longest in Europe, but the star of the show is at the end of the walk. Pose with this true Dublin icon or frame your photo to catch a cruise ship in the distance, or flock of birds overhead.

Sandymount Strand

As you walk back towards Sandymount take advantage of the sweeping views of Sandymount Strand. Hit your shutter button at just the right time to capture kite surfers flying into the air, see some of Dublin’s most photogenic dogs and take pictures of a kaleidoscope of colours in the sky as the sun begins to set on another inspiring day in the Dublin Docklands.

Sandymount Martello Tower

Wander down Sandymount Strand and you’ll soon catch a glimpse of a relic from the times of Napoleon. Sandymount Martello Tower was built in 1804 and had two cannons on its roof to fight off any invasions from the French emperor. Take a picture of the tower with waves lapping at its base and imagine back to the time when 20 soldiers bunked inside. The Martello towers are well-known for their role in Irish culture with James Joyce having lived in the Sandycove tower and Bono owning one in Bray.

After a day of walking for miles outdoors, treat yourself to a delicious takeaway meal from one of the restaurants back in Sandymount, as you head home to sift through your photos from the day and share them with your friends.

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