The Dublin adventure top 10
If you’re looking to get your pulse racing, the capital is full of high energy ways to rev up days of sightseeing.
Whether you’re paddling under iconic bridges or cantering through a forest, there’s a thrill to suit you. Choose your own Dublin adventure and you’ll be making a splash in the city centre or heading for a nearby mountaintop before you know it.
Dublin’s waterways are its lifeblood. With City Kayaking you can get to know the River Liffey aboard ‘sit on top’ kayaks, good for both novices and old hands. Enjoy a unique perspective of the city on the trip, your only chance to travel underneath the Ha’penny and O’Connell bridges. Alternatively, go further afield with Kayaking.ie and their tours of Dublin Bay. Suitable for complete beginners, join a guided paddling tour to Dalkey Island. As you glide along, keep an eye out for the famous local seals who might just swim over to say hello. For something extra special, try a sunset outing.
Stand-up paddle boarding
Just a short stroll from Trinity College and Temple Bar, Dublin’s Docklands are chock full of adventure on the water. For beginners and improvers, Surfdock Watersports is the go to for stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) in the heart of the city. With their SUP equipment rentals and expert lessons, you’ll have everything you need to quickly find your balance on the capital’s waters.
Learn your lines and what knot to do on a sailboat in Dublin Bay. The Start Sailing Course in Dún Laoghaire with the Irish National Sailing and Powerboat School covers all the basics, from what to wear to setting the sails and negotiating all kinds of wind. The school runs more advanced courses at the marina in Malahide, including a one day crash course in how to crew a modern yacht and five-day programme on how to skipper a boat.
With plenty of breezes to catch and many long stretches of beach to choose from, Dublin is a natural spot for kitesurfing. Make your way to Pure Magic in Clontarf for tuition and equipment hire. Their home base at Dollymount Strand is the ideal sheltered spot for beginners tackling the basics and more seasoned kiters brushing up on their skills. With fun for everyone from total newbie to advanced freestyler, surf’s up on the Northside.
Fancy getting the blood pumping on two wheels? Mountain biking is your gateway to fresh air and gorgeous scenery. Glencullen Adventure Park (the GAP) is a gravity bike park with trails most suitable for intermediate to expert bikers. Visitors can rent a bike and pre-book a 'pedal up pass' for a day packed full of mountain based adventure. Ticknock Mountain Bike Trail takes you around the Dublin Mountains for unfolding views of the city and bay. The shortest route takes about an hour and requires a basic level of fitness, but if you’re looking for a bigger challenge, head off on optional extra loops where more experienced riders can extend the route to up to two hours. Along with the scenery you’ll come across some cool rock formations at the foot of Three Rock Mountain, so be sure to bring your camera.
It's hard to match the feelgood factor of a brisk trek through nature. You can get your fix of panoramic views (and give your legs a proper stretch) on the Cliff Path Loop in Howth, a 30-minute DART ride north of the city centre. Or venture a little further out of the city to the Dublin Mountains where a climb is rewarded by a new angle on the cityscape, as you pick out landmarks like the Poolbeg chimneys. Hilltoptreks provide options from day tours to guided walking holidays, giving you the chance to hit the heights of Dublin at your own pace.
While you’re in the mountains, kick the adrenalin up another notch when you zoom through the Tibradden Wood canopy. Zipit has five circuits ranging from 1 to 20 metres high, and up to four hours of fun for all ages and abilities. Their Treetop Ropes Adventure Course will have you clambering through the pines, swinging into cargo nets and flying down one of their many zip lines.
With Croke Park being the home of Gaelic games (and the GAA Museum dedicated to them), Dublin celebrates these sports with their roots in the ancient past. To get hands on, Experience Gaelic Games provides a chance to try hurling, Gaelic football, and handball in a lively group session. Learn traditional sporting skills that are fun for all and easy to pick up, and you’ll be feeling like a Celtic warrior in no time.
Make a splash with some river rafting on the capital’s doorstep. Just twenty minutes outside Dublin, Rafting.ie arranges exciting group trips on the River Liffey that will get you out into the great outdoors and unlock the city’s natural world. On the trip downriver you’ll float through the Strawberry Beds (named after the fruit that once grew here), as you paddle and splash your way through the peaceful scenery.
Saddle up and seize the reins at Coolmine Equestrian Centre in Saggart, near the foothills of the Dublin Mountains. Their horse riding tours and riding holidays give you plenty of opportunities to get out and explore the countryside. Outings on horseback cover hill and forest, introducing you to local wildlife including deer and birds like the great spotted woodpecker.
If you’re thirsty for more new thrilling experiences around the city, there’s loads of Dublin adventures to be discovered.