Insider Tips

From Lighthouse to Coffee Shops: the South Wall Stroll

By Visit Dublin

24th April 2021

Devote a day to exploring the Great South Wall of Dublin, where you’ll discover some of the best views in the capital.

Marvel at the iconic Poolbeg Chimneys, see the majestic Dublin Mountains in the distance... and you can’t miss the vibrant red Poolbeg Lighthouse, standing proudly at the end of the Great South Wall, greeting the steady stream of families, dog-owners, couples and avid walkers who regularly visit this incredible hidden gem.

With a breathtaking landscape and an abundance of excellent eateries within walking distance, the South Wall is the perfect place to spend an afternoon. Here’s everything you need to know about this beautiful part of Dublin.

The Great South Wall Walk

The Great South Wall Walk is about 8km long, so allow yourself eighty minutes to complete it comfortably. Get your walking shoes on and head for Pigeon House Road in Ringsend, about a fifteen-minute drive from the city centre, where the Great South Wall Walk begins.

Described as one of Dublin’s best walks with good reason, you’ll be treated to spectacular scenery along the way. Admire the rolling heather-covered hills of Howth to the north and see if you can spot Dún Laoghaire harbour to the south, as you stroll along one of the longest sea walls in Europe.

From unrivalled views of Bull Island and Dublin’s fair city to the magnificent mountains on the horizon, it’s no surprise that Dubliners and visitors alike retrace their footsteps on this memorable walk time and time again.

Poolbeg Lighthouse

The Poolbeg Lighthouse is one of Dublin’s most recognisable landmarks, and it’s the highlight of the Great South Wall Walk. Built in 1767, it’s thought to be one of the first-ever lighthouses to operate on candlepower before it began using oil in 1786. The original structure was redesigned in 1820, resulting in the fire-engine coloured façade you see today.

An interesting fact, the 20m high lighthouse is almost equidistant from Howth, Dún Laoghaire and Dublin City. The rotund red building towers above the cobbled path of the Great South Wall and is a welcome sight to ships entering Dublin Bay. Stop awhile and watch the magnificent boats, an enjoyable way to spend a leisurely day.

What to do next

After the 8km stretch and some bracing sea air, there’s lots to explore in this amazing neighbourhood. Go kitesurfing on the vast expanse of Poolbeg Beach, Dublin’s premier kitesurfing spot, or simply sit and watch as the colourful kites swoop in high arcs above you.

Continue your day out with a takeaway coffee from Brownes of Sandymount and relax in Sandymount Green, a picturesque park filled with vibrant flowers and colourful plants - look out for the sculptures of W.B Yeats and Seamus Heaney, two of Ireland’s literary legends. Don’t leave without stopping by the golden sands of Sandymount Strand, and if you're making a weekend visit, grabbing something for brunch from Mulligans of Sandymount is always a winning choice.

Later, head into Ringsend for a mouthwatering stone-fired pizza from Basil, the Truffle Shuffle is a delicious choice. Discover a key part of Irish history at nearby Boland’s Mill, the headquarters of the Irish Volunteers during the 1916 Rising. Take some time to explore the sprawling streets of nearby Grand Canal Dock, go kayaking with Surfdock, and visit the interactive galleries at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum to learn the history of Ireland’s diaspora.

Plan your Docklands adventure

Now you just have to decide when to explore Dublin’s Docklands, where there’s so much to do and see, including the epic Great South Wall Walk.

Visit Dublin

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