On my recent trip to Dublin I was asked by an American traveler, ‘if you had one day in Dublin, what would you do?’
We were sitting at breakfast munching on fresh-baked brown soda bread while sunlight streamed through the windows. This question can be answered in many ways – I mentioned a couple of my favorite museums, neighborhoods for a stroll, and parks. In the end, I described the activity that I would be doing on that very day, getting out of the city center for a hike to the top of Killiney Hill.
Located south of city center, Killiney is famous for its coastal views. Visitors to Dublin without a car can take the DART train to Dalkey and follow this map, but we hopped in the car to take in the views along the drive. Upon arrival, there are many different paths to take, varying in degrees of difficulty. I have a favorite path, one that winds through tall trees and provides incredible views of the Irish Sea.
Continuing up to the top, it is possible to look back at Dublin City Center. On this visit I learned that the two piers in Dun Laoghaire (visible from this vantage point) were built from rock taken out of Killiney Hill. This quarry is now a popular place for rock climbing. What is so striking about Killiney Hill (beyond the views) is an undisturbed quality. The paths are the result of countless footsteps – you won’t find smooth pavement here. There are no handrails or guardrails – it is possible to venture as close to the edge of the cliff as you dare.
During my visit wildflowers were blooming, locals were out walking their dogs, and a family was enjoying an afternoon picnic. The hike to the top is a leisurely one, with plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the views. There are still a couple Dublin museums I haven’t yet seen, and there are always more restaurants to try, but just about every time I’m in Dublin and the sun is shining, Killiney Hill is the place I want to go.