A short but sweet long-distance trail through the Dublin Mountains
Be prepared to be pleasantly surprised by the Dublin Mountains Way. It’s not what you’d expect from a trail on the fringe of a city as it whisks you from city life and into the beautiful Dublin Mountains that lie just 8 miles from the urban city centre.
There are quite a few road sections throughout this trail but they’re certainly worth it for the reward of an easily accessible route from a city centre that offers incredible coastal views, a stunning cityscape and a true taste of wild unspoilt mountains.
This is a moderate point-to-point 42.6 km national waymarked trail that can be hiked in either direction but typically it takes you from the coastal suburb of Shankill, in the east, to Tallaght in the west, boasting far-reaching views along the way.
The hike starts on the main street of Shankill, taking you through a residential area, over the motorway, and along a road section and finally into wooded areas of Rathmichael and Carrickgollogan, where you are rewarded with stunning views over Dublin Bay and the dramatic Wicklow Mountains.
At the summit of Barnaslingan Wood hill, discover The Scalp, a wild and natural ravine formed by Ice Age glacial overflow, before heading for the village of Glencullen, and another country road section and several opportunities to stop for a rest and refreshment if required. Pull in at the famous Johnnie Fox’s Pub, ‘Ireland’s highest pub’ or The Gap Kitchen Cafe.
From Glencullen, the route takes you through some private land and woodland and into another forest, eventually climbing to reach Three Rock Mountain (1456 ft) and then the highest point on the Dublin Mountains Way, ‘Fairy Castle’ or Two Rock Mountain (1758 ft), where lies a Bronze Age cairn and megalithic collapsed passage tomb at Two Rock’s summit. On a bright day you’ll have far-reaching views of the Wicklow Mountains to the South, Dublin City and Dublin Bay.
The trail overlays the Wicklow Way for 1 km, keep following the yellow walking man symbol and ‘The Dublin Mountains Way’ signage to reach the summit of Tibradden Mountain (1532 ft) and then downward before flanking Cruagh Mountain and reaching Featherbed Forest. From here it’s around 6km of country road to reach the entrance of Bohernabreena reservoir and views of Glenasmole Valley, home to one of Ireland’s most ancient legends, the tale of Tír na nÓg and The Land of Eternal Youth.
Walk along the reservoirs for around 4 km, into Kiltipper Park and through a residential area to reach the end of the trail in Tallaght.
Lengthy sections of road walking, woodland trail, mountain tracks, heathland, pastureland.
Things to know before you go
- Wild camping is not permitted on the trail.
- There are lots of good accommodation options near the halfway point of the trail for anyone interested in hiking over two days. It’s easy to get a taxi or arrange collection from Zipit at the trail’s halfway point.
- A recommended trail for those who are new to long-distance trails, wanting to find ‘wild’ whilst also staying close to the city, with easy transport options and rest stops along the way.
- Cycling is not permitted on the Dublin Mountains Way.
- For groups larger than 30, and for commercially guided walks, a permit is required from Coillte.