Am enjoyable half-day's walk through the Southside of Dublin from Dublin Port to the trailhead of the Wicklow Way at Marlay Park. The route follows the River Dodder, one of the main tributaries of the River Liffey, for approximately one third of its course before passing through the suburban village of Rathfarnham with its historic castle and St Enda's Park, former home of the patriot Pádraig Pearse. It takes in many of the Southside's best parks, including Herbert Park, Dartry Park, Orwell Park, Bushy Park, the aforementioned St Enda's Park and finally Marlay Park. The duration of the walk can be extended by visits to Rathfarnham Castle and the Pearse Museum in St Enda's Park (allow 1 hour for each).
Although it is not waymarked, this walk forms part of the European long-distance walking route E8 which begins in Ireland at Dursey Head, County Cork and stretches as far as Istanbul in Turkey. The Irish leg of the E8 incorporates several of the country's long-distance waymarked walking trails, including the Beara Way, the Kerry Way, the Blackwater Way, the East Munster Way, the South Leinster Way and the Wicklow Way. This stretch is intended to link Dublin Ferryport (the UK leg of the E8 begins at Liverpool which is connected to Dublin by ferry) with the trailhead of the Wicklow Way at Marlay Park. Purists may wish to begin at the Ferryport on Alexandra Road (2km east of The Point) – however it is not easily accessible by public transport and has little to offer walkers.
Places of Interest:
Point: Built in 1878 as a train depot, this is now a major
performance venue. The walk begins at the adjacent Luas stop.
Dodder: 29km in length, the Dodder is a major tributary of the
Liffey which rises near Kippure in the Dublin Mountains and joins the
Liffey, near its mouth, at Ringsend. Many relics of its industrial
past (a survey in 1844 showed 28 mills operating along its course)
are visible in the form of weirs, millraces and millponds. The most
spectacular weir along the walk is probably the curved one at Orwell
Park: The land was donated to the city by the Earl of Pembroke as
a public park in 1903. The park was used to host the Great Exhibition
of 1907 with displays from every country in the British Empire. The
only surviving remnants are the bandstand and the pond (which formed
part of a “water chute” in the Canadian exhibit).
Nine Arches: This railway viaduct at Milltown was built in 1846
and used by the Harcourt railway line until closure in 1958. It
reopened in 2004 for use by the Luas light rail line.
Castle: The castle was built in 1583. Originally a semi-fortified
and battlemented structure, extensive alterations in the 18th century
give it the appearance of a Georgian house. The castle is going
through extensive refurbishment but it is open to the public during
the summer months.
Enda's Park: Laid out in the 18th century by Edward Hudson, who
built several romantic follies in the grounds, it was leased by
Pádraig Pearse, one of the leaders of the 1916 Rising, for use as a
school. The house hosts a museum dedicated to Pearse.
Park: Another major Dublin park, it was originally laid out as an
estate in the 18th century by the La Touche family. The walk ends at
the trailhead of the Wicklow Way.
This is an easy walk on level ground for the entire route which can be undertaken year round. Comfortable walking shoes or trainers will suffice for footwear. As ever, dress appropriately for the Irish weather; i.e. bring a rain jacket! Many of the parks that the route passes through are open only during daylight hours. In addition, despite the fact that the walk runs through a busy city, certain stretches of the route pass through some relatively isolated paths, lanes, etc. It is, therefore, not recommended to undertake this walk in the hours of darkness. It is also not recommended to use the stepping stones at Bushy Park to cross the Dodder if the river is in flood. Instead, continue east and rejoin the route at the entrance to Fairways estate.
Getting to/from the walk:
Since this is a linear walk, it is advisable to use public transport. The Point is easily reached via the Luas Red Line, which is served by frequent trams throughout the day. Marlay Park is served by Dublin Bus Route 16. Buses stop at the Grange Road which runs along the northern boundary of the park.
Since many of the major roads that intersect the walk are served by Dublin Bus routes, it is easy to make shorter walks by hopping on and off at the relevant places. Similarly, DART users may wish to join the walk at Lansdowne Road. The Luas Green Line intersects the walk at Milltown and, again, a shorter walk is possible by joining or leaving the route there.
E8, River Dodder, dublin, ireland, City walk