Dublin is a port city, which is frequently forgotten with all there is to do downtown until people discover the beaches along the coast. If you start at Poolbeg, you can have a 3 1/2 mile walk that leaves an afternoon enriching your senses.
The first stop is the Poolbeg Lighthouse. For the easiest access, take a taxi. You'll probably surprise the driver with a place he's never seen before. It's located at the great south wall also known as the South Bull Wall and is where the River Liffey flows into the Irish Sea. It was painted red to designate that it is on the port side for ships entering Dublin Bay.
The 63-foot lighthouse is one of the better known Dublin destinations. Its 2 1/2 mile granite stone pier is a beacon for walkers and joggers to stay away from traffic and still in the sea air. If you're lucky as I was, you can gain an up-close and personal experience with the Irish Ferry.
It truly is an engaging time for your senses. Feel the sharp wind against your face, taste and smell the strong salt flavor, listen to the seabirds and crashing waves and feel the touch of the stony pier or the soft sandy beach against your feet.
After you finish the walk down the jetty, take a lunch to the wild windswept beach just south of the jetty, a beach known locally as the Shelly Banks. It's one of the most isolated and perfectly stunning and atmospheric beaches I've found.
Walk further south and you'll reach Irish town, a nature park and grassland with a wooded coastal walkway created to protect the feeding area for the light bellied Brent geese. These geese breed in arctic Canada and fly almost 5,000 miles to Dublin Bay. You can find other bird species in this area, in addition to the seagulls, but the 5 acres of vegetation can make you forget you're anywhere near a bustling city.
Perhaps 30 feet to the east, you'll find the sandy beaches easily accessible on paths made by earlier beach lovers.
Next along the seawall, you'll come to Sean Moore Park. It's where most people who come for an afternoon at the beach will find easy parking. Start at the beach and you may be lucky enough to find people flying kites. In the park itself, though, there are several playing pitches, art including stone sculptures and a sundial, and you can hear the squeals of happy children playing at the state of the art children's playground from quite a distance. In theory, you could spend the day at the park and never see the beach, but I don't know why you'd want to.
When the tide is out, you can walk nearly a mile into the Irish Sea. Be mindful of the time, though, as you won't want to have to swim back.
Next along the seawall, you'll come to one of Dublin's most popular beaches, Sandymount. It includes a length of seawall, the Sandymount Strand, where sunbathers and beachcombers and joggers coexist with couples and young families enjoying their day. With exercise equipment, it's everything active people could want at a beach.
With the food trucks nearby and restaurants across the street, and it will be easy to stay nourished and well hydrated throughout your day.
During the British invasion of Ireland, the Brits built 28 Martello towers as a defense against Napoleon invasion between 1804 and 1805. Well, that invasion never occurred, 21 towers remain. The Sandymount tower is number 16.
Whatever the season, and whatever the weather, the ability to walk along this seawall, can give you plenty of time to allow your cares to go out with the tide or sail away with the wind. I hope you enjoy the beach is as much as I do.