Day trip from Dublin: Dalkey and Killiney Hill

When most people come to Ireland they start and end in Dublin. If you happen to be visiting and don’t have enough time to travel around the country, you should still see some of the quintessential Irish scenery. Exploring Dublin’s seaside villages is a perfect way to see green rolling hills and typical quaint Irish houses with the Irish sea serving as a perfect backdrop. While Bray, Greystones, Howth, and Malahide are all great options if you want to steer away a bit from the crowded trails Killiney and Dalkey Hill make for a perfect afternoon hike. 
Killiney heart

Logistics

Just because the pictures look like the Mediterranean, unfortunately doesn’t mean this walk will be warm and sunny. As any Irishman would say: “Just because the sun’s out, doesn’t mean it’s not going to rain.” I may have made that saying up, but you should know that in Ireland you should always be ready for rain. From the city center Dalkey/Killiney is about a 20 minute train ride so expect a 40-minute round trip + exploration/walking/hiking for a total of about 4-5 hours. There are good places to eat in Dalkey near the train station, while Killiney was a little sparse in terms of places to eat and drink.

What to bring:

  • Raincoat
  • Good walking shoes
  • Bottle of water

Route:

Warning: There are a LOT of stairs on this route. If you have weak knees please use caution. 

The route

If I re-did this trip I would probably start in Killiney on a full belly and walk up to Dalkey. By the time you arrive in Dalkey you will be ready for a full meal and there are a ton of options in Dalkey. Here are a few really good options:

Assuming you are following my advice to start in Killiney, take the DART from the city center (Pearse or Connolly Station) south towards Greystone/Bray. Get off in Killiney and walk straight to the beach, just north of the station.

View to Greystones/Bray from Killiney beach outside of Dublin, Ireland.
View to Greystones/Bray from Killiney beach outside of Dublin, Ireland.

After spending a bit of time at the rocky beach of Killiney, head up the road (and hill) to the peak of Killiney hill where you will happily stumble across an Obelisk. There are a lot of different paths in this area so make sure you have Google maps open ready to direct you to the Obelisk. While it’s a pleasant walk all around, after walking around Dalkey and Killiney Hill my feet were beat so tread carefully through unexpected paths.

Killiney Hill Obelisk
Killiney Hill Obelisk

After exploring around the Obelisk and taking incredible pictures of the view below to Bray and the Wicklow mountains head up towards Dalkey Hill to take in the incredible view to Dublin city. If you are lucky enough to visit on a clear day the view is absolutely breathtaking. I could have sat here for hours on end taking pictures with my eyes.

Views from Killiney Hill down to Bray
Views from Killiney Hill down to Bray
Dublin city view
View of Dublin from Dalkey Hill
Dalkey Quarry rock climbing
Rock climbing in Dalkey Quarry

While these pictures are absolutely gorgeous, the best is yet to come. My very favorite part of this entire trip was trekking through the neighborhoods of Dalkey and day-dreaming of the lives the rich and famous of Ireland must live every day. The houses in Dalkey are HUGE and AMAZING and have the most spectacular views. I felt like I was strolling through the Italian Riviera even though it was a crisp 55 °F.

After taking in the views of Dublin city head back down to the split marked as Vico Road on the map and towards the sea to end north a the dot marked Torca Road. From here you will head down some steep stairs.

Killiney stairs
Stairs up to Dalkey/Killiney hill

Beware of Stinging Nettles! I had never heard of these and happened into a bush of these plants on my way down the stairs from Torca Road to Vico Road and WOW! My legs were on FIRE! Originally from the great state of Texas, I had never ever heard of these plants and I would highly recommend reading up on these before trekking through any type of hike in Ireland. They feel like little knives digging into your legs for hours on end, so be super cautious if you come across one of these fuzzy little plants.

Once down on Vico Road by the coast, head north towards Dalkey. Give yourself some time here and enjoy the phenomenal views.

Killiney flowers
View down to Bray on Vico Road north to Dalkey

As you head north to Dalkey, enjoy pretending you get to live the luxurious life of the rich and famous. Word on the street is that Bono lives in this fancy neighborhood.

Fancy house in Dalkey
Fancy house in Dalkey
Dalkey Pub
Pub in Dalkey
Dalkey Map
Find a map in the Dalkey Castle to better explore this seaside village

After filling your belly (highly recommend some Irish mussels!)  and enjoying that seaside life, enjoy your train ride back on the DART from Dalkey station back to Dublin.

Happy Trekking!

– Boots not Roots

Spend a day away from the hustle and bustle of Dublin by partaking in the seaside culture of Dalkey and hiking up Killiney hill