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Dublin by the sea: where to go in summer

By Rory C

Updated May 23, 2022 Updated May 23, 2022

As Dublin rolls out of the rainy months and into summer, everyone needs to take advantage of its extensive coastline. It’s really one of the big perks about going to university in a coastal city.  

There are a few spots that I always head out to over the summer with friends and family. I’ve included spots which are perfect for long family walks, beach get togethers or a stroll with a coffee.  

Spending time by the sea is an incredible experience, but always remember the dangers of swimming in open water.  

Velvet Strand

A long stretching beach and sea

A classic spot in the north of Dublin, Velvet Strand sits at the top of Portmarnock beach which stretches two miles down the coast. This spot is great for days hanging out with a big group of friends as the massive beach can accommodate everyone.  

Velvet Strand is my favourite place for a long stroll when I fancy a proper walk. Plus, there’s a great ice cream shop and Portmarnock Hotel if you fancy a meal. The beach is accessible by train (called the DART) and bus, so it’s easy to get to from campus. 


A wide beach surrounded by hills. A kite flies.

Closer to town and on the famous North Bull Island, Dollymount is a magnificent spot for walking, running and watersports like windsurfing. My favourite route, and the most scenic, is along the Old Wooden Bridge, which you can walk or drive across. If you do have a car, you can then park right by the beach. It’s only 30 minutes from Trinity College Dublin by public transport.  

From the beach, the view can only be described as panoramic. Because it’s set into Dublin Bay, looking left will offer a view of Howth and looking right, you’ll see Dublin City and Dun Laoghaire. You can also spot the cruise ships heading into the port.  

This spot has a place in my heart because I remember running through the sand dunes here as a child.  


A path leads to a rock pool overlooking Dublin

On the southside of Dublin, Sandycove is a seaside spot as nestled in history as its great stone walls that protect the cove from the sea. The famed Irish novelist James Joyce lived here in a building now turned into a museum of his life. I like to visit Sandycove in the early morning and catch the sunrise before classes.  

Sandycove is located just outside the centre of the affluent suburb of Dun Laoghaire and is well connected by bus and train. The area is surrounded with restaurants and cafes, so students often come down at lunchtime and soak up the sun and sea in between studying.  


A town overlooking a marina in Dublin

On the opposite side of Dublin Bay is Howth. Pulling in on the DART is the best way to start a day in Howth, before making your way through the marina (stopping for chips along the way) and then up Howth Head to the cliffs.  

The Howth cliff walk will take you past a stone beach and up along the coast, offering views across the Irish Sea and the whole of Dublin. I like to round off a trip to Howth with a pint in the Summit Inn and the bus straight back into town from the top. 


A cliff top beyond a stretching beach

Further out of the city in County Wicklow, sits the seaside town of Bray. The stone beach is home to a number of attractions including the SEA LIFE aquarium, annual Bray Air Display and one end of the Bray-Greystones cliff walk. 

As a seaside town, there are plenty of spots to grab a bit to eat, as you skip stones down by the water. My own childhood memories of watching the planes over Bray on a gorgeous summer day prompted me to include Bray on this list.  

Despite being outside of Dublin, the DART line goes through Bray and can get you there from Trinity College Dublin in 40 minutes. 

Dublin is surrounded by beautiful beaches and seaside towns to fill your summer with adventure. Think picnics with friends after summer exams and sunbathing until the next semester begins. Don’t forget to take care when in or around the water, and enjoy!  

This article was originally published in May 2022 .

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