40 Foot

40 Foot

The 40 Foot July 2009 Is this Ireland's most famous swimming spot? Dubliners probably think it is. Immortalised in James Joyce's Ulysses (although we can't recall ever seeing snot green se there) and loved by generations of the city's swimmers, the Forty Foot is a Dublin institution. For most of its time the Forty Foot was a men only spot, where the male of the species could strip off in peace without being bothered. Eventually that changed (was it 15-20 years ago?) and now men and women, young and old, swim there, although there is a secluded part around the side where men still congregate and women rarely venture. The entrance still has the men only sign, but this is just a left over from a thankfully forgotten era. The great advantage of the Forty Foot is its depth, so you can always jump in even at low tide. It's a great place to swim, with its clean deep waters. While people dive in from the nearby rocks it is dangerous and you should  heed the many warning signs which are obviously there for a reason. This is, of course, a place for year round swimmers and in the depth of a freezing winter all you are allowed to admit to is the water being 'a bit nippy'; wimps need not apply. Although we must admit to being envious on a recent winter visit where a swimmer emptied his hot water bottle over himself after his icy dip.  It is also the place where hundreds of people congregate on Christmas Day for an annual plunge. The whole area is nicely maintained, with a changing area, and is a great credit to the Sandycove Bathers Association who keep it so well. The 40 Foot is accessible for buggies, but there are a few steps which prevent wheelchairs. Directions  View Larger Map The best way to travel from Dublin city is by DART getting off at the Sandycove / Glasthule stop. From there it's a 10- 15 minute walk and directions will be easily got.   [...]

Vico Road

Vico Road

Vico Road, Dalkey July 2009 The trick with this swimming spot is to find it, so keep a close eye out and follow the directions below. Variously known as 'the Vico', 'the Ramps' and Hawk Cliff (which is what the sign at the spot says). This is a small swimming spot, not as famous as its Forty Foot neighbour down the road, but a place which has its fair share of devotees. There are handrails and a ladder which lead you into the fresh clear sea and as you swim you could be anywhere. There is also a small seawater pool which you can get a dip in if the sea is too choppy. A small sheltered area can be huddled into when it rains. When the sun shines and you look across at the white, sun drenched row of millionaire houses on Sorrento terrace just remember that the sea is free. Take heed of the No Diving signs which are there for a reason. Unfortunately, not accessible. Directions  View Larger Map Dalkey is about 10 kilometres from Dublin city .   The best way to access this spot from Dublin is on the DART getting off at Dalkey station. From there find or ask your way to Sorrento Road and Vico Road. At the end of Sorrento turn right onto Vico and its a few minutes walk to the entrance. Watch out for a small gap in the wall which leads you down a path and over a railway bridge. About 10 - 15 minutes walk from the station.   [...]

Donabate

Donabate

Donabate February & May 2010 Donabate is only about 15 miles from Dublin but still has a nice country feel to it. For many years it has been a   popular holiday spot for people from Dublin and beyond, with a number of caravan parks in the area.  There has, of course, been urban development but there is still plenty of green and the beach itself is backed onto by golf courses. Donabate has two beaches, a smaller one to the left which you access by walking around to the side of the hotel and the much bigger one to the right. If it's a quiet swim you are looking for the smaller one is the better bet. A few minutes walk from the hotel will bring   you to a decent sized beach with rocks to shelter in at either end. It's plenty big for children to play and there are some rock pools to explore. The water can be a bit choppy but good fun to play in. Beyond this beach there is also quite a good cliff walk which will take you into Portrane. The bigger beach is a wide expanse about 4/5 kilometres long. It's great for walking and there is loads of room to play and splash in the water. The further up the beach you go the quieter it gets and there are grassy dunes to shelter in. This can be a popular spot for windsurfers and canoeists.  Don't be put off or fooled by some of the rather dull photos here, which we took on a bad day earlier this year. As the other photos show Donabate can be a busy spot and it also gets the sun!  Even when it is busy if you are prepared to walk you will find space. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months. There are very basic public toilets at the entrance to the beach. With a bit of effort the beach appears to be accessible. Directions  View Larger Map From Dublin city you take the M1 Belfast Road. You then take exit 4, R132, signposted Donabate and Rush. After negotiating a couple of roundabouts you get onto the R126 signposted Donabate and Portrane. This road takes you into Donabate where you cross over a railway bridge and take the first right signposted for golf clubs and the beach. Go straight to the end of this road where there is a public car park on your left just before the hotel. The beaches are to the left and right at the end of the road. Dublin Bus also serves Donabate village which will you leave you about a 25 minute walk to the beach ( see www.dublinbus.ie for details).   [...]

Killiney

Killiney

Killiney Beach May 2010 Killiney is a popular family beach and swimming spot on Dublin's southside. The beach itself is nothing to write home about, as it's stony, hard to walk on and attracts flies in the summer.  However, for swimmers Killiney has the advantage of having good depth to the water, even when the tide is out. You do, of course, need to be careful, especially with children, as a few metres from the shore you can be out of your depth. Sometimes the water looks a bit murky, but its quality seems to be ok. Looking out to sea this is a nice place to swim, as nearby Sorrento Terrace looks well in the sunshine and various yachts regularly sail by. In good summer weather this is a popular and busy spot. There is a good size car park, which has ok toilet facilities. The beach is buggy accessible and wheelchairs can get to a tarmacadam path alongside it. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months. Directions  View Larger Map From Dublin city the best way to get here is by DART with the Killiney stop leaving you right beside the beach.   [...]

Loughshinny Beach

Loughshinny Beach

Loughshinney Beach May 2010 Loughshinney is a small, attractive family beach nestling between a harbour at one end and cliffs at the other. This looks like an old fishing village and there is a small car park just before the harbour. While the beach is smallish it is well protected. The water is clear and shallow, so it's a good place for kids to splash around. A nice place for families to visit on a good summers day. The beach itself is accessible from the car park. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months. Directions  View Larger Map; From Dublin take the M1 Belfast road. Leave this at exit 4 where you take the R132 for Skerries. Follow the Skerries signposts all the way and before the town watch out for a right turn signposted Loughshinney. Follow the signposts which will take you to the car park.     [...]

Portmarnock Beach

Portmarnock Beach

Portmarnock Beach April 2010 For a beach that's only a 30 minute drive from Dublin city, Portmarnock has a nice, get away from it all feel to it. Yes, it' s very much an urban environment, but when you get onto that long expanse of beach and look over to Lambay Island and Ireland's Eye you can quickly forget the city stresses. Portmarnock beach is both long and wide. It must be at least 4 kilometres in length and is great for walkers. There is plenty of space for children to play and it's also a popular location for kite flyers, horse riders and the occasional wind surfer. The water is shallow and good for children swimming as they aren't out of their depth too quickly. As you go up the beach you move more into grassy, sand dune territory where you can find some shelter. Otherwise the beach is open and exposed. The beach also has the advantage of being backed onto by the world famous Portmarnock Golf Club and you can scramble up the dunes to peek into this  still men only domain. The area is well served with a couple of hotels.  There is also a good, free public car park and decent toilets at the entrance . Blue Flag beach. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months.   The beach is buggy accessible but we didn' t see a wheelchair access. Directions  View Larger Map From Dublin city it's about a 30 minute drive on the R106 along the seafront and then a sign-posted left turn onto the R105. Follow this road through Portmarnock village and then watch out for a car park on your right just past the Portmarnock Golf Hotel. Also served by Dublin Bus check www.dublinbus.ie for details.   [...]

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