The cold dark mornings and dreary evenings can make it hard to get up and out during these winter months, making it tougher for us all to get some exercise in and a bit of fresh air too.
But so many places dotted around the city and just out past the suburbs can make a great winter’s walk, whether it be an early morning one for a spring in your step and a late afternoon as the sun sets.
All you need for an extra bit of warmth during these frosty strolls is a hot cup of coffee or better yet, a festive hot chocolate.
St Stephen’s Green Park
Beginning in the heart of the city there’s St Stephen’s Green Park. This lush but oftentimes very busy park is shrouded with trees, shrubs and colourful flowers along the pathways that will bring you over dainty bridges, past the large lake and into a lovely square full of benches and fountains.
It’s the perfect escape for a lunchtime stroll and a cup of coffee to get a breath of fresh air and alleviate some stress on a break away from work. Just outside the main gates which lead to Grafton Street are a large selection of coffee shops where you can grab a quick fix of caffeine or hot chocolate.
Butlers Chocolate Cafe make luxury, rich in flavour hot chocolates starting from €3.70. Insomnia and Starbucks have stores located just around from Grafton Street for a nice warm cup of coffee to have in hand while you stroll.
For a coastal walk Dun Laoghaire Pier is a wonderful but more than likely windy option. The east pier which stretches down to a little courtyard around the lighthouse, which you can go in and look out onto the seafront during the daytime.
The little town has a variety of shops that you can grab a cup of tea in to heat up your bones before you go for a chilly winter walk for a relatively good price. On Sunday mornings a large market takes over the People’s Park with vendors selling things from pizzas, rolled up ice-cream to mini doughnuts and crepes.
Be sure to wrap up with your winter warmers if you do choose this spot as a stroll-worthy place to go as the open seafront does bring a chilly wind with it during these cold months.
If you’re looking for a real escape from people and city-life, then the Dublin mountains and areas just outside them hold hidden gems of pathways surrounded by nature. Bear in mind your easiest option of getting to these final two is a car, so you’re looking at a bit of difficulty in getting to them if you can’t drive yet.
Glendalough is a beautiful getaway for a winter walk, particularly in the morning time. Travelling there via the N11 will take just over an hour, but it’s well worth the trip. The fabulous huge lake makes for a stunning setting while you walk around the area. As a true countryside walk, it’s filled with fields of grass, flowers, plenty of trees and natural bird sounds alike.
The old monastery is also a lovely walk full of sights of history, but it can get a bit bumpy as old rocks and stone tend to stick out from the ground sometimes, so be sure to wear a good pair of boots.
The final place is Cruagh Wood, which is roughly a 45-minute drive from the city centre, just in the nook of the Dublin Mountains past Rockbrook. Cruagh offers amazing views of Dublin city at its highest point.
The walk loops in a circle that brings you to the summit of the mountain, and with a few benches along the way you can sit down to catch a breath and watch some of the wildlife that are known to appear in among the trees, such as rabbits, squirrels, birds, foxes and deer.
Once you’ve finished your walk it’s just a short drive to a quaint cafe called Timbertrove. Located just along the Old Military Road, the inside of this shop is a garden centre, but once you go past the centre, glass doors will bring you into a wonderful cosy cafe that offer everything from hot drinks, sandwiches, homemade soups and delicious desserts all while overlooking Dublin Bay.
Even though the dark days can make us feel a little bit down in the dumps about life, getting out for a nice walk in the fresh air can perk us all up. With a range of parks, piers and woods to venture to, there’s no reason why we should stay locked up inside the house until Christmas.