One of the nicest, easiest and most historical walks you can enjoy in Dublin city is the walk from Island Bridge, through the Memorial Gardens to the quaint village of Chapelizod.
Walk from Island Bridge to Chapelizod
History and nature combine on the banks of the Liffey in Dublin to provide a lovely day on the outskirts of the city. The War Memorial Gardens are one of four gardens in Ireland designed by the famous British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944). These gardens are known colloquially as “The Poppies”. This is due to the wearing of poppies in November in the UK, to remember those lost in the Great Wars. Among them were many Irishmen who fought on the side of the British in both world wars and they are remembered here.
The interesting architectural features, sunken rose gardens, herbaceous borders and extensive tree planting make for a pleasant visit in any season. It is particularly lovely in summer with the roses in bloom. The names of the soldiers that died in the conflicts are contained in the illustrated Harry Clarke manuscripts in the granite book rooms of the War Memorial Gardens in Dublin.
Heritage Ireland has free guided tours every Wednesday at 2pm from the end of April to the end of October. The meeting point for the tours is inside the car park gates (South Circular Road entrance). See Heritage Ireland for more details of access.
Watch the Rowers
Visitors can walk along the south bank of the Liffey, heading west, passing a number of long-established boat clubs. You may even catch sight of a team practicing on this leafy stretch of the river. They include the University College Dublin, the Garda Boat Club and the Neptune Boat Club.
The walk along the Liffey is on a hard surface surrounded by trees, shrubs and the river running close by. It is ideal of cyclists and those pushing a buggy. On the far side of the river is the Phoenix Park, and it is a quiet refuge from busy Dublin city. The river is home to many ducks, swans, waterhens and other birds. You may even see a heron waiting patiently to catch a fish.
Your meander will take you into the old village of Chapelizod, straddling the Liffey and the millrace. The ancient village is a mix of very old buildings side by side with modern apartments and houses. Here some of the first Huegenots that settled in Ireland, in the 17th century began the linen weaving business, hence the millrace.
There are a number of local cafés to drop into for lunch or a snack they include Café De Broc the closest to the Liffey walk, BaaBaa Café and the Twirly Gate on Main Street. Make sure to peek into the old-fashioned telephone box on Main Street, it is an amusing piece of art.
The War Memorial Gardens are at Island Bridge, ten minutes by car from the city centre or 20 minutes by Luas or bus. There is parking available. The walk to Chapelizod is 2.6km.