Take a Walk – The Bull Island, Dublin

Just a few kilometres from Dublin city centre, is a lovely seaside walk at Clontarf. The Bull Island is a nature sanctuary connected to the mainland by a wooden bridge that was originally built in 1819 during the construction of the North Bull Wall to prevent the Port of Dublin silting up. 

Take a Walk – The Bull Island 

It was one of two great walls built during that time and extends about three kilometres into the bay. A side effect of building this extensive wall was the formation of an island behind it. A gift to Dublin from the sea. This 5km x 800m stretch, grows gently every year and is the perfect place to catch a sea breeze when visiting Dublin City. 

It became a UNESCO Biosphere in 1981 and is the only one in the world situated in a capital city. The significance of North Bull Island means that the whole area has become a nature reserve and a wild bird sanctuary.

It is a place to see wildlife in their own habitat. You may even see some of the wild hares released here in the 1990s in an effort to save the native hare population. The island is also home to the Brent Geese, that winter here on their long journey to the North West Territories in Canada.

Bull Island

This island is also home to two private links golf courses, St. Annes and Royal Dublin Golf Club and they welcome visitors to play their famous courses. These courses are both more than 100 years old and are known to be testing for golfers. 

The wide shallow beach, Dollymount Strand –known colloquially as Dollyer– is popular with families especially in the summer. It is a beloved picnic place for Dubliners who have many happy memories of days out by the sea. Children love playing in the sand dunes. Walkers and cyclists enjoy it all year round. 

Water sport enthusiasts enjoy the shallow waters of Bull Island and you will often see daredevils flying high kite-surfing, paddle-boarding and sand-karting. 

It is easy to get to from the city and there is parking on the island. A looped walk takes you along the beach and back along the the coast road to Clontarf; it takes about two hours. There are toilet facilities and a coffee shop at the entrance to the strand, with ice cream vans also cropping up at busy times.  

Joan Scales
Award-winning journalist, Joan has been writing about travel and tourism for many years principally for The Irish Times and lately for travel2ireland. Joan has appeared many times on television and radio talking about the business of travel and all its component strands. She is also a public speaker and has appeared at many international conventions and conferences.

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