Where to go running in Ireland ?

posted in: Blog, Good spots, Running, Where to run ? | 9
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So you’re now planning to go to Ireland and will stay in Dublin… and you want to go running there… you basically have two options: ask someone there hoping to find a runner randomly in the crowd, ask a runner friend (you’re lucky !)  or search the internet… Clearly option 2 is the best of all. I’m going regularly to Dublin, Ireland (my company HQ is in Dublin) and have been running there for the past 9 months. Here’s my selection of places that are nice to go to:

  1. Saint Stephen’s Green (downtown Dublin)
  2. Phoenix Park (Downtown Dublin)
  3. Malahide sea side (Outskirt of Dublin)

I have to say I tried all three locations and I like them all, depending when you want to go running. Of course if you stay downtown Dublin, you will not go to Malahide or Tulfarris to go run unless you are staying there.

Saint Stephen’s Green

saint-stephen-highI would go there only in the early hours of the morning. It’s basically a small park located inside central Dublin. It’s quite nice inside the park (it has a big pond,ducks, birds, …) but I like it for a simple reason: the outer loop is a wide walking area (4 meters wide probably), very regular and it’s just over 1 kilometre per lap. It’s a grey place to practice your speed, do intervals training, … I usually go there between 5:30am onward (jet lag !!!)  and 7am then run for 1 hour there. During my current trip, I went for 3 days consecutively, doing 6 laps on day 1, 10 laps on day 2 and 3 laps on day 3. I was staying at the Jury’s inn Christchurch, about 1.5 kilometre from Saint Stephen’s green. If you go during winter or autumn, you need to have appropriate clothing.

The place is very well lighted, even at the early hours you can see people walking, taxi drivers waiting for early customers, … and from 6am onward you start seeing runners (all levels, single persons running, groups running, …). I went finishing one of my run in winter in the actual park (as opposed to around the park) and it’s very nice. However it’s been buit with people walking around and enjoying a breeze in the shades or in the sun watching the pond: the sandy walkway is  going left right left right all the time. Nice for an easy run, not great if you want to do speed. The park opens at 7:30am only.

In summary, Saint Stephen’s green is your go to place if you stay downtown and want to exercise during the week, are constrained by time.

Phoenix Park

Phoenix Park (Irish: Páirc an Fhionnuisce) is an urban park in Dublin, Ireland, lying 2–4 km west of the city centre, north of the River Liffey. Its 11 km perimeter wall encloses 707 hectares (1,750 acres), one of the largest walled city parks in Europe.It includes large areas of grassland and tree-lined avenues, and since the seventeenth century has been home to a herd of wild Fallow deer. The English name comes from the Irish fionn uisce meaning “clear water”. 

phoenix-park-highPhoenix park is huge ! It’s a beautiful and a great place to do week-end distance running (the first time I went I was training for my first half marathon). Essenatially you can do a diversified run of up to 21km while staying in the park and never passing twice in the same location. Ok, it’s a bit stretched like this but I did enjoy doing some hills on the tar of the road then sections of trail, … you can’t find that easily elsewhere. Interestingly to give you an idea of the size, on the picture on the right side, the red pin and small green patch beside the pin is… Saint Stephen’s Green ! Definitely not the same scale !

The park has couple of monuments in there: you can do some sightseeing while running. There are large walk ways, large grass areas, trails sections, …  The only issue is that running there will take time (unless you do a short run) and it’s a little bit far from the city center. The first time i went, I was staying at the Radisson Blu and went running along the quay to Phoenix park. My last trip there was in Spring 2014 and I was luckily staying at the Hilton Kilmainham (beside the old prison where british were jailing Irish in the old days, since then converted into a museum) for meetings. It was just one kilometre away from Phoenix park. Below my runs (left from Radisson Blu, right from Hilton)

The place is packed with people (but it’s huge so its’ ok) on the week-end: rugby clubs, casual walkers, runners, family with children, bikers… and “wild” animals. They have deers running around freely, some sheep (maybe the ones from Bono !). They also organise running races in Phoenix Park. The main challenge i found with Phoenix Park was orientation the first few times I went there and where to go to do the distance you want. I would suggest you plan your route well and maybe do a casual walk/slow run just to get your mind around the various intersections and how the park is organised.

Malahide sea side


Malahide is on the outskirt of Dublin – the wealthy one – and you can see it very quickly: nice sea side, big houses, … I stayed there few times for conferences at the Grand Hotel, which is conveniently located by the sea side, overlooking the marina. I like the place for running as you can run by the sea side for many kilometres on a dedicated walk way. After about 10km, you have a long beach on which I went running. I was pretty much alone there, that was beautiful. I remember going running one morning before the sunrise and had to stick to the walkway, unaware that there was a beautiful beach just beside me ! The next day before leaving, I went running there after the sun rose… that was worth the trip to Malahide. Other than that, it’s a bit too far from Dublin if you have no car !

Where else ?

Ireland is such a beautiful country I think you can go run pretty much anywhere and will enjoy it (at least compared to any Asian metropolis…). I had the chance also to go through the Wyclo mountain (pretty hostile to runners in January) and to stay in a place called Tullfaris for an offsite meeting. It was a golf course by a big lake. I went running on the small roads going from farms to farms and it reminded me of the country side of France. Different but very nice too.


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