It’s an addiction. It’s life threatening. It’s awesome. Huddling together in the bitter cold, on Friday the 13th, under a weak and feeble January sun, they all argue that there’s nothing better. Sure, there’s dramatic stories of nearly dying, but the group is adamant that the buzz is worth it. Great, they say, for the mental health. “It’s the perfect anti-depressant,” photographer Barry Delaney says. Listening to these Dublin swimmers, you hear the language of addiction, love and even religion. The perpetual appeal of Dublin’s Forty Foot Welcome to Sandycove’s famous Forty Foot and its crew of year-round swimmers.
From GAA finals in Croke Park to mountain treks and seaside strolls, Dublin has something to offer for all sports fans and outdoor adventurers.
Much more than a castle Set on 260 acres of parkland in the seaside town of Malahide, 16 km north of Dublin, Malahide Castle was home to the Talbot family from 1185 to 1975. The atmospheric castle – yes, there are ghosts – is furnished with period furniture and a large collection of Irish portraiture on loan from the National Gallery. There are also gardens, playgrounds, a one-of-a-kind butterfly house and a fairy trail. Ireland’s only model railway museum is just a few minu
Just outside the city, there’s something extreme going on. Tyres hit gravel and muck at speed. Hearts thump in chests. And adrenaline pumps through veins. To find out more, we spoke to Niall Davis. Introducing Biking.ie Biking.ie offers mountain bike rental, lessons, tours, youth camps and bike maintenance workshops to beginners and experienced bikers. With two locations – one in the Dublin Mountains at Ticknock and one in the Wicklow Mountains at Ballinastoe – Biking.ie is the perfect base for beginners and expert mountain bikers alike. Its hubs can be used as an information point or a meeting place for people starting their spins. They do tea, coffee
Walk half way down the South Wall pier at Poolbeg and you’ll quickly realise you are somewhere very different. For one, you’re a good bit away from land. Could anyone hear you scream out here? Perhaps, but that’s a very strong wind. As you look out to sea, waves brutally crash into the wall on one side, while Dublin harbour gentle laps at the other. It can seem surreal at times. Turn around and there’s a stunning view of both Dublin’s north and south side. It’s at this point you realise how rare it is to see both sides of this bizarre city together, side by side. It’s here that the “Moonmen” do what they love. Meet Dublin’s Half Moon s
Croke Park. It’s not just a stadium. As Tim Carey, author of Croke Park: A History says: “More than perhaps any other sporting venue, Croke Park represents something that is beyond sport”. The stadium is the home of Gaelic games in Dublin, but it has always had a deeper importance – one that’s intimately connected with the birth and evolution of the Irish nation. “It is freighted with historical significance,” says Carey. &
Montpelier Hill, better known as The Hell Fire Club to Dubliners, is a lovely place for a weekend walk. It has a variety of short forest trails and provides wonderful views of the city from the south-west. On the weekends you can find it busy with urbanites escaping the city and dogs running free. At the top sits a large hunting lodge where, if the stories are to be believed, some very strange things have happened. Originally there was a passage grave with a cairn at the top of the hill. Speaker Conolly, one of the wealthiest men in Ireland, built the hunting lodge on its site. Conolly is said to have destroyed the cairn while building the lodge, using a standing stone as the lintel of the fireplace.
Perhaps you seek refuge from the clamour of the city? Then head away from Stephen’s Green. Walk up Harcourt Street. Take a left. And approach the gates at the end of Clonmel Street. Enter. And breathe. Around you are green lawns. Trees, Fountains. Statues. A rose garden. A maze. A grotto. An elegant promenade. And, crucial to our purpose here, not very many people. Indeed, mid-afternoon of an autumn’s day you may very well have the place to yourself. The place is Iveagh Gardens. It’s a Victorian park. So is Stephen’s Green, of course. But the difference in the atmosphere is pronounced – a direct result of its history.