Thursday 28 July 2011

Dublin, River Liffey Running Route

Click here for route map
Length: 5.2 km (3.2 miles), terrain flat

Dublin Running Routes:
Georgian Heritage  
River Liffey 

Phoenix Park
Dun Laoghaire coastal run 
City Centre loop   

Howth Cliff Walk trail
See the other running routes here!

NOTE: I took these pictures on a drizzly evening, so it all looks a bit soggy. Hope you have better luck!

Dublin's River Liffey has been getting a lot nicer lately. A series of big projects have redeveloped the old harbor area into a pleasant mix of waterfront offices, flats and entertainment venues. Gone are the long line of fenced-off, run-down warehouses, plodding trucks and dusty lots that used to blot the landscape.

NOTE: see the Destinations Tips page for tips about spending your free time in this great town!
The new works have transformed the whole area out to the Eastlink Bridge. The modern, deep-draft freighters can't go so far upriver any more, so the whole area was in search of a new, useful identity, which has now succeeded quite well. All the harbor activity has moved further out to the mouth of the Liffey, where the modern container terminals now lie.

And the area is scenic enough to warrant a run along the river. Let's try it!

The start of the run from the Ha'penny Bridge
We'll start in the spiritual heart of Dublin, at the old Ha'penny footbridge at Temple Bar. Standing on the bridge, turn to face eastwards, with Temple Bar to your right. You're now looking over the whole route: we'll run along the left (north) shore, past the green-copper-domed Custom House, through-and-past the new developments at Custom House Quay, then cross that modernistic white bridge out there around the bend to see the other main redevelopment neighborhood at Grand Canal Quay on the south side of the river. We'll then run back along the south bank to our starting point.

And after running past all the new buildings, the 2 new bridges, the modern new tram line, the huge new theater and the nearby new glass-and-steel stadium, you'll understand why Ireland suddenly needed a big financial bailout. You Europeans will now get to visit those billions of rescue Euros that you recently paid out.

The new boardwalk along the Liffey
So, off we go... Cross the bridge and turn right to run along the new wooden boardwalk over the river. This was a great idea: giving the river back to pedestrians in central Dublin. The boardwalk goes all the way to the Custom House.

The Custom House
At the imposing, classical Custom House, the boardwalk ends, so cross the street to continue along the sidewalk. In just a block past the Custom House, you'll run over an old iron draw-bridge. Immediately after the bridge, turn left to run north into the big open square surrounding the Custom House Quay.

Custom House Quay
You'll run right through a stone archway. On the other side of the quay, cross Mayor Street with its modern tram line (Luas Red Line). You'll see the Harbour House restaurant on the left, with the glass-room on the waterside. Continue running north past the restaurant along the other side of the canal leading to the next basin in just a hundred meters.

In Custom House Harbour
Turn right here, between new Custom House Harbour apartment buildings, and run along the basins until the path ends. You take the steps going down to the right, on Commons street. Run right back to the riverside, where you turn left to continue running along the water.

The Jeannie Johnston
A tall ship, the Jeannie Johnston, is anchored here, serving as a museum for the great emigration wave that resulted from the potato famine in 1845. Just behind you is the sleek new pedestrian bridge, the Sean O'Casey Bridge.

And just in front is the sleek new car bridge, the Samuel Beckett Bridge. Cross it to get to the south side of the Liffey, and continue running eastwards from there.

Samuel Beckett Bridge to Grand Canal Quay
NOTE: You could also stay on the north shore and run out along North Wall Quay to the Eastlink Bridge, and see some more interesting sights, like the O2 venue, the Convention Center, a lighthouse ship and a ferris wheel, but you have to make a loop around the Grand Canal Quays to get back to the river again.

Pass the Ferryman pub and hotel and run along Sir John Rogerson's Quay till the road ends, where you turn right on Benson Street.

Rowers along Sir John Rogerson's Quay
In 2 blocks you'll hit the Grand Canal Quay basin, where you turn right. Don't forget to heed the warning sign!

Don't forget to turn right at the water!
Now you run towards that huge new glass building with the red sticks growing out front: the Grand Canal Theatre. There are boats to rent in this basin on nice days.

The new Grand Canal Theatre
Continue past the theater, along its right side, till the street ends at Cardiff Lane, where you turn right and run the two blocks to the river. Here, near the Ferryman again, turn left on Sir John Rogerson's Quay and run the whole way back along the riverside to the Ha'penny Bridge again.
The way back

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