Tuesday 3 January 2012

Dublin Central Loop Running Route

Click here for route map  
Length: 4.9 km (3 miles)

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!

Article and photos by John Griffith
John is co-founder of the great UK RunningBug site, an entertaining writer, and now he's busy producing videos. Thanks John!

For more running routes, see Routes List.

For many years now, I’ve opened my house to friends and family for New Years Eve. It's always a good party; a roaring fire, a big slow meal followed by fireworks on the telly and lots of hugging amid promises and good intentions for the year ahead.

Statue on the Irish Parliament building
This year we handed the house keys with blind trust to our children and headed off to Dublin for a short break. It rained of course, but we packed the right gear and set our expectations accordingly. Cocooned in the delightful Merrion Hotel, you want for nothing. It feels “boutique” but with a 2-star Michelin restaurant it’s very definitely Dublin’s No 1 sleepery.

NOTE: see the Destinations Tips page for tips about spending your free time in this great town!
Running in Dublin takes little in the way of planning. It's flat, the pavements are wide and wherever you go there are buildings of interest and beauty. In better times, wealthy shipping merchants vied with each other for architectural grandeur. The result is a density of historic civic buildings and fine Georgian terraces seldom seen in any other town.

From Upper Merrion Street, I turned east down Baggot Street past Doheny and Nesbitt’s Pub turning north up Fitzwilliam Street past Merrion Square towards the river.

The Liffey (from the Gaelic Liphe or "life") bisects the town and is spanned by an assortment of bridges whose styles reflect the many years it has flowed there. Once the home of Viking settlers, it now provides (and receives!) almost 60% of Dublin's drinking and industrial water and is thought by many to be the source of Guinness who in fact pipe their supply from the nearby Wicklow Mountains.

Sally Gap in Wicklow, not only providing the water for Guiness, but a great running side trip
Ducking under the old railway bridge you reach the river, hook a left and start to enjoy the views from the long, manicured riverside Quays.  These include the new National Convention Centre and the old Customs House on the north bank.  The Quays are studded with massive iron rings which once secured the ships that brought so much wealth to Dublin in the 17th and 18th century. 

Turn south when you reach Temple Bar, you can choose any of the rat-runs through where the smells of last night's partying still hang in the air.  Catch the parliament buildings if you can on Dame Street, zig east a bit and choose south on pedestrian Grafton Street to run past the shops you may visit later. 

Finally east again past the shopping centre and then home through the serenity of St. Stephen's Green where the "Famine" sculpture is worth a view.

Dubliners are unfeasibly friendly and the town, although a little tired in places, is the jewel of the emerald isle.  Everything is very expensive but with over 1,000 pubs it's a haven for career drinkers and -- with The Wicklow Mountains only half an hour's drive away -- it’s also a fell-runner’s delight.

Many are poor and some are homeless; I watched as a Police car swooped up to a blanket-clad beggar on the street.  As the policeman got out of the car and donned his cap I feared the poor man’s day was going to get worse.  But instead of handcuffs he presented the man with a steaming coffee.  That’s the Irish for you.


  1. Pretty good post. I just came by your blog and wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed

  2. Thanks! And John Griffith, who wrote this one, will be glad to hear it too. --Keith

  3. Thanks Dublinflatpack (intriguing name!) - you can see all of my blogs at http://thebriars.wordpress.com/