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By Jessica Colley—
As the end of summer draws near, it’s only natural to try and squeeze in one more picnic, one more scenic hike, one more swim before the colder weather creeps in. While temperatures never reach soaring heights in Dublin, the same sensation is felt in the Irish capital.
Before the days get too short and while leaves are still on the trees, here are a few of my favorite lookout points in Dublin. Some are for relaxing picnics while others will require a little energy to get there.
1. The Sugar Loaf Mountain
One of the best views in all of Dublin is found from the peak of the Great Sugar Loaf Mountain. Located about 30 minutes south of city center, this peak is accessible only from a trail off a narrow country road. En route to the top, you will pass ancient stone fences and grazing sheep.
While the climb might look daunting, it’s really more of a hike on an incline than a climb. It is possible to reach the top in an hour or hour and a half, with only a few tricky steps towards the top when you must scramble over a few rocks. Once you pass this test, views are the reward.
The whole geography of Dublin unfolds in front of you. The Bay of Dublin, the piers jetting out into the water (where you can go for a swim if you dare) and the surrounding signature green countryside are all clearly visible from this vantage point.
Bring a picnic with you and stay for a while to take in the views.
2. Bewley’s Grafton Street Café
78/79 Grafton Street
Grafton Street is the pedestrianized center of Dublin. Very often visitors walk up or down this street en route to some attraction or another throughout the city. Yet how many stop to enjoy the view? Beyond shopping, Grafton Street is known for street performers, or buskers (Rodrigo y Gabriela got their start here).
One of the best places to take in the bustle is on the second floor of Bewley’s Café on Grafton Street. Get a table overlooking the street. The windows will be open on a nice day and while sipping on a cup of tea you can watch the daily theater of Grafton Street unfold beneath you.
3. Hike from Bray to Greystones
Some of the best coastal views in Dublin can be seen on a hike between the villages of Bray and Greystones. From the city center, hop a commuter DART train heading south to Bray. From the station, wander down towards the beach, and join the trail that winds south along the coastline.
Over the course of a 90-minute hike, you will have the chance to see not only coastal views from every possible angle, but also the DART train barreling through tunnels. Finish with a stroll through a grassy field as you approach Greystones. There are several places to picnic along the route before boarding the train in Greystones to head back north to Dublin.
From the center of Dublin to the top of a mountain, this city is full of places with incredible views. If you’re looking for a place with a view to sip on a pint of Guinness, check out my recommendations for scenic summertime bars.
Have a favorite lookout point not listed here? Tell us about it in our comments section.