Late April, I climbed Killiney Hill for the first time. I had no idea of its existence until Eadoin from City of Blackbirds posted a picture of it on her instagram (you should check it out by the way, it’s filled with beautifully serene scenes of the Irish countryside). It baffles me and gives me so much joy at the same time that such a place has managed to escape my radar, even after living here for 7 years. I wonder what other jewels you’re still hiding from me, Dublin.
I say ‘climbed’ like it’s some sort of feat but it’s actually a very pleasant walk, with some steep paths but nothing too arduous and always well paved. You can start the ascent either from the Dalkey or Killiney Dart Station. I would advise the former as the road from Killiney Station is a mean slope. You would definitely be better off going down this one.
Coming from Dalkey, don’t miss the Torca Cottage (photo above) next to the quarry, just before where the trail starts. This is where George Bernard Shaw spent his life as a teenager. I sure wouldn’t have minded that view!
As I enter the trail, the sweet coconut-like smell of the gorse hit me. Twice a year, in Spring and Autumn, a sea of blooms cover the hill. I keep walking, breathing ladleful of the air where sea salt and the flower scent artfully swirl. At the end of the path, I catch a glimpse of the pointy obelisk breaking the yellow waves. The top of the hill is within reach. I look behind me, down to the dazzling white Sorrento House, which looks like a haunted hotel, and next to it, the Dalkey Island with its goats and its strange little tower in the middle, like some sort of fortified nipple. I still find it hard to believe that all of this is a mere 30 minute train journey away from the city centre.
On the top of the hill stand three weird-looking buildings: two obelisks (nicknamed The Witches’ Hat after their conic roof) and a step pyramid. They are follies, structures built for no other purpose than to look ‘pretty’. In Ireland, they’re mostly ‘Famine Follies’, like these ones, they were ordered by rich landlords in order to create jobs for the poor in the darkest hour of Irish History.
Did you know?
If you walk around each level of the pyramid and then stand at the top of it, facing Dalkey Island, you can make a wish and it will come true! Locals call the pyramid ‘The Wishing Stone’.
The view at the top of the hill is everything (for a better vantage point, go inside the obelisk). The endless blue of the Irish Sea in front of you (on a clear day you can see the mountains of Wales), in your back the Poolbeg Chimneys can be seen looking over the Dublin Bay, on your left Dalkey Hill and Dalkey Island and on your right Bray and the Wicklow mountains. Panoramic views, innit.
And the cherry on top of the biscuit if you’re a dog lover like me, the place is a prime location for dog-watching. It seems to be the meeting point of all the dog owners in the area. That afternoon, I spotted a lady walking 5 dachshunds! Five! #DOGGOALS
Bring a blanket and a picnic, the whole hill is a lovely spot for setting down but you might be able to grab the ‘best seats in the house’, a couple of flat stones facing the sea. I don’t think there’s a more romantic spot in Dublin!
The trail circuit is 2km
Dart: Dalkey or Killiney