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11th May 2021

Why you need to hike Howth Head Cliff Walk to Red Rock Beach for sunset

Brian Dillon

Why you need to hike Howth Head Cliff Walk to Red Rock beach for sunset

Do you ever finish a day of exploration and just think, “That was magic”? That might sound dramatic, but my point stands. I think you guys absolutely need to head out to Howth to do the whole cliff walk. If you time it just right, you’ll have an absolutely glorious sunset swim at Red Rock Beach.

It will take you about three hours and there are some occasional steep climbs.

Some friends and I decided to do just that on what was one of the hottest days of the year, and it was the perfect decision. While Howth was jammed with day-drinking revelers along the promenade, we wanted something a little different. After all, it’s important to avoid the crowds. So, once you get off the train at Howth, you’re actually not going to walk towards the village at all. Instead, turn right and head up through Deer Park towards the hotel.

Once you reach the hotel, you’re going to turn left and walk alongside the GAA fields. At this stage, it’s probably best to pop ‘Baily Lighthouse’ or ‘The Summit Inn‘ into Google Maps, as we discovered it’s rather easy to get lost along this stretch of your walk. For a while, you’ll be walking past gorgeous houses towards the Summit Inn. Walk a bit further and you’ll reach the viewpoint at the summit. This is a great opportunity to stop for a nice sit-down.

*Note: You can also drive straight up here if you fancy a slightly shorter walk.

As you perch yourself on the wall or on the grass, you’ll be able to take in the incredible views of Dublin Bay. It’s perhaps the best spot in the city to do so, in my humble opinion.

Once you’re rested and you’ve soaked up the incredible panoramic sights, it’s time to get on your feet and walk towards Baily Lighthouse. From here, the views never stop. Once you’ve passed the lighthouse, you’ll have the option to go straight ahead to the main road or turn left to go down a dirt track. Make sure you turn left here! From this point on, the walk along the cliffside is nothing short of spectacular, meandering through bushy trails, climbing up and down steps and occasionally stopping to grab a snap of sights like Dublin Bay, Dollymount and Poolbeg.

View from Howth Head Cliff Walk

Once you get closer to Sutton, you’ll pass by little hidden beaches that are the literal definition of idyllic. But the beach you’re going to want to swim at is Red Rock Beach. Enclosed by gloriously green hills, this place provides a truly magical sunset which is made more enchanting by getting in for a dip. Make sure you have a designated camera person because you’re going to get some seriously Insta-worthy snaps here.

swimming at Red Rock beach

Before you continue your walk to Sutton DART Station, you’re probably going to want to chill for a bit. So, you can climb up on one of the rocks on either side of the shore to soak in what’s left of the sun as it sets over a truly enjoyable day. As the sun touches the horizon and your day comes to a close, you can start your walk towards the Martello Tower to reach the coast in Sutton. Simply walk towards the village to catch the DART home.

Pure magic, lads.

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