You know, summer may actually be coming after all. Maybe. We think. A bit.
And with the onset of decent temperatures, dry evenings and sunlight until 10pm, people who favour training methods such as HIIT (high-intensity interval training) or circuits will be looking beyond the sweaty, muggy confines of the gym floor to find a place to train.
Here’s a list of 16 places in Dublin where you can train – in privacy or in full view of the gawking public, if you don’t mind that sort of thing.
Phoenix Park is, of course, enormous. No matter what time of day, what time of year, you’re guaranteed to be able to find a clear spot, whether on footpath, grass or in among the trees. Just be prepared to be watched. By deer.
St Stephen’s Green
A fairly obvious one, so handy because it’s so easy to access. But it is prone to crowding, especially when the sun comes out – so again, be prepared to be watched. By people this time.
Sandymount Strand is long (over 5km) and at low tide very, very wide. When the tide is out there’s acres of space, and the sand is firm without being hard, making it a popular running spot. Be prepared to share the beach with dog walkers and other people exercising, but with so much space it’s not likely to be a problem.
A city-centre alternative to the always-crowded St Stephen’s Green. Don’t go near at lunchtime, especially if it’s sunny, as there are a lot of businesses about – but anytime aside from that that you’re almost guaranteed a clear path and lots of space.
St Patrick’s Park
Not as secluded as the other city centre parks, but this small park does have a handy oval pathway that incorporates steps if that’s your thing, as well as little-occupied grassy areas, curbs and benches. You won’t be totally free of onlookers, but fitness groups are not an uncommon sight there.
An absolutely gorgeous and tranquil spot just beside the RDS, and therefore only a 10-minute bus ride out of town. The park has wide grassy areas as well as tree-shaded pathways, and is almost never busy, even on a sunny day.
Also perfect for duck-watching, and the ponds are a meeting spot for model boat enthusiasts if that’s your favoured recovery method.
Dodder Walk and Dartry Park
In the same general area you can find the brand new Dodder walkway: a quiet riverbank road following Dodder north from Ballsbridge up towards Landsdowne. Straight, even and wide, and, as yet, with little traffic. Or if you want to follow the river out the other direction, there is the popular Dodder Walk at Dartry Park, another popular spot with space and without too many onlookers.
Grand Canal Way
Leafy, green, fresh and with just a little bit of illegal rubbish dumping, the Grand Canal Way is an official Waymarked Trail. Not ideal if your regime involves much that’s non-linear, but perfect for running and sprinting.
In the city the paths are narrow and busy; head out towards Lucan, Ashtown or Maynooth for more space and quiet.
National War Memorial Park
This park encloses the beautiful Memorial Gardens: while we’re unsure how people would feel about you doing your HIIT in around the steps and monuments of the Memorial, surrounding it is some well-maintained and almost as lovely green space, and even a few football fields.
Like St Stephen’s Green, the playing fields on the TCD grounds will mostly be too busy to be useful, even if it is in the city centre.
However, if it’s the middle of summer and the majority of students have gone home, there’s a good chance you’ll find lots of useable space and nobody will pay the slightest bit of attention to you. Much stranger things happen on those greens.
Right in front of the Arts Council, this small park is full of sculptures and small memorials to add a bit of culture to proceedings. It’s also very quiet with shaded paths and open green areas.
Similar to Sandymount, there is a long stretch of seafront at Clontarf. Unlike Sandymount though there is little to no useable beach: what there is however is a long track, and plenty of green spaces. Avoid in stormy weather, for obvious reasons.
Staying in the Clontarf area, Bull Island is a perfect isolated spot for HIIT with the 5km Dollymount Strand. Just avoid during peak tourist season, or you’ll end up right in the middle of a Roddy Doyle book.
Irishtown Running Track
Dublin City Council administrate an eight-lane 400m running track at Health and Fitness Irishtown, also home of the Crusaders Athletic Club. You can become a member of the club, with lots of different options available, or instead you can use the track on a pay-as-you-go basis.
There are also astroturf pitches and areas for long jump, high jump, javelin and discus training. It has been closed for relaying, but should be re-opening shortly.
Mount Merrion/Deer Park
Deer Park is a small park behind Mount Merrion House, created relatively recently from a collection of the House lands as well as public spaces. As well as having great panoramic views around the city and South Dublin, it’s quiet and there are lots of open spaces, plus there are GAA pitches, a cycle track and exercise bars scattered about the park.
If you’re heading outside the city, there are plenty of park spaces near the Blanchardstown Centre. As they can be a bit isolated it’s a good idea to move out once it starts getting dark, but they are well-maintained and quiet.
Within a few minutes walk of the centre there’s Coolmine’s Millennium Park, Hartstown Park and the Tolka Valley Park – a great spot for varied landscaping with lots of hills and slopes as well as football pitches and wetlands.