Going back to the last resort, catch a 45 to the last resort
Shankill Beach was base camp for the exploration of South Dublin’s Rocky Shore. There remains a short stretch of coast leading down to County Wicklow. The border with Wicklow, if physically marked, would be logically defined by the Dargle River. However, the shiring of Wicklow was rather late, in 1610, making it Ireland’s youngest county. By then Bray was well established. Walter de Ridelsford built his castle in 1172, at the time of the Norman conquest, protecting his lands on either side of the Dargle. De Ridelsford was granted a license by King John in 1213 to hold a weekly market and Bray was born. The border is therefore defined by property more than geography, and joins the coast just south of the parkland of Woodbrook Golf Course.
A grubby industrial estate is an unpromising introduction to the Garden County, but soon you’ll come to the Dargle River. On the far bank the northernmost of three Martello Towers guarding Bray”s coastline from Napoleon, and the only one surviving, stands on a promontory above the harbour. Of a night, the moon being high, one would often see Bono clad in white shift and holding aloft a candelabra, flit in circles around the glass parapet, composing the lyric to his latest ouevre. Since his leaving all is dark, hardly a ghost remains. Perhaps he still hasn’t found what he’s looking for.
What I would be looking for is a pint. And lo, what should appear between the train tracks and the harbour only the Harbour Bar. Built as fishermen’s cottages in 1831, the pub has been serving thirsty seafarers and wayfarers for a century and a half. What better place to drown the Fisherman’s Blues.
And I know I will be loosened
From the bonds that hold me fast
And the chains all around me
Will fall away at last
And on that grand and fateful day
I will take thee in my hand
I will ride on a train
I will be the fisherman
With light in my head
You in my arms
To recap then, we set off from Shankill Beach and followed the coastal path to Killiney Beach. Past Killiney DART station you can take the underpass to Strathmore Road and climb to Vico Road. Alternatively, if the tide allows, go farther along the beach and cross over the Dartline. Vico Road takes you down towards Sorento Terrace, visible to your right. At the junction, follow Sorento Road north which takes you to Dalkey Train Station. That section is about 6K and will take an hour and a quarter.
Cross the tracks to Ardeevin Road and keep on for the Metals. The Metals begin at the Quarry and the route is well signposted to Sandycove and Glasthule Train station. From there, cross the main road and straight on down to the seafront where the People’s Park will be to your left. It takes three quarters of an hour to get to the People’s Park, and we’ve walked 9k in total.
After that, we explored Dun Laoghaire’s seafront, all the way to the West Pier. That’s another forty five minutes, just over 3k, an hour and a half for the round trip. Three and a half hours walk so far for 15k.
Returning south, at the People’s Park again, keep to the coast from Teddy’s and around Scotsman’s Bay to the Forty Foot. Make your way to Bulloch Castle, down to Bulloch Harbour, and then follow Harbour Road and Convent Road into Dalkey. It’s fifteen minutes from Scotsman’s Bay to the Forty Foot and the same to Bulloch Harbour. Another twenty will take you to Coliemore Harbour, but allow some time to explore Dalkey. 4k of a walk since Scotsman’s, just under an hour.
Having explored Dalkey, take the southern route out via Coliemore Road, which leads all the way back to the Vico Road. Within ten minutes of leaving Coliemore Harbour you should reach Sorento Park and will have closed the loop. That’s four and a half hours walking for about 20k.
Finally, another hour will take you back to Shankill Beach, five and half hours for the full walk. Overall, the route measures about 25k. but there are all sorts of detours and variants as we’ve seen. The nine parts described here involved five separate trips, although I’ve trod these highways and byways many more times than that – and will again.
Meanwhile, the South Dublin Rocky Playlist is provided for your wining and dining pleasure. I’ve tried to keep to local talent as much as possible but obviously strayed a bit at times.
Reverend Sisters, (Clodagh Simonds), Swaddling Songs/Mellow Candle (1971)
The Poet and the Witch (Clodagh Simonds), Swaddling Songs/Mellow Candle (1971)
Orinoco Flow (Enya, Roma Ryan), Watermark/Enya (1988)
And it Stoned Me (Van Morrison), Moondance/Van Morrison (1970)
Sheep Season (Simonds, A.Williams, D.Williams), Swaddling Songs/Mellow Candle (1971)
Thousands are Sailing (Chevron), If I Should Fall from Grace with God/The Pogues (1988)
The Captains and the Kings (Brendan Behan), Revolution/The Dubliners (1970)
Summer in Dublin (Reilly), Bagatelle/Bagatelle (1980)
Don’t Bang the Drum (Mike Scott, Karl Wallinger), This is the Sea/The Waterboys (1985)
She’s a Mystery to Me (Bono, The Edge), Mystery Girl/Roy Orbison (1989)
In Dreams (Roy Orbison), In Dreams/Roy Orbison (1963)
Love Shack (Pierson, Schneider, Strickland, Wilson), Cosmic Thing/ B52s (1989)
Don’t Go (O Maoinlai, O Braonain, O’Toole)), People/The Hothouse Flowers (1988)
Silversong (Clodagh Simonds), Swaddling Songs/Mellow Candle (1971)
Zoo Station, (U2), Achtung Baby/U2 (1991)
In Darkness Let Me Dwell (Dowland), Songs from the Labyrinth/Sting (2006)
Sweet Thing (Van Morrison), Fisherman’s Blues/The Waterboys (1989)
Blackbird (Lennon, McCartney), The Beatles/The Beatles (1968)
Fisherman’s Blues (Scott, Wickham), Fisherman’s Blues/The Waterboys (1988)
The Last Resort (Ashford, Bonass), Sit Down and Relapse/Stepaside (1979)