Walking Dublin’s Celtic Camino

Bray to Dun Laoghaire – 16km – 20th August 2022

I recently had the chance to walk part of the Bray Celtic Camino. It was not the first time I had walked it – 2017 being my first time. I walk with friends on other occasions, but on this occasion I was with fellow pilgrims from Camino Society Ireland. It was an early start for me, leaving from Donabate at 8.30am. I needed to catch a train to the city centre where I would meet my pilgrim friend, Elizabeth, on another train. A short train ride later, we arrived in Bray which is just outside of Dublin. The fresh sea breeze hit me as I walked along the promenade. There was quite a turnout the day’s walk which I knew was going to be enjoyable.

Bray promenade – Bray head in the distance

This walk takes you northbound along the coast to St James’ Church in Dublin city centre but we would walk to Dun Laoghaire today, which was roughly half way. It was hot with temps in the 20s. There were rumours of some showers but we hoped to have the walk finished by the time they arrived. There are a number of Celtic Caminos in Ireland and this, the Kerry Camino, and the Boyne Camino would be the more popular. You can find a list here. This walk is probably the easiest and is 90% on footpath. We started off along the pier and into the suburbs. The coast reminds me of my recent Portuguese Coastal Camino but not quite as exotic.

The great thing about this pilgrim walk is there are stops to collect stamps for your pilgrim passport. On completion, you are awarded a Celtic certificate to bring to Spain. From A Coruna, you walk to Santiago and present your Celtic certificate showing 30 kms for this particular walk. The first stamp after Bray is in St James Church in Crinkin, Shankill. The stamp is located to the side of the church and I would recommend visiting the church if it is opened.

Shananagh Park is our next destination and away from the traffic. There is great commotion to the right of us with football matches playing but soon we were in the shade. I enjoyed this part of the walk as every other time I walked from Bray I stuck to the main road. The only distraction was the odd jogger passing us which was great. Everyone seemed to be having fun and it was easy going so far. Next stop Killiney.

We turned back to the coast at this point and I was happy to do so. Again, a part of the walk I am not familiar with as I kept to the main road. The path brings us to the beach walking over stones. It was great to be so close to the sea. I must admit walking over the stones were a bit tricky at first. Back on foot path, we began to walk the one and only uphill to the top of Vico Road.

Now if you are not familiar with Vico Road, not only does it have some of the most fabulous houses in Dublin, but on reaching the top of the hill, it provides the most amazing views of the south of Dublin right back to Bray. It is well worth the twenty minutes of huffing and puffing to reach the top. It’s a beautiful part of Dublin though to be fair. It is all downhill to Dun Laoghaire from there, which is good, but don’t forget to stop and take in the views.

Coliemore Harbour used to be one of Dublin’s main harbours between 1200 and 1600 but it is relatively quiet nowadays and a few boats lay in wait as I walk down the hill. It lies beside the town of Dalkey and it is possible to visit Dalkey Castle if you have a few moments to spare. Dalkey Island sits in the distance peacefully.

Our next stop is Sandycove and the James Joyce Tower and Museum. Here you can collect your third stamp of the day. It is well worth the visit as it celebrates the life of James Joyce.

Dun Laoghaire is just around the corner and it is bustling town with people out walking or shopping. It is a port town with many ships visiting each day. It would be our finishing point of the day and just before the rain. On the 17th of September, we will continue from Dun Laoghaire to St James’ Church in Dublin. I look forward to walking this part again.

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