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Eight Leinster walks to sort out that New Year's Day hangover


Dog-walking on Dublin’s Sandymount Strand with the giant Poolbeg chimneys dominating the skyline Photo: Steve Humphreys.

Dog-walking on Dublin’s Sandymount Strand with the giant Poolbeg chimneys dominating the skyline Photo: Steve Humphreys.

Avoca, Co Wicklow

Avoca, Co Wicklow

Sugar Loaf

Sugar Loaf


Dog-walking on Dublin’s Sandymount Strand with the giant Poolbeg chimneys dominating the skyline Photo: Steve Humphreys.

Your head's lifting. You've done the dog on it and now you want to clear away the cobwebs. Why not take on one of these scenic Leinster walks?

1. Howth Head, Dublin

Against the backdrop of Howth village, this clifftop walk has been immortalised in James Joyce's Ulysses. The Howth Head peninsula is replete with stunning views of Lambay and Ireland's Eye. If you're feeling particularly delicate, you can follow the cliff path for about 3km before heading towards the Summit car park.

Don't miss: The Baily Lighthouse - the last of Ireland's lighthouses to become automated. Plus, it's within striking distance of the Summit Inn pub.


2. Collins Bog, Abbeyleix, Laois

If you happen to be near the heritage town of Abbeyleix, you could do worse than take yourself onto the Collins bog walk. Be sure that you wear good shoes, as much of the 500-acre Collins bog is soft, springy moss.

Don't miss: Part of the walk crosses over some of the old Kilkenny railway line, which closed in 1962. Nature lovers will certainly find much to enjoy along this route.


3 Bray-Greystones, Wicklow

Visitors and locals alike have beat a careworn path from Bray to Greystones, and with its coastal views it's easy to see why. On the 7km stretch, you may encounter several examples of native life, and even dolphins if you're lucky.

Don't miss: Esplanade Terrace, which was built by Sir William Wilde in 1861 and sold by his son Oscar in 1877.


4. Sandymount, Dublin

City-centre dwellers who want a lungful of sea air should make haste to the nearby village of Sandymount. Start your walk at the iconic Poolbeg chimneys and then head down the Strand Road. You can go as far as Blackrock.

Don't miss: Sandymount Green - a picture-perfect epicentre of Sandymount village that feels a million miles from the hustle and bustle of the city.


5. Avondale Forest Park, Wicklow

Over in the leafy village of Rathdrum, Avondale Forest Park is 500 acres teeming with trees and scenery aplenty. And as the birthplace of Charles Stewart Parnell, the place is steeped in history.

Don't miss: East of Rathdrum lies the lush arboretum at Kilmacurragh. An outpost of the Botanic Gardens, the area is the centrepiece of Kilmacurragh's 18th century estate.


6. The Molly Loop, Co. Louth

It may be the smallest county, but Louth is big on scenery, specially if you're around Carlingford Lough and the Cooley Peninsula. The grassy laneways - among them Billy's Lane and the Molly - are much loved by the locals. This gentle 4km walk is great for everyone young and old of all walking abilities, not just the die-hard hillwakers.

Don't miss: The chance to reconnect with the area's medieval history. The Molly Loop was once an out-farm for the Cistercian Order in Newry.


7. Dollar Bay, Wexford

If Santa didn't bring what you asked for, you could try your luck on this windswept beach instead. Try combing Dollar Bay to look for Spanish treasure buried by mutineers in the 18th century - locals say it's still there somewhere.

Don't miss: The nearby Hook Head lighthouse, the oldest intact operational lighthouse in the world, and voted the 'world's flashiest' by Lonely Planet.


8. The Vale Of Avoca, Wicklow

The spot where the rivers Avonmore and Avonbeg meet was immortalised in poetry almost 200 years ago by Thomas Moore and it's every bit as pretty as his poetry might suggest.

Don't miss: The village of Avoca is worth a punt, too: TV fans will know it as where Ballykissangel was filmed.