Take A Relaxing Walk on the River Dodder in Dublin

Dodder River Walk in Dublin Ireland
The River Dodder offers an irresistible challenge for someone that likes to walk as much as I do.  The Dodder walk meanders along for about 5 miles on Google Maps starting at the junction with the River Liffey near Grand Canal and continues past Bushy Park to Rathfarnham.  At this point, it appears to end mysteriously.  We took advantage of a rare sunny and unseasonably warm Fall day in Dublin to hike along the Dodder River from Ballsbridge to Rathfarnham.  The Dodder keeps up a strong current and was roiling as we walked along.

Join the River Dodder Trail in Ballsbridge

A Relaxing Walk on the River Dodder in Dublin Ireland - Sidewalk Safari
There is a well-marked walking path sandwiched between the Dodder and Herbert Park Hotel in Ballsbridge.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Dublin is full of amazing walks and other things to do. Check out our huge list of one day Dublin City itineraries to inspire a day out.

A Relaxing Walk on the River Dodder in Dublin Ireland - Sidewalk Safari
We descended a set of stairs and walked at water level.  I liked these chalk fish bones that we discovered on our Dodder River walk.
Graffiti along the River Dodder in Dublin, Ireland
We were walking along when we suddenly saw a *huge* heron perched in the woods along the Dodder River Path.  We stood motionless and watched this gorgeous animal for more than 5 minutes before continuing on our way.  It was amazing that were able to get so close!
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - Heron
Our walk took place just a couple weeks after heavy rains and flooding had plagued Dublin.  The Dodder actually spilled over its banks in parts.  We could see quite a bit of plastic and fabric strewn in the trees along the river.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - Flood Debris

Crossing the Dodder

We came to a lovely footbridge over the river.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - Footbridge
We ventured mid-span and watched the Dodder rapidly flowing in both directions.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin
We continued our hike and soon approached a small multi-tiered waterfall.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin
Across the street from the Dodder River were some lovely houses with colorful doors.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - House
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - Pink Door
Small mysterious engraved stones appeared along the Dodder footpath at irregular intervals.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - Engraved Stones
The foliage along the riverbank soon grew thicker.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin -Foliage
We emerged at an abandoned factory.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - Shuttered Plant
Walking further along the River Dodder, we saw a beautiful dark wood building that houses a law firm.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin

Entering 'The Dodder'

The path became more cultivated in this area as we entered 'The Dodder'.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - Dodder Path Sign
A well marked path with orderly lanes for walkers and cyclists guided our hike along the Dodder river trail.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - Dodder Path
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - Dodder Path
The Dodder was running pretty low at this point and bubbling over the exposed rocks.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin
In the distance, we could see another victim of the Dodder flooding -- this car thrown onto the river bank.  Nature is a powerful thing...no doubt.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - Flood Debris
We passed another gorgeous waterfall along the Dodder.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - Small Waterfall

Approaching Civilization Along the Dodder River Near Dundrum

We actually passed under the Luas tracks near Dundrum.  We'd walked a fair distance up until this point but still felt we had some energy to spare and continued our hike.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - Train Bridge
The footpath along the river was covered with trees whose leaves were changing colors.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - footpath
We chanced upon a surprising sight, this rhino, parked smack in the middle of the Dodder River!  He seemed to be associated with a local pub.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - rhino statue

Time for a Picnic Lunch Along the Dodder River

The water continued to cascade past and then we found a quiet, idyllic spot to have a picnic lunch.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - waterfall
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - path and bridge
We ate on this bench installed thanks to the Dodder Valley Association.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - memorial bench
We watched dogs frolic past with their owners.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - dogwalkers
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - dog off lead

Dodder River Waterfalls

Fed and watered, we continued our Dodder River walk and the waterfalls just kept coming.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - waterfall
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - waterfall
In the distance, we saw an unnamed memorial at a nearby roundabout.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - monument
The walking trail came just up to the waters edge at this point.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - path
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - waterfall
We saw more debris from the Dodder River floods hanging down from tree branches.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - flood debris
We were lucky enough to spot a second heron near a small waterfall.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - waterfall and heron

Fording the Dodder River Near Dublin's Bushy Park

We soon came to a river crossing.  I would call it a bridge across the Dodder, but it wasn't exactly that.  It was more like a series of concrete blocks that were easy to skip across.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - steps across the river
We paused mid-river to watch the water rush by.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - steps across the river
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - steps across the river
Phew!  We made it to the other side of the Dodder with no problem.
We peeked into Bushy Park and admired the swans and ducks swimming lazily.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - swans
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - ducks
Continuing on the Dodder River trail, we saw this tree bent nearly 90 degrees -- what a cool canopy.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - path with bent tree
The path continued into a heavily wooded area highlighted with bright foliage.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - path
We could still see the Dodder through the vines.
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - path

Completing our Dodder River Walk in Rathfarnham

Contrary to what Google Maps would suggest, the River Dodder doesn't really disappear in Rathfarnham.  However, we'd decided that we'd gone as far as we were planning to go that day and called it quits.  We popped into the Rathfarnham Shopping Centre and discovered Swiss Deli.  It was a good old fashioned coffee shop that sold nice cappuccinos and sweet muffins in a huge variety of flavors.  We tried one that was raspberry with a drizzle of white chocolate.  It was a nice reward for a long hike along the Dodder River!
Walk the River Dodder in Dublin - coffee and muffin at Swiss Deli in Rathfarnham

Planning Your Dodder Walk in Dublin

Here's a link to a map showing our walking route so you can get a sense of the ground we covered.

Other Ideas for Hikes and Outdoor Activities in Dublin

Are you looking for other ideas of outdoor things to do in Dublin? I highly recommend taking a boat ride to Ireland's Eye off the coast of Howth for an afternoon of birdwatching. North Bull Island is also accessible by DART from Raheny and features some easy hikes plus great scenery and birding.

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Dodder River walk in Dublin Ireland

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Take A Relaxing Walk on the River Dodder in Dublin
Take A Relaxing Walk on the River Dodder in Dublin
Find out why the Dodder walk is one of the best walks in Dublin. Take a hike on the Dodder River. Explore the walking path along the River Dodder in Dublin, Ireland between Ballsbridge and Rathfarnham.
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