North Bull Island Dublin: A Nature Walk in the City

North Bull Island Dublin: Seashells uncovered on our walk along the beach
A nature walk on North Bull Island in Dublin is the perfect weekend activity when the sun is shining without a cloud in the sky. (an admittedly rare occurrence). We're not the type to sit around on a beach, but we do love a good hike in an area of natural beauty, especially when that walk is practically in our backyard in Dublin. With this in mind, we set out for a hike and a bit of birdwatching on North Bull Island which is located just offshore between Clontarf and Raheny in the suburbs of Dublin.
Chaffinch, old church wall and town sign in Raheny

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: It is also well-worth spending some time in Dublin City Centre. Check out our huge list of one day Dublin City itineraries to keep you busy.

Visit North Bull Island Dublin Two Hours Before High Tide

I've read that the best birdwatching times are a couple hours before high tide.  When we arrived at the entrance to North Bull Island, the grass peeked out in the marshy area below the causeway out to the island.  Dublin's iconic Poolbeg smokestacks stood vigil in the distance.
Poolbeg smokestacks viewed from Bull Island Causeway

Birdwatching on Dublin's North Bull Island

On the other side of the Bull Island causeway, I looked out through my binoculars and quickly spotted birds.  They were everywhere!
Flocks of birds viewed from North Bull Island in Dublin
We spotted teals, godwits, barnacle geese, and a curlew on Bull Island.
Birds on North Bull Island - teals, godwits, barnacle geese and a curley
Walking on, we picked our way through tall grasses rustling in the wind moving north toward the tip of Bull Island.
Landscape of North Bull Island
We spotted a reed bunting in the distance balancing precariously.
Reed Bunting on North Bull Island
We saw more birds in the distance and hiked down off of the North Bull Island dunes to water's edge.  The tide was slowly but visibly coming in.
Tide slowing coming in on the northern tip of Bull Island
We crept closer and spotted a group of ringed plovers hanging out on a small patch of dry ground as the tide came in around them.  Such beautiful birds!
Ringed Plovers on North Bull Island Dublin
As we were walking around Bull Island, we heard a near constant and beautiful song.  We saw a bird soaring over our heads.  In flight, it sang without stop.  We finally caught a glimpse of this lovely little skylark when it came in for a very brief landing near water's edge on Bull Island.
Skylark on North Bull Island

Beautiful Views on a Nature Walk on North Bull Island Dublin

At the very northern tip of Bull Island, we were rewarded with gorgeous views of Howth Head. Just beyond Howth Head is another fantastic birdwatching spot in Dublin that I recommend checking out: Ireland's Eye.
View of Howth Head from North Bull Island

North Bull Island Beach

We walked carefully to the edge of the Bull Island and made our way down onto the beach.
The beach on North Bull Island
North Bull Island beach in Dublin
We strolled back the way we had come and spotted all sorts of amazing shells along the way.
Seashells on the beach - North Bull Island
We even spied a very large jellyfish washed up on shore.
Large jellyfish washed ashore on North Bull Island

Wrapping Up Our Bull Island Walk at High Tide

By the time we finished our walk around North Bull Island, it was definitely high tide and the channel under the causeway used to walk onto the island was flooded.
Poolbeg smokestacks at high tide viewed from North Bull Island

Post-Hike Coffee Near Bull Island Dublin

We finished our afternoon adventure in the suburbs of Dublin with a stop at Perkulicious for coffee and a snack in their outdoor garden.  It was a perfect end to a perfect sunny day on North Bull Island!
Coffee and a cupcake at Perkulicious in Raheny

Map of Our North Bull Island Dublin Walk


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North Bull Island Dublin: A Nature Walk in the City
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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: North Bull Island Dublin: A Nature Walk in the City
North Bull Island Dublin: A Nature Walk in the City
Read about North Bull Island Dublin, a great place in the city for a nature and birdwatching walk. A photo-rich post written by Dublin-based travel blogger, Jennifer (aka Dr. J) from Sidewalk Safari.
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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
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