Dubliners were today encouraged to take to the hills with the long-awaited opening of a 43km trail for serious strollers and fair-weather walkers.
The new Dublin Mountains Way from Shankill to Tallaght has been more than 20 years in the planning and took over 300 volunteers to complete.
The route offers stunning vistas over the capital as it winds through forest, open mountain, around lakes and parkland, past megalithic tombs and the engineering wonder of the Bohernabreena reservoir.
The Dublin Mountains Partnership (DMP) said the route suits hardcore hikers as well as families and casual walkers on a day out.
The partnership, made up of Coillte, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, South Dublin County Council, Dublin City Council, National Parks and Wildlife Service and Dublin Mountains Initiative, was set up to manage public lands on the mountains.
The long-distance trail, starting beside Brady’s Pub in Shankill’s main street and ending near the Luas at Sean Walsh Park in Tallaght, has been its flagship project.
David Gunning, chief executive of Coillte, said the proximity of the trail made it a wonderful amenity for people of all ages.
“The Dublin Mountains Way provides a challenging long distance hike for the serious walker, and lovely, shorter, day walks for families and casual walkers,” he said.
“All the partners must be complimented on their vision in coming together and delivering this important infrastructure in an innovative way despite the difficult economic situation.”
Maps which include car parks, access points and outdoor recreational facilities will go on sale at bookshops and outdoor stores.
A Dublin Mountaineer bus service will transport walkers in the summer to different sections of trail with stops at Hell Fire, Cruagh, Tibradden, Glencullen and Ballyemdonduff Road.
Dublin Lord Mayor Gerry Breen said the easy access provides an ideal opportunity for everyone to get into the mountains to enjoy healthy leisure activities at virtually no cost.
“The completion of the trail shows what can be achieved when diverse groups of people agree to work together in partnership to reach a common goal,” he added.