Walking is well known to be one of the most beneficial activities you can do for both physical and mental health. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week (or the equivalent vigorous activity) for all adults.
By going for a walk, not only are you getting up and moving your body, but you are getting outside in fresh air.
Walking can offer a respite from whatever it is you are doing if it is getting too much, such as studying for exams or trying to complete assignments.
Portobello Institute is ideally located in the heart of Dublin city not far from O'Connell Street. This means there are lots of places to take a short, refreshing break nearby, some are more well known than others.
The Blessington Street Basin
Distance from Portobello: 800m
The Blessington Basin. Credit: TripAdvisor
The Blessington St Basin is based right in the heart of the north inner-city. The basin itself is quite well-hidden and without already knowing it’s there, you might miss it completely.
The basin originally served as a reservoir for drinking water from the early 19th century until as recently as the 1970s, providing water for its surrounding inner-city neighbours. It was originally named the Royal George Reservoir, after King George III.
The basin was opened as a public park in 1994 after some restoration work. Its features include the original reservoir, beautiful water fountains, a surrounding perimeter of lush, green-leaved trees, and a busy wildlife cohort of swans, ducks, mallards, and many other members of the bird family.
Just an eight-minute walk from Portobello Institute, it makes for an ideal, quick stroll. There are also some picnic benches if you fancy stopping for a rest or a bit of lunch.
Aerial view of Blessington Basin. Credit: Aerial.ie on Twitter
St. Stephen’s Green
Distance from Portobello: 1.8km
Aerial view of Stephen's Green. Credit: Staunton's on the Green
St. Stephen’s Green was in existence for almost 200 years before it was opened up for public access in 1877. Now it is one of the most popular spaces for the Dublin population to meet, sitting on the grassy areas or walking the perimeter, alongside the beautiful pond.
There are many references to Dublin’s rich history located around the park for visitors to find and observe, such as a bust of famed writer James Joyce, a W.B. Yeats memorial garden containing a Henry Moore sculpture, and a bronze statue of Wolfe Tone. There is also a beautiful bandstand located in the south-central part of the park.
The Bandstand. Credit: Thomas Fitzgerald W.B. Yeats Memorial Garden. Credit: RTÉ
In the summer months, it is common to see the green full of people enjoying their lunch break in the sunshine with some food from one of the many dining options in the surrounding area.
Merrion Square Park
Distance from Portobello: 2km
Aerial view of Merrion Square. Credit: EGHN
Only a quick walk from Stephen’s Green, Merrion Square Park is yet another sizable green space to enjoy in the south inner-city. The square is of Georgian design, like many of the buildings that surround it.
It is located right next to the National Gallery of Ireland and the Department of the Taoiseach and is just a stone’s throw away from Trinity College.
Like Stephen’s Green, the park itself is steeped in Irish history. At the north-western entrance to the park, you’ll find a statue of Oscar Wilde, a former resident of the area. There is also a sculpture of a Joker’s Chair located in the park, erected in memory of Dermot Morgan, star of the hit TV show Father Ted.
The Oscar Wilde statue in Merrion Sq. Credit: Danny Osbourne. The Joker's Chair.
There are expansive green areas around the park which is perfect for a group to sit and chat or even get active by throwing a frisbee or kicking a ball. There is also a playground for young children and parents to enjoy together.
Distance from Portobello: 2km
Iveagh Gardens. Credit: Wikipedia.
Iveagh Gardens has been in existence since 1865. It is located just south of Stephen’s Green. The gardens are a neighbour of the famous National Concert Hall to its immediate east.
The gardens are well known for their summer series of concerts that have seen Irish artists such as Aslan, Damien Dempsey, Imelda May, Little Green Cars, and Bell X1 play.
Summer 2022 will see Fontaines D.C., Mick Flannery, James Blunt, Sinéad O’Connor, and many others play at the famous venue.
The Academic live at Iveagh Gardens. Credit: JACKS.
When not in use as a music venue, the gardens also make for a fabulous spot for a casual walk. Walkers can find an array of stone statues, a grass maze, and a beautiful waterfall.
The Iveagh Gardens waterfall. Credit: Heritage Ireland.
Distance from Portobello: 2.6km
Aerial view of the Phoenix Park. Credit: Phoenix Park on Twitter
This one may be for those who have a little more time on their hands to really get out into nature. Dublin’s Phoenix Park is the largest enclosed park in any of Europe’s capital cities, with a whopping 1,752 acres contained within its 11km long perimeter wall.
The park has been in existence since 1662. It is home to the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, whose residence, Áras an Uachtaráin, is located towards the north end of the park. You can occasionally find President Higgins out for a walk himself, usually accompanied by his dogs.
Áras an Uachtarán. Credit: Wiki[edia
The city’s zoo is also located in the Phoenix Park offering a day of fun for young and old. There are many sports pitches for both recreational and competitive matches. The Wellington Obelisk offers an easy-to-spot meeting point. From there, you can stroll down to the People’s Garden Pond and feed some of the ducks.
There are bikes for rent within and outside the park if you fancy covering more of the ground quickly.
If you venture over to the southernly part of the park, you’ll eventually spot the park’s cohort of deer, who often travel in large packs, and are not altogether averse to human contact.
Deer grazing in Phoenix Park. Credit: RTÉ.
When attending Portobello Institute full-time or part-time you can enjoy all of these walks dotted throughout Dublin on our doorstep to help you to reach your activity goals, refresh and relax as you progress your studies and fulfil your potential.
If you are interested in finding out more about studying at Portobello Institute you can visit our course pages here or get in contact with our director of enrolment Brandon McLean at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01 892 0035.