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My Favourite Drive: Alan Nolan on hugging the coast from Blackrock to Killiney Hill

That wide reveal of Dublin Bay as you hit Vico Road is breathtaking.

Image: Andrew Parnell/Flickr

Journeys, even everyday ones, can mean a lot. Alan Nolan is director general at SIMI, the Society of the Irish Motor Industry. As someone with a passion for motoring, he told TheJournal.ie about the drive that means most to him.

First up – describe the drive.

The stretch of Dublin Bay beyond Sandymount has always had a taste of the exotic for me. I’m from inner city Dublin and grew up around Clanbrassil St, Inchicore and Drimnagh, so driving along the Grand Canal was my “normal.”

I was well into adulthood before I ever explored the unknown area east of the city from Blackrock to Seapoint, into Dun Laoghaire, down to Sandycove, hugging the coast into Dalkey, and around Sorrento Rd and Vico Rd to Killiney Hill.

My wife and I had just moved to Stillorgan and went on a wander along the coast one day. I had heard of Killiney described as Dublin’s Bay of Naples, but it wasn’t until we saw those sweeping views for the first time that I really understood the comparison. It felt like somewhere foreign, not the Dublin that I grew up with.

Dalkey_Island_from_Killiney_Hill Source: Passps/Wikimedia Commons

Is there a view or a moment that sums it up for you?

Living in Stillorgan, we can get to Blackrock in ten minutes, but the point really makes the drive for me is closer to the end of the route. Driving up Vico Road on the approach to Killiney Hill and getting the view of the Sugarloaf looking just like a volcano is truly spectacular.

To be honest, I don’t do the drive a lot, because I don’t want to wear out the magic of it, but if the sun is shining or we have visitors from abroad, it’s so tempting.

What is it that makes it special?

It’s a short drive in total, 20 minutes or so, but there are ways to extend it out. There are so many points along the route that I adore. If we have grandchildren with us, we’ll stop at Sandycove and head down a tiny pathway to a hidden beach. If we’re with adults, we’ll pull into Dalkey village for a pint at Finnegan’s – when I’m not driving!

If you have some time to spare, I’d recommend heading to Colliemore Harbour and getting a ferry over to Dalkey Island. It’s the kind of mini-adventure you can do on spec without planning ahead. You might fear the ferryman won’t come back for you, but he will – usually!

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