Picnic with a view in Montpelier Hill

Picnic with a view in Montpelier Hill
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Imagine a nice sunny day with little to no wind, perfect for a cycle to a spot like Montpellier Hill. A place where you can have a picnic with a panoramic view of Dublin. Montpelier Hill is such a place to spend an afternoon with friends and to have a bit of a challenge to your legs, especially if you’re like us and sit at least 8h/day, 5 days a week. 

Montpellier Hill is easy to access on a bike, bus, or car and is not far from the Dublin center (about 14km away). We are not going to lie, if you’re biking until there you will face a bit of an uphill that might prompt you off the bike and walk next to it. But the reward on the top is worthwhile and the nature around makes you feel you’re not in the city. So grab your sandwiches and try this micro-adventure just around Dublin’s corner.

What and where is Montpelier Hill?

Picnic with a view in Montpelier Hill

Montpelier Hill is a 383-meter hill located in a forestry area in and around Dublin. Its history dates back all the way to medieval times when the hill and surrounding lands were part of the hinterland estates of the monastic foundation of Maelruan in Tallaght. The land exchanged hands a few times and during the 18th century became part of a Hunting club (Hellfire Club) that built a lodge still visible today. Its remains sit right on top of the hill, so you can’t miss it. 

Surrounding Montpelier hill is a park that has cleared marked paths to get to the top. It is a perfect spot to relax and enjoy some picnic food and snacks whilst absorbing views of Dublin and the sea around it. You can see all the way into Dublin Bay and the top of the Howth head peninsula. We really felt this was a new part of Dublin that was worth exploring and to soak up some fresh air.

We decided to go there on a cold, sunny Saturday and cycled all the way with few or little stops. That tells you that it wasn’t that crazy of a cycle compared to others we’ve done before. After sweating for a few km though, we thankfully stopped for a warm coffee. It wasn’t the best we’ve had, but it felt great and rewarding after pedaling for this long. 

Tip: you can easily grab a takeaway coffee from Timbertrove Cafe and walk to Montpellier as it is very close to it. 

Are you ready for a challenge? How to access Montpelier Hill?

To reach Montpelier Hill you should write The Hellfire Club on google maps, as it will take you to the right location. The route that takes you there is quite diverse and scenic, easy to get distracted. The first part of the cycle crosses South Dublin, through the city’s busy streets, where bikes, cars, motorcycles, and buses converge in Dublin’s narrow roads. This might sound hectic, but if you are used to cycling in busy urban areas, it’s alright for most of the time at least. 

The route then takes you through quieter neighborhoods and slowly climbs to the Dublin mountainous area. It’s just gorgeous and the downhill is even better! Your veins get pumped with adrenaline by going so fast while having Dublin’s sea in sight at a distance.  

Along the way, the landscape changes from brick buildings to farmhouses, countryside fields, and surrounding forest areas. You get a feel of rural Dublin. The cycle is “mostly flat” like google maps say, but the last 1-2km, uff.. they were tough going up. It was challenging but when you have a good uphill, you usually have a great view at the top and this wasn’t any different. Cycle paths are common throughout most of the route, but in some parts, you do cycle on the road. We had no issues though, and everyone was very respectful of how to share the road.

Once you’re at the entrance of the car park you can take different paths that take you to the top. You can keep going on the bicycle or walk. We took the steepest and fastest path to get to the top and biked down via a loop, but you can do it any way you want.

Enjoy Montpelier Hill with a view & explore the Massey Wood Estate

Picnic with a view in Montpelier Hill

The Montpellier loop trail or Hellfire Club walk is an easy 4km loop walk. There is the long loop walk, but you can also go through a shortcut, as we did, and climb the steep hill to get to it. Depends on how eager you are to get to the top. We saw people running up and down through it, fair play to them. The view from the top of Montpelier Hill is perfect to enjoy a picnic and relax.

If your legs are still alive and you have some energy or time to spare, you can always explore the Massey Wood Estate area, which is just across the road from the Hellfire car park. This is a very dynamic and natural environment with plenty of fauna and flora to explore. There is a path called Nature Trail, a looped walk of 1.5kms or around 45mins, that takes you through the forest and you can see old trees, a walled garden, bridges, sawmill ruins, and an ancient ice house. 

Dublin is great to explore on two wheels. There are many options to choose from that will excite your eyes and tire your legs. From the peaceful Blessington Lake to the spiritual path towards Victor’s Way Park, Dublin has something for everyone. 

We hope you enjoyed it and stay tuned, as we will suggest more cycle routes that you can explore!