Most of the area was reclaimed from the sea in the 1920 but was not landscaped until the 1950s.
The 3 kilometre promenade now stretches from Fairview Park to the Bull Wall in Dollymount.
The seafront is a highly popular spot for runners, walkers, sailors and cyclists. Among the features of the promenade are an Easter Island Moai replica statue, a diplomatic gift from the Ambassador of Chile, which is located just across the road from The Sheds pub.
Also on the promenade is Clontarf's privately owned open-air seawater swimming pool, once a popular recreational destination with hot and cold baths, closed in 1996, then becoming derelict. But in 2017 it was redeveloped with a restaurant and bar open to the public within licensed hours. Originally scheduled to open in autumn 2017, it eventually did so in February 2018, but it was announced in January 2018 that public-access swimming would not initially be offered, only, under certain conditions, swimming for clubs, unless a six-figure public subsidy was made available. The city council noted that this might breach planning conditions, as the substantial development on the publicly-owned promenade was approved on an assumption of public swimming potential.
There is also a public slipway, across the road from the Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club clubhouse.
Clontarf also reaches into Saint Anne's Park, which it shares with Raheny. As well as extensive walks and green areas, the park contains numerous sporting facilities, such as playing pitches and non-sport amenities. These include an Arts Centre in the Red Stables, featuring artists' stores and studios, a coffee shop and markets on some weekends, along with a large rose garden which is located alongside the Gaelic Athletic Association pitches.
Clontarf also has access to the North Bull Island at the area known as Dollymount. The island contains the amenity of Dollymount Strand as well as two golf courses. The island is also famous for its wildlife, and the lagoon and mudflats between the island and the mainland is a favourite spot for birdwatching.