If you are planning a short trip to Ireland and you would like to see more than just Dublin, we have good news for you. You can still visit many interesting places while being based in the Irish capital.
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These are our favourite day trips not far from Dublin:
If you like harbours, lighthouses and coastal views, don’t miss Howth. It is a fishing port located north of Dublin. There is a bus and train (DART) service from Dublin city. We suggest taking the bus which will get you to the Howth summit. The train will get you only to the Howth village, then you will have to either walk or take the bus to get to the summit.
Get off at the last bus stop and take the short walk to the Howth summit for great views of the Baily Lighthouse and the dramatic coast. Then you can walk along the coast or take the bus back to the harbour to see the Howth Lighthouse. If you are lucky enough, you might even spot one of the seals in the harbour.
There is so much to do in Howth, you can easily spend a full day there. You can stroll through the stalls of the market, visit the Howth Castle, play golf, go to the beach or take a boat trip to the Ireland’s Eye island. And if you get tired or hungry, there are plenty of welcoming restaurants and cafes. We go to Howth quite often to buy fresh fish and seafood at the shops along the pier.
While in Howth, you must try the famous fish and chips at Beshoff Bros. These are our all-time favourite!
If you are into nature and mountains, County Wicklow, located just south of Dublin, is the place for you.
The Glendalough Valley in the Wicklow Mountains is well-known for the monastic site, lakes and lovely views. You can follow one of the hiking trails or just have a picnic (weather permitting).
Powerscourt Estate with its house and gardens is another beautiful place worth a visit. The nearby waterfall is the highest in Ireland (121 m, 398 ft). There are no walking paths along the narrow roads and that is why it is not recommended to walk there from the estate.
There are many good walking tracks in the Wicklow Mountains. Most of them aren’t difficult but the conditions can worsen fast because of bad weather. The Sugarloaf is one of the most popular walks.
The most convenient way to access the area is by car. Bus or train services from Dublin are limited. You might also consider joining one of the bus tours.
Boyne Valley (Bru Na Boinne)
If you are interested in history, be ready to get excited in the Boyne Valley in County Meath. It is one of the most significant prehistoric landscapes in the world and also one of the Unesco World Heritage sites.
Knowth, Newgrange and Dowth are the three most renowned passage tombs. They are over 5000 years old and predate the Egyptian pyramids. Newgrange and Knowth can be accessed only by a guided tour.
The Hill of Tara is another important archaeological complex with many ancient monuments. Don’t miss the picturesque Trim Castle on the way back to Dublin.
We recommend driving as the best way to explore these sites. However, there is also bus and train service from Dublin or you can join an organised tour.
If you like romantic castles, visit Malahide for a relaxing day out. It is a coastal village with traditional Irish feel located north of Dublin. You can get there by bus or train (DART) from Dublin city.
The Malahide Castle, which is one of the oldest castles in Ireland, is surrounded by gardens which are perfect for a stroll or a picnic. The village is quite compact and everything is within easy reach – the marina, beach or the village centre with its colourful houses and plenty of shops, pubs and restaurants.
If you have never played golf before but would love to try it, the Malahide’s Pitch and Putt course is the place to go. It is great for first-timers or beginners. We have been there with our friends and it was great fun.
South Coast Of County Dublin
If you are looking for an easy day trip with some great coastal views, head south of Dublin. The most convenient is to get on the train (DART) and follow the coast southwards.
Dun Laoghaire is a nice seaside town with a busy harbour. Walk along the piers or visit the town centre with its many shops, cafes and restaurants.
Dalkey is a coastal village with a small castle. You can enjoy many outdoor activities here (rock climbing, kayaking, etc.) We have been climbing in the Dalkey Quarry a few times, it is a great spot for beginners. But it is also a nice place just for a walk among the rocks with stunning view of the sea.
Bray is a town located even further south with the promenade along the sand and shingle beach. For great views of Bray climb the Bray Head Hill. If you have time and energy, don’t miss the walk along the coast from Bray to Greystones (Cliff Walk). It is an easy walk which takes about 2 hours and it offers lovely sceneries. When you finish in Greystones, you can take the train (DART) back to Dublin.
There is so much to see and do around Dublin, so after you explore the city, get out of it and see more of Ireland. You won’t regret it.
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