Dublin is so lucky with that many fabulous adventures on its doorstep. I’ve given you the general advice on how to spend your days in Dublin and I think it is now time to talk about where to go for discovering more of Ireland.
Whether you’re in Dublin for a long weekend, studying there or indulging in a serious Irish adventure, there comes a time to leave Dublin. Pack yourself a day’s worth of essentials (don’t forget that camera!) and take one of these wonderful day trips.
Best day trips from Dublin
Starting out slow with a half day trip to Howth, at the northern tip of the Dublin Bay. Just 16 km from the city center, Howth is a peaceful fisherman’s town with an interesting history.
Howth got its name from the Danes, who called it Hoved (head). Vikings, who found the Dublin area to be the perfect spot between the Mediterranean and Scandinavia, used it as a place for trade and defense. During the period Vikings raided Ireland and Britain, many women were taken and made into slaves. In fact, there was a time 15% of the population of Western Europe were slaves.
Nowadays, travelers and locals come to Howth to get away from the chaos of the city. The village is a great place for travelers who like to explore on foot and offers various walking routes around the historic village.
Things to do in Howth
- Marvel at Howth castle (from the outside)
- Walk the trail around Howth Head for views on the Irish sea, the Lambay and Ireland’s Eye islands and the Baily lighthouse.
- Visit St. Mary’s abbey.
- Learn about communication at Ye Olde Hurdy-Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio
- Play golf with excellent views over the Dublin Bay.
How to get there: Hop on the DART from city center to Howth DART station.
Used as a décor in many Hollywood films, Wicklow Mountains National Park is the place for getting in touch with nature again! The essential trip for those in need of hiking the Irish mountains and gazing over ‘the valley of the two lakes’.
The cliffs of Glendalough attract many climbers as well. In the vicinity you can go bouldering (if you dare!) or just enjoy the incredible beauty of this area. Throughout the Wicklow Mountains you’ll also find some cozy pubs ran by super friendly locals.
In the 6th century, St. Kevin lived as a hermit, close to Glendalough’s upper lake. He gained many followers, who started living in the area as well. In the 12th century there were about 3000 people living in Glendalough. There were also 7 churches and a monastery, which was once destroyed by Vikings.
The 33-meter-high round tower was probably built as a landmark so that locals could locate the monastery. It is also believed it could protect people from Viking raids.
What to do in Glendalough
- Visit the Monastic City
- Glendalough is the place for exploring the upper and lower lake formed by a glacier.
- Hike one of the 9 mountain trails
How to get to Glendalough: By bus (check the Glendalough bus website), car or day tour.
There are many walking routes around Dublin and Wicklow. Make sure you are well-informed before you go:
Newgrange is an ancient temple or passage tomb older than the Egyptian pyramids. It was built 5000 years ago in the New Stone Age. Every December 21st, for 17 minutes, the sunlight at dawn shines exactly through the temple.
Although it’s not easy to get to Newgrange because of the lack of public transport going in that direction, it’s still worth the trouble. Rent a car or take a tour – they recreate the event of the light on tours.
When it comes to Kilkenny, Dublin has got some competition! This cute Irish town attracts many visitors and all because of good reason. The narrow streets give the town the old charm that Ireland is famous for in the first place.
Built on the bank of the river Nore, Kilkenny is just one of the highlights of County Kilkenny. You could easily spend a full day exploring the town of Kilkenny and its fairytale surroundings. Although quite touristic (you have been warned!) this place is still worth visiting as a day trip from Dublin.
What to do in Kilkenny
- Get blown away by Kilkenny Castle
- Visit St. Canice’s Cathedral
- Explore the Dunmore cave
How to get to Kilkenny: By bus.
Source: Miquel Mendez
A vibrant little town worth leaving Dublin for. In half a day you can explore Malahide, the castle and discover the marina. A great way to explore Irish towns is through their pubs, too! Malahide gives you plenty opportunities to do so.
Malahide is also a great place for finding unique shops. You can browse through cool fashion, books and souvenir shops to find cool gifts to bring home.
What to do in Malahide
- Take a coastline walk.
- Have a beer at Gibney’s.
- Explore Malahide Castle.
How to get to Malahide: take the DART from Connolly station to Malahide train station.
Just 15 km away from Dublin you can reach seaside town Dalkey, a charming attraction with a rich history. Dalkey offers activities year-round, from history coming alive to a breath of fresh air on the islands.
Feeling adventurous? Go abseiling from Killiney Hill, from where you’ll have an amazing view on the Dublin Bay. Not interested in nature? You could also spot famous inhabitants, like Bono, The Edge or Van Morrison, who all live nearby.
What to do in Dalkey
- Visit the two Norman castles and watch actors play out history events at the heritage center.
- Take a boat to Dalkey Island.
- Enjoy traditional Irish storytelling at Biddy’s Cottage.
How to get to Dalkey: Take the DART from Dublin city center (or the bus from Kildare street).
Which of the listed day trips from Dublin will you put on your next travel itinerary?
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