Day trips from Dublin are an incredible way to experience Ireland. The more you see, the more you’ll fall in love with the Emerald Isle! Every city and village on the Emerald Isle has it’s own unique charm. Landscapes range from cliffs overlooking the sea, to mountains covered in purple wildflowers, and it’s possible to see it all in one visit. Get out of the city and enjoy the Irish countryside, and see more of what this beautiful country has to offer.
I love being able to see different parts of a country, without having to pack up and move locations constantly. For this reason, I chose to take day trips out of Dublin. When planning out your day trips, you can either rent a car and drive yourself or book an organized tour. I opted for organized tours, and every single one was exceptional! There are all kinds of unique things to do in Ireland, from fish and chips in Howth to exploring the cliffs of Donegal, and day trips are a great place to start.
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Day Trips from Dublin
Newgrange is a 5,500 year old passage tomb, and on a day trip you can learn about the history of the site and even go inside the tomb. Check out artefacts in the visitors centre, and discover Ireland in the days of High Kings.
The history of Newgrange is fascinating, and access to the site is very well organized! It never gets too crowded at the passage tomb itself, a pleasant surprise at the most popular heritage site in the country.
I visited with Newgrange Tours, and along the way we also stopped at Hill of Tara and Newgrange Farm!
When I saw photos of Howth, I knew I had to go. This beautiful, seaside down is just North of Dublin, and you can get there by train from the city centre. This is a great day trip from Dublin by train, only a 25 minute ride out of the city.
Walk by Howth Castle, home to the St Lawrence family, and make your way up to the top of the cliffs before winding your way back in to town on a scenic cliffside walk. Wear good shoes for this hike!
If you want company for your hike, Dublin Free Walking Tour runs a (not free in this case, but only 22 euro and includes your train ticket) fantastic full day excursion leaving from downtown Dublin every Saturday and Sunday morning at 11AM. Enjoy a day in Howth, explore with new friends, and return home that evening.
The group was small and a great way to meet people! It made for a lovely day. One of the couples on the hike turned out to live a few blocks away from me back in Canada!
Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede
The Giant’s Causeway is a must-see on your visit to Ireland. This beautiful, pillar-like rock formation was built by Giant’s (or formed by lava, you choose) resulting in a landscape unlike any other. There’s so much more to see, too. A Northern Ireland tour or road trip from Dublin will show you some of the most breathtaking places.
Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, not too far away and part of the same day trip, is a rickety little bridge leading to a small island with sweeping views of the sea and coast. If you go on a tour there will be other stops along the way too, usually the Dark Hedges and time in Belfast!
Kilkenny and Wicklow Mountains
Kilkenny is a medieval town, established near the end of the 1100’s. Many monasteries, churches, castles, and buildings from the days of days of knights and round tables are still standing.
On the way to Kilkenny, we visited Glendalough, the stone ruins of 6th century monastery build by St. Kevin. Next, we made our way into the Wicklow Mountains, driving through landscapes that you might recognize from Braveheart and P.S. I Love You.
In Kilkenny, walk the Medieval Mile through town, and explore the grounds of Kilkenny castle. Butler House, the Dower House to Kilkenny castle, has even more beautiful gardens than Kilkenny Castle itself and it’s right across the street! Here’s the tour that I booked.
Plans changed part way through my visit to Ireland, because I wanted to see more of Belfast. I highly recommend that you take a day trip to Belfast from Dublin. Catch the bus downtown, and arrive in Belfast a mere 2 hours later!
Walk through C.S. Lewis square, experience the Titanic, and absolutely go on the Black Cab Tour. I went on the Black Cab tour on the same day as the Giant’s Causeway (see, everything is close together!) and came back to Belfast another day for C.S. Lewis Square and the Titanic Quarter.
C.S. Lewis Square is walking distance from Titanic Quarter and can be enjoyed in less than an hour. I recommend at least 3 hours for the Titanic Museum alone!
Howth is the last stop on the DART train going North from Dublin, and Dún Laoghaire is the last stop to the South. Still considered part of Dublin, Dún Laoghaire is perfect for an evening stroll and a nice night out.
Visit the library, which has incredible views of the harbour from the upper floors. Walk along the pier, and have supper at the Forty Foot. The prices are good, and the multiple patios offer incredible views as the sun goes down over the water.
This is where I spent my last evening in Ireland!
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