Ireland’s capital of Dublin is a unique and fabulous city. Most tourist visiting Ireland will choose to fly in and out of this great city. Full of famous landmarks and cultural sights, Dublin is a fabulous city to explore.
So many of Ireland’s most significant sights are only a few hours away from Dublin, making it a great home base to explore Ireland by taking some fabulous day trips from Dublin.
There are so many great things to do and see in Dublin that you could easily keep yourself busy just in the city. Doing so is fun, but you would miss out on the great countryside that surrounds Dublin as well and I know you don’t want to do that!
So many of the things to do in Ireland are included on many people’s couple’s bucket list as well. We hope that this post will inspire you to add Ireland to your list!
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Day Trips from Dublin
Cliffs of Moher
Written by: Kate from Our Escape Clause
There’s no doubt that the world-famous Cliffs of Moher are one of the most popular day trips from Dublin–what else would you expect from Ireland’s best-known tourist attraction?
At a staggering 700 feet high, the cliffs appear to simply erupt from the Atlantic Ocean, offering stunningly beautiful and incredibly dramatic views from both above and below.
Whether you want to hike along the tops of the cliffs, take a boat ride to admire them from below, see if you can spot filming locations (The Princess Bride and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince both used the Cliffs of Moher in their filming), or simply to admire the beauty of the Cliffs of Moher from some of their most popular and easily accessible viewpoints, a day trip from Dublin to the cliffs has something to offer.
However, when planning your trip, do keep in mind that the Cliffs of Moher are located a full 3 hours of driving away from Dublin (they are, quite literally, located on opposite sides of the country, after all), and therefore a day trip there is extremely long and can be a logistical challenge to pull off well–so if you’re open to taking an organized day trip, this is an excellent opportunity to simplify your life by using one!
Check out one of the many day trips from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher here.
Malahide Castle and Gardens
Written by: Amanda from Toddling Traveler
If you’re looking for one of the oldest castles in Ireland and a quick Dublin day tour, you need to visit the Malahide Castle and Gardens. Both the 12th-century castle and the grounds are beautifully maintained, and it’s worth visiting even if you don’t purchase tickets for the castle.
Inside the castle, you can find a huge collection of furniture and artwork. Many of these include original pieces from the Talbot family; the original owners of the castle.
In addition to the castle itself, there are several different attractions and facilities on the 260-acre property. There’s a butterfly garden, a fairy trail, and various other gardens that can be accessed with the purchase of a ticket.
There’s also an onsite cafeteria, Avaco, which has a number of healthy and fresh food options. If you’re visiting Malahide Castle with kids, be sure to check out the huge playground area as well.
Another great thing about visiting Malahide Castle on a day trip from Dublin is the proximity to the Dublin International Airport. You can easily visit Malahide Castle before or after a flight, either by car, taxi or bus.
This makes it a perfect option if you want to get out of the city a bit but only have 48 hours in Dublin as we did.
Written by David from Your Ireland Vacation
A short drive south of Dublin takes you to the ancient monastic settlement of Glendalough in Co. Wicklow.
Founded in the 6th century, Glendalough sits on the edge of a tranquil lake and contains the ruins of an old round tower, several churches, and a graveyard.
Today Glendalough is one of the top tourist destinations in Ireland and one of the most popular day trips from Dublin. There are two lakes in the area which gave rise to the name ‘Glendalough’, meaning ‘Valley of the Two Lakes.’
The old monastic site is located close to the entrance and car park, but to truly enjoy the area you should try one of the many beautiful hikes around the lakes. There are 9 beautiful marked trails around Glendalough with the shortest, and the Poulanass and St. Kevin’s Cell route, taking just 30 minutes.
For the more adventurous you can try the 11km Spinc and the Wicklow Way which is a hill walk up into the valley surrounding the lakes. We highly recommend wearing comfortable shoes when visiting Glendalough!
Glendalough is most easily reached from Dublin by car and the drive is as scenic as the destination itself. There are also many organized tours that operate from Dublin city center for those who prefer not to drive.
Find your perfect trip to Glendalough here.
Written by Faith from XYU and Beyond
Tucked behind a small Irish cottage lies the 10th-century Monasterboice. It lies down a deeply shaded lane and there is a small parking lot across the road.
Walking down the path to the site you will see that this is a graveyard that is still used. Monasterboice is a deeply spiritual place for the Irish.
It contains some of Ireland’s most historic high crosses and it was a place of great teaching in its day. It is home to a Norman Tower and some of the most ancient medieval ruins in Ireland.
Vikings have plundered this site and on the High Cross of Muiredach, you can see carved into the stone details of the Viking raids. Monasterboice’s round tower is over 3M (110 feet) tall and it was a place of safe haven for the monks who took shelter with their valuables when the raids began.
On the West Cross, you may notice chunks of the stem are missing. Locals will tell you that those emigrating to America during the Famine took pieces of the cross to remind them of home knowing they would never see it again.
In the Monk’s day, the stories on the high crosses were painted with bright colors and used by them to teach the bible to those in the village that couldn’t read. Villagers and local guides will also tell you the legend of the South Cross which depicts the “hand of God”. They say if you stand under the hand, God will answer your prayers.
This tour to Monasterboice includes Belfast, Monasterboice, and the birthplace of Titanic.
If that isn’t what you are looking for, then check out this tour that includes Newgrange, Monasterboice, and Hill of Tara.
Bangor, Northern Ireland
Written by Allan from It’s Sometimes Sunny in Bangor
Bangor is a surprisingly popular seaside destination with older folk in Dublin who travel cross-border for free on day trips using their Senior Citizen travel passes. And it’s similar in the opposite direction with older folk from Bangor traveling to Dublin.
But this is not so much that it’s a destination for old folk, but because the train lines on the island of Ireland are really quite efficient. And I will forever recommend a journey up north from Dublin to both Belfast and then it’s just 20-minutes further down the line to Bangor.
A visit to Bangor would be for a seaside escape as the large coastal town is centered around Bangor Marina, the country’s largest marina, and there are just various coastal attractions and walks to take advantage of.
This includes the North Down Coastal Path which follows a coastline trail past beaches and forest parks not far from the town center, as well as the main attractions in the town center including Pickie Fun Park and the Eisenhower Pier.
There are also lots of tourist attractions in Bangor Northern Ireland to explore, including Castle Park, which sits directly opposite arrival at the central train station, and Bangor Castle which looks down from above.
All attractions and museums are free (e.g. North Down Museum) so it’s an easy destination to cover without spending more than the train fare, making Bangor one of the most relaxing day trips from Dublin.
Written by Stephanie from History Fangirl
One of the best day trips from Dublin is Newgrange. This impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site is officially named “Brú na Bóinne – Archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne,” but most people refer to it as Newgrange which is the large town next to it.
Located on the Boyne River, there are three large burial complexes that represent some of the oldest known human architecture in Europe, representing the largest collection of prehistoric megalithic art in the continent.
For context, the burial mounds at Newgrange are older than Stonehenge in England and the Pyramids in Egypt. While less famous abroad, you can learn so much about ancient man with a visit here!
It’s easy to come from Dublin to Newgrange by car, and there’s a convenient parking lot at the museum. If you prefer to do a guided tour, however, there are plenty of options available.
Make sure you come early, as everyone visits the sites on a guided tour from the museum. While you wait for your tour to begin you can explore the museum and its adorable gift shop.
Be sure to bring your camera with you to Ireland since Newgrange (and Dublin!) are incredibly photogenic places. You don’t want to leave without a few great pics to inspire your friends and family to explore ancient Irish history as well!
You can shop for the best Newgrange tour here.
Written by Vanessa from Wanderlust Crew
Wicklow Mountains National Park tends to get overlooked by first-time visitors to Ireland, which is sad because it’s under an hour’s drive to visit one of the most beautiful places on the island. Wicklow has a rugged beauty that is characteristic of Ireland, and there is surely a little magic hidden in those mountains!
The Wicklow Mountains are only an hour and a half drive south of Dublin, making it a perfect place for a day trip to get out of the city.
Be sure to visit Glendalough, known as the Valley of the Two Lakes, where you’ll find hiking, rock climbing, and site-seeing that will take your breath away!
The sophisticated gem of Wicklow is Powerscourt House and Gardens, which was once a 13th-century castle. It’s a wonderful place to go on a sunny day in Ireland to enjoy the gardens, Avoca Handweavers, or the Powerscourt Golf Club.
Find your perfect Wicklow Mountain Dublin day tour here.
Bray to Greystones
Written by Ann from Eco Conscious Traveller
If you’re thinking about spending time in Dublin then one of the day trips from Dublin that you can’t miss out on is the walk from Bray to Greystones.
Most travellers to Dublin, if they’re only staying for a few days, don’t get the chance to explore what the Irish coast looks like but trust me, it’s amazing.
You’ll find that a lot of the more beautiful and rugged parts of Ireland are only truly accessible by car when you’re researching travel around the country so one of the best things about this walk for anyone who doesn’t want to fork out on renting a car is that it’s accessible by public transport.
All you need to do is head to one of the main train stations in the city such as Connolly Station and take the train to Bray. The trains are frequent and the train ride itself lasts only 40 minutes.
Once in Bray you can stop and have a coffee and then you can take the coastal path all the way to Greystones – it takes approximately 2 hours and is more a walk than a hike so suitable for all ages and fitness levels.
The scenery – rugged cliffs overlooking the ocean – is beautiful. Train tickets will set you back only 10 euro too.
While you’re here, why not check out the best glamping in Ireland.
Written by me, Michelle from That Texas Couple
Nestled in the beautiful countryside of southeast Ireland, you will find the charming medieval town of Kilkenny.
Kilkenny is a great mix of medieval architecture, an impressive castle, fabulous boutiques and shops, and several great pubs. Add to all of this that Kilkenny is only 1.5 to 2 hours away from Dublin, and you can see why it is one of the most popular day trips from Dublin.
While visiting Kilkenny, you will definitely want to check out its Medieval Mile, a trail that links Kilkenny Castle to St. Canice’s Cathedral. This stretch is filled with not only two great attractions, the castle and the church, but also with shops, pubs, and historic medieval alleyways just begging to be explored.
Kilkenny Castle is a major attraction in the town and is a must-visit for history lovers. Located right in the heart of the town, Kilkenny Castle dates back to 1195 and can be visited on a self-guided tour.
Another highlight in Kilkenny is to do the Smithwick Experience. While Ireland is best known for Guinness, Smithwick is actually the oldest operating brewery in Ireland.
The Smithwick Experience allows you to learn all about the brewing process before letting you sample a pint of your choice. The Smithwick Experience is definitely not to be missed while you are in Kilkenny.
Find the perfect day trip to Kilkenny here.
Game of Thrones Tour
Written by Sydney from A World in Reach
Did you know that you can visit Winterfell on a day trip from Dublin? Game of Thrones Tours offers interactive and fun visits to multiple Winterfell filming locations, all located in Northern Ireland.
Your journey to Winterfell will begin when you board the coach at the set meeting spot in Dublin (currently the Hilton Garden Inn on Custom House Quay). On the journey to Winterfell, episodes of Game of Thrones will be played on the coach television screens and the tour guides will lead the group in a fun round of Game of Thrones trivia.
After about a 2-hour journey, you will arrive at the first Winterfell filming site of the tour: Tollymore Forest Park. Here, you’ll embark on an easy trek through the forest park.
You’ll see several important filming sites from season 1 of the show, such as the spot where the Starks find the direwolf pups and Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow’s campfire site. In addition to the filming sites, the trek through the park is absolutely beautiful.
After visiting Tollymore Forest Park, you will enjoy a delicious lunch at The Lobster Pot Pub before heading to Castle Ward Estate, where there are nine filming sites.
The last filming site you’ll visit is Inch Abbey, where Robb Stark’s bannermen pledged him as the “King of the North.” After visiting the last site, you will take a scenic drive back to Dublin.
Currently, the Game of Thrones Tour cost €65 for adults with a student discount available. Lunch is not included in the tour price.
Tours departing from Belfast and tours combining the filming sites with Giant’s Causeway are also offered. This tour is a perfect excursion after spending a few days in Dublin.
Written by Danielle from Live in 10 Countries
Why stay south when you can go north? Northern Ireland is an easy drive from Dublin and offers a wealth of things to see and do, making it one of the many great day trips from Dublin.
Plus, if you’ve never had a chance to say you’ve been to the UK, this is an easy way to make it happen. No passport control, no boats to take, just be sure to have both euros and pounds on you.
The drive is easy, with wide and fast roads – unlike some of the beautiful (but winding) routes, you’ll find along the coastline. Once you’re in the city you definitely need to visit the Titanic Quarter, with its enormous exhibition space. This has received huge investment and it’s really impressive and interactive – a must!
The museum opens late, so you can visit during the cheap slot just before they finish, giving you time to spend your day browsing the city’s boutiques, have a drink on Union Street, and a slap-up lunch at Mourne Seafood Bar on Bank Street, if you like your fish and seafood flavors.
A lot of visitors also like to see the political murals which tell the story of the city’s past – and they are really something unique to NI.
You can find the locations on Google Maps and take a self-guided walk around to get a sense of this part of the culture. There are many great tours to Northern Ireland.
Find the right tour for your trip here.
Tipperary for the Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle
Written by Catherine from Passports and Adventures
A great day trip to make from Dublin is to Tipperary to visit two of Ireland’s great historical sites, Cahir Castle and the Rock of Cashel. Located just 20 minutes apart by road, these two popular tourist attractions can be visited together.
Traveling by car or coach, it will take you about 2 hours to reach the Rock of Cashel. This 12th century Abbey is a must when visiting Ireland.
It is an impressive site as you approach the town after which it was named and is just as impressive inside. It was the traditional seat of the King’s of Munster before becoming a cathedral.
Today, the Abbey still stands, albeit without its roof and there are other buildings and the graveyard to explore. Insiders tip: get there for opening to avoid the crowds of tour buses if you are traveling independently.
From Cashel, you can move 20 minutes south to Cahir Castle located on the banks of the River Suir. This 13th-century castle is one of Ireland’s largest and best-preserved Medieval castles and is one of the best things to do in Ireland with kids.
You can explore many of the towers, the inner and outer wards, and enjoy an exhibition about the castle and its history. There are also some lovely views from the castle across the River Suir if the weather is on your side and it is a nice day.
I highly recommend visiting the Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle on a Dublin day tour. Find your perfect tour here.
Written by Bridget from The Flashpacker
Do you want to experience authentic Ireland? If so, welcome to Borris, Co. Carlow, the best little town in Ireland that you have probably never heard of.
Located in the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East, Borris is a perfect example of a 19th Century estate town. Buildings made from local granite line its gently sloping high street, which is framed by the majestic Blackstairs Mountains.
However, Borris has not tried to cash in on its rich heritage, history, and charm. With the exception of the recent introduction of a handful of mini-supermarkets and fast-food outlets, its Georgian buildings have kept their original facades and shopfronts.
In stark contrast to the faux Irish pubs that feature in towns and cities across the globe, in Borris, you will experience the real deal. Whether you end up in O’Shea’s, Joyce’s, or Kavanagh’s, you will get a great pint of the black stuff and might be able to pick up a box of nails at the same time.
Borris House, the ancestral seat of the MacMurrough Kavanaghs, descendants of the Kings of Leinster, dominates the town. Built in 1731, this is one of the few great Irish houses that you will find beside a town. It is open for guided tours on selected days from May to September.
Borris’s setting lends itself to multiple walking and fishing opportunities. The Barrow Way is one of the most beautiful walks in Ireland, and the section from Ballytiglea, just outside Borris, to St Mullin’s is spectacular.
Getting to Borris from Dublin
In Ireland, a car is your best bet. The drive from Dublin to Borris takes around 1h 30 mins. If you don’t have a car, Then take the train to Muine Bheag (Bagenalstown) and then a taxi.
Written by Jennifer from Sidewalk Safari
Maynooth is a university town situated just 45 minutes by train from Dublin City Center making Maynooth one of the easiest day trips from Dublin. Maynooth is definitely one of the best places in Ireland to visit by train.
Take Dublin’s commuter rail from Connolly Station to Maynooth to start the day.
Stroll along the Royal Canal checking out the lovely stone bridges over the canal and noting the places marked off at intervals with numbered plaques for fishermen. Maynooth is perfect for an Irish photowalk.
Check out Maynooth Castle ruins. Enter via the imposing stone archway into a green courtyard surrounded by remnants of the castle and castle wall.
The centerpiece of a visit to Maynooth is really Maynooth University. Maynooth University campus serves up ivy-covered facades and historic buildings that offer endless opportunities for photography.
There are two halves to Maynooth University. Stick to the historic South Campus which includes St. Patrick’s College. If the door is ajar, slip into the church anchoring St. Patrick’s College.
The interior is absolutely gorgeous. You’ll find colorful patterned ceilings and an atmospheric pipe organ. The church at St. Patrick’s college also features a beautiful interior courtyard.
Before heading back to Dublin, take a walk in the Bicentenary Garden. This sprawling park is located adjacent to Maynooth University’s South Campus and features a quaint walled garden.
As you can see, Maynooth is simply a photographer’s dream.
Be Sure and Check These Great Posts Related to Ireland
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight:
We love using CheapOAir, Kayak, and Kiwi to search for the best prices on flights. We love using these search engines because they search the web for airlines all over the world to ensure you get the best deal! In addition to flights, you can also find great hotel prices on Kayak and Kiwi.
Book Your Vacation Package:
If you want to book an entire vacation package, then we suggest using Expedia. We love how easy Expedia is to use and we always find good deals on entire vacation packages on their site.
Another great site for vacation packages is BookVIP. BookVIP offers super cheap vacation packages to incredible destinations. You are sure to save money using their site!
For full guided vacations including hotels, some meals, transportation, and guides, then we book with Trafalgar. Trafalgar is a trusted tour company that will meet all of your needs while ensuring that you have a great experience.
Trip.com allows you to book flights, hotels, train tickets, rental cars, airport transfers, tours, and more all on one site. Owned by the parent company that also owns Skyscanner, this is a trusted resource for travel booking and a great “one-stop-shop.”
Book Your Accommodations:
We always begin our search by checking out the honest review on hotels at TripAdvisor. This allows us to narrow our search for specific properties once we are ready to book. Of course, you can also book directly on the TripAdvisor site as well!
There are several accommodation sites that we like to use. One of our favorites is Booking.com because it gives you a wide variety of hotels and guesthouses at a good price.
Another “go-to” hotel booking site for us is Hotels.com. We love their loyalty program that allows you to earn free nights, and their “secret prices” for members are fabulous deals!
If you are looking for a luxurious all-inclusive vacation, then consider checking out the Sandals/Beaches properties. Sandals properties are for couples only and Beaches are for families. We have visited Sandals in the past and absolutely love the attention to detail and the service they provide.
Tour Companies We Trust:
We love taking guided tours when visiting new places. Our go-to tour companies are Viator.com and Get Your Guide. Both of these companies have been in business for years and provide excellent customer service. You can trust booking tours from their sites for sure!
CityPass is a great way to save money when visiting large cities. CityPass allows you to get free admission to major attractions once you buy their pass. The savings add up quickly with this pass, often saving 50% with combined admissions.
Another great pass to save money in larger cities is the Sightseeing Pass. This pass allows you to save valuable time and money by combining admissions to major attractions. They also have a handy app that keeps everything you need at your fingertips.
Looking to Save Time and Money?
Check out our resource page for all of our favorite vendors. These companies help us to save time and money on our travels!
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About The Author
Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel. Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region. She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.