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14 Awe-Inspiring Day Trips From Dublin

Ireland’s capital Dublin is a unique and fabulous city.  Most tourists visiting Ireland will choose to fly in and out of this great city.  Dublin is a fabulous city to explore, full of famous landmarks and cultural sights. 

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 busy 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 things to do in Ireland are included on many people’s couple’s bucket lists as well.  We hope 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

The Cliffs of Moher are one of the most popular day trips from Dublin

Undoubtedly, 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 above and below.

Whether you want to hike along the tops of the cliffs, take a boat ride to admire them from below, or 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 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

Day trips from Dublin-Malahide Castle

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, with several 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 but only have 48 hours in Dublin, as we did.

Glendalough

Written by David from Your Ireland Vacation

Glendalough-day trips from Dublin

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 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, 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. Many organized tours operate from Dublin city center for those who prefer not to drive. 

Find your perfect trip to Glendalough here

Monasterboice

Written by Faith from XYU and Beyond

Monasterboice- Day trips from Dublin

Tucked behind a small Irish cottage lies the 10th-century Monasterboice. It lies down a deeply shaded lane, with a small parking lot across the road.

Walking down the path to the site, you will see that this graveyard 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 the Norman Tower and some of Ireland’s most ancient medieval ruins.

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 was a safe haven for the monks who took shelter with their valuables when the raids began.

On the West Cross, 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 God will answer your prayers if you stand under the hand.

This tour to Monasterboice includes Belfast, Monasterboice, and the birthplace of Titanic. 

If that isn’t what you are looking for, 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

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 Ireland’s island are 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 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 many 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.

Newgrange

Written by Stephanie from History Fangirl

Newgrange-

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, three large burial complexes represent some of the oldest known human architecture in Europe, representing the largest collection of prehistoric megalithic art on 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 by visiting here!

It’s easy to come from Dublin to Newgrange by car, and the museum has a convenient parking lot. If you prefer to do a guided tour, however, plenty of options are 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!

You can shop for the best Newgrange tour here.

Wicklow Mountains

Written by Vanessa from Wanderlust Crew

Wicklow

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 characteristic of Ireland, and surely a little magic is hidden in those mountains!

The Wicklow Mountains are only an hour and a half drive south of Dublin, making it a perfect place to get out of the city for a day trip.

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. On a sunny day in Ireland, it’s a wonderful place 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

Day trips from Dublin-Bray to Greystones

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 travelers 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 is 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 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 here, why not check out the best glamping in Ireland?

Kilkenny

Written by me, Michelle, from That Texas Couple

Day trips from Dublin-Kilkenney

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 this that Kilkenny is only 1.5 to 2 hours away from Dublin, and you can see why it is one of Dublin’s most popular day trips.

While visiting Kilkenny, you will want to check out its Medieval Mile, a trail linking 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 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 not to be missed while 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 you can visit Winterfell on a day trip from Dublin? Game of Thrones Tours offers interactive and fun visits to multiple Winterfell filming locations 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 nine filming sites exist.

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 costs €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.

Belfast

Written by Danielle from Live in 10 Countries

Belfast

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 and 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 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 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 have a slap-up lunch at Mourne Seafood Bar on Bank Street, if you like your fish and seafood flavors.

Many visitors also like to see the political murals, which tell the story of the city’s past – and they are 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

Cahir Castle view to the river

A great day trip 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 will take 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 it is just as impressive inside. It was the traditional seat of the Kings of Munster before becoming a cathedral.

Today, the Abbey still stands without its roof, and there are other buildings and the graveyard to explore. Insiders tip: get there for the opening to avoid the crowds of tour buses if you travel independently.

From Cashel, you can move 20 minutes south to Cahir Castle on the River Suir banks. 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.

Boris

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 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 the majestic Blackstairs Mountains frame.

However, Borris has not tried to cash in on its rich heritage, history, and charm. Except 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 simultaneously.

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 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, take the train to Muine Bheag (Bagenalstown) and then a taxi.

Maynooth

Written by Jennifer from Sidewalk Safari

Maynooth

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 castle and castle wall remnants.

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 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

20 Free Things to Do in Dublin

Why You Have to Book Dublin’s Secret Food Tour

Perfect Day Trip from Dublin: Kilkenny and Glendalough

Ireland Packing List- All the Essentials You Will Need

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Michelle Snell-Founder That Texas Couple

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 creative content creation and her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel and accompanying social media accounts.  She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.

Stephanie

Thursday 30th of January 2020

Saving this for when we go! We've never been to Dublin yet either so would love to make a trip out that way!

thattexascouple

Friday 31st of January 2020

Thanks, Stephanie. I hope you get to visit soon. Dublin is great!

Ashleigh Hogan

Thursday 30th of January 2020

Love Dublin, and will be doing one of these trips on my next visit!!

thattexascouple

Friday 31st of January 2020

I'm so glad to hear that, Ashleigh!

Hannah

Thursday 30th of January 2020

This is a great list of day trips from Dublin. Newgrange is an amazing place, as is the Rock of Cashel. I loved visiting Ireland and would love to go back one day.

thattexascouple

Friday 31st of January 2020

Thanks for reading, Hannah!

Julie

Wednesday 29th of January 2020

Great list of places to visit! Saving this list for my upcoming trip!

thattexascouple

Thursday 30th of January 2020

I'm so glad to hear that, Julie.

Alyssa

Wednesday 29th of January 2020

Wow so many stunning places in Ireland that I never knew existed!! Adding them all to my bucket list!

thattexascouple

Thursday 30th of January 2020

Thanks for reading, Alyssa.