From centuries-old castles to seaside towns, there’s a diverse range of day trips from Dublin’s colorful doorstep.
Dublin is full of delightful things to do, but there’s much more to Ireland than the capital city. Once you’ve walked the museums and experienced the top attractions, you should embark on a day trip and see the iconic rolling hills and craggy coast. Luckily, most of the country’s charms are just a car, train, bus or taxi ride from city center.
Here are some of the best day trips from Dublin.
The Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are the second most visited attraction in the country (Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse takes first place). It’s no wonder why; the towering cliffs overlooking the rough Atlantic Ocean is a majestic view that just can’t be beat.
It seems that at everywhere you turn you will be greeted by a landscape even more impressive than the last. Dunguaire Castle and the 12 Bens mountain range are not to be missed along the drive. Around the Cliffs of Moher there are wonderful walking trails to enjoy.
*Note: Seeing the Cliffs is very weather dependent, so keep an eye on the forecast. Fog and rain can make it impossible to see, so if the weather doesn’t look too promising, consider another day trip from Dublin instead.
Wicklow and Glendalough
The Wicklow mountains aren’t far from Dublin, but the scenery of this area is drastically different. It’s probably one of the most beautiful places in Ireland and was used as a filming location for P.S. I Love Youand Braveheart. Perhaps the most beautiful place in the area is Glendalough famous not only for the beautiful landscape but also the monastic ruins. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, then this is one of the best day trips from Dublin for you.
You can also add an extra stop on your Wicklow day trip and explore the medieval town of Kilkenny with its impressive castle and the Black Abbey.
Looking to get out of Dublin but don’t want to go too far? Easy- head to Howth. This fishing village is just a short ride 27 minute DART ride away and is great for walking around and enjoying the scenic coastal views. There is a castle worth exploring and a couple of great walking trails. Howth is also known for its fresh delicious seafood, so make sure to stay for at least one meal! Plus, if you go on Sundays, you’ll get to experience the local food market. If you are looking for a relaxing day trip that isn’t too far away, then Howth is a great pick for a day trip from Dublin.
*Note: On clear days, Lambay Island and Ireland’s Eye nature reserve and bird sanctuary appear on the horizon, so don’t forget to also walk to the Howth Cliff Walk, a family-friendly path with panoramic views over the peninsula.
Galway and Connemara
Ireland’s west coast has some of the most scenic sights; mountains, lakes, and plenty of sheep make it a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Galway, Ireland’s ‘coolest town’ is another must, especially for those looking to experience true Irish craic. Cozy pubs, boutique shops, and buskers in the street add to the fun atmosphere of this charming, coastal Irish city. If you have the time, it’s worth staying awhile, but if not it makes for one of the best day trips from Dublin.
And finally, visit Belfast
Dublin may be compact, but Belfast is so concentrated that you’ll feel like a local after walking around Northern Ireland’s capital in as little as a day. Two and a half hours by train or bus and only two hours by car, it’s easy to get there and back without booking a hotel. Known as the birthplace of the RMS Titanic and hub of the infamous “Troubles” that divided the nation for decades, Belfast has a more sophisticated vibe than you might expect. It’s the perfect day trip for urbanites and history buffs.
Inspired architecture like the copper-domed City Hall, modernist MAC arts centre, leaning Albert clock, Victorian Grand Opera House, and Hiberno-Romanesque St. Anne’s Cathedral dance along the skyline while intrepid chefs fire up new tastes in the vibrant restaurant scene.
Whatever your interests are, there are plenty of choices for great day trips from Dublin that will allow you to get out of the capital and explore the countryside.