The Best Day Trips From Dublin – 2023 Guide

Discover the top day trips from Dublin with our comprehensive 2023 guide.
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Dublin is a fantastic city filled with history, culture, and nightlife. But if you want to get out of the city and explore the surrounding countryside, there are plenty of day trip options available to you. In this guide, we’ll share some of the best day trips from Dublin for 2023, including adventures to the Irish countryside and coastal escapes, visits to historical sites and castles, whiskey and beer experiences, and outdoor activities.

Exploring the Irish Countryside

Ireland is known for its stunning countryside, and there are few better ways to experience it than by exploring the various national parks and historical sites the country has to offer. Here are just a few of the must-see destinations that should be on any traveler’s list.

The Wicklow Mountains National Park

The Wicklow Mountains National Park is located just south of Dublin and is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. The park covers over 20,000 hectares and is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including red deer and the rare Kerry slug.

Visitors can take advantage of the park’s many hiking trails, which range from easy walks to more challenging climbs. The trails offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside, including the park’s many waterfalls and peaceful lakes.

One of the highlights of the park is the Glendalough Monastic Site, which dates back to the 6th century. The site includes a round tower and several churches, and provides visitors with a glimpse into Ireland’s rich history.

The Boyne Valley and Newgrange

The Boyne Valley is located in the east of Ireland and is a legendary area steeped in myth and history. The valley is home to a number of historical sites, including the Hill of Tara and Slane Castle, but one of the most impressive is Newgrange.

Newgrange is a 5,000-year-old burial chamber that was constructed to align with the winter solstice. Visitors can explore the ancient monument and learn about Ireland’s prehistoric past.

The Boyne Valley is also home to a number of charming towns and villages, where visitors can sample local cuisine and experience traditional Irish hospitality.

Glendalough and the Valley of the Two Lakes

Located in the Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough is a gorgeous valley filled with lakes, wooded walks, and ancient ruins. The valley’s natural beauty is perfect for hikers, and there are a variety of trails to choose from, ranging from easy strolls to more challenging hikes.

The Monastic City of St. Kevin’s is a must-see attraction, with its round tower and churches dating back to the 6th century. Visitors can also explore the valley’s two lakes, which are home to a variety of wildlife, including otters and swans.

Overall, the Irish countryside is a must-see destination for any traveler. With its stunning natural beauty and rich history, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Coastal Escapes Near Dublin

Dublin is a bustling city filled with history, culture, and excitement. But sometimes, it’s nice to escape the city and explore the beautiful coastal towns and villages that surround it. Here are just a few of the many coastal escapes near Dublin that are worth a visit:

Howth and the Howth Cliff Walk

Howth is a charming fishing village located just a 30-minute train ride from Dublin city center. Visitors to Howth can explore its many restaurants, bars, and shops filled with local crafts. But the real highlight of a trip to Howth is the Howth Cliff Walk. This scenic trail offers breathtaking views of Dublin Bay and the surrounding landscapes. The walk is about 6 kilometers long and takes about 2 hours to complete. Along the way, you’ll see stunning cliffs, historic ruins, and maybe even some seals or dolphins if you’re lucky!

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also take a boat tour around the island of Ireland’s Eye, which is located just off the coast of Howth. This uninhabited island is home to a variety of seabirds, including puffins, and is a great place to get some fresh sea air and take in the beauty of the Irish coastline.

Malahide Castle and Gardens

Malahide Castle, located just a short train ride from Dublin, is a must-see for lovers of history and architecture. The castle itself dates back to the 12th century and is filled with spectacular paintings, antiques, and furniture. You can take a guided tour of the castle to learn about its fascinating history and the many families who have lived there over the centuries.

The castle’s walled gardens are also lovely to explore and perfect for a picnic lunch. The gardens feature a variety of plants, flowers, and trees, as well as a butterfly house and a fairy trail that’s sure to delight visitors of all ages.

The Fishing Village of Skerries

Skerries is a picturesque fishing village located just north of Dublin. The village features colorful houses, a traditional harbor, and sandy beaches. Visitors can explore the local museums and galleries to learn about the history and culture of the area, or relax with a cup of tea at one of Skerries’ many cafes.

If you’re feeling active, you can rent a bike and explore the surrounding countryside, or take a kayaking tour along the coast to see the village from a different perspective. And if you’re visiting in the summer, be sure to check out the Skerries Midsummer Festival, which features live music, food stalls, and a spectacular fireworks display over the harbor.

No matter which of these coastal escapes near Dublin you choose to visit, you’re sure to have a memorable experience filled with stunning scenery, friendly locals, and plenty of Irish charm.

Historical Sites and Castles

Kilkenny and its Medieval Mile

Kilkenny is a medieval city located in the heart of Ireland. The highlight of a visit to Kilkenny is the Medieval Mile, a stretch of land that features several historical sites such as Kilkenny Castle, St. Canice’s Cathedral, and the Black Abbey.

Kilkenny Castle is a 12th-century castle that was built for William Marshal, 4th Earl of Pembroke. The castle has been beautifully restored and visitors can explore the castle’s many rooms and learn about its fascinating history. St. Canice’s Cathedral, on the other hand, is a stunning example of medieval architecture and is home to a collection of ancient artifacts and tombs.

The Black Abbey, built in the 13th century, is an impressive example of Gothic architecture. Visitors can admire the abbey’s stunning stained glass windows and learn about its history as a place of worship and sanctuary.

Trim Castle and the Hill of Tara

Trim Castle, located in County Meath, is one of the largest Anglo-Norman castles in Ireland. Visitors can explore the castle on a guided tour or take a stroll around the nearby Hill of Tara, a historical site with ties to Ireland’s mythological past and the ancient kings of Ireland.

The Hill of Tara is believed to have been the seat of the High Kings of Ireland and is steeped in myth and legend. Visitors can explore the site’s many ancient monuments, including the Stone of Destiny, which was said to roar when touched by the rightful king of Ireland.

Powerscourt Estate and Gardens

The Powerscourt Estate, located just south of Dublin, is a stunning 18th-century mansion surrounded by exquisite gardens and water features. The estate also features a golf course, boutique shops, and award-winning restaurants, making it a wonderful place to spend the day.

The gardens at Powerscourt Estate are truly breathtaking and have been voted some of the most beautiful gardens in the world. Visitors can stroll through the Italian Garden, the Japanese Garden, and the Walled Garden, each with its own unique features and charm. The estate also boasts a stunning waterfall, which is the highest in Ireland and a must-see for any visitor.

Whiskey and Beer Experiences

If you’re a fan of whiskey or beer, Ireland is the perfect destination for you. With a rich history and a vibrant culture, Ireland is home to some of the world’s most iconic whiskey and beer experiences. Here are three must-see destinations for whiskey and beer lovers:

The Jameson Distillery in Midleton

The Jameson Distillery in Midleton is a true gem for whiskey lovers. Located just an hour’s drive from Dublin, this historic distillery is home to some of the world’s finest Irish whiskey. On a guided tour of the distillery, visitors can learn about the history of Irish whiskey, from its humble beginnings to its rise to global fame. The tour also includes a tasting session, where visitors can sample different varieties of Jameson Whiskey and learn about the unique flavors and aromas that make each one distinctive.

But the Jameson Distillery isn’t just about whiskey. Visitors can also explore the beautiful grounds of the distillery, which include a stunning Victorian garden and a historic water wheel. And for those who want to take their whiskey knowledge to the next level, the distillery offers a range of whiskey masterclasses and blending experiences.

The Guinness Storehouse

No visit to Dublin is complete without a trip to the Guinness Storehouse. This iconic landmark is a mecca for beer lovers, offering an immersive experience that takes visitors through the history of Guinness beer and the brewing process.

On a self-guided tour of the storehouse, visitors can explore seven floors of interactive exhibits, learning about the ingredients that go into Guinness beer and the art of brewing. The tour culminates in the Gravity Bar, where visitors can enjoy a pint of the famous black stuff while taking in panoramic views of the city.

But the Guinness Storehouse isn’t just about beer. Visitors can also learn about the history of the Guinness family, who played a significant role in Irish history and culture. And for those who want to take their beer knowledge to the next level, the storehouse offers a range of tasting experiences and beer pairing workshops.

The Irish Whiskey Museum

The Irish Whiskey Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in the history and culture of Irish whiskey. Located in the heart of Dublin, this interactive museum offers a fascinating insight into the world of whiskey, from its origins to its modern-day revival.

On a guided tour of the museum, visitors can learn about the whiskey-making process, from malting and mashing to distilling and maturation. They can also discover the art of blending whiskey, and sample different types of whiskey from all over Ireland.

But the Irish Whiskey Museum isn’t just about whiskey. Visitors can also learn about the history of Irish distilling, and the role that whiskey has played in Irish culture and society. And for those who want to take their whiskey knowledge to the next level, the museum offers a range of tasting experiences and whiskey blending workshops.

So if you’re a fan of whiskey or beer, Ireland is the perfect destination for you. With these three must-see destinations, you can explore the rich history and culture of Irish whiskey and beer, and discover the unique flavors and aromas that make them so distinctive.

Outdoor Adventures and Activities

When you think of Dublin, you might picture a bustling city with crowded streets and lively pubs. But did you know that just a short bus ride away, you can escape the hustle and bustle and find yourself surrounded by nature? The Dublin Mountains are a hidden gem, filled with hiking trails, mountain biking tracks, and breathtaking views of the city and surrounding countryside.

Hiking in the Dublin Mountains

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just looking for a leisurely walk, the Dublin Mountains have something for everyone. Take a stroll through the woods and enjoy the fresh air and peaceful surroundings. Or, challenge yourself with a steep climb to the top of the mountain and be rewarded with panoramic views of the city.

Along the way, keep an eye out for the local wildlife. You might spot a red squirrel darting through the trees, or a herd of deer grazing in a clearing. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a peregrine falcon soaring overhead.

Horseback Riding in the Irish Countryside

For a truly authentic Irish experience, why not try horseback riding through the countryside? There are various companies to choose from, each offering guided tours through the stunning landscape and rustic villages.

You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you ride past ancient stone walls, thatched cottages, and rolling green hills. And as you trot along the winding country roads, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to chat with your guide and learn about the local history and culture.

Golfing at World-Class Courses

If you’re a golf enthusiast, you’ll be spoiled for choice in Dublin. The city has several world-class golf courses, each with its own unique challenges and stunning scenery.

For a true links experience, head to Portmarnock Golf Club, one of the oldest and most prestigious courses in Ireland. Or, if you prefer a parkland setting, try the K Club, host of the 2006 Ryder Cup. And if you’re looking for a challenge, don’t miss the Island Golf Club, located on a windswept peninsula with breathtaking views of the Irish Sea.

No matter which course you choose, you’re sure to have an unforgettable golfing experience in Dublin.

Tips for Planning Your Day Trip

Planning a day trip can be exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. You want to make the most of your time and experience all that your destination has to offer. Here are some additional tips to help you plan a memorable day trip to Dublin and its surrounding areas.

Transportation Options

While public transportation and renting a car are popular options, there are other unique transportation options that can add to the adventure of your day trip. For example, you can rent a bike and explore the city and its surroundings on two wheels. You can also take a boat tour and enjoy stunning views of the coastline and nearby islands.

Best Time to Visit

While summer months are popular for day trips, there are advantages to visiting at other times of the year. For example, visiting during the winter months can be a magical experience, with festive markets and holiday events. Springtime can also be a great time to visit, with flowers blooming and the countryside coming to life.

What to Pack for a Day Trip

In addition to comfortable walking shoes, rain gear, and sunscreen, there are other items you may want to consider packing for your day trip. If you plan on visiting historical sites or museums, consider bringing a guidebook or map to enhance your experience. If you’re interested in capturing memories of your day trip, bring a camera or smartphone to take photos and videos. And don’t forget to bring a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Where to Eat

When planning your day trip, research local restaurants and cafes to find the best places to eat. Dublin is known for its delicious cuisine, from traditional Irish dishes to international cuisine. Consider trying a local favorite, such as fish and chips, or indulging in a sweet treat, such as a warm scone with jam and cream.

With these additional tips, you can plan a day trip to Dublin that is both enjoyable and memorable. Whether you choose to explore on foot, by bike, or by boat, there are endless opportunities to discover the beauty and charm of Ireland. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!


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