Peaceful scenery of endless green fields and breathtaking views of dramatic cliffs rising high above the ocean will greet you once you step outside of Dublin. While the Irish capital is a vibrant, beautiful city filled with interesting places worth visiting, the country of Ireland has a lot more to offer. If you are planning a longer trip to this relatively small island situated in the North Atlantic, you should take at least a few of the 20 best day trips from Dublin Ireland.
Best day trips from Dublin, Ireland
As the second-largest city in Ireland, a day trip to Cork from Dublin is a must! As the city is situated on an island at the heart of River Lee, you can expect to stumble upon narrow alleys lined with traditional Irish pubs and restaurants. Start your tour around the city at Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral. Once you have taken all the beauty in, head to the Blackrock Castle Observatory, where you can enjoy engaging science exhibits.
It is also worth passing by the English Market, where you can get some fresh and traditional food for lunch. Before heading back, take a walk down the waterfront and feel like a local as you become part of the colorful, vibrant music events. The best part is that you can even choose among different organized day trips from Dublin to Cork.
Known as “The Marbly City”, Kilkenny is one of the absolute must trips from Dublin. You can either choose one of the guided bus tours or you can jump on the train and explore the area on your own. This medieval city is home to a gorgeous 12th-century castle, as well as numerous, well-preserved, stunning churches. A good idea is to also stop by the Dominican Black Abbey and Saint Mary`s Roman Catholic Cathedral, as you will certainly be impressed by the architectural elements.
As one of the oldest Irish cities, Limerick should certainly be part of your travel itinerary when exploring the country. Besides the picturesque medieval architecture, the city is also a vibrant and colorful art center. Be adventurous and start strolling down the streets without a map and allow yourself to get lost, to fully experience the magical charm and atmosphere of Limerick.
If you are wondering what the must-visit places are, make sure not to miss the 13th-century riverside fortress of King John’s Castle, the 12th century St Mary’s Cathedral, and the popular Limerick City Gallery of Art.
Powerscourt is one of the easiest and most peaceful Dublin trips you can take. While it is often recommended to use a car to get there, visitors can easily reach the estate by bus. Covering more than 19 hectares, Powerscourt is known for the beautiful architectural design of the main building, as well as the endless green gardens, decorated with colorful flowers.
Narrow winding paths will take you to secret Japanese gardens, while the sweeping terraces offer fantastic views of the large lake in the middle of the park. Make sure to stop by the Garden Pavilion and admire the wide selection of plant species perfect for your patio, or grab a delicious cup of coffee from the Aboca Terrace Cafe. Make sure to add Powerscourt to your travel itinerary as one of the must-do day trips from Dublin.
Located in southwestern Ireland, Kerry is almost 300 km away from Dublin. Even still, this is one of the Ireland day tours that should not be missed. Known as the most stunning scenic drives in Ireland, The Ring of Kerry is the most popular tourist sight in the area.
As you follow the 179-km-long road, you will be able to admire the gorgeous scenery and the small villages nestled between the mountainous landscape. The history buffs should also pay a visit to the 19th-century Muckross House or the 15th-century Ross Castle.
Those who prefer city breaks should certainly visit Galway. The town was recently announced as one of the European Capitals of Culture for 2020, thanks to its fantastic atmosphere. With the motto “Let the Magic In“, the city holds numerous events throughout the year aiming to showcase the local`s traditions. You do not really need a special plan or a list of the must-visit places in the city, as it will be enough to just get lost on the small cobblestone streets while enjoying the architectural style and immersing yourself in the charming vibe. Another crucial reason why this is one of the best day tours from Dublin is the massive number of Irish pubs, always packed with people enjoying traditional music, singing, and dancing. You might even wanna join them?
Situated in western Ireland and bordering with the Atlantic, Connemara is a district known for its small fishing villages nestled between the fabulous mountains. Additionally, the area has a breathtaking coastline with interestingly shaped coves and bays. Besides the scenic Sky Road drive, you should plan a pit stop to Clifden – the biggest town in the entire area.
The small town is truly charming and unique and will definitely impress you with its traditional Irish culture. Nature lovers may prefer embarking on a real adventure in the wilderness by choosing one of the numerous hiking trails. The Twelve Bens, for example, are the highest peaks in the entire country.
One of the top day trips from Dublin will take you to the ancient, picturesque fishing village of Howth. Make sure to stop by the beautiful Baily and Howth Lighthouses, stroll down the narrow streets, and grab a delicious fresh seafood lunch at one of the numerous restaurants lining harbor. Nature-lovers should plan a hiking day, as the area also offers fantastic trails, such as the Howth Cliff Walk Loop, Bog of Frogs Loop, and the Howth Summit. Add Howth to your travel itinerary and spend a fantastic Dublin day trip.
9. Rock of Cashel
As one of the Irish icons, Rock of Cashel is among the day trips from Dublin that you should definitely take. Situated in County Tipperary, this is a historic site with fabulous Medieval buildings set on top of massive rock. It is widely believed to be the oldest structure – a round tower dating back to the 12th century. Visitors will be impressed by the truly unique architectural style of the Gothic Cathedral and the Romanesque chapel.
Rock of Cashel is known to have significant importance to the Irish heritage as it represents an impressive collection not only of well-preserved medieval buildings but they are also home to the only Romanesque frescoes in the country.
10. Kylemore Abbey
Situated in Connemara, you can find an interesting Benedictine monastery dating back to the 1920s. Kylemore Abbey has become one of the top tourist destinations during the last few years. Despite being almost 300 km away from the Irish capital, you can easily reach it by car or train. The abbey is surrounded by the stunning Victorian Walled Gardens, which makes it one of the most peaceful and relaxing day trips out of Dublin, Ireland. After learning about the history and experiencing the stunning architecture, stop by the cafe to grab a cup of coffee to sip on and home-baked goodies to munch on!
11. Malahide Castle
One of the most interesting Ireland castle tours from Dublin will take you back to the 12th century: Malahide Castle. You will be greeted by the stunning architectural design and will be then taken on a journey through the years as you explore the fortress. What is more, you will be able to take a stroll down the 250 acres of endless green gardens.
Make sure to also stop by the small, quaint village of Malahide and immerse yourself in its charming atmosphere. The best part is that this fabulous castle is located just 10 minutes from the Irish capital, making it one of the easiest and most convenient day trips from Dublin by car.
12. Blarney Castle
As one of the most popular castles in Ireland, Blarney Castle is a mandatory part of your travel itinerary to Ireland. The current fortifications date back to the 15th Century; however, it is believed that part of the structure might have been built back in the 1200s. The magnificent castle is mainly known for the unique Blarney Stone, which when kissed, gives the “gift of gab“.
Even if you do not believe the legends and decide not to blow it a kiss, you will definitely enjoy taking a walk down the surrounding beautiful gardens. The relatively small but picturesque River Martin is nearby as well, making the setting extra romantic! Despite being located over 250 km away from the capital, Blarney Castle is one of the best day trips from Dublin by train that you can take!
Often referred to as the Garden of Ireland, Wicklow is one of the most beautiful counties across the country. As a place of pilgrimage, Wicklow is the heart of Irish heritage and history. While the day tour to Wicklow from Dublin is like taking a step back in time, getting to experience the stunning Wicklow Mountains is another must-do when in the area.
From the gorgeous landscapes to the rugged beaches, the best way to explore the area is on foot, so make sure to pack your hiking shoes and get ready for a day filled with experiences among the wild countryside. Add the Wicklow Mountains to your list of day tours out of Dublin. You will not regret it!
14. Mount Usher Gardens
With a history dating back to 1868, Mount Usher Gardens are considered as the first “Robinsonian“ gardens in the world. Spreading on a territory of over 22 acres, the gardens are home to more than 5000 different plant species, making the area a peaceful hidden paradise filled with colors and floral scent. Situated in the county of Wicklow, the gardens can be easily reached in less than an hour by car. Hence, Mount Usher Gardens are a perfect one day trip from Dublin for everyone looking to escape from the busy streets of the capital.
15. The Forty Foot
Situated less than 30 minutes away from the Irish capital, The Forty Foot is one of the best half-day trips from Dublin, perfect even for those with limited time in the country. Located on the southern tip of Dublin Bay, this is a fantastic spot to visit during the warm summer days, as it is a popular swimming destination. The area is quite interesting, as approximately 250 years ago, it was a private bathing spot only for males.
However, nowadays, it is open to the public for people of all genders and ages. Before heading there, though, you should have in mind that even during the summer months, the water is still extremely cold. It is a common belief among the locals that you will be given good health for the rest of the year if you swim in the freezing cold waters – will you dare?
16. Giant’s Causeway
Taking a Dublin day tour to Giant’s Causeway is like entering a fairytale world filled with mysterious and unknown creatures. While the legends suggest that the interestingly shaped columns were once made by an Irish giant, the scientific evidence proves they are the result of a volcanic eruption. Regardless which version you would like to support, you need to pay a visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to 60 million-year-old rock formations, some of which are taller than 12 meters and thicker than 28 meters.
Nowadays, visitors can use them as stepping stones to get a closer look at the beautiful Causeway Coast. If you choose a guided Dublin day tour to Giant’s Causeway, you might get the chance to walk across the Carrick-a-Ride rope bridge or take a glimpse of a few of the Game of Thrones filming locations.
17. Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher is by far the most popular Dublin day tour that visitors always like to take. After approximately a 3-hour journey, you will find yourself on the other side of the country admiring the raw, untouched Irish coastline. Even before you reach the final destination, you will be following one of the most scenic drives, which will guarantee a jaw-dropping landscape on every turn.
Once you reach the cliffs, though, you will be completely overwhelmed by the 700-feet cliffs soaring over the rumbling water of the Adriatic Sea underneath. The best part is that there are numerous organized day trips from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher, some of which include a quick lunch pit stop at Doolin. Even if you are not planning on renting a car, this is an easily reachable tourist sight, so do not miss it!
18. Isle of Man
Somewhere between Ireland and Great Britain, there is a small but extremely beautiful island called the Isle of Man. Widely known for its remoteness, untouched coastline, and ancient castle, this is an island with rich heritage and origin that can be traced back to the Vikings. Unfortunately, taking a day trip to the Isle of Man from Dublin can be a bit of a challenge.
The only available option for the enthusiasts is the ferry, but it is only operational three times per week in the period between April and September only. The journey is less than 3 hours, but if you are planning on taking this Irish day tour, it is best to plan for a weekend getaway with an overnight stay of at least 3-4 days.
You might be surprised, but you can even visit Northern Ireland on a day trip from Dublin to Belfast. Situated approximately 100 km away, it will definitely be easier if you take the 2-hour journey by car.
From paying a visit to Titanic, the museum telling the story of the most popular ship in the world, to admiring the stunning architectural style of Belfast City Hall, one of the main government buildings in the city, Belfast has a lot more to offer than expected. The Belfast tour from Dublin is a truly exciting and thrilling experience that is totally worth it!
Situated within the Wicklow Mountains National Park, Glendalough is a glacial valley, also called the “valley of two lakes”. This is by far one of the best day tours in Ireland for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, as you will be surrounded by dense forests, beautiful deep blue lakes, and a unique medieval settlement. There are around 10 different hiking trails that start from Glendalough, which will take you on a true journey into the wild. From easy bird-watching paths to strenuous trails, which will put your orientation skills to a test, you will find everything you were looking for. When you plan this one-day tour in Ireland, make sure to also add a stop to the mystic stone monastic ruins dating back to the 11th century.
From vibrant and colorful cities packed with medieval churches to rugged mountainous landscapes allowing you to experience the true wilderness of the Irish countryside, there is so much to be seen and explored in this magical country. Make sure to take at least a few Irish day tours to have a unique holiday.
What would you prefer – visiting a small fishing village overlooking the Atlantic or choosing a hiking route through the most beautiful Irish mountains? Let us know which of the above-mentioned Ireland best day trips from Dublin would you like to add to your travel itinerary.