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The Wicklow Mountains

The 13 Best Day Trips from Dublin (2024)

August 22, 2023

While there are many amazing things to do in Dublin, there is no shortage of remarkable destinations just a stone’s throw away. Whether you’re a history buff, nature enthusiast, or simply looking for a change of scenery, join us as we explore the best day trips from Dublin!

1. Wicklow Mountains

Wicklow mountains

30.1 miles (48.4 km) from Dublin

Getting there by car: 1h14

Getting there without a car: Check Wicklow Mountain tours

Gear up for an incredible adventure in the Wicklow Mountains, Ireland’s “Garden of Eden,” just about an hour away from Dublin. Brace yourself for jaw-dropping beauty – think lush green hills, sparkling lakes, mind-blowing waterfalls, and enchanting forests straight out of a fairytale. And guess what? The deeper you go, the more stunning it gets!

But hold on, Glendalough steals the show! This ancient site nestled in a valley will transport you back to the 6th century. Explore round towers, churches, and Celtic crosses that’ll make you feel like you’ve time-travelled.

Outdoor enthusiasts, rejoice! 

The Wicklow Mountains are a haven for hikers. Lace up those boots and hit the trails for breathtaking mountain top views. Whether you’re a pro or just want a leisurely stroll, there’s a trail for you.

Movie buffs, this is for you: these mountains have been the backdrop for movies like “Braveheart” and “P.S. I Love You.” Imagine walking in the footsteps of your favourite stars!

Escape the chaos, dive into nature’s wonderland. The Wicklow Mountains will blow your mind with their beauty, history, and adventure. Pack your gear, capture epic shots, and create memories you’ll treasure forever in this paradise of pure awe.

Read: 7 Day Ireland Itinerary on a Budget

2. Howth

Cliffs at Howth
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10.9 miles (17.5 km) from Dublin

Getting there by car: 43 minutes

Getting there without a car: Take the train from Pearse station. It’s a 32 minute journey.

Get ready for an epic adventure in Howth, a hidden coastal gem near Dublin. The beauty of this place will leave you speechless!

Take a coastal walk along the cliffs and soak in the views while feeling the refreshing ocean breeze. Keep an eye out for seals chilling on the rocks. A dream come true for Instagram addicts.

Hungry? Howth is a seafood heaven! Indulge in mouthwatering lobster, succulent oysters, or classic fish and chips from top-notch restaurants and traditional joints. We recommend O’Connells and Beshoffs Bros for a casual meal.

Don’t forget to visit the vibrant market, where you’ll find unique crafts, fresh produce, and delicious treats to satisfy your cravings with artisanal goodies.

Calling all history buffs! Explore the impressive Howth Castle and its grounds. Take a guided tour to immerse yourself in mediaeval tales and feel like you’re in a real-life fairy tale.

Thrill-seekers, rejoice! Howth offers exciting activities like kayaking, paddle boarding, and boat trips along the stunning coastline. Get your adrenaline pumping while soaking up the breathtaking views.

So, pack your sense of wonder, your appetite for great food, and your camera skills. Howth is waiting to blow your mind with its coastal beauty, delectable seafood, intriguing history, and thrilling adventures.

Check Howth tours and activities

3. Malahide Castle

Malahide Castle
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8.9 miles (14.3 km) from Dublin

Getting there by car: 40 minutes

Getting there without a car: Take bus 42 from Connolly Station.

This epic mediaeval fortress, just a hop from Dublin, is like stepping into a real-life fairytale. Think luxurious rooms with fancy furniture, jaw-dropping tapestries, and mind-blowing artwork. You’ll be transported back in time and feel like royalty.

Make sure you swing by the Talbot Botanic Gardens. Rare and exotic plants from all over the world are waiting to dazzle you. It’s like a trip around the globe without leaving the castle grounds.

And of course, don’t miss the Avoca Café and the gift shop. Treat yourself to some scrumptious goodies and snag unique souvenirs to remember your epic castle adventure.

Malahide Castle is the perfect blend of history and natural beauty. It’s a place to step back in time, get lost in stunning gardens, and just soak up all the magical vibes. Get ready for an extraordinary journey that’ll leave you speechless.

Get tickets for Malahide Castle

4. Newgrange

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31.7 miles (51 km) from Dublin

Getting there by car: 55 minutes

Getting there without a car: Check Newgrange tours

Get ready for a trip back in time at Newgrange, an epic archaeological site an hour away from Dublin.

Picture this: a passage tomb older than the pyramids and Stonehenge. It’s like stepping into a real-life Indiana Jones movie! During the winter solstice, sunlight beams through the passage and lights up the inner chamber. So you know when to book your tickets!

Oh, and don’t stop there! Explore the surrounding area and check out other ancient mounds like Knowth and Dowth.

Newgrange is the ultimate time machine, taking you back to when ancient magic ruled. It’s a chance to embrace our roots, marvel at incredible ancient wonders, and ponder the mind-blowing mysteries of the past.

5. Kilkenny

Kilkenny castle
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79.8 miles (128.4 km) from Dublin

Getting there by car: 1h39

Getting there without a car: Take the train from Heuston Station. The journey will take approximately 1h40. Alternatively, check Kilkenny tours.

Picture yourself in a mediaeval wonderland. Kilkenny is all about those ancient vibes, with its castle that looks straight out of a fairytale. Get ready to explore the castle grounds, stroll through charming streets, and soak up the rich history and culture that oozes from every corner.

Kilkenny is also a culinary paradise. You’ll find everything from traditional Irish grub to trendy cafes and hipster eateries. Grab a pint of local brew (Kilkenny and Smithwick’s beers), indulge in hearty dishes, and treat yourself to some seriously tasty treats. Trust us, your taste buds will thank you. We have a soft spot for the Kyteler’s Inn, one of the oldest inns in Ireland.

Outdoor enthusiasts, this is for you: Kilkenny is surrounded by stunning natural beauty. You can rent a bike and pedal through the countryside, or even try some water activities on the River Nore. Adventure is calling!

And let’s not forget the shopping scene. From quirky boutiques to high-end stores, you’ll find something for every style and budget. Treat yourself to some souvenirs or find that perfect vintage gem.

Embrace the vibes, make memories, and get ready to have a blast in this mediaeval-meets-modern paradise!

6. Giant’s Causeway

Giant's Causeway

162.7 miles (261.8 km) from Dublin

Getting there by car: 3h08

Getting there without a car: Check Giant’s Causeway tours

If you don’t mind the 3 hour journey from Dublin, Giant’s Causeway is well worth the visit.

Picture this: thousands of hexagonal basalt columns rising from the ocean like a giant puzzle created by Mother Nature herself. Explore this natural wonderland, climb the columns, and snap those Instagram-worthy shots!

But wait, there’s more! Giant’s Causeway is steeped in legends. Get ready for the tale of Finn McCool, the legendary giant who supposedly built this crazy place. See if you can spot his giant-sized footprints and let your imagination run wild.

Take a walk along the scenic coastal paths and be mesmerised by the crashing waves, dramatic cliffs, and panoramic views. It’s nature at its most jaw-dropping, and you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world.

Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for some wildlife action. Seals, dolphins, and even puffins might make an appearance. It’s like a real-life National Geographic show!

Make sure to swing by the visitor centre to learn more about the geology, folklore, and science behind this natural marvel. You’ll be amazed by the stories and facts that bring the Causeway to life.

7. Belfast

102.9 miles (165.6 km) from Dublin

Getting there by car: 2 hours

Getting there without a car: Take the train from Connolly Station. The journey takes about 2h10.

Belfast is a city that has got it all – history, culture, street art, and a seriously cool vibe.

First up, dive into history at the Titanic Quarter. Yep, this is where the legendary ship was built. Explore the Titanic Belfast museum, and feel like you’re part of the Titanic story!

Street art junkies, you’re in for a treat! Belfast is a mecca for incredible street art. Wander through the streets and alleys to discover colourful murals full of history.

From Michelin-starred restaurants to hipster food markets (we recently discovered Common Market), you’ll find everything your taste buds desire in Belfast. Treat yourself to some mouthwatering local dishes and indulge in craft beers. Yum!

Music lovers, get ready to rock out. Belfast is all about the music scene (do you know Van Morrison?). Catch live gigs in hip venues, groove to traditional Irish tunes in cosy pubs, and soak up the lively atmosphere. It’s pure ear candy!

For a dose of history and stunning views, head to Belfast Castle and Cave Hill. Climb to the top and take in the panoramic vista of the city. And guess what? It’s said to be the inspiration for Gulliver’s Travels. How cool is that?!

Belfast is a city that never stops surprising. It’s a mix of history, culture, delicious food, awesome street art, and a pumping music scene. Get ready for an unforgettable adventure that’ll leave you wanting more. Embrace the Belfast vibes and let the good times roll!

Check activities in Belfast

8. Powerscourt Gardens

Powersourt Gardens
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28.5 miles (45.8 km) from Dublin

Getting there by car: 58 minutes

Getting there without a car: Take bus 44 from Ranelagh to St Mary’s Church (45 minutes) and walk to Powerscourt Gardens (26 minutes).

Powerscourt Gardens is a dreamland just an hour away from Dublin. Stroll along perfectly manicured lawns, lose yourself in secret pathways, and discover hidden nooks that’ll make you feel like you’re in a fantasy world.

Get ready for some serious Insta-worthy moments. The gardens are bursting with vibrant flowers, enchanting statues, and a breathtaking waterfall. Oh, did we mention there’s even a Japanese garden? Yeah, it’s that cool.

But wait, it gets better. The views! Powerscourt Gardens boasts some of the most mind-blowing vistas you’ll ever lay your eyes on. From the Wicklow Mountains to the Sugarloaf Mountain, it’s like nature’s own artwork.

For the history buffs, there’s a stunning mansion to explore. Powerscourt House is straight-up majestic, with its elegant architecture and rich history. Take a peek inside, shop for unique souvenirs, and treat yourself to some tasty treats at the cafe.

Grab your squad, your camera, and prepare for an unforgettable day in this hidden gem. Get lost in the beauty, breathe in the fresh air, and let the magic of Powerscourt Gardens sweep you off your feet. It’s a place you won’t want to leave!

Get tickets to Powerscourt Gardens

9. Cliffs of Moher

166 miles (267 km) from Dublin

Getting there by car: 3h15

Getting there without a car: Take a Dualway Coach from College Green to the cliffs. The journey takes about 3h20.

It takes some time to get to the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin, but you won’t regret it, we promise! Imagine towering cliffs that stretch for miles, with waves crashing below. It’s like nature’s own roller coaster! Get ready to be wowed by the sheer height and beauty of these cliffs, an Instagrammer’s dream come true!

Take a stroll along the cliff edge and soak in the jaw-dropping views. The ocean stretches as far as the eye can see, and the cliffs are so tall, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world.

But wait, there’s more! Keep your eyes peeled for some adorable puffins and other wildlife that call these cliffs home. It’s like a real-life nature show right in front of your eyes!

And guess what? You might recognise these cliffs from “Harry Potter” and “The Princess Bride.” Get ready to feel like a total superstar as you strut along these famous cliffs.

Just a heads up, though. These cliffs can get pretty busy, so be prepared to share the view with fellow travellers. But trust us, it’s totally worth it.

Get your cameras ready, wear comfy walking shoes, and prepare for a breathtaking adventure at the Cliffs of Moher. It’s nature at its most mind-blowing, and you’ll be left speechless by the sheer awesomeness of it all.

Check Cliffs of Moher tours

10. Galw​​ay

A street in Galway
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128.9 miles (207.4 km) from Dublin

Getting there by car: 2h28

Getting there without a car: Take the train from Heuston Station. The journey takes about 2h30.

Galway is all about the vibrant vibes, buzzing atmosphere, and awesome music scene. Get ready to party like there’s no tomorrow, because the nightlife here is off the charts! Hit up the lively pubs, catch some live music, and dance the night away. It’s pure madness in the best possible way.

But it’s not just about the nightlife. Galway is also a feast for the eyes. The colourful streets, lively markets, and cool street performers will keep you entertained all day long. Get lost in the bustling Latin Quarter, soak up the artsy vibes, and shop till you drop.

Foodies, rejoice! Galway is a culinary paradise. From mouthwatering seafood to trendy cafes, this city has got it all. Don’t miss the chance to indulge in some delicious fish and chips by the harbour. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.

For the nature lovers, Galway is surrounded by stunning landscapes. Take a drive along the Wild Atlantic Way, explore the breathtaking Connemara National Park, or hop on a ferry to the enchanting Aran Islands. You’ll be blown away by the natural beauty.

And here’s a little secret: Galway is known for its festivals. From the Galway International Arts Festival to the Galway Oyster Festival, there’s always something exciting happening. It’s a non-stop party!

Embrace the magic of Galway and get ready to make memories that’ll last a lifetime. Let’s go and rock this city!

Check Galway tours and activities

11. Rock of Cashel

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103.3 miles (166.2 km) from Dublin

Getting there by car: 1h57

Getting there without a car: Take the bus from Busáras. It’s a 2h13 journey.

Imagine a towering castle perched on top of a rocky hill. That’s the Rock of Cashel, and it’s seriously badass. Explore the ancient ruins, climb the walls, and let your imagination run wild. You’ll feel like a legit knight or queen!

The views from the top are mind-blowing: sweeping green landscapes, rolling hills, and cute little villages as far as the eye can see. It’s like something out of a postcard, and your Insta game will be on point!

But wait, there’s more! The Rock of Cashel is also home to an incredible cathedral and round tower. Go inside and marvel at the stunning architecture and intricate carvings. It’s a true masterpiece.

And here’s a little bonus: this place is steeped in legends and folklore. Get ready for some epic tales of kings, saints, and battles. It’s like Game of Thrones, Irish-style!

Oh, and did we mention that the Rock of Cashel is just a short trip from Dublin? It’s the perfect day trip for some mediaeval madness.

Get your swords (or cameras) ready and prepare for an unforgettable journey at the Rock of Cashel. It’s all about ancient ruins, breathtaking views, epic stories, and a whole lot of mediaeval vibes.

Check Rock of Cashel tours

12. Dun Laoghaire

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9 miles (14.4 km) from Dublin

Getting there by car: 45 minutes

Getting there without a car: Take the train from Lansdowne Road. It’s a 16 minute journey.

Get ready for some serious seaside vibes at Dun Laoghaire, less than an hour away from Dublin!

First off, picture a beautiful waterfront promenade where you can take a leisurely stroll while soaking up those glorious sea views – The Dun Laoghaire Pier. It’s the perfect spot to chill with your friends, grab an ice cream (from the famous Teddy’s), and just enjoy the salty breeze.

If you’re into water sports, Dun Laoghaire has got you covered. Try your hand at paddleboarding. Feel the thrill as you glide through the waves and make some awesome memories. Plus, it’s totally Insta-worthy!

Foodies, get ready to indulge in some seriously delicious eats. Dun Laoghaire has a buzzing food scene with everything from trendy cafes to tasty seafood joints. Treat yourself to some mouthwatering fish and chips by the sea. It’s the ultimate seaside feast! On a sunny day, we recommend street food on the pier at Cafollas on the Pier or Say Fish.

And let’s not forget the festivals! Dun Laoghaire knows how to throw a party. From music festivals to food fairs, there’s always something exciting happening. Get ready to dance, eat, and have the time of your life.

So pack your sunnies and your good vibes, Dun Laoghaire is waiting to give you the ultimate seaside experience!

Check Dun Laoghaire activities

13. Skerries

Image courtesy:

18.6 miles (30 km) from Dublin

Getting there by car: 46 minutes

Getting there without a car: Take the train from Connolly Station. The journey takes from 27 to 40 minutes.

Picture this: beautiful sandy beaches, a picturesque harbour, and a laid-back atmosphere that’ll instantly put you in vacation mode. And all this less than an hour away from Dublin!

First things first, hit the beach! Skerries boasts some seriously awesome sandy stretches where you can catch some rays, build sandcastles, and maybe even take a dip if you’re brave enough. It’s the perfect spot to chill with your squad and soak up those beach vibes.

For all you foodies out there, Skerries has got it all. Treat yourself to some mouthwatering fish and chips or savour some artisanal treats. Your taste buds will thank you!

Feeling adventurous? Rent a paddleboard or try your hand at windsurfing. Skerries is a haven for water sports, so get ready for some serious thrills and spills. Plus, it’s a great way to make some awesome memories and impress your friends.

Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for the Skerries Mills. These iconic windmills are not only photogenic but also offer a glimpse into the area’s history and heritage. Explore the mills, learn about the traditional milling process, and enjoy the scenic surroundings.

So, pack your flip-flops, beach towel, and a hungry appetite. Skerries is waiting to give you the ultimate coastal experience. Get ready for sandy beaches, delicious food, cute harbour, and thrilling water sports. Let’s go and have a blast in Skerries!

Check events at Skerries

To Sum Up

Discover the best day trips from Dublin and embark on an epic adventure to some incredible destinations. Each day trip promises unforgettable sights, rich history, delicious food, and exciting adventures. So, pack your bags and get ready to create lifelong memories!
Planning a trip to Dublin? Why not check our Dublin hostel for the best in comfort and value, we’d be delighted to welcome you!