10 of the Best Day Trips from Dublin According to a Local
I’ve spent my whole life living in Dublin and I spend most weekends, hiking, on a road trip and exploring more of what Ireland has to offer.
One of the best things about living in Dublin is it’s location, with easy access to some of Ireland’s beautiful destinations.
Most of Ireland’s must see attractions are within a 1 to 3 hour drive away from the capital city making Dublin the perfect location for a short road trip.
I have decided to put together a locals guide to the best day trips from Dublin, for all of you looking for an adventurous vacation to the Emerald Isle.
So without further ado, here are some of my favourite Dublin day trip locations:
1) Cliffs of Moher, County Clare
Starting with probably one of the best day trips in Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher. The legendary cliffs soar 390 ft above sea level and welcome over one million visitors each year.
These breathtaking beauties are not to be missed! And are truly something to tick off the bucket list. And Hey! you never know you might even see a native puffin bird while you visit.
*Tip: When packing for Ireland always remember to pack a water proof jacket and shoes. The Irish weather is known for being unpredictable, particularly at the cliffs of moher*
After walking around and taking in the views of the astonishing cliffs head towards Lahinch. A nearby surfing village to walk along the shore line and maybe even catch a few waves.
The Cliffs of Moher takes slightly over 3 hours to drive to from Dublin but are 100% worth it. If you don’t wanna drive you can always take an organised tour from the city centre.
*A SAMPLE OF CLIFFS OF MOHER TOURS FROM DUBLIN*
2) The Stairway to Heaven Ireland, County Fermanagh
The Stairways to Heaven Ireland has become increasingly popular thanks to social media and it is no wonder as the trail is absolutely beautiful.
The hike begins on a gravel path with a board walk later forming and extending into a Stairway. The stairway consists of 450 steps that reaches to the summit of Cuilcagh Mountain.
The hike takes a total of four hours to complete and offers amazing views of Fermanagh and beyond. Leaving walkers feeling as if they are ON TOP OF THE WORLD.
The stairways is one of my favourite walking trails in Ireland. One I recommend time and time again.
The stairways are just over a 2 hour drive from Dublin, directions can be seen on Google Maps.
Tours from Dublin also operate regularly, more information on the tours can be found on my blog post about the stairway.
3) The Giant’s Causeway Coast, County Antrim
Driving to the tip top of County Antrim makes for the perfect day trip from Dublin. The Giants Causeway Coast has many stops attracting over ONE MILLION visitors each year.
The first being, the Giants Causeway itself. The attraction invites visitors to walk across the interlocking basalt columns, a result of an ancient volcanic eruption. Be sure to bring your camera as this is a totally unique experience.
No Giants Causeway day trip is complete without a visit to the Carrick a Rede Rope bridge. The bridge ascends 30 metres above the water, with crashing waves beneath. Are you brave enough to cross?
The coastal route features some historic ruins, stunning view points and endless picture opportunities.
On the way home, be sure to drive by the Dark Hedges for a glimpse of a Game of Thrones filming location in real life.
It takes a little under 3 hours to drive to the Causeway. Directions can be seen on Google Maps.
It is also possible to purchase a Giants Causeway day tour, check out some options down below:
4) Belfast City, County Antrim
The next destination on our list of best day trips from Dublin is none other than Belfast City. For those that are looking for a city vibe with a historic twist then head along to Belfast.
Now, it is possible to squeeze the causeway and Belfast into the one day but if time is on your side, both destination deserve their own designated time.
Most tourist pay a visit to Belfast to explore the world renowned Titanic site. The very place the famous vessel was launched. A must see attraction on any trip to Belfast.
Belfast is also a fantastic city for a little retail therapy and the Victoria Centre is where the best shops are at.
5) Wicklow Mountains National Park (Glendalough)
Glendalough located in the famous Wicklow Mountains National Park. If you are looking to spend a day emerged in nature then look no further because Glendalough is the place for you.
Glendalough is a stunning glacier valley with charming lakes, stunning scenery and endless hiking opportunities. And If your lucky you may even spot some wildlife along the way.
It’s easy to get lost on the trails surrounding Glendalough. So pop into the visitor centre for a map of all the valleys hiking opportunities (maps cost 50c).
If you are up for the challenge, I’d highly recommend hiking the Spinc trail for the best views of the upper and lower lakes.
*BELOW IS MY VLOG OF THE SPINC HIKE AT GLENDALOUGH*
At Glendalough it is possible to go back in time by strolling around the old monastery and exploring some of Ireland’s oldest ruins.
Glendalough is only a one hour drive from Dublin, making it the perfect destination for a day trip from Dublin (Check out the directions on Google Maps).
For those of you not wanting to drive don’t fret as there is a bus that leaves from the City Centre costing 20 euro for a return trip.
*CHECK OUT SOME WICKLOW NATIONAL PARK DUBLIN DAY TRIPS DOWN BELOW*
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6) Bray, County Wicklow
The next destination on the list is none other then the stunning seaside town, Bray. Bray is the perfect place to gear off the beaten path or to mingle with the locals. Explore the beautiful seafront, hill side walks and the charming town.
It’s easy to go on day trips out of Dublin without having to venture too far, with Bray being a prime example. As it is located only a short 40 minutes from Dublin’s city centre and is easily accessible via car, bus or DART.
While your there, why not try the Bray to Greystones cliff walk. The 7km scenic walk is one of the best walks near Dublin. It takes approximately 2 hours to complete and ends in Brays neighbouring town, Greystones. On completion, walkers can either take the trail back or opt out and take to DART.
Another trail enjoyed by locals that makes Bray one of the best locations for half day trips from Dublin is the hike up to Bray Head. The walk is located at the end of the promenade and takes no longer than 30 minutes to reach the summit. At the top, hikers will be presented with astonishing views of bray and beyond.
After an enjoyable day of hiking take some time to see what the see side town has to offer. Enjoy strolling along the promenade, skipping rocks on the waterfront and even stop for some Irish fish and chips by the sea. If you plan on spending the entire day in bray be sure to stay for a gorgeous sunset.
7) Powerscourt Waterfall, County Wicklow
If you are a little stuck for time and are looking for half day trips from Dublin. Why not try Powerscourt waterfall?
Powerscourt is Ireland’s highest waterfall at 398ft and is only a 40 minute drive from Dublin City Centre (Google Maps Directions).
The waterfall is the ideal location to capture some picture perfect images and enjoy nature at it’s finest.
Powerscourt offers many short trails around the waterfall and the Dargle river for it’s visitor to enjoy.
It is also a popular spot for a portable BBQ! This is one of my favourite things to do while at powerscourt. Lunch with a view, what more can one ask for?
The Powerscourt estates are located nearby and are home to a golf course, beautiful gardens and a stunning view of the great sugar loaf.
Please be mindful that it cost 6 euro per adult to enter the waterfall but it is 100% worth it.
8) The Great Sugar Loaf, County Wicklow
The Great Sugar Loaf is a fantastic half day trip from Dublin for those travelling by car. The Sugar Loaf is an isolated mountain that can be seen all over east wicklow.
The hike takes 1 hour to climb the shorter route and 2 and half hours to hike the longer trail.
The top of the mountain presents views of the Irish Coast, endless green fields and a wider view of the wicklow mountain range.
The Sugar Loaf is a 40 minute drive from Dublin city centre (Google maps directions). At the moment, there are no bus routes operating via the sugar loaf.
9) Kilkenny Town and Beyond
Going on a day trip to Kilkenny from Dublin is one of my favourite things to do. The town has so much charm, history and character. I personally believe that Kilkenny is high on the list of places to see when visiting Ireland.
Kilkenny Castle, one of Ireland’s most visited world heritage sites. On a sunny day, I love lying on the ground of the castle gardens and watching the world go by.
As you walk the streets of Kilkenny find yourself soaked in Irish culture and take some time to stroll the banks of the river Nore.
A 15 minute drive from Kilkenny lies Dunmore Cave. For more information on tours of the cave check out heritage Ireland’s website.
I takes 1 and a half hour to drive from Dublin to Kilkenny, directions can be seen on Google Maps.
Alternatively, there is a direct train from Heuston station.
*CHECK OUT SOME DUBLIN DAY TRIPS TO KILKENNY DOWN BELOW*
10) Brittas Bay Beach, County Wicklow
Ok, so it is not often that Ireland gets sunny weather but when we do, a day at the beach is an absolute must. The only problem is, Dublin beaches tend to be extremely crowed on a hot day. The crowds kinda ruin the relaxation vibe of a beach.
However, with that being said. Brittas Bay located just outside Dublin is the perfect place for a summers day. The sandy beach stretches for miles and is the ideal location to top up the tan lines.
The summers paradise is a 1 hour drive from Dublin city centre and costs 4 euro for parking (Google Maps Directions).
*SEARCH FOR ACCOMMODATION FOR YOUR STAY IN IRELAND*
I hope you enjoyed my favourite day trips from Dublin, Ireland. I will continuously update this post as I venture on more road trips. So, be sure to check back in for future updates. As always, if you have any question please don’t hesitate to contact me or comment below.
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