10 Day Trips from Dublin
Ireland is tiny y’all…in case you hadn’t noticed. So tiny you can drive to the other side of the country from Dublin in around 3ish hours. In America it would take 3ish days. I prefer to not rent a car when abroad, so if you’re like me in that sense and coming to visit Dublin (or even if you live here!), I have compiled 10 day-trips that you can do from Dublin without needing your own transport. I have a mixture of train, bus, and tours so hopefully you find something that tickles your fancy!
Word of Advice: Get a Leap Card for public transport use in Dublin. Dublin Bus does not take cash notes, they are strictly coin only. If you do not pay in exact change you will not receive change back on the bus. You will get a slip that says how much you are owed. If you want that money back, you then must take that slip to the Dublin Bus office on O’Connell Street to get your change back. Only this office will give you the money back. It is a lot of work for like 15 cents. So, just save yourself the hassle and get a Leap Card. You can get a Visitor Leap Card for 1 week, 24 hours, and 72 hours. Prices vary on which one you purchase. You can get them at the Dublin Bus office on O’Connell Street or any corner store (SPAR, Londis, etc.) With a Leap Card you also get a discounted rate on public transport over paying in cash. You can use the Leap Card on Dublin Bus, LUAS, and DART lines. LUAS and DART lines prices will be calculated by how far you travel with a tap on/tap off system. Dublin Bus does their rates by how far you are traveling but you will need to tell the bus driver your destination for your fare to be calculated. There is a card reader by the driver that you lay your card on and the driver deducts the amount. On the bus you can pay for multiple people, but you cannot do this on the LUAS and DART. I know this was long-winded, but Dublin does not have the most straight-forward public transportation system, so I want to give you a heads up!
You may also want to download the Dublin Bus app. You can get real time updates on the bus timetable, figure out your correct fare, and get any news about the buses/routes. A website that is specific to directions in Ireland is Hit the Road. I only recently discovered this myself and I can’t believe I didn’t know about this before. This is so easy to use and, for example tells you how long it will take to walk to a bus stop, the bus fare you need, and in how many minutes until the next service. It also offers multiple routes when you put in where you want to go, so you can decide which works best for you.
Alright, now that I have extensively covered the not so glamourous, but oh so useful information, let’s get onto the trips!
The first four trips on this list can be reached by taking the DART. In Dublin, the electric rail system is called the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit). Along the line, there are several things to do, so the possibilities are endless when you buy a ticket (or have your Leap Card)!
HOWTH – Take the DART to Howth for some amazing waterside views and even more amazing seafood (the seafood chowder at Octopussy's, omg). If you’re around on the weekend or Bank Holiday, make sure to check out the Howth Market (opposite the DART station). The stalls are open from 9am-6pm. In the market you’ll find gelato at Amore. This is the perfect dessert to sit by the water with for a seafront treat!
BRAY/GREYSTONES - This is kind of a 2-for-1 because it is a cliff walk from Bray to Greystones. Take the DART to Bray. The estimated time to do the walk is 2.5 hours so you will want to set some time aside for this. Once you are in Greystones, one of the most popular places to eat would be Happy Pear. It is run by twin brothers who are all about a vegan lifestyle. Sure, you’ve just done the walk so why not have a healthy meal to top it off? Take the DART from Greystones back to your destination, and maybe stop off for a pint somewhere. You deserve it.
DÚN LAOGHAIRE - Dún Laoghaire is the perfect stop for one of the few sunny days we get in Ireland. Walk the pier, but don’t forget to get a Teddy’s Ice Cream after as a treat! Then why not pop into The Forty Foot for some cheap craft beer and stunning views? Head upstairs to try and get a seat out on the deck/balcony. The Forty Foot is one of my favourite ways to spend the Sunday of a Bank Holiday weekend if the sun is out.
PORTMARNOCK TO MALAHIDE– I know, I know, another walk? It is good for you and I am helping you walk off all those pints you’re probably having. Take the DART to Portmarnock and you can then walk the strand from there to Malahide. This walk is about 5km so give yourself some time to do it, and to take in the gorgeous scenery. Once you get to Malahide, go to the village and reward yourself with a yummy meal from one of the many cafes. If you haven’t had enough walking yet, you could head to the castle and roam around there too!
POWERCOURT HOUSE & GARDENS – Powerscourt is sooo beautiful! This is a nice day trip if you’re visiting Dublin with your girlfriends. From Dundrum Town Centre you’ll want to take the Dublin Bus route 44 to Enniskerry. Get on at the Dundrum, Citizen Advice Centre (on Sandyford Road) and tell the bus driver you want to go to Powerscourt. The stop you’ll want to get off is the Powerscourt National School. At the time of writing this an Adult Cash ticket is €3.30. That same trip to Powerscourt with a Leap Card is €2.60 per adult. From here it is just a little over a mile walk to the house and gardens.
BELFAST – I have done two-day trips to Belfast – one purely for shopping and the other one which was a bit unusual, which I talked about here. One trip I went up by train and the other by bus. The bus can be a bit cheaper and is just as good as the train, in my opinion. You can easily do a decent amount of tourist bits in a day. I would book ahead for any tours or exhibitions you want to go to make the best use of your time there. And avoid any disappointment.
When I first moved to Ireland I did a few day tours by companies that specifically offer them, so I can vouch for these as an efficient and easy way to see other parts of Ireland. I have two suggestions for Ireland and two for Northern Ireland. If you don’t mind sharing your space with others for the driving portion of the trip, then they are well worth it. It is important to note that the cost of your lunch is not included in the ticket price. These tours tend to leave quite early in the morning, but I think that is best, so you get the most of your day! With all tours I would highly recommend booking as soon as you know the date you want to book to ensure you have a space.
CONNEMARA - This is the first tour I did in Ireland when I first moved here. I think I had only been here about 3 weeks and another girl I met at school and I went together. We had such a good time seeing parts of Ireland neither of us had ever seen before. I would recommend going during the high season, so you can take the boat cruise – it was so fun! I still remember pulling up to the Kylemore Abbey because it is breath-taking. This is a long day, but to see the beauty of the countryside it is well worth an early start! They used to have a student deal on this when I went so I paid €40 but now there just seems to be an adult price at €55.
GLENDALOUGH/WICKLOW MOUNTAINS – This tour is only a half day, but it is still a way to see more than Dublin if you are only visiting for a short period of time. This tour is also handy because you can go in the morning or the afternoon. For only €22 you will get to see the stunning Wicklow Mountains and then take in the glory of Glendalough. You can be picked up from 3 points in city centre at around 8am or 1pm so this is a good option if you aren’t an early bird.
CLIFFS OF MOHER - When my best friend from high school came over to visit she and I planned to visit the Cliffs, and in true Irish fashion, it rained the entire time we were on this tour. Even in the rain, the Cliffs were amazing and if I had to recommend only one ‘tour’ day trip, it would be this one. This tour is €45 but it is well worth it because you get 4 locations in the one tour. Not only do you visit the Cliffs, but you’ll have lunch in Doolin, and visit The Burren and Galway. Honestly, doing this tour is still one of my favourite memories of traveling within Ireland. I might need to go back on this tour in the summer and pray I have the luck of the Irish on my side this time for no rain – yeah, right!
GIANTS CAUSEWAY – This tour looks so awesome that I am seriously trying to plan when I am going to go on it now. I have been to the Giants Causeway before and it is amazing. I loved walking the cliff tops on my visit. This DayTours.ie tour includes way more than my school organized trip did. On this tour you will also visit the Dark Hedges, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge (would shit myself but I want to go!), and Dunluce Castle. Apparently, the Dark Hedges and Dunluce Castle are important if you like Game of Thrones. It is the most expensive option of the tours at €65, but I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t think it was worth it.
So, there you have it, 10 different day trips from Dublin at all different price points and distances. I hope this helps anyone looking to do a day trip! If you have done any of these let me know what you thought of it in the comments. If you are going to be in Dublin make sure to check out my Dublin City Guide too!
If you have any specific questions about anything Dublin/traveling around Ireland, please feel free to reach out. You can send me a DM on Instagram, message me on Facebook or send me a tweet on Twitter. Don’t forget to follow me on Bloglovin’ and Pinterest too!
*all images original to Candid Alexandra