Ireland’s capital city, Dublin, is home to an incredible amount of attractions and experiences. Whether you want to catch a show at Temple Bar, wander around the Dublin Castle, or knock back a couple of pints at the Guinness Storehouse, you’re sure to have a grand ol’ time in Dublin.
However, if you want to dip your toes into more adventurous waters, why not plan a day trip or two from the capital city.
Whether you’re looking for the most romantic day trip from Dublin or the most intellectually stimulating historically inspired day trip from Dublin, we have got you covered.
Let’s dig into the eight best day trips from Dublin and see where your next adventure will lead you… to Dublin and beyond!
1. Prepare Yourself to Be Dazzled at the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Get ready because you’re in for a real treat! Take a tour up north to Northern Ireland and see one of the most famous natural wonders in Ireland— the Giant’s Causeway. These 40,000 interlocking basalt columns will blow your mind!
I recommend taking a tour up north to make your day trip as easy as pie. No need to stress, just hop on a tour bus and enjoy the scenic drive out of your window. This 12-hour trip will allow you to cover a lot of ground, completely—or very nearly—stress-free!
On the trip, you’ll visit the Dark Hedges, Dunluce Castle, Giant’s Causeway, and the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, which you can cross free of charge – if the weather is nice, that is. No need to cross a rickety rope bridge in a storm. Some photo ops just aren’t worth it…
Best of all, on the drive back to Dublin, you’ll get to stop through the capital city of Northern Ireland, Belfast, and do some sightseeing and grab a bite to eat. Check one more capital city off your list on your day trip from Dublin!
Also, if you have time to spare, you can also stop at the seaside town of Bangor to learn more about this historic town.
2. Visit the Cliffs of Moher, Burren, and Galway
Ready to fall in love with nature? This day trip from Dublin really is something to write home about. It’ll take the full day – nearly 14 hours – to check all of these incredible sites off your day trip from Dublin list, but trust me, it’s beyond worth it.
The Cliffs of Moher are hands-down one of the most iconic places in the entire Irish landscape. As the source and site of many folklore legends, not only will you get a dose of lore and legend, but you should be able to spot a bird or two… or maybe even 30,000.
The Cliffs of Moher are the site of 30,000 seabirds, and it’s also a favorite site of the Atlantic Puffins! They show up around March, so if you’re visiting at the right time of year, be on the lookout for those cute creatures!
After that, head on over to the Burren. What exactly is the Burren? It’s home to the warmest ground temperature in all of Ireland. It’s often called a lunar landscape, as it’s dominated by glacial karst, which makes it look like it’s part of the moon!
Once you’ve completed your “moon-landing,” then it’s time to go to Galway, lovingly called the Cultural Heart of Ireland. Enjoy meandering around the vibrant narrow streets.
If you’re lucky, you might just catch Galway on a festival day! Galway hosts an impressive 122 festivals and events per year, so your odds look pretty good, my friends!
3. Stroll through the Garden of Ireland at Wicklow
Little did you know, but County Wicklow is known as the Garden of Ireland. Get ready to have your romantic socks knocked right off when soaking up the gorgeous views of glittering lakes and babbling brooks.
Residing less than an hour’s drive from Dublin, Wicklow is home to Ireland’s largest national park. Gotta love some gorgeous mountain ranges! There is also a lovely self-guided walking trail in Wicklow that will take you up to some gorgeous views.
And now for the juiciest bit of information about Wicklow… there is a golf course! Just kidding.
Well, yes, there is a golf course in Wicklow, but what is really incredible is that Wicklow is home to the highest waterfall in Ireland, called Powerscourt Waterfall. It streams down the mountains from 121 meters high!
This tour will take you through the Irish countryside to see the best of Wicklow and Glendalough (mentioned below). Take in your surroundings as you pass by movie filming locations, dense forests, towering mountains, sparkling lakes, and babbling brooks.
4. Meander through Romantic Irish Countryside at Glendalough
Sitting just about an hour away from Dublin, it’s easy to catch a taxi or drive a car yourself to Glendalough. Even if you wanted to bicycle, apparently it only takes three hours. If that sounds like fun to you, well, go you!
Glendalough is a valley where there are two majestic lakes. Unsurprisingly, Glendalough translates to the “Valley of Two Lakes.” Sometimes, life just makes sense.
There are plentiful walking trails with varying degrees of difficulty that you can enjoy, as well as lots of rock-climbing spots if you fancy a go!
There’s also the Glendalough monastic site to visit, dating back to the 6th century and founded by St. Kevin.
As one of the most important monuments in Ireland, you can still see its well-preserved large gateway, round tower, cathedral, and even its priest’s house and kitchen!
5. A History Buff’s Dream Come True: Newgrange, Monasterboice, and Hill of Tara
It’s a big circular mound with a stone passageway running through it, which takes you to inner chambers and alcoves.
The circular mound is also encompassed by 97 large stones, known as Kert stones, which are engraved and have megalithic art on them.
Then we’re off to Monasterboice! Monasterboice is the remains of an early Christian monastic settlement from the late 5th century. You can visit two churches and the round tower, but what you really don’t want to miss are the high crosses!
The three high crosses are from the 10th century, but the 5.5-meter-tall Muiredach’s High Cross is often considered the best, the finest, the grandest high cross in all of Ireland.
Next, it’s time for the Hill of Tara, which is situated near the archaeological complex and the River Boyne.
The Hill of Tara isn’t just an ordinary hill. It doesn’t offer just normal, nice views. Instead, get ready to take in a number of ancient monuments and earthworks, from the Neolithic period to the Iron Age!
6. Check out the North Coast and Malahide Castle
Sometimes, it’s just best to hop on a tour to avoid bothering with driving and dealing with maps, and instead, just enjoy the view along the way!
Bask in the glory of the Malahide Castle and take a guided tour of this beautiful old medieval castle built in 1185. There are over 250 acres of castle grounds, but you won’t be forced to cover that much ground.
The gardens and butterfly house are a true botanical treat! There’s also a fairy trail to follow if you’re traveling with young ones, or if you are just wonderfully young at heart yourself!
After that, you’ll enjoy a scenic drive along the coast until you reach the quaint fishing village of Howth. This lovely seaside village is positively picturesque. Walk up to Howth Head and soak up some beautiful views.
7. The Not-To-Miss Kilkenny
Less than a two-hour drive from Dublin lies Kilkenny. It’s known as the “Marble City,” because Kilkenny has abundant black marble. Filled with well-preserved old buildings, Kilkenny still has an almost medieval feel.
Make sure you plan to visit Kilkenny Castle. Dating back to 1195, Kilkenny Castle is still gorgeous. The castle itself is impressive, as are the 50 acres of parkland and the rose garden.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find something cooler on a day trip from Dublin than visiting the Dunmore Caves of Ballyfoyle. This limestone cave system has a series of chambers and tons of dramatic calcite formations. Mind the gap? Well, here, mind the bats!
Lastly, make sure to visit the Kells Priory, which sits just 15 kilometers south of Kilkenny. The Kells Priory is one of the largest and most incredible medieval monuments in all of Ireland.
In total, it covers a vast swathe of land, and there are plenty of sites to visit, so make sure you plan to spend a couple of hours there!
8. Savor Your Time In Cork and at the Blarney Castle
Cork is a three-hour drive from Dublin, but it’s worth planning a day trip from Dublin – or, if possible, an overnight-getaway excursion there. Reason number one… is the food!
Cork is often called Ireland’s food capital, and there is a buzzing food scene there, with plates and dishes that will make you drool.
Make sure to stop by the English Market; it’s overflowing with delicious local food and goodies. From farm to table to your mouth! Yum.
You should also plan to visit St. Anne’s Church and ring the bells yourself, after hiking up 132 steps to the belfry. It’s worth it to hear those six-tonne bells toll just for you!
Once your belly is full, and you’re ready for a food break, just drive a quick 18 minutes to Blarney Castle.
This medieval fortress draws people to it for a peculiar reason… to kiss a rock! Kiss the famous Blarney Stone, or just allow yourself to be swept away by the beauty of the castle itself.
There are beautiful gardens to enjoy, as well as Druid rock formations to check out that all have curious names like Witch’s Kitchen and Wishing Steps.
Just make sure to watch out for the Poison Garden— 70 toxic shrubs to look at but not touch, smell, or eat! Ah, what a wonderful reason to take a day trip from Dublin.
Final Thoughts About the Best Day Trips from Dublin
If you’re looking to plan a day trip from Dublin, or maybe two or three, you’re in the right place. I hope this list sparked some of your wanderlust and that you found the best day trip from Dublin for your trip.
From kissing rocks to exploring limestone caves and plentiful castles, I sure do hope that something caught your eye.
And just so you have an idea of where each mentioned sight is located in Ireland and in relation to Dublin, this map has them all pinpointed for your convenience.
Share in the comments below which day trip from Dublin sounds like the most fun to you!
LET ME HELP YOU TRAVEL MORE BY GETTING ADDITIONAL TIPS AND INSPIRATION VIA THE MONTHLY NEWSLETTER.
Plus, receive a short e-book with 15 Beginner Tips and Tricks to Start Travel Hacking!