Planning a trip to Ireland and researching the best day trips from Dublin?
Our comprehensive guide offers details on the best Irish attractions and getaways for those looking to plan unforgettable day trips from Dublin.
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Whether you’ve travelled through Ireland extensively or are keen to plan your first visit, it’s important to research the best day trips from Dublin in advance.
We suggest using the newest edition of Eyewitness Travel Top 10 Dublin. If you’re a first time visitor you’ll want to take notes on the “Reasons to Love” section, which sums up all of the top sights and experiences in and around Dublin.
Eyewitness Travel Top 10 Dublin features handy and insightful information for those visiting the Irish capital:
- Dublin Highlights
- Moments in History
- Irish Legends and Myths
- Dublin for Free
- Dublin and Ireland Area by Area
Eyewitness Travel Top 10 Dublin also includes detailed itineraries and “don’t miss” destination highlights at a glance. You’ll also find illustrated cutaway 3-D drawings of important sights, floor plans for major museums, area maps marked with popular sights, and top hotel and restaurant listings. The guide also features a slew of info on niche interests such as Sporting Events, Children’s Attractions and Best Pubs and Restaurants.
We suggest reading Eyewitness Travel Top 10 Dublin from cover to cover. Take notes on the destinations and experiences that most excite you and plan a series of exciting day tips from Dublin.
You’ll find the informative guidebook acts as an excellent companion while on a road trip of Ireland. Once home, Eyewitness Travel Top 10 Dublin is a perfect memento to showcase on your bookshelf.
Best Day Trips From Dublin
If you’re from Canada or the United States you’re likely used to enduring long and painful road trips. You’ll find happiness when planning day trips from Dublin as you can easily drive the entire width of Ireland, from Dublin to Galway in 2 hours and 30 minutes.
While there’s plenty to explore in Dublin, it’s always nice to get out of a bustling city for a quick day trip or weekend getaway. There are plenty of luxury hotels, historic towns, castles, palaces, parks and gardens worth exploring on a day trip from Dublin.
Our favourite day trips from Dublin are listed below, each featuring the distance from Dublin as well as average driving time so you can plan your itinerary accordingly.
Many of the attractions are clustered by regions. You can easily visit the Cliffs of Moher and Galway in one day if driving out to Ireland’s west coast. Similarly, if you’re planning to explore Northern Ireland, we suggest a whirlwind tour including Belfast, Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.
We suggest waking up at the crack of dawn and driving back to Dublin after sunset. You’ll find you can visit many of Ireland’s top attractions on these popular day trips from Dublin.
Book A Tour: Day Trips From Dublin
Keen to sit back and relax on your Irish holiday and don’t want to worry about renting or driving a car? Here is a list of our favourite day trips from Dublin offered by local tour operators.
- Cork and Blarney Castle Tour: enjoy a rail tour from Dublin to Blarney Castle and the city of Cork.
- Connemara and Galway Tour: enjoy a tour of Galway and the scenic coastal towns of Connemara on Ireland’s west coast.
- Northern Ireland and the Giants Causeway: this day trip from Dublin explores Northern Ireland’s highlights including Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, Giant’s Causeway and Dunluce Castle.
- Malahide Castle and Howth Village: this 4 hour tour brings visitors to the historic Malahide Castle and quaint village of Howth.
- Limerick, Cliffs of Moher and Burren: this full day tour from Dublin explores Limerick, Bunratty Castle, Burren and the Cliffs of Moher.
- Wicklow Mountains and Glendalough: nature lovers enjoy a hike through Wicklow National Park followed by a hearty Irish lunch and stop in Medieval Glendalough.
Book a Hotel Before Planning Day Trips From Dublin
Before confirming your day trips from Dublin we suggest booking a central hotel in the city. If you’re going to be hiring a car to explore nearby attractions inquire to ensure your hotel offers complimentary parking.
- The Shelbourne, Autograph Collection 5 STARS: one of Dublin’s most luxurious hotels, The Shelbourne is a historic property featuring chic suites, award-winning restaurant, spa, gym and pool. Check Reviews.
- Brooks Hotel 4 STARS: located in the heart of Dublin, Brooks Hotel offers newly designed rooms, spa, gym, bar and restaurant. Check Reviews.
- Holiday Inn Express Dublin City Centre 3 STARS: is a perfect no-frills hotel in downtown Dublin for the budget conscious traveler. Simple and contemporary guest rooms with Free WiFi, bar and breakfast. Check Reviews.
Distance from Dublin: 15km and 30min drive
Malahide Castle is one of the most popular day trips from Dublin. It’s located perched over the sea and accessible on a short drive north of the city. The impressive Irish castle stands on 250 acres of lush parkland and features one of Ireland’s most famous gardens.
Malahide Castle originally dates back to the 12th century. Later architectural additions such as iconic rounded towers have given it a reputation for fulling every visitors fairytale fantasy.
Malahide Castle’s guided tour takes visitors around the properties collection of 18th-century furniture and Great Hall decked out in fine oak. The visitor centre also offers a detailed exhibition on the Talbot family, who lived here until 1973.
If you’re interested in doing a comprehensive private tour of Malahide Castle, we recommend this 5 hour tour which includes a local guide and a tour of the extensive gardens.
Distance from Dublin: 25km and 40min drive
The luxurious rural retreat is made up of a series of old mill buildings from the late 18th century, which feels as though you’re skipping through an ancient estate. There are 25 cottages on the estate as well as 14 rooms located in two stately manor houses that overlook a grand lily pond.
Ryanair co-founder, the late Dr Tony Ryan, spent years restoring Cliffs at Lyons to its former, historic glory. Fireplaces and even a tiny chapel were rescued from a crumbling French chateaux. The romance factor at Cliffs at Lyons makes it one of Ireland’s most popular wedding venues.
The restaurant, bar, cafe, shop and hotel’s reception are all located in original buildings that are covered in fresh foliage and set around a central courtyard.
The Orangery restaurant is Cliffs at Lyons fine dining concept serving locally sourced ingredients under a jaw-dropping domed glass ceiling. Skip into the Cliffs at Lyons Bar and you’ll find a darker and more traditional vibe featuring wooden floors and walls.
Guests at Cliff at Lyons are free to use complimentary bicycles to ride along the canal or to nearby Celbridge to relax in a spa or take a cooking class.
Distance from Dublin: 60km and 70min drive
Located in County Wicklow a short drive south of Dublin, Wicklow Mountains National Park offers excellent hiking trails, historical ruins, impressive waterfall and posh Powerscort Estate. Discover the lush Wicklow Mountains on this full-day private tour from Dublin.
Begin your visit in the region’s southern end by enjoying a stroll through the ruins at Glendalough. Drive north up a rural road and you’ll find a popular viewpoint overlooking Lough Tay. Continue your drive for a hike to Powerscourt Waterfall, a magnificent 398 foot falls surrounded by ancient trees, wild deer and chirping birds.
Enjoy your final stop at Powerscourt Estate, an 18th-century stately home famous for its landscaped gardens, gift shop and cafe.
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Distance from Dublin: 160km and 2hrs drive
Belfast was once lumped with Beirut, Baghdad and Bosnia as one of the four “Bs” for travellers to avoid. The city was regularly mired with gruesome international headlines, now politely referred to as The Troubles.
Today, Northern Ireland practices peace and the capital has quite remarkably pulled off a transformation from bombs-and-bullets to a hip hotels-and-hedonism party town.
The city’s skyline is in a constant state of flux. Old shipyards are giving way to the luxury waterfront apartments of the Titanic Quarter and Victoria Square. It’s Europe’s biggest urban regeneration project, adding a massive city-centre shopping mall to a list of tourist attractions that include Victorian architecture, waterfront lined with modern art and foot-stomping music in packed out pubs.
Maximize your time in Belfast with this great-value Hop-on hop-off bus pass. Enjoy access to the Titanic Belfast, the most visited attraction in Northern Island, then visit attractions such as the Belfast Murals, Titanic Dock, Queens University, and St George’s Market,
Distance from Dublin: 210km and 2hr 25min drive
Galway is a picturesque harbour city located on Ireland’s west coast. It’s perhaps best known for its traditional pubs that often offer live Irish folk music in the evenings.
The g Hotel in Galway is one of Ireland’s most iconic design hotels. The interior here is jaw dropping, designed by world famous Irish hat designer Philip Treacy.
A visit to Galway is not complete without a stroll through the wild and whimsical rooms of the luxurious 5 star g Hotel.
Located on the edge of Loug Atalia as you enter the heart of the city, the g Hotel is ideal for a romantic escape in Ireland. The luxury boutique hotel offers the only 5 star destination spa in Galway, featuring two dedicated floors designed by ESPA International.
If you’re a wandering foodie be sure to book Afternoon Tea at The g Hotel in Galway. The daily tea tradition is served in the hotel’s stylish Signature Lounge, which feel a bit like you’ve dropped into Alice and Wonderland. Tantalize your tastebuds with handmade pastries, freshly baked scones and savoury bites.
Distance from Dublin: 270km and 3hr 15min drive
The epic Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s top visitor attractions and a designated UNESCO Geo Park. The Cliffs of Moher are 214m high at the highest point and range for 8 kilometres over the Atlantic Ocean on the western seaboard of County Clare.
If you stand perched over Ireland’s famous cliffs you can see the Aran Islands and Galway Bay. The Cliffs of Moher take their name from a ruined promontory fort “Mothar,” which was demolished during the Napoleonic wards to make room for a signal tower.
The Cliffs of Moher are a must-see as the jaw-dropping nature park is the most visited attraction in Ireland. We recommend this full day guided journey from dublin to truly experience the grandeur of these magnificent cliffs.
Distance from Dublin: 260km and 3hrs drive
Flanked by the North Atlantic Ocean on a landscape of dramatic cliffs, the Giant’s Causeway has inspired artists and stirred scientific debate for centuries.
Visit on a sunny day and you’ll enjoy a stroll through the regions world-famous basalt columns with an informative audio guide. The area is home to over 40,000 interlocking balsalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption.
Be sure to march up the Shepherd’s Steps and hike along the Giant’s Causeway cliff-top trail. Once you’ve made it to the top take a moment to rest while taking in the bird’s eye view of the causeway coast below.
Discover two of Northern Ireland’s top attractions with ease on this full day guided trip to the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge from Dublin.
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Distance from Dublin: 260km and 3hr drive
First used by salmon fishermen in 1755, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is one of the top attractions on Ireland’s Causeway Coast.
Connected to craggy cliffs by a slender rope bridge that stretches across the Atlantic Ocean, Carrick-a-Rede Island is your final destination. The tiny island is home to a single building, a historical fisherman’s cottage.
Suspended almost 100 feet above the crash of salty ocean waves below, the famous Irish rope bridge was first erected over 350 years ago.
The bridge is such as popular attraction the conversation charity which manages the site now offers a timed ticketed system so you can book your visit in advance online.
Discover two of Northern Ireland’s top attractions with ease on this full day guided trip to the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and Giant’s Causeway from Dublin.
Distance from Dublin: 130km and 1hr 40min drive
Kilkenny rose to prominence in the 13th-century when it became the medieval capital of Ireland. It was home to the Anglo-Norman Butler family, who came to power in the 1390s and ruled for over 500 years.
Today, Kilkenny continues to show off her ancient architectural legacy. History buffs visit to explore the city’s medieval alleys, small artisan houses, and architectural icons Kilkenny Castle, St. Canice’s Cathedral, and the Black Abbey.
While Kilkenny is most famous for its medieval streetscape, it’s the city’s contemporary cool that make a visit here so rewarding. Once you’ve soaked up the city’s medieval marvels, relax at a luxury spa, tuck into afternoon tea, grab a pint at a local pub or better yet enjoy a sud-sloshed tour at Smithwick’s Experience.
With your entrance ticket in hand, head inside the Smithwick’s Experience and join a 1-hour guided tour.
Distance from Dublin: 140km and 1hr 40min drive
Mount Juliet Estate is located a short drive outside of the medieval city of Kilkenny.
For more than 250 years, Mount Juliet has polished its reputation as one of Ireland’s finest country estates. It all stared in 1750, when the young Somerset Hamilton Butler married Juliet Boyle. Using her dowry, he bought 1,500 acres across the river from his father’s Castle, with the dream of building his own Irish paradise.
Today, the sprawling luxury resort features a celebrated golf course, state-of-the-art health club, award-winning Equestrian Centre and on-site fishing, falconry and archery.
Distance from Dublin: 170km and 2hr drive
Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore is a gorgeous oceanside resort near Ireland’s oldest city, Waterford.
The 5 star hotel’s architecture is a true marvel, built directly into the side of a cliff. The rural resort is located in a small fishing village and is regarded as one of the best small luxury 5 star hotels in Ireland. It features just 39 well-appointed suites, featuring private balconies where you can spot lobster pots and dolphins at play below.
Cliff House Hotel’s elegant bar, al fresco terrace, fine dining restaurant, spa and each guest room offer jaw-dropping views of the bright blue bay. Guests can also enjoy beautifully sculpted gardens and an outdoor rock pool in the warm summer months.
Foodies pilgrimage to Cliff House Hotel to enjoy Michelin-starred dining at House Restaurant. Chef Martijn Kajuiter uses fine local ingredients such as organic salmon, local beef and edible flowers.
With direct access to the sea, Cliff House Hotel offers plenty of active adventures for couples who are keen to get up close and personal with Mother Nature. Guests can enjoy ocean kayaking, surfing, whale watching, fishing and rock climbing. There are also a handful of beaches nearby that you can hike to via a famous cliff walk.
Distance from Dublin: 260km and 3hr drive
The city of Cork is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Ireland. Cork city is famous for its unique local Irish dialect, which you’ll hear chirped by friendly locals in restaurants and pubs.
The bustling city also offers some of Ireland’s weirdest and most wonderful attractions. Enjoy Ireland’s favourite city on the south coast by strolling through the dairy-loving Cork Butter Museum, historic English Market and haunting Cork City Goal.
If you’re a fan of postcard-perfect panoramas, enjoy jaw-dropping views of Cork by climbing the Shannon Bells or skipping along the ancient walls of Elizabeth Fort.
Distance from Dublin: 260km and 3hr drive
Blarney Castle is Ireland’s most famous historic castle, located a short drive outside of Cork. The Irish castle is so famous that many tourists in Dublin book day trips departing from the capital to whisk themselves away for a day.
Visit Blarney Castle and you’ll find yourself tip toeing up steep winding staircases to finally arrive on an open air rooftop. The current castle is actually the properties third iteration, build in 1446 by Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster.
Curious pilgrims have been visiting Blarney Castle to kiss its famous stone for over 200 years. The Blarney Stone is located on the castles rooftop and requires visitors to lie flat on their back in hopes of gaining “the gift of eloquence.” Ages ago, visitors had to be held by their ankles and lowered head first over the battlements. Today, the Blarney Stone is set in the wall and only requires you to lean backwards while holding on to an iron railing.
While Blarney Castle is most famous for its kissing stone, visitors should plan to spend hours on the property to explore its seemingly endless thematic gardens.
Why not sit back and relax by booking a rail tour from Dublin to Blarney Castle and Cork?
Distance from Dublin: 270km and 3hr drive
Whisky lovers visiting Ireland should make a point to plan a pilgrimage to visit the historic Jameson Distillery in Midleton.
Located a short drive outside fo Cork in Midleton, Jameson Distillery offers daily tours of its 1800s warehouse, distillery and waterwheel.
Visitors on the Jameson Distillery Tour also experience an insightful historical film and tutored tasting which helps better distinguish the subtle differences between the flavour profile of Irish whisky, Scotch and Bourbon.
Finish your guided tour at Jameson Distillery by booking an intimate tasting of the whisky brands finest bottles, or enjoy an Irish feast at the onsite restaurant.Visit Ireland’s most famous cooking school at Ballymaloe Hotel.
Distance from Dublin: 260km and 3 hr drive
Ballymaloe House is located a short drive east of Cork. It’s a family run country guest house offering a lauded restaurant and award-winning cooking school in the quaint Irish countryside.
The earliest iteration of Ballymaloe Hotel and its Irish cooking school were dreamed up by Myrtle Allen 55 years ago. Myrtle’s husband, Ivan Allen, bought the Georgian country house, built on the remains of a Norman castle, in 1947. Myrtle began cooking for guests from the farm’s produce in the 1960s and later the operation evolved into a 30-bedroom hotel, self-catering cottages and cooking school.
Internationally recognized as the birthplace of modern Irish cuisine, Ballymaloe House was voted Ireland’s Favourite Food Experience 2019 by the Independent and won a World Restaurant Award for having the world’s best dessert trolley!
The boutique hotel is located on a 300-acre farm, and the menus at its restaurant are written daily to reflect the seasonal vegetables available that morning. If you’ve signed up for a cooking course you’ll enjoy hands on experience within a lofty demo kitchen.
Cooking classes range from half-day to 12 weeks and are taught by Darina Allen (Myrtle is her mother-in-law). Novice cooks and professional chefs visit from all over the world to learn how to forage for mushrooms, ferment vegetables, bake pizza and cook their own baby food.
Review Our Travel Checklist When Planning Your Next Adventure!
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Never travel without insurance! We suggest World Nomads comprehensive coverage as it includes over 250 adventure activities such as scuba diving, bungee jumping and surfing.
If you’re planning a road trip make sure to compare the best local car rental options.
Looking to book a tour or VIP experience on holiday? Book the best local tours on Viator.
Be sure to check your travel destinations electrical plug requirements in advance. If you travel often be sure to purchase a multi-region adaptor.
Whether you’re marching through a city or exploring a rugged rural landscape, it’s important to ensure you’re traveling with comfortable footwear. We suggest these comfortable walking shoes for urban adventures or these waterproof hiking boots when embarking on a hike holiday.
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