Fun half-day trips from Dublin
If you don’t have a full day to go exploring through the country, there are still worthwhile options for half-day trips just outside of Dublin City. Taking the DART north of town, you’ll come across a few great coastal towns that are well worth a stop for an hour or two.
The fishing village of Howth, shown above, is a great stop for some fish and chips and (if it’s a sunny day) a walk around the harbor and up to Howth Head’s cliffside walks and aerial views of Dublin.
Malahide is a vibrant town with cafes, shops, pubs, and a marina. Malahide Castle and grounds are definitely worth a visit. The coastal walk from Malahide to Portmarnock Beach is also gorgeous on a nice day.
3. Dún Laoghaire
Take the DART south of town to Dún Laoghaire, walk the promenade, and if it is a Sunday, enjoy their outdoor market. Check out their upcoming cultural events too, as there always seems to be an outdoor movie, a festival, or theater performance going on. Stay on the DART a little longer to reach the town of Bray to hike the Bray to Greystones coast/ cliff walk.
4. Enniskerry, County Wicklow
Hop on Dublin Bus #44 or #185 to Powerscourt Estate in Enniskerry, County Wicklow. Powerscourt is a major attraction due to its impressive landscape and sheer grandeur of the Powerscourt House. The Powerscourt Grounds have a long history dating back to the 13th century. A fire practically destroyed the house in the 1970s, but it was reopened two decades later, and today houses the best shops specializing in Irish design, an artisan cafe, and even a children’s museum. Its gardens are breathtaking and contain Ireland’s tallest waterfall.
And for a final suggestion, why not leave the Republic of Ireland all together? Belfast, in County Antrim, Northern Ireland (so it’s part of the UK), is a totally do-able day trip from Dublin, if you schedule your train times wisely! While there, check out Titanic Belfast, which just opened in 2012 and has quickly become Belfast’s new top attraction.
Belfast has many great attractions; City Hall, Belfast Botanic Gardens, Ulster Museum, and St. Georges Market (which is close to the train station). A huge part of Belfast’s past (and its present) are The Troubles. There are several options of learning more about this volatile time in Irish history; the Black Taxi Tours and Belfast Mural Tours will show you the infamous Falls Road and Shankill areas and will give you an introductory understanding of The Troubles.
*Ireland Tip – There are several tour companies providing so-called Black Taxi Tours. Some are neutral, and some are quite biased, be sure to ask around and check reviews before booking! Paddy Campbell’s Famous Black Cab Tours are the most reputable among those in the tourism industry and ranked #1 on TripAdvisor.