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Day Trips from Dublin, Ireland: Top Destinations & Attractions

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

· 8 min read

Day trips from Dublin offer stunning destinations like the historic town of Kilkenny, the ancient monastic site of Glendalough, and the scenic beauty of the Cliffs of Moher. You can also discover the charm of Howth, the splendor of Powerscourt Gardens, and the intriguing prehistoric monument of Newgrange. Each destination provides unique attractions, from medieval castles and lush gardens to dramatic landscapes and cultural landmarks. These day trips provide a perfect mix of history, natural beauty, and Irish culture, making them ideal for travelers looking to make the most of their time in Ireland.

I've spent many weekends discovering these spots. The journey to each place always offers something new. Sharing these experiences with friends and family has been truly rewarding.

What  Are the Best Day Trip Destinations from Dublin?

The best day trip destinations from Dublin include the stunning Cliffs of Moher, the historic city of Kilkenny, the scenic Wicklow Mountains, and the ancient site of Newgrange. Each location offers unique experiences, from breathtaking landscapes to rich cultural heritage.

Just a short drive from Dublin, these destinations provide the perfect escape for those looking to explore Ireland beyond the capital. The Cliffs of Moher offer dramatic coastal views, while Kilkenny enchants with its medieval charm. The Wicklow Mountains are ideal for nature enthusiasts, and Newgrange fascinates history buffs with its prehistoric significance.

These day trips allow you to immerse yourself in Ireland's diverse attractions, making your visit to Dublin even more memorable. Whether you're seeking adventure, music, history, or natural beauty, there's a day trip from Dublin to suit every interest.



Howth is a must-visit. This charming seaside village, just a 30-minute train or boat ride out from Dublin, offers stunning coastal views, fresh seafood, and a vibrant harbor.

Walking along the Howth Cliff Path is a lovely and refreshing experience, with breathtaking vistas of the Irish Sea. Don't miss the Howth Market for unique crafts and delicious treats. The historic Howth Castle and its gardens are also worth exploring. Personally, I loved grabbing fish and chips at the local restaurants and watching the boats in the marina. The blend of natural beauty and local charm makes Howth an unforgettable day trip from Dublin.



Glendalough offers stunning scenery and significant historical ruins, all within an hour's drive from Dublin city. During my visit to Glendalough, I was captivated by the tranquil beauty of the valley. The well-marked trails led me to an ancient monastic site featuring a striking round tower, providing a profound connection to Ireland’s rich historical tapestry. The seamless blend of nature and history at Glendalough creates a memorable day trip for anyone venturing out from Dublin.



One of the best day trip destinations from Dublin is undoubtedly Kilkenny. This charming medieval city, located less than two hours away by car, offers a rich tapestry of historical architecture, vibrant cultural scenes, and picturesque landscapes. Kilkenny is renowned for its majestic castle perched by the River Nore, which I found particularly captivating during my visit last spring. The well-preserved Kilkenny Castle, with its expansive public gardens, provides a perfect setting for a leisurely afternoon stroll.

The city's compact size makes it ideal for exploring on foot. I loved wandering through the cobblestone streets, discovering artisan craft shops and experiencing the local cuisine in cozy cafes. The Kilkenny Design Centre, just across from the castle, is a great spot to find handcrafted Irish goods. For those interested in culture and history, the Medieval Mile Museum is a must-visit. It tells the story of the city through beautifully displayed artifacts and interactive exhibits, making Kilkenny a rewarding day trip from Dublin that combines both relaxation and enrichment.



Newgrange, located in the Boyne Valley, County Meath, is about an hour's drive north of Dublin, making it an ideal spot for a short yet enriching escape from the city. The prehistoric monument, older than both Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids, captivates visitors with its rich history and impressive structure.

I remember walking into the main passage tomb of Newgrange; it felt like stepping back over 5,000 years in time. The precision with which the stones are aligned to capture the winter solstice sunrise is simply awe-inspiring. It's a reminder of the sophistication of ancient cultures, and witnessing this was not just educational but also deeply moving. Newgrange is not just a journey through Ireland’s ancient landscape, but a profound connection to the past that stays with you long after the trip.



Malahide, just a short train ride north from the city center, offers a delightful escape with its scenic coastal paths and historic attractions. The village is renowned for the impressive Malahide Castle, set amidst vast beautiful gardens, perfect for a day tour, a leisurely stroll or a picnic.

During my last visit, I spent a bit of a morning exploring the castle's ornate rooms and rich history, which dates back to the 12th century. The afternoon was just as pleasant walking along the marina, watching the boats and enjoying fresh seafood at a local eatery. Malahide's charming atmosphere and range of activities make it a must-visit for anyone looking to explore beyond Dublin’s city limits.



Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, is also a good choice for visitors. Located just two hours north of Dublin by train, Belfast offers a rich tapestry of history, culture, and vibrant city life that makes it a perfect day trip for those looking to explore beyond the Irish border. The journey itself is scenic, providing views of the lush Irish countryside before transitioning into the more urban landscape of Belfast.

During my last visit, I was particularly struck by the Titanic Belfast, an iconic museum located at the shipyard where the Titanic was built. The interactive exhibits there provide a deep dive into the history of the famous ship, making it a highlight of the trip. Belfast's compact city center also allows for easy exploration on foot, from the historic City Hall to the bustling St. George's Market, where I enjoyed local crafts and the best seafood chowder I've ever tasted. Whether you're interested in historical sites, shopping, or dining, Belfast delivers a fulfilling day trip experience from Dublin.

Powerscourt Estate


The Powerscourt Estate, located just a short drive south of the city in County Wicklow, offers a splendid blend of natural beauty and historic architecture. Visitors can explore the renowned Powerscourt Gardens, which span over 47 acres and feature a collection of formal gardens, sweeping terraces, ornamental lakes, and scenic woodland walks.

The estate also boasts the impressive Powerscourt House, where guests can delve into its rich history and enjoy the fine collection of Irish art and antiques. The house also hosts a range of specialty shops and a café, making it an ideal spot for leisurely browsing and dining. With its lush landscapes and elegant grounds, Powerscourt Estate provides a perfect escape from the urban hustle of Dublin.



Trim, located in County Meath, is less than an hour's drive from Dublin, making it an easily accessible retreat into Ireland's rich historical tapestry. The town is most famous for Trim Castle, the largest Norman castle in Ireland, which fans of cinema may recognize from the film Braveheart.

Trim offers more than just its iconic castle; visitors can explore the ruins of St. Mary's Abbey, take a leisurely walk along the River Boyne, and visit the Trim Visitor Centre to dive deeper into the area's history. This charming town not only provides a picturesque glimpse into medieval Ireland but also offers peaceful green spaces and riverside walks, ideal for a relaxing day away from the bustling city.



Bray, located just 20 kilometres south of Dublin, offers a blend of coastal charm and cultural heritage, making it an ideal escape from the city. Visitors can enjoy a picturesque stroll along the seafront promenade, which is flanked by the Irish Sea on one side and a line of charming cafes and shops on the other.

Bray also boasts the famous Bray Head, a prominent hill overlooking the town, where a walk to its summit rewards with panoramic views of the Dublin Bay and surrounding landscapes. Additionally, the town's proximity to Dublin ensures it is easily accessible by train, making it a convenient and attractive option for a day trip.

What Are the Best Day Trips for Families from Dublin?

The best day trips for families from Dublin, Ireland, offer a variety of experiences that are both educational and entertaining. Dublin's location makes it an excellent base for exploring the rich historical and natural attractions of Ireland. These outings are perfect for families looking to engage children with interactive activities while soaking in Ireland's breathtaking landscapes and historic sites. From castle tours to coastal adventures, there's something to captivate every age group.


Bray is a lively coastal town just south of Dublin, known for its scenic seafront and family-friendly attractions. The Bray Head Walk provides stunning views of the Irish Sea and surrounding mountains. For a fun learning experience, visit the Sea Life Bray aquarium to discover marine creatures. The town also hosts numerous cafes and ice cream shops, ideal for family breaks.


Glendalough, situated in the Wicklow Mountains, is perfect for families who love the outdoors. The area is famous for its ancient monastic ruins, including a round tower and several churches, set against a backdrop of lakes and greenery. Educational walking trails and visitor centers provide insights into the site's significant historical importance. Picnic areas and easy walks make it a relaxing day out for families.


Malahide offers a mix of history and seaside charm. The highlight is Malahide Castle, where families can explore the medieval castle with interactive tours tailored for children. The castle's extensive gardens are ideal for a leisurely stroll or a family picnic. Nearby, Malahide Beach offers a great spot for relaxing and playing on the sand.


Howth is a bustling fishing village that promises a day of adventure and relaxation. Families can explore the cliff paths with panoramic views of the bay, spot seals from the pier, and enjoy fresh seafood at local restaurants. Howth Market is a delightful spot to browse local crafts and treat the kids to homemade sweets.

These destinations not only provide a break from the city life of Dublin but also enrich families with Ireland’s outstanding natural beauty and historical lore.

Best Day Trip Options from Dublin by Train

The best day trips for families from Dublin by train or without a car include visits to Bray, Glendalough, Malahide, and Howth. In Bray, families can enjoy the seaside promenade and Bray Head cliff walk. Glendalough offers stunning scenery and hiking trails through its ancient monastic site. Malahide is home to Malahide Castle and beautiful gardens perfect for picnics and exploration. Howth provides a charming harbor, coastal walks, and delicious seafood. These destinations offer a mix of natural beauty, historical sites, and family-friendly activities, making them perfect for memorable family outings.


Just a short train ride south of Dublin, Bray offers a blend of coastal charm and mountainous backdrop. Visitors can walk the famed Bray to Greystones cliff walk, enjoying spectacular views of the Irish Sea. The town also boasts a vibrant arts scene and is home to the Mermaid County Wicklow Arts Centre. While in Bray, visitors often take advantage of the car park near the promenade to start their adventure with just a short walk.


North of Dublin, Malahide is ideal for both history buffs and nature lovers. Malahide Castle, set in beautiful gardens, provides a glimpse into medieval life and hosts frequent events. The nearby Malahide Beach and Marina offer a perfect spot for a leisurely day by the sea. Those interested in Irish history will find Malahide rich with tales and landmarks.


Howth is renowned for its breathtaking cliff walks and fresh seafood. A day trip here should include a hike around Howth Head, providing panoramic views of Dublin Bay. The village’s charming streets are lined with fish restaurants and boutiques, ideal for a leisurely afternoon. This picturesque area on the west coast is a short drive from the heart of Dublin and is a must-visit for those exploring the Emerald Isle.


Though slightly longer on the train, a trip to Kilkenny is well worth the journey. This medieval city is known for its historic Kilkenny Castle, St. Canice’s Cathedral, and its bustling craft and design workshops. The city’s small size makes it perfect for exploring on foot. For a seamless experience, you can book online to secure your spots on guided tours and experiences.


Located in the Boyne Valley, Newgrange is older than the pyramids and one of Ireland's most important prehistoric sites. Tours of this ancient passage tomb are insightful, and its alignment with the winter solstice sunrise is particularly famous. Note, access to Newgrange is easier via a combination of train and bus. For those interested in unique Dublin day trips, consider extending your adventure to the nearby Giants Causeway, accessible through organized day tours or a drive with a rented black cab for a more personalized experience.

Each destination offers a unique slice of Irish culture and scenery, easily accessible for a rewarding day out from Dublin.

Tips for Planning Day Trips From Dublin

When planning day trips from Dublin, Ireland, it’s crucial to consider both the logistics and the destinations to maximize your experience. Dublin serves as an ideal base for exploring the rich history and stunning landscapes of Ireland, including trips to the vibrant Galway City and the iconic Giant's Causeway. The city's central location provides easy access to various noteworthy attractions within a few hours' drive or train ride. Whether you're interested in ancient castles, scenic coastlines, or vibrant small towns, day trips from Dublin can offer a delightful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Here are some pointers to consider when planning your day trips:

  • Start Early: To make the most of your day, begin your journey early. This helps avoid traffic and gives you more time to explore your destination.

  • Use Public Transport: Ireland’s train and bus services are often a convenient and scenic way to travel. They connect Dublin to major attractions and are cost-effective.

  • Check Weather Forecasts: Weather in Ireland can be unpredictable. Checking the forecast helps you dress appropriately and plan activities suited for the weather conditions.

  • Plan Your Route: Decide what you want to see ahead of time and map it out. This will help you manage your time effectively and ensure you don't miss key attractions.

  • Pack Essentials: Bring water, snacks, comfortable walking shoes, and a raincoat. These essentials are vital for a comfortable trip, especially if you’re exploring rural areas.

  • Stay Flexible: While it's good to have a plan, sometimes spontaneous detours make for the best memories. Allow some flexibility in your schedule for unexpected discoveries.

  • Book Tickets in Advance: For popular attractions, it’s wise to book tickets online in advance to avoid long queues and ensure entry, especially during peak tourist season.

FAQs On Day Trips from Dublin, Ireland

1. What are the best day trips from Dublin?

The best day trips from Dublin include visiting the Cliffs of Moher, exploring the ancient ruins of Glendalough, and touring the medieval Kilkenny Castle. Each destination and tour offers unique landscapes and rich history.

2. How far is the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin?

The Cliffs of Moher are about an hour and 260 kilometers from Dublin. The journey typically takes around three hours by car.

3. Is there public transportation available to these day trip destinations?

Yes, public transportation is available to many popular day trip destinations from Dublin. Buses and trains serve areas like Howth, Bray, and Wicklow, providing convenient access without the need for driving a car.

4. What should I bring on a day trip from Dublin?

Bring comfortable walking shoes, a camera, weather-appropriate clothing, lunch and some snacks. These items will help you enjoy your day trips comfortably and capture memorable moments.

5. Are day trips from Dublin suitable for families with children?

Yes, day trips from Dublin are suitable for families with children. Destinations like the Dublin Zoo and Malahide Castle offer engaging activities and spacious areas for children to explore.

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

I am a globe-trotter with a passion for exploration. From the sun-kissed coasts of Portugal to the snow-capped peaks of Switzerland, my travels are as diverse as they are inspiring. My journeys through Spain, Finland, Austria, and Germany have fueled my soul and shaped my writing.