Top 5 Day Trips from Dublin That You Need to Take
Updated: Sep 3
Dublin is not only one of the most vibrant cities in Europe but also the perfect base from which to take day tours around the country. Whether you want a little history or maybe just an encounter with the countryside, there’s a wide range of day tours from Dublin to think about. But I would also like to take this opportunity to give a fair warning because while some day tours exist, that doesn’t mean they are worth taking. For instance, there are many day tours from Dublin to Cork but given the distance in between, I genuinely believe that Cork is a bit too far to travel on a one day tour.
Now that’s not to say you should avoid the city but rather to pay attention to the drive time and with that said, let’s take a look at the top five day trips from Dublin.
Top 5 Day Trips from Dublin that Need to Take
1. Glendalough in the Wicklow Mountains
Wicklow is nicknamed the “Garden of Ireland” for good reason and the Wicklow Mountains are home to some of the most stunning scenery in the country. In fact, this is why Mel Gibson picked Wicklow for his movie Braveheart and the same goes for “PS I Love You”. But the scenery speaks volumes without these movies and a trip over Wicklow Gap offers a wonderful encounter with the wild side of Ireland. And then there’s Glendalough which translates from the Gaelic language as “The Valley of Two Lakes”. These stunning lakes are situated right in the middle of the mountains and have many walking trails around which you can hike and explore. There is also an ancient monastic site here that was founded by St. Kevin and simply put, you can feel this magic in the air.
One last reason to take this day tour from Dublin? It’s just a short 40-minute drive to Glendalough and you will feel a million miles from anywhere when you get there!
2. The Giants Causeway on the Antrim Coastline
The Giants Causeway appears man-made at first but there’s a perfectly clear reason why this magical site exists. That being said, the stories behind this natural attraction are rather interesting and explain how the causeway was built by a mythical giant named Fionn mac Cumhaill who wanted to reach and fight his foe in Scotland. In reality, the Causeway consists of more than 40,000 basalt columns that were formed when molten rock was forced up through the earth to create a plateau of lava. Believe it or not, this happened over 50 million years ago and the backdrop of the sea makes it a unique sight to say the least!
3. The Titanic Experience and a “Black Taxi Tour” in West Belfast
While Northern Ireland is a lot more peaceful in recent times, the area of West Belfast is still reeling from “the Troubles”. It’s a complex issue to explain but just know that such areas are still divided to the point where a giant wall exists between two communities. On a “Black Taxi Tour”, visitors are invited to take a behind-the-scenes look into both sides of this divide. This literally means that you can take a tour around both neighborhoods and hear both sides of the story in terms of the infamous troubles which have plagued Northern Ireland for decades. On the other hand, there’s much more to Belfast than the Troubles and this bustling city is also the birthplace of the Titanic. It’s true, this infamous ship was built in the dockyards of Belfast and an incredible museum is now standing right beside this area. In short, the Titanic Experience is arguably the best museum of its kind in the world and a really interesting thing to experience in the city. Belfast is also just two hours drive which makes this a really good option for a day tour from Dublin.
4. Galway City and the Wilds of Connemara
Connemara is one of the last wilderness areas in Ireland and a region that was devastated by the great famine in 1847. Today, the potatoes are fine and landscapes are still the same with old stone country walls and cottages dotted in between magnificent lakes and hills. This is also where John Wayne starred in “The Quiet Man” and where Tom Cruise was cast in “Far and Away” with Nicole Kidman. Anyway, it’s stunning Irish countryside and a short trip from Galway. With this said, Galway is also worth the visit and much more of a town than a city. It’s filled with old cobblestone streets and music and culture everywhere in between. With just a couple of hours of driving to Galway, this part of Ireland is a great option to consider for a day tour from Dublin.
5. Day Tour to the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare
The Cliffs of Moher is the number one tourist attraction in Ireland by a very long way. These immense cliffs stand 700 feet tall and stretch for 14 kilometers along the coastline of Clare. On a day tour from Dublin, you stop at a designated visitor center and the guide will give you at least 2 hours to walk and explore either side of the cliffs - to the left of right. Although Clare is on the other side of the country, a day tour from Dublin includes a drive through quintessential countryside and the drive itself (2hr 30m) may even feel short to North Americans. Either way, this is an outstanding day tour from Dublin that should be right at the top of your list of things or place to see in Ireland.
And that’s my top five day tours from Dublin. But maybe I missed something? Let me know in the comments.
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