14 Best Day Trips From Dublin: Top Sights, Tours, & Excursions

by EvanBEdler
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Ireland’s capital, Dublin is a lively city packed with endless history and culture. And beyond the charm of this intimate city, there are also so many day trips from Dublin that will give you a proper taste of the Emerald Isle.

Dublin has a unique vibe mixing European, English, and Celtic influence into its own distinct atmosphere. Here, visitors are met with the vibrance of the Irish people, known for their friendly spirit and national pride. If you happen to fall in love with Dublin (as many tourists do), you’re in luck – the Emerald Isle has so much more to offer, and Dublin is the ideal launching pad to explore all of Ireland.

Below, we’ve rounded up the best Dublin day trips by train or car. Read on to learn more about Ireland and how to make the most of your next trip!

"Best day trips from Dublin" over scenic view of Ireland.
The best day trips from Dublin for all types of travelers.

Guest Post by Evan Edler

Getting around Ireland

Especially due to its recent economic and cultural boom known as the Celtic Tiger years, Ireland is now one of the most popular destinations in Europe. Plus, Dublin is the home hub of budget airline Ryanair and the flag carrier of Ireland, Aer Lingus, which makes flying here a breeze from mainland Europe. It’s also easy for Americans to visit, due to its proximity to the United States. No matter how you get to Ireland, you’ll probably be landing in Dublin.

Some tourists may be intimidated by the number of sites in Ireland, and choose to stay in Dublin during their stay. But, let’s face it: the country simply isn’t that big. The expansive train network reaches all major cities from Dublin, and the farthest point on the island is about a 5 hour drive. If there’s somewhere you’re really determined to see, you can definitely make the trip! This list of the best day trips from Dublin, Ireland includes places near the city for short commutes or even half day trips. It also covers more ambitious journeys to the most important tourist destinations. Before we dive in, let’s outline the best ways to get around Ireland from Dublin.

Leap Cards

If you plan on taking public transport within Dublin, you’ll want to buy a Leap Card. This gives you access to all forms of public transport within the city (buses and the tram, called the Luas), as well as DART services and Dublin Bus services throughout the county. You can buy a Visitor Leap Card at many convenience stores and groceries throughout the city, or you can purchase them online and have them sent to your home before your trip! They’re affordable, and are sold in 1, 3, and 7 day quantities – find prices online here. To get the best bang for your buck, pick one up at a SPAR upon arrival at Dublin airport, and use it to take the 16 or 41 bus into the city center.

Day trips from Dublin on the DART

The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) is a train network that can take you from Dublin, Ireland to a number of cities on the coast nearby. These trains leave very frequently from central Dublin, making them easy journeys from the city center. The most convenient stations to catch the DART are Pearse, Tara, and Connolly depending on where you’re staying. You can buy a ticket at any of these stations for just a few Euros, or if you have a visitor Leap card you can use that! Of the options on this list, the DART can take you to Malahide, Bray, or Howth in under an hour. 

DART train at Pearse Station in Dublin.
The DART is quick and reliable, and can take you to many of the best day trips from Dublin.

Farther train trips from Dublin

For day trips outside of County Dublin, you’ll take Irish Rail. Ireland’s national rail network is quick, clean, and reliable. Plus, their routes cut through scenic coastlines and country farmlands. They are strict about checking tickets, so make sure to buy a ticket from a kiosk at your departure station or online in advance. A word of wisdom: you can NOT use a visitor Leap card on Irish rail networks out of County Dublin – don’t learn that the hard way!

Now that you know how to get around the Emerald Isle, let’s get to the good stuff – where to go? Read on for our list of the best day trips from Dublin.

Looking for a great place to stay in Ireland?

Best day trips from Dublin

We’ve ranked the best day trips from Dublin below, based on access and how rewarding the journey is! First up is definitely the easiest – don’t even leave the city in the first place!

14. Take a day trip in Dublin: Phoenix Park

For those with limited time, or who don’t want to spend a lot of time in transit, one of the best day trips in Dublin is actually still in the city! When I first moved to Dublin, I thought (as many Americans do) that Phoenix Park was just ‘Dublin’s Central Park.’ I was shocked by just how wrong I was! First of all, it’s more than twice as large as New York’s famous park – seriously! Second, it’s definitely not central. It’s actually about five kilometers west of the city. 

Dublin city itself is quite small, and you can walk between all of the major tourist sights across town in no more than 20 minutes. Therefore, many visitors skip Phoenix Park in favor of more convenient sights and activities. But if you have time, you should definitely check out this huge recreational area! Phoenix Park is an easy and short day trip from Dublin by bus or car, and you can definitely spend a full day here. 

Walled Garden, spot for a day trip in Dublin to Phoenix Park.
Even on a rainy day, Phoenix Park’s Walled Garden is a beautiful stop on a day trip in Dublin!

Start your day at the visitor center to make a game plan. Some of the best things you’ll want to see are the Dublin Zoo, the US Ambassador’s residence, the Papal Cross, Ashtown Castle, and its Walled Gardens. There are a number of sights and activities, spaced out by enormous green spaces that are great for outdoor activities like walking and biking. Plus, the park is fun for the whole family! Definitely one of the best short day trips Dublin has to offer!

13. Best closeby college town day trip from Dublin: Maynooth

The most famous university in Ireland is undoubtedly Trinity College Dublin, and it’s a top site for tourists. Trinity is definitely worth a visit, and sits right in the middle of the city. But one of the best day trips I’ve taken from Dublin has to be to Maynooth, home to the National University of Ireland – Maynooth (NUIM). You can reach this city in just about an hour by bus or train from the center of Dublin. 

Maynooth University, an easy day trip from Dublin
Mingle with students and locals alike in Maynooth.

Maynooth is a quiet college town, where the idyllic streets of the city lead right into the school’s campus. NUIM’s campus is effectively split in two, divided into a modern side and an ancient historical side. On one you’ll find scenes straight out of an advertisement of students studying next to modern glass buildings. On the other, buildings date as far back as the 12th century. This side includes small gardens, beautiful ivy-covered buildings, and a large park with walking paths popular among local dog owners. 

Explore the campus and its surroundings for as long as you’d like, and then return to the commercial center to grab a coffee at a local cafe or a beer at one of the pubs! This is a peaceful and authentic Dublin day trip that will certainly be a highlight of your trip.

Historic building at National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
Maynooth has lots of historic buildings, making for a beautiful day trip from Dublin, Ireland.

12. Culture and a castle for the kids: Malahide

One of the easiest day trips from Dublin, you can reach Malahide in just half an hour on the DART! Malahide sits north of Dublin city near Howth. In fact, you can easily visit both of these towns in one day, because the train routes are identical until the stop at Howth Junction. 

Malahide provides the best of both worlds for visitors who want to learn more about Ireland’s history and local culture. When the train drops you off, you have a choice: to the right, Malahide Castle, and to the left, Malahide village. For this Dublin day trip, let’s start with the castle.

Malahide Castle dates back to the 12th century, and is surrounded by the exceptional gardens. Here you can expect to see locals walking, playing tennis or rugby, or having picnics. Join them! Malahide Castle has benefited from what I would call the ‘Disneyworld treatment.’ This includes a large visitor center with an outpost of department store AVOCA, cafe and bakery, and gift shop, as well as a hop-on hop-off ‘Toot Train’ with commentary from a guide. All of these amenities pair well with Malahide’s appeal, because they celebrate the castle’s history – that’s why locals continue to frequent the area.

Due to its accessibility, the castle is ideal for families with children of all ages.

Old graveyard seen on a day trip from Dublin to Maynooth.
Malahide is a great day trip from Dublin in Ireland for adults and kids alike!

Malahide Village

After exploring the Castle and Gardens, walk back to Malahide village. The main strip is adorable, with pubs and shops leading down to the coast with a great view of the sea. It’s a great slice of smalltown Ireland for visitors to appreciate. I definitely recommend a day trip from Dublin to Malahide to any visitors with kids. You can keep them entertained and happy without sacrificing the opportunity to experience Ireland’s best!

11. More hiking, fewer tourists: Bray

Bray is a small coastal city to the South, and is another easy Dublin day trip. Go to any of the DART train stations in the center of Dublin, and hop on a southbound train. About 50 minutes away, you’ll find the town of Bray. You’ll see the sea as soon as you step out of the station. Walk between the local park and the beach, and you’re heading towards the trailhead of the Bray Head Cliff Walk. 

Bray Cliff Walk
The route to the Bray Cliff Walk goes along the beach in a pedestrian path.

A day trip to Bray is a great way to escape the crowds that tend to fill Dublin’s small streets in the summer months. Because the journey is slightly farther, the walk is a bit more intensive, and the town itself is smaller, Bray usually avoids the tourists that flock to the more popular Howth. If you’re looking for a peaceful retreat into nature, there’s no better feeling than riding away from the confused tourists and spending the day with the locals on the coast. This is definitely one of the coolest excursions from Dublin, hands down.

Bray Head Cliff Walk

This cliff walk is a gorgeous taste of the Irish coastline. Rather than making a loop, it actually leads along the coast all the way to neighboring Greystones. The full hike takes about 2.5 hours to complete, but you can of course turn around and head back to Bray at any point. Either way, at the end of your trek you can of course find some food and a pint before you return to Dublin. 

Note: As of February 2023, the full Bray to Greystones walk is temporarily closed. A Bray Head Loop is offered instead.

DART views of Bray from Dublin.
Bray has some of the best scenery you can reach in a day trip from Dublin, Ireland!

10. Classic Celtic culture: Kilkenny

A day trip from Dublin to Kilkenny is your best bet for an authentic Irish experience. This small town comes straight out of a fairytale, and holds all the best Ireland has to offer. You can get here in under 2 hours by catching the train at Dublin Heuston station. Buy tickets at the station, or in advance online to save time! Trains run about every 2 hours, and drop you off at the convenient Kilkenny MacDonagh station.

Antique shop in Kilkenny, Kildare, Ireland.
Kilkenny is a slice of small-town Ireland, where you’ll find many local shops and pubs.

Follow signs from the train station into town. You’ll want to whip out your camera almost immediately when you see the adorable buildings that dot the main street. You’ll descend past pubs, shops, and more towards the river at the city center. From here, it’s a short stroll to the impressive Kilkenny Castle. The castle stands from the 12th century, and is beautiful inside and out (definitely enter and explore the interior!). Outside of it is an expansive park with fields, a pond, modern art, and plenty of local activities.

In the opposite direction of the castle, the town center continues. Following the main shopping streets will lead you to more restaurants and stores, both chain and boutique. You can easily spend a day hopping between shops, pubs, and cafes. But be sure to branch off from the main street! You’ll be rewarded by seeing an ancient church with an adjoining museum and courtyard, as well as a number of picturesque alleys and side streets

9. Powerscourt Gardens

Did you know that one of the greatest gardens in the world is less than an hours’ drive outside of Dublin? National Geographic gave the Powerscourt Gardens in County Wicklow the number three spot on their list of the top ten gardens in the world. The gardens cover an expansive area in County Wicklow, against a striking backdrop of the rolling Irish countryside. After you’ve explored the gardens and admired the scenery, there’s still plenty more to do! Powerscourt also includes a golf course, distillery, and multiple local shops. This is definitely one of the best day trips from Dublin for families! And if a day trip isn’t enough, consider a stay at the luxurious Powerscourt Hotel.

Irish Castle at Powerscourt Estate in Wicklow.
The Powerscourt Gardens have tons of hidden treasures to explore!

To see the gardens for yourself, you can take a day trip from Dublin to the Powerscourt Estates. Without traffic, these beautiful gardens are only about a half an hour from downtown Dublin! Alternatively, you can take the 44 bus. It departs hourly from the center of Dublin, and takes an hour to reach the village of Enniskerry. A quintessential small Irish village, Enniskerry has a few shops and eateries centered on an idyllic main square. If it looks familiar, that might be because this town (as well as Trinity College) was a filming location for the movie Disenchanted!

Nearby: Powerscourt Waterfall

As a bonus, you may want to check out the nearby Powerscourt Waterfall. This is only really doable if you’re driving – it’s a short drive, but would make for quite a long walk. The second-highest waterfall in Ireland, it’s a source of pride for this area. You can explore walking trails that traverse the area for as long as you like, or take the short walk to the waterfall. This is also a great trip to do with children! There’s a kiosk with food, drinks, and bathrooms available near the parking lot.

Day trip to Powerscourt from Dublin
Wicklow is one of the most beautiful counties in Ireland, with amazing views!

8. Westport

Westport is a small, idyllic town on the western coast of Ireland, in County Mayo. The center of town is a series of cute cafes on either side of a river. There are plenty of pubs to explore along with restaurants and shops. But the city is more well known for its convenient setting among some of Ireland’s greatest scenery. You can get to Westport from Dublin in about three hours by train or by car. The train is scenic, but because of the nature around the city you might want to have a car at your disposal!

Westport is a hub for travelers looking to dive into the nature surrounding the city. On a day trip (or a weekend trip) to Westport, there’s tons you can do! The best thing to do is to drive the Wild Atlantic Way – a 1,500 mile long road that curves up the coast. It passes intense views, beaches, cliffs, and more. The road passes through Westport, making the city a great home base or stopover. You can also drive to Connemara National Park, or Achill Island.

Like the sound of Westport?

7. Ireland’s second city: Cork

For the ambitious traveler, you can make a perfect day trip to Cork! Sitting in the southwestern corner of the island, Cork is the second-largest city in Ireland. Irish Rail runs hourly services from Dublin Heuston to Cork, taking about 2.5 hours. With an early enough start to your day, you’ll have plenty of time to explore all Cork has to offer!

English Market on a day trip from Dublin to Cork
Local products abound at Cork’s English Market

Cork is known as the culinary capital of the country, so on a day trip from Dublin you’ll definitely want to eat up! The best place to do this is the English Market, a covered market from the 18th century that’s still operating today. Here you’ll find countless stalls of locals offering fresh produce and family recipes. Dig in!

If you’re not too full, explore some of the other attractions in Cork city. Start out at the Cork City Gaol (jail), which offers historic tours and sits in a scenic spot. Then, for a peaceful afternoon, meander the city’s museums. Start at the University College Cork campus, where you can enjoy the Lewis Glucksman Gallery. Back in the city center, the Crawford Gallery is the main museum of the entire region. 

Cobh, on a day trip to Cork.
Cobh, just a bit outside of Cork, is well worth a stop!

To really make the most of your day in Cork, head outside of the city! In 20 minutes, a bus can take you to the Blackrock Castle and Observatory – the oldest structure in the city, right on the coast. Or, take the train to the seaside town of Cobh (about 30 minutes), known as the last port of call for the Titanic in 1912 and for the famous “Deck of Cards” viewpoint. No matter where you go, you won’t run out of things to do in Cork! 

6. Monastery and mountains: Glendalough

Glendalough is another of the most popular day trips near Dublin for tourists. There isn’t really convenient public transport from Dublin city, so this day trip is best done by car or on an organized excursion. It’s a scenic journey into the heart of the Wicklow Mountains, and in under an hour you’ll be at the visitor center.

Graveyard among ruins at Glendalough, in Wicklow.
Glendalough boasts ruins of a monastery and cemetery in addition to incredible scenery.

The main sight of Glendalough is the ruins from its Monastic site, which date back to the 10th century. The stone buildings that remain include a cathedral and tower, as well as a number of gravestones in the area. But the most amazing part of this trip is the surrounding scenery. The ruins sit in the heart of the stunning Wicklow Mountains, which makes for dramatic views in every direction. There are a number of walking trails around the area originating at the ruins, which vary in length and difficulty. Even the shortest will bring you through the landscape and right up next to local farms (I definitely took more pictures of the sheep than of the scenery).

Sheep on fields in Wicklow, near Glendalough
On any day trip from Dublin into the Irish countryside, you’re sure to see some sheep!

This Dublin day trip is perfect for anyone who wants to learn more about Ireland’s history or to get into the great outdoors. But be warned: because of its remote location, most tourists come on large group buses that can lead to a crowded parking lot and trails at times. 

5. Dublin’s smaller sibling: Galway

Galway is the second most popular city among tourists after Dublin, and for good reason. It’s an adorable city that offers all amenities a traveler may need without sacrificing its small town feel. Though it’s on the opposite coast from Dublin, it actually makes for a feasible day trip. The center is small, which means you can see all of the main sites and get a feel for the city in just a few hours. Perfect for a Dublin day trip! 

From Dublin Heuston, you can take a train to the center of Galway in just about 2 hours. Or for extra flexibility, you can drive – it takes about the same amount of time. When you get to Galway, the main street will lead you down to the harbor. Stop at many small shops and restaurants on the way – they’re all great! Some hidden gems include boutique stores, local cafes, and even the museum of the original claddagh ring store. The traditional Irish accessories were first made here! 

Main shopping street in Galway, Ireland
Galway is a small city full of authentic Irish charm.

For food, stop at Dough Bros. for pizza – it’s popular and busy at all times, but with good reason. I recommend staying in town as late as possible, and getting a pint at one of the pubs. Night is when the locals come out, which is a fun crowd of all ages. In the spring, students at NUI – Galway line the docks with drinks and the atmosphere buzzes. 

4. Day Tour from Dublin to Ring of Kerry

One of the most famous sights in Ireland is the Ring of Kerry, a road that follows the scenic coast of county Kerry. With a car or by train, you can do a great weekend trip from Dublin to Kerry. To see the Ring of Kerry as a day trip from Dublin, your best option is to do an organized tour. Some of the most popular companies that do this trip include Paddywaggon, GetYourGuide, and Viator. These trips will make it a bit easier to cover a lot of ground, and to make the most of the time you have.

View in Kerry, Ireland, on a day trip from Dublin
The Ring of Kerry offers amazing views at every turn.

What to see on a day trip to Kerry

Any good day tour from Dublin to Kerry will include a couple main stops. You’ll most likely head from Dublin to the city of Killarney, the main city of the county. Killarney is a small town with a cute downtown area, perfect for some food or coffee after a long journey. From there, you’ll start on the Ring of Kerry, the main attraction. This route stretches 179 km along a peninsula jutting into the Atlantic Ocean, and loops around numerous attractions. Your tour will stop at viewpoints, natural features, and other points of interest. In between stops, make sure to keep your eyes on the windows – you won’t want to miss any of these views!

You should pick a day tour, or plan our own itinerary, based on what you’re most interested in! For example, you can hop to the next peninsula over – the Dingle Peninsula. Like the Iveragh Peninsula (home to the Ring of Kerry), it’s known for its dramatic scenery, epic views, and natural attractions. These culminate in Dingle town, one of my favorite towns in all of Ireland! It’s a picture-perfect village right on the coast, with plenty of restaurants and shops to spend a day. 

sheep on a day trip from Dublin to the Ring of Kerry
If you drive in Ireland, you might have to share the road!

However you spend your day in County Kerry, you’ll be tired and satisfied (and so will your cameras!) by the time you get back to Dublin. 

3. Crossing the Border: Day trip from Dublin to Belfast

Another Dublin day trip that may intimidate some tourists, heading north into Belfast is actually very easy! Taking the train or driving takes only about 2 hours, and there’s no customs or border control.

First, let’s clarify. Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland, which makes up the majority of the island. A chunk of the northern part is Northern Ireland, one of the countries of the UK. Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. While you might not even notice crossing the border, this division is the cause of years of conflict and violence. It’s perfectly safe and easy today, but it’s well worth doing some research into the history. It’s also good to remember that this is in fact a different country. Northern Ireland is not part of the EU, and uses the Great British Pound as its currency. Belfast makes for a super interesting day trip from Dublin, as you can cross international borders with ease. 

Belfast City Hall, Northern Ireland
Belfast City Hall is one of the best sights to see on a day trip from Dublin.

Like Dublin, Belfast is also a small city with a lot to offer. The most famous sights include the seat of government, the Titanic Museum, and the old jail. Take your pick based on your interests, as any direction you choose will be a great trip! Belfast is also known for its nightlife and culture, so definitely take the time to have a drink or a meal at one of its many pubs. Whether you want to learn more about Northern Ireland’s history or you just want to check another country off the list, this day trip from Dublin covers all the bases!

Looking for more beautiful cities in Europe?

2. The best of Ireland: Cliffs of Moher

Many a tourist will leave Dublin disappointed that they didn’t make it out to the Cliffs of Moher. While I highly recommend spending a lot of time in the country, and taking the time to appreciate the cliffs, they are absolutely a feasible Dublin day trip! This is the peak of Irish tourism, due to the stunning natural beauty. 

day trip from Dublin to Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are one of the most iconic sights in Ireland, and can be seen as a day trip from Dublin!

How to get to the Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher sit on the western edge of the island, jutting into the Atlantic. This is a remote area of Ireland full of great views and small villages. But don’t be scared off by the distance! It may look far on a map, but it’s only about a 3 hour drive from the city to this monster of a site. It can absolutely be done as a day trip from Dublin! Plus, there are countless companies offering organized bus tours to tourists. While it’s best to do your research and book these in advance, in reality you can walk into any tourist shop or hotel in Dublin and pick up a pamphlet on a whim. 

Though the large crowds of tourists can be frustrating, there is some benefit to guided tours. These trips take all of the hassle and planning out of the journey, and leave you with plenty of time to explore the cliffs as well as the accompanying museum and surrounding area.

If you brave the drive and go on your own, take the time to go a bit off the beaten track. There are many cute villages along the way, my favorite being nearby Doolin. Take the whole day and grab dinner and a pint in any town that catches your eye. 

Castle in Clare, near Cliffs of Moher
The area around the Cliffs of Moher is full of hidden gems!

Howth is a gorgeous seaside town like no other, so it’s no wonder this is a top Ireland day trip idea.

In my first year studying at Trinity College Dublin, I made the day trip to Howth at least four times – as did most of my classmates. It’s an absolute classic, within easy reach and well worth a visit! (Pro tip: it’s pronounced ‘Hoe-th,’ not ‘How-th’).

Cliff Walk in Howth from Dublin day trip.
Probably the most popular day trip in Dublin, Howth’s Cliff Walk has amazing views over the Atlantic!

The Howth train station puts you right in the center of this idyllic seaside town, where you’ll find lots of small shops and restaurants. For a truly Irish experience, stop at Leo Burdock’s for some fish and chips. Walk along the shore for a bit, and you’ll find yourself at the start of the famous Howth Cliff Walk. Along the way there’s a visitor center with maps of different hiking routes of varying difficulty. But the easiest and most popular stroll is clearly marked, and easy to follow. 

The cliff walk leads you along the dramatic edge of the island, with stunning views over the Atlantic at every corner. You’ll see beautiful coves, greenery and flowers, and an iconic lighthouse.

This gorgeous walk will ultimately lead you up a set of stairs into a parking lot – once there, you’re just a few steps from food and drink. When you’re refueled, head back through the walking trail across from the Summit Inn, which will continue to give you excellent views until taking you right back to the train station!

Howth Cliff Walk view above the town and bay.
The views don’t stop once you get to the top! Make sure to take the scenic route down as well.

Howth Cliff Walk

The Howth Cliff Walk is popular among tourists, locals, and cyclists alike, because it’s an easy short day trip in Dublin. If you’re looking for natural beauty, authentic Irish charm, and a little exercise, this is by far the best Ireland day trip you can take!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Dublin day trips:

How much time do I need in Dublin?

Dublin is a vibrant city, and the beating heart of Ireland. It attracts tourists, students, immigrants, and more from all around the world – and for good reason! There’s lots to do, lots to see, and lots of ways to spend your time. I’ve been living here for two years, and there’s still a long list of things I want to do!

But I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Dublin is tiny! The city limits sprawl into most of County Dublin, but the downtown tourist area is very small and walkable. Though I recommend spending a few days in Dublin to make the most of any trip to Ireland, if you’re short on time you’ll be able to see practically all of the city’s attractions in one day. This means that if you’re spending any longer than a day in Dublin, you can do a day trip! Remember to prioritize, and pick a day trip that fits your interests and your schedule. 

Street in Dublin with Irish flags overhead.
Dublin has lots to see and do, even if you don’t do a day trip!

Can you explore Dublin in a day?

You can definitely see some of the most amazing things Dublin has to offer in just a day. If you’re pressed for time in the Irish capital, stick to the city center. All of the main sights are within easy walking distance – Trinity College Dublin, the Temple Bar, Grafton Street, and more are just a few minutes apart. Though there’s plenty to do in a weekend or even longer, it’s easy to get a taste of Dublin in just one day.

How do I spend a perfect day in Dublin?

Dublin wasn’t built in a day – but you sure can see it in one! The best way to spend a day in Dublin is to take yourself on a walking tour of the city. Start in the morning at Trinity College Dublin to see the Book of Kells and the iconic Long Room library before the crowd gets there. Just make sure to watch out for students running to class! Take a walk through campus, and come out to the east at Merrion Square Park. Here you’ll find the statue of Oscar Wilde, and you can head right across the street to the National Gallery, Dublin’s best art museum. Loop around through St Stephen’s Green, enjoying the picnickers and scenery, until you reach the top of Grafton Street. Window shop your way down Grafton, and veer left to find lunch at a pub in the Great George’s Street area. After you’ve eaten, wander around the Temple Bar district and stop in for a pint. To finish off your busy day in Dublin, head to the Guinness Storehouse for the best views in the whole city.

Can I take a day trip from Dublin by train?

Absolutely! Almost all of the day trips from Dublin in this article are accessible by public transport – which in Ireland is cheap, easy to use, and reliable. Buses, regional trains, and trams traverse all of County Dublin, and the Irish Rail train network offers services from Dublin to every corner of the country. While renting a car may give you more flexibility in where and when you go, train trips might be easier for a number of travelers. You can get pretty much anywhere from Connolly Station, which is just a stone’s throw from the center of town. Do make sure to buy the proper ticket for your trip (at the station or online) to avoid steep fines.

Where do trains go from Dublin?

Trains from Dublin go to Belfast, Sligo, Westport, Galway, Killarney, Cork, Waterford, and more – with many stops on the way!

Can you do a day trip to Cork from Dublin?

Cork is one of the best day trips you can do from Dublin! Irish Rail services run between Dublin and Cork multiple times a day, and the journey takes about two to three hours. Cork is one of the biggest cities in Ireland, and has no shortage of things to do! There are museums, shops, and (of course), loads of pubs. There are also plenty of things to see outside of the city center, if you plan to travel by car, like the town of Cobh or the Blackrock Castle and Observatory.

Is the trip from Dublin to [Galway, Belfast, etc.] scenic?

I love this question, because the answer is yes! Every day trip I’ve taken from Dublin has had amazing views along the way. If you go west from the city, you’ll pass through rolling fields of countryside, and may have to stop your car to let some sheep pass! If you take the DART to towns like Howth or Malahide, you’ll be hugging the coast and seeing some gorgeous seaside villages along the way. I was impressed by the scenic train ride from Dublin to Belfast, which in December looked like a winter wonderland. Anywhere you go, you’ll have a scenic trip. They don’t call it the Emerald Isle for nothing!

Irish landscape in County Kerry
Any trip throughout Dublin will offer you amazing views of the lush landscape.

Is it better to drive or take the train in Ireland?

Once again, this comes down to your own itinerary and personal preferences. However, I would almost always recommend taking a day trip from Dublin by train. Irish trains go from Dublin to all major cities in the country, and no trip should take you much more than 3 hours at most. The trains run frequently and are reliably on time. Plus, timetables are available online and it’s easy to book a ticket in advance. It’s a comfortable ride on the modern trains, and any train ride in Ireland is bound to be scenic! But the biggest advantage is the cost – trains are affordable, with the longest rides costing less than €20 each way. Unless you want to go somewhere rural, or do a road trip, the train will save you a lot of money. 

Are day tours from Dublin worth it?

Organized day tours from Dublin can absolutely be worth it! It all depends on where you want to go and when. Bus tours can help you get a lot further in one day than you may be able to make it by train or bus. Plus, they take away all of the planning and stress that may go into a day trip – just hop on a tour and go! This is ideal for travelers with families, mobility issues, or simply tight schedules. However, if you feel like striking out on your own, you may want to do it all yourself – and that’s totally fine! Either way, you’ll have a rewarding day trip in Ireland. 

Why take a day trip from Dublin?

Dublin is a fantastic city, but it’s not all Ireland has to offer! Its small size and central location makes it easy to cover the city in just a few days, leaving plenty of time and energy to make any of these Dublin day trips. They’ll take you deeper into culture, history, nature, and more! While it’s of course worthwhile to spend more time in each of these places to really appreciate them, don’t count that as a reason against a day trip. It’s always better to spend a little time there than none at all! Have any other favorite day trips from Dublin? Let me know!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Evan B. Edler is a full-time student and part-time traveler born in Amsterdam, raised in Boston, and currently living in Dublin. A first-year in university, he explores Europe on the weekends and books flights during class. You can (try to) keep up with his adventures at @evanbedler.

BEST DAY TRIPS FROM DUBLIN, pictured: St. Patrick's Cathedral
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