24 Best Day trips from Dublin from East to West from a local

Dublin, the vibrant capital of Ireland, is not only a fantastic city to explore, but also serves as a gateway to some of the country’s most beautiful and historic sights. With its convenient location on the east coast of Ireland, Dublin has a lot to offer and is the perfect starting point for day trips to various destinations that offer a mix of natural landscapes, cultural heritage, and charming towns.

Best Day Trips from Dublin  The Palace Pub in Dublin City with hanging baskets of flowers and two people having a pint at a table outside

From the stunning cliffs of Moher to the picturesque towns of Wicklow and Kilkenny, there is no shortage of fantastic day trip options to choose from. Whether you’re interested in exploring ancient ruins, enjoying outdoor activities, or simply soaking up the local charm, there is something for everyone just a short distance from the City of Dublin.

While there are many cool things and hidden gems to visit in Dublin you really don’t need more than 2 days to visit the city. The best day tours will travel just a few hours from Dublin and you can get back to Dublin with the day. 

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

In this article, we will delve into some of the best day trips from Dublin that will allow you to make the most of your time in Ireland and experience the diverse beauty the country has to offer. 

Xyuandbeyond is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commissionYou can read my privacy policy here.

Best Day Trips from Dublin – FAQS

What are some popular day trips from Dublin?

Some popular day trips from Dublin include visits to Ireland’s Ancient East, Cliffs of Moher, Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough, Belfast, Galway, Newgrange, Giants Causeway, and the Rock of Cashel.

The Galtee Mountains Ireland's Ancient EAst

How far are the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin?

The Cliffs of Moher are approximately a 3-4 hour drive from Dublin, making it a perfect day trip destination for those looking to explore the scenic west coast.

Can I visit the Giant’s Causeway on a day trip from Dublin?

Yes, it is possible to visit the Giant’s Causeway on a day trip from Dublin by joining guided bus tours that take you to this  natural wonder in Northern Ireland.

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

What is there to see at Glendalough on a day tour from Dublin?

During a day tour from Dublin to Glendalough, you can explore the ancient monastic site, enjoy scenic walks around the picturesque lakes, and discover the rich history of this spiritual place.

Are there any day trips to castles near Dublin?

Yes, there are day trips from Dublin that take you to visit castles such as Malahide Castle, Blarney Castle, and Dunluce Castle.

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

What are the top attractions to see on a day trip from Dublin to Belfast?

Some of the top attractions to explore on a day trip from Dublin to Belfast include the Titanic Belfast museum, Belfast City center, and the historic Brú na Bóinne UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Can I drive the Ring of Kerry from Dublin?

You can drive to the Ring of Kerry from Dublin however driving the Ring itself will take at least one day and better to stay over night and drive the rest of the Ring the next day.

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

Is it advisable to rent a car for day? 

Not much point in renting a car for a day. You don’t need one in Dublin but I would strongly advice renting a car if you want to travel to the Wild Atlantic Way or Northern Ireland.

Can I make a day trip to Northern Ireland?

While you can make a day trip to Northern Ireland to see sites such as the Giants Causeway, the Causeway Coast or Belfast City and the Titanic Museum it would probably be far better to take a bus day tour or stay for a couple of days to be able to see it all.

Best Day trips from Dublin

County Dublin is one of the thirty-two traditional counties of Ireland, located on the island’s east coast, within the province of Leinster. The county is divided into the areas of Dublin City, Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin. You will probably fly into Dublin Airport and spend a few days exploring Dublin and here are some day trips north of Dublin

Day Trips North of Dublin

Malahide Castle

Malahide is a beautiful castle tucked into a beautiful 22 acres just north of Dublin’s city centre. Malahide is a huge turreted castle whose history stretches back to 1175 and has been in the Talbot family for over 800 years.

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

Legend has it that on the morning of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, 14 members of the family sat down to breakfast in the Castle. By dinnertime, 13 of them were dead.

If you have the energy to explore more after visiting the castle pop down to the village of Malahide itself.  Very popular with day-tripping Dubliners the village has some remarkable Georgian architecture and great cafes and pubs.

Haunted Castles in Ireland

Howth Head Walk

This fine coastal walk, just a few miles from Dublin city centre, makes for a great easy hike just be careful on windy days. although particular care should be taken near cliffs in windy conditions. Upon the cliffs, you will have views of the gaunt ruins of the 15th-century St Mary’s Abbey whose bells were rung to guide Howth’s fishermen safely home. During the 18th century, there were many shipwrecks in Dublin Bay, and it was decided to establish a refuge harbour which was designed by the famous Charles Rennie McKintosh of Glasgow outside of the bay and a safe packet station for the fast mail and passenger ships sailing to and from Holyhead.

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

Monasterboice & Kells

Monasterboice is still used to this day as a graveyard and it is a beautifully haunting place. Set in the country just outside Dublin it is immensely peaceful and a beautiful place for a walk. The day we visited, we saw a troupe of students from a local school taking pencil rubbings of the monuments and crosses. 

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

Most people have heard of the Book of Kells, which was found at the Abbey of Kells it remains one of Ireland’s greatest mysteries as to where it was created. Some believe it was made in Iona Scotland at the monastery established by St. Colmcille. The 9th century period was rife with Viking attacks and it is believed that the monks relocated to Kells in Ireland perhaps bringing the book with them. The book of Kells is now kept in the library at Trinity College where every day a new page is turned.  

Trim Castle

Trim Castle is where the movie Brave Heart, Mel Gibson’s Scottish epic was filmed. The castle is open to a guided tour only and takes around an hour and a half. There are some who say the Castle is haunted Monks have been seen wandering throughout the ruins and guests in the Trim Castle Hotel (which is across the road) and some have seen nuns praying at the foot of their bed in the hotel. The hotel sits on the grounds of an old Cemetery for nuns.

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

Castle Hotels in Ireland – 33 Fabulous Castle Hotels to stay in

Hill of Tara

Tara is the ancient Irish seat of the High Kings. It is a huge site that is continually being investigated archaeologically. Tara encompassed the Ráth of the Synods, The Mound of the Hostages and the Stone of Destiny or the Lia Fáil.

the Hill of Tara in Ireland a drone view of the area

Boyne Valley

The Boyne Valley is a must do when you are in the area, you must visit the Battle of the Boyne Centre, which commemorates the biggest battle in the history of Ireland that took place in 1690. There is a lot to learn here, some great displays, and an audiovisual display with a huge three-dimensional map of the battle. The grounds are pretty spectacular as well.

The Battle Of The Boyne field in County Louth, Ireland. one of the Vikings Filming locations

Mellifont Abbey – Monastic Ruins

Mellifont Abbey is a 12th-century Cistercian abbey with an incredible set of ruins that are quite breathtaking. There is an octagonal lavabo, which is an ancient washing place for the monks before meals. The arches are quite Romanesque and the carvings really detailed.  You can hear the river whispering in the background and if you listen carefully, you can just imagine the chanting of monks as they went about their daily routines.

Mellifont Abbey

 Brú na Bóinne – Newgrange

Newgrange is a UNESCO World Heritage site but you can’t see Newgrange from the road that leads to the Brú na Bóinne Visitors Centre.  You will walk down a shaded pathway (which is accessible for all including wheelchairs) that leads to the centre.

You will get your ticket at a cost of €7 Euros and that will give you access to the megalith and the museum, all access to the monument is controlled via the visitors’ centre which helps maintain the integrity and security of the site. If you are lucky you can even apply for a lottery ticket to attend the Winter Solstice in the Newgrange tomb.

Newgrange, a prehistoric monument built during the Neolithic period, located in County Meath, Ireland. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland, UNESCO World Heritage Site - access with an Irish Heritage Card
.

Loughcrew

The Loughcrew megalithic site is comprised of a series of tombs spread across the hills. The most important one, known as ‘Cairn T’ is open to the public. You can go inside and see the hollow shape inside the rounded tomb. There is artwork carved onto the stones inside. The most interesting thing about the tomb is that the passage lines up with the sunrise of the equinox like Newgrange’s.

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

Knowth & Dowth

Knowth is known as a multi-period site meaning that it covers many hundreds of years of use. There are 18 tombs that surround the largest mound and some are older but many haven’t been excavated yet. Dowth is one of the tombs that is still to be excavated but it has been proved that two passage tombs lie within the mound.

Carlingford

The medieval town of Carlingford, County Louth. Idyllically set close to the Irish border, the coastal town is surrounded by the waters of its Carlingford Lough and is just a stone’s throw from the beautiful mountains of Slieve Foy. The name goes back to its Viking roots for ‘fjord of Carlinn’. It is a really picturesque town with has maintained its medieval heritage with Taaffes Castle, the Mint, the Thosel, Dominican Friary and King John’s fortress.

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

King John’s Castle

You can see King John’s Castle when approaching Carlingford it tends to dominate the village. Sitting on top of a rocky outcrop it overlooks the lough and is said to have hosted King John of England for a few days in the early 13th century.

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

Carlingford Abbey

The crumbling remains of Carlingford Abbey still sit in fairly central Carlingford, having been abandoned as an actual place of worship back in the 18th Century. The Abbey dates back to 1305AD under the patronage of Richard De Burgo and is dedicated to St. Malachy. It remained in use until Henry VIII dissolved it under the suppression of Abbeys in 1540.

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

Castle Leslie

Visit Castle Leslie (or even stay there) this great castle is still owned by the original family that traces its roots back to Attila the Hun. The Castle has hosted a myriad of celebrities from Mick Jagger to W.B. Yeats; in fact, Paul McCartney married Heather Mills here.

You can stay at the castle and indulge yourself in the spa or take some cookery lessons. There is also an on-site equestrian centre and it’s haunted apparently.

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

BOOK YOUR STAY AT CASTLE LESLIE NOW

Cooley Peninsula

Home to the legends of Fion MacCumhail who rests on Slieve Foy and the epic tale of the “Táin Bó Cúailgne” also known as “The Cattle Raid of Cooley”, which tells of Cúchulainn’s defence of Ulster against the invading armies of Maeve of Connaught this area, is full of Irish legends.

Aerial view of a river with a medieval tower north of Dublin, adjacent road, and lush greenery under a cloudy sky.

Bounded by Carlingford Lough and Dundalk Bay, there are roughly 60 square miles of mountains, plains, valleys, forests and beaches. You can spot castles, ringforts, Neolithic tombs, medieval buildings and more.

Last but not least take a trip across the Lough to Northern Ireland on the Carlingford Ferry which leaves the Republic of Ireland from Greenore Port and takes a 25-minute journey across the Lough to the Greencastle Terminal in County Down. Even if you just go and return you won’t regret it – it is a brilliant little trip across the water, and if you are in the area you may want to do a self-guided Game of Thrones Tour.

St. Peter’s Tin Church

Laragh Heritage Village in Monaghan is home to some cool little sites. Beautiful stone buildings a unique Tin Church is known as St Peter’s built from discarded tin leftover from the tin mining areas.  This area was home to a hive of industry back in the 1800s from woollen mills to corn mills this is a great little detour to take when exploring Ireland’s Ancient East.

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

South of Dublin Day Trips

Dublin to Wicklow and the Sally Gap

Located just south of Dublin, Wicklow is a beautiful county in Ireland that offers a variety of attractions for visitors to enjoy, and is an easy day trip from Dublin taking around an hour. From stunning natural landscapes to historic sites, there is something for everyone to see and do in Wicklow.

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

The Wicklow Mountains, located in the eastern part of Ireland, are a captivating blend of rugged terrain, serene lakes, and rolling hills. Among its most iconic features is the Sally Gap, a winding mountain pass that cuts through the heart of the range. Lined with heather-clad slopes and offering breathtaking vistas, the Sally Gap is a favorite destination for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike. Its remote beauty has also made it a popular filming location, featuring in several movies and TV shows such as the Vikings show. 

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

Waterford – the Viking Circle

It’s Ireland’s oldest city and boasts a history of over 1,000 years. Its history covers years of Viking rule, Norman buildings and castles and of course the world-famous Waterford Crystal. 

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

Powerscourt

One of the must-sees when visiting Ireland is the magnificent Powerscourt House and Gardens in Ireland’s Ancient East. Just south of Dublin in Wicklow, it’s an easy drive and there are many bus tours to the area. It only takes about an hour to drive to Powerscourt from central Dublin and it is very easy to find. Powerscourt Gardens in County Wicklow was named no. 3 in the World’s Top 10 Gardens by the National Geographic, second only to the Palace of Versailles and Kew Gardens in London. 

Day trips from Dublin. Grand historic mansion north of Dublin with ornate gardens and sculpted green lawns under a bright blue sky.

It costs an extra €7.50 but don’t forget to go and visit Powerscourt Waterfall it is Ireland’s tallest waterfall at 121m (398ft.) and is 6km from the Main Estate. It is set in one of Ireland’s most beautiful parklands at the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains. These stunning falls were used in the History Channel’s TV epic drama The Vikings.

Glendalough

Tucked into an ancient valley in the Wicklow mountains are the remains of Glendalough, an early Christian monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin. One of the most beautiful places in Ireland according to Lonely Planet.

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

Rock of Cashel

One of the most magical places in Ireland is the Rock of Cashel. Visiting The Rock of Cashel and Hore Abbey in Ireland is a must if you are touring Ireland’s Ancient East. The drive to the Rock from Dublin only takes around 2 hours and it’s well worth the trip. If you stay in Kilkenny the trip will only take you an hour. The Rock of Cashel is also known as St. Patrick’s Rock and the Cashel of the Kings and is over 1000 years old this ancient archaeological site is found in Cashel, County Tipperary.

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

Beyond the Capital – West of Dublin day Trips

These are not really day trips from Dublin as you will need a lot more time to explore and they can be difficult to get to unless you rent a car and there are no trains or buses to the Cliffs. Driving in Ireland is going to be much easier than you anticipate particularly to the west of Dublin and there are just plenty of things to see and do on the way to the Wild Atlantic Way.

Cliffs of Moher

The biggest tourist attraction in Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher Ireland is a breathtaking sight. You can hike the trails to the Cliffs of Moher, you can take a boat out and see the Cliffs of Moher from the water or take a sunset or sunrise walk on the Cliffs.

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

The Burren

The Burren County Clare Ireland is full of the myths and legends of Ireland. Discover the glorious The Burren together with the Cliffs of Moher was awarded UNESCO recognised Global Geopark status in 2011 and everyone needs to come and see the magic hidden inside this jaw-dropping landscape.

The name Burren means “great rock” Boireann is Irish Gaelic. The Burren County Clare covers between 250 square kilometres (97 sq mi) and 560 square kilometres (220 sq mi). The main area of the Burren circles the pretty villages of Lisdoonvarna, Ballyvaughan, Kilfenora, Tubber, Corofin, and down into Kinvara in Galway.

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

Galway City

Galway is one of those cities that live for music. Wandering the streets of Galway you are bound to find a busker or 6 performing on all the corners of the main pedestrian area. Just one of the many reasons to love Galway. My Galway bucket list always includes finding out where the best traditional music is played. Galway is a great option for those who want to do trips from Dublin by train.

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

Galway is a great place to use as a jumping off point to visit some extraordinary sites. My third reason for loving Galway is its proximity to fabulous places to visit such as Westport a gorgeous village that everyone should see and the distance from Galway to Westport is just an hour’s drive. There are also the Aran Islands and Connemara National Park and of course the famous Kylemore Abbey within an hour and a half drive.

Best things to do north of Dublin: from Cavan to Meath

Overall, the best day trips from Dublin offer a range of experiences for every type of traveler. Whether you’re interested in exploring ancient historical sites, photographing breathtaking natural landscapes, kissing the Blarney Stone or simply enjoying all the charming villages and towns, there is something for everyone within easy reach of Dublin. From the majestic Cliffs of Moher to the picturesque medieval town of Kilkenny and its castle, each day trip offers a unique glimpse into the beauty and diversity of Ireland.

However, it’s important to plan your day trips carefully to make the most of your time and ensure a seamless travel experience. Be sure to check opening hours, book tickets in advance for popular attractions, and consider transportation options to maximize your time exploring each destination. With a bit of research and preparation, you can make the most of your day trips from Dublin and create lasting memories of your time in Ireland.

So whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or simply looking for a relaxing escape from the city, the best day trips from Dublin have something to offer everyone. Plan your itinerary, pack your bags, and get ready to embark on unforgettable adventures just a stone’s throw away from the vibrant capital city of Dublin.

check out viator’s top rated day trips from Dublin

Cliffs of Moher Tour Including Wild Atlantic Way and Galway City

Blarney Castle Day Tour from Dublin Including Rock of Cashel & Cork City

Northern Ireland Highlights Day Trip Including Giant’s Causeway from Dublin

Kilkenny, Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough, Sheep Dog Trials, Day Trip from Dublin

Dublin to Newgrange, Bru Na Boinne, Monasterboice Monastic Site

Blarney, Rock of Cashel & Cahir Castles Day Tour From Dublin

Author

  • Faith was born in Ireland raised in Canada and has lived in over 10 countries in Europe including England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Northern Ireland, Wales, along with Mexico, Antigua, the US and has slow travelled to over 40 countries around the world. Graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Women's Studies Faith is a student of history, culture, community and food and has written about these topics for over 40 years.

    View all posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top