day trips from Dublin
Europe,  Ireland

The Best Day Trips from Dublin

Staying in the Irish capital but want to explore further afield? Plan some day trips from Dublin with our handy road trip guide!

Ireland is a wonderful place. Where else in the world could you find famous beaches, rugged mountains and historic castles all a stone’s throw from a beautiful capital city like Dublin?

So, if you’re planning a trip to Dublin, you should absolutely look to spend some time exploring what the rest of the Emerald Isle has to offer. To help you decide where to go,  we’ve put together a helpful guide on the best places in Ireland you can visit for the day from Dublin.

day trips from Dublin

Travelling to Ireland

To do a road trip without spending a ton on car rental,  you can take your car over from the UK on the ferry. This way, you can set up camp in Dublin and still have the ability to travel all around the country.

Ferry company Stena Line offers travel to Ireland across a number of different routes, with your car in tow – what’s more, you can even bring your dog!

Day trips from Dublin

1 – Wicklow Mountains

Driving time from Dublin: About 1 hour

day trips from Dublin

If you’re a lover of the great outdoors, Wicklow Mountains needs to be at the top of your list when visiting Ireland. This breathtaking national park stretches over 20,000 hectares of stunning mountain scenery and an estimated one million people visit each year.

Just a short drive south of Dublin, Wicklow Mountains is free to enter but you will need to pay for parking, so make sure you keep a couple of euros on you. 

Whether you’re canoeing across Avonberg river, rock climbing on the crags of Miners’ road or hiking over the Walking Trails of Glendalough, Wicklow Mountains is an adventure that is just waiting to be explored. So lace up your walking boots and don’t forget your camera!

2. Galway Bay

Driving time from Dublin: 2h 30mins

day trips from Dublin

We’re heading west for the next stop on our list, to the beautiful Galway Bay, which sits snugly between County Galway and County Clare. If the name sounds familiar, it may be because the beautiful bay has been popularised by legendary singer Bing Crosby’s song ‘Galway Bay’, as well as in The Pogues’ Christmas classic, ‘Fairytale in New York’ and more recently Ed Sheeran’s been singing about his ‘Galway girl’.

Dotted with picturesque towns, Galway Bay stretches 50km and is the perfect spot for tourists looking for an action-packed day trip. Visitors can go deep sea fishing, explore the Aran Islands and embark on a cruise of the bay.

While you’re there with the car, though, the best way to experience the bay is to take the coast tour from Galway to Spiddal.

3. Cliffs of Moher

Driving time from Dublin: 3 hours

day trips from Dublin

With over five miles of cliffs reaching 702 feet in height, it’s clear to see why the stunning Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most visited tourist attraction.

There are three main viewing platforms along the cliffs, each offering a unique panoramic of the breath-taking views. For the full experience, there’s a visitor’s centre detailing the history of the Cliffs of Moher, as well as O’Brien’s tower, which dates back to 1835. You can even take a pit stop at the Cliff’s View Cafe to relax with a coffee while looking out over the waves of the Atlantic.

4. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Driving time from Dublin: 3 hours

day trips from Dublin

Next up is a trip to County Antrim to visit the iconic Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. Dating back over 350 years, the bridge was created by fishermen to connect Carrick-a-Rede island to the mainland. The bridge and the solitary fisherman’s cottage on the island have been meticulously maintained throughout the ages as well as the restored crane.

This little piece of history can be seen along the Carrick-a-Rede coastal walk which takes you across the breadth of the coast. Here you’ll be treated to sights of protected local wildlife, windswept grasslands and crystal clear water – if you dare look down from the 100-foot rope bridge!

5. Blarney Castle

Driving time from Dublin: 3 hours

day trips from Dublin

With nearly 600 years of history, visiting Blarney Castle is like taking a step back in time. Between sunken treasure, a witch trapped in stone and magical wishing steps, you’ll struggle to find a more magical place than this.

Built by Cormac MacCarthy, one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains, Blarney Castle is an imposing fortress surrounded by beautiful gardens and woodlands. Visitors are allowed to fully explore the estate, so you can delve deep in the dungeon, crawl through Badger’s Cave, climb the battlements and even kiss the magic Blarney Stone to make sure you’re never lost for words again!

Wild Rover Tours

Voted “Best day tour in Ireland”,  Wild Rover Tours will transport you from Dublin to some of Ireland’s most beautiful and iconic locations. There are a number of single-day and two-day tours available, taking you everywhere from The Giant’s Causeway and Kilkenny to Game of Thrones filming locations. You can even see some of the sights we’ve already mentioned as part of a package deal!

As well as visiting stunning locations the tours also feature ancient Irish folktales from kings to witches, giving you a real flavour of Ireland’s heritage.

So as you can see, you’re spoiled for choice in the Republic of Ireland. You could stay in the ROI for a week and not even scratch the surface of what the country has to offer, so if we’ve forgotten any of your favourite day trips from Dublin, be sure to let us know! 

Oh, and if you want some inspiration for what to do in Dublin, then I recommend checking out Emma’s post 48 hours in Dublin!

 day trips from Dublin
day trips from Dublin

This post was written in collaboration with Stena Line.

By day Co-Editor Keri is a freelance journalist and copywriter, but spends most of her free time either travelling or planning her next trip!  A complete travel fanatic, she has a love of tropical climates, wildlife and afternoon tea (hence the creation of her Global Afternoon Tea Challenge!)

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