Cultural Experience | Dublin

7 Best Day Trips to Take From Dublin

A guide to the best day trips from Dublin, Ireland 

Dublin, Ireland is located on the East coast of the country, with unlimited access and transportation to other amazing locations nearby. Ireland’s public transport system is top-notch, and there are many impressive and reputable tour companies that run from one end of the country to the other. There’s so much to see in Ireland, and here are the seven best day trips that you absolutely should not miss.

Galway City

On the stunning West Coast of Ireland lies Galway City, neighboring Galway bay. Galway has ideal shopping, natural beauty, and absolutely amazing restaurants. There are bus companies from Dublin, such as Bus Eireann and GoBus IE, that will take you directly to Galway in less than three hours. The IrishRail system is both efficient and inexpensive, and will go from Dublin’s Heuston Station to Galway’s rail station in the heart of the city in two and a half hours, for a reasonable price of 19 round trip. Galway’s Shop Street is the perfect place to find postcards, Claddagh Rings, and browse the shelves of the amazing Charlie Byrne’s Used Bookshop. At the Kings Head Pub in the city centre, you’ll find the most incredible fish and chips and drink selection, as well as live music at night. Lastly, be sure to take a walk around Galway Bay! The views around Galway Bay include a stunning coastline, rustic houses, and a majestic lighthouse guarding the bay.

More: 15 Ways to Immerse yourself in the Culture of Ireland

Galway, Ireland, ocean, study abroad image

View of the coastline from Galway City

Glendalough / Wicklow Mountains 

Looking for a combination of history and great hiking? Glendalough is the perfect place for those who love nature and love seeing historical sites, such as monastic ruins, and it’s only forty minutes outside of Dublin! There are a number of tour companies, such as Wild Rover Tours, who will take you on a guided tour through the Wicklow Mountains, and end the tour in Glengalough for only about €25 round trip. In the Wicklow Mountains, you’ll see the bridge from PS I Love You, and also the stunning Guinness Lake. When arriving to Glendalough, you’ll find the crumbling monastic ruins of St. Kevin from the 6th century. Glendalough literally translates into “valley of two lakes”, which is exactly what you’ll find in your choice of a long hike or the intermediate hike. Each hike provides views to the waterfalls, as well as a gorgeous overlook of the two lakes. Glendalough is a great spot for a hike, a picnic, and an adventure with friends and family on a sunny day. 

More: 50 Things Every College Student Needs to Know About Dublin

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The monastic ruins in Glendalough, Ireland

The Cliffs of Moher

Perhaps Ireland’s most visited destination, the Cliffs of Moher completely stand up to the hype. On a sunny day, or even a mysterious foggy one, the Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s quintessential image. To get to the Cliffs of Moher, many tour companies along the streets of Dublin will advertise a direct voyage. In particular, Paddywagon Tours offer an excellent value, as the driver makes many other cultural stops along the way, making the Cliffs of Moher a day-long adventure. See the indescribably beautiful Cliffs for yourself, and be sure to take lots of pictures! The incredible views at the Cliffs of Moher can not be overstated.

The Cliffs of Moher, Ireland, county clare, study abroad image

The Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare, Ireland

Kilkenny City and Castle

Just an hour and a half away from Dublin, the medieval city of Kilkenny is waiting to be explored. To get to Kilkenny, Bus Eireann offers direct bus routes, but IrishRail also runs from Dublin’s Heuston Station to Kilkenny City. Inside the quaint city walls, Kilkenny houses the historical Kilkenny Castle, a medieval fortress passed down and restored through generations. The castle tours are only €2 euro for students, so be sure to bring your student ID! Secondly, when the tour finishes up, an absolute must-see is the Smithwick’s Brewery, not more than a ten-minute walk. Take a tour of the historical brewery, and enjoy a complimentary tasting at its conclusion.

Kilkenny Castle, Ireland, castle, travel, study abroad image

Kilkenny Castle


Dingle has been described by guidebooks as a magical spot, and this could not be closer to the truth. The gorgeous fishing village of Dingle is on the south west coast of Ireland, and is approximately a four hour journey from Dublin’s city centre. To get to Dingle requires both trains and a bus service. To get to Dingle, take a train from Dublin’s Heuston Station to Killarney, then board the Dingle Shuttle Service from Killarney’s city centre, which travels along Ireland’s breathtakingly green west coast.  In Dingle’s harbor resides the village’s most famous celebrity, Fungi the dolphin. Dingle offers ferry boat trips around the harbor, in which Fungi comes right up alongside the ferry and interacts with the passengers. After you see the harbor and lighthouse, be sure to stop in the Dingle Aquarium, and enjoy all the different species of Atlantic fish and reptiles. After a busy day, don’t forget to stop in Murphy’s Ice Cream Shop, right along the harbor, for some delicious homemade ice cream- the best in the country!

Dingle, Ireland, travel, coast, dingle harbor, study abroad image

Dingle, Ireland

The Ring of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry is 167 kilometers of Irish coastline in the West of Ireland. The Ring of Kerry is easily accessible via Bus Eireann and tour companies such as Paddywagon. The tour company is the most impressive option, as tours will allow passengers to see more of the Ring of Kerry. The highlights of the Ring of Kerry include Killarney National Park, Torc Waterfall, Inch Beach, and Ladies View, a panoramic viewpoint of the coastline.

Killarney National Park, Ireland, lake, travel, study abroad image

Killarney National Park, Ireland

Giant’s Causeway

In crossing the border to Northern Ireland, you’ll find Giant’s Causeway, a natural landscape completely unique to any other. The most efficient way to get to Giant’s Causeway is through a tour company, such as Paddywagon. The journey will take approximately four hours, but you’ll make lots of cool stops and learn about the legend of Giant’s Causeway along the way! Journey onto the hexagonal rock landscapes along the rugged coast, and be amazed at the geographic features of Northern Ireland.

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Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom


7 Best Day Trips From Dublin, Ireland, study abroad image

7 Best Day Trips From Dublin, Ireland

Mary Sheehan

Elon University | 12 stories

I am currently a senior at Elon University studying creative writing. I participated in Semester at Sea in summer of 2014, and spent my junior year abroad in Dublin, Ireland. I enjoy reading, writing, and of course, traveling.

One response to “7 Best Day Trips to Take From Dublin”

  1. Cara says:

    I love Ireland so much. It’s definitely been too long since I last visited, as I used to go 1-2 times every year with my family. The west coast will always be in my heart, but of course Dublin, the capital and all the surrounding areas of great too. I agree – The Cliffs of Moher completely stand up to the hype.are located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region in County Clare, Ireland. They rise 120 metres (390 ft) above the Atlantic Ocean at Hag’s Head and reach their maximum height of 214 metres (702 ft) just north of O’Brien’s Tower. Also appearing in numerous films, from Harry Potter, to Leap Year and The Princess Bride. If you’re remotely in the area – definitely worth this visit!

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