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The Best Day Trips From Dublin: 9 Mighty Day Tours To Tackle

The Best Day Trips From Dublin: 9 Mighty Day Tours To Tackle

If you’re in search of the best day trips from Dublin, you’ve landed in the right place.

If you’ve conquered the many things to do in Dublin and you want to explore outside of the capital, you’re in luck – there’s endless places to visit around Dublin.

Regardless of whether you’re looking to tackle some hikes nearby or if you’re just looking to explore the areas around County Dublin, there’s plenty of adventure opportunities.

In the guide below, you’ll find the best day tours from Dublin, with a mix of places you can visit by car, if you’re driving, along with organised tours you can book onto.

Some quick need-to-knows about the best day trips from Dublin

wicklow mountains national park guide

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We chat to a lot of visiting tourists, and one of the problems many run into when looking for places to visit around Dublin is that they underestimate travel times.

The result is that they end up spending more than half of their day in the car/on tour buses. Read the need-to-knows below first, as they’ll save you hassle in the long run.

1. Be realistic

Yes, Ireland is small, when compared to the likes of the US or Canada, but it still takes a chunk of time to get around it. For example, a day trip from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher would take you roughly 7 hours of driving.

2. Self-guided vs oganised

The best day trips from Dublin are the ones that work for you. Like driving? Hop in the car and tackle one of the trips below. Fancy letting someone else do all the work? There are some excellent organised day tours from Dublin, as you’ll discover below, too.

3. Take drive-times with a pinch of salt

Google Maps can be a blessing and a curse. It leads many to believe certain places are closer than they really are. For example, if you want to visit the Hook Peninsula in Wexford, it’s a 2.5 hour drive, however, if you just stick ‘Wexford’ into Google Maps it’ll tell you it’s 1.5 hours away. Be very specific about where you want to go and plan accordingly.

The best day tours from Dublin (organised / guided tours)

best Things to do in Lahinch

Photo left: MNStudio. Photo right: Patryk Kosmider (Shutterstock)

The first section of our guide is for those of you without a car and it contains a handful of carefully selected half day tours from Dublin with great reviews online.

Note: if you book a tour through one of the links below we may make a tiny commission that helps us keep this site going. You won’t pay extra, but we really do appreciate it.

1. Glendalough, Wicklow and Kilkenny (from €29.75 p/p)

glendalough

Photo by Stefano_Valeri (Shutterstock)

First up is arguably one of the best value day tours from Dublin (and it’s one of the more sensible ones, too, as many of the destinations are under 1.5 hours away).

This is a 9-hour guided tour that leaves the city at 8am and that explores some of the best places to visit around Dublin. Over the course of the tour, you’ll visit:

At the time of typing, this tour has racked up an impressive 4.7/5 review score from 445 reviews.

Check prices + learn more here

2. Cliffs of Moher and Galway (from €48 p/p)

visit the cliffs of moher ireland

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Next up is one of the most popular half day day tours from Dublin – the Clare and Galway road trip. At the time of typing, this tour has amassed 4.7/5 from 4,577 reviews.

This is a 12 hour, guided tour that kicks of at 6:45 AM and that really packs a lot into a short space of time. It takes you to:

You’ll also see a good chunk of the Clare coastline as you pass through Kinvara (keep an eye out for Dunguaire Castle) and the 12 Bens mountain range.

Check prices + learn more here

3. Giants Causeway, Dark Hedges and Belfast (from €56 p/p)

giants causeway tour

Photo by Gert Olsson (Shutterstock)

Next on the list is a trip up North to explore many of the most popular attractions on the Antrim Coast. The tour is guided and it lasts 12 hours in total.

Now, there’s a good bit of driving on this tour, but it’s countered by spending a decent chunk of time at the Causeway (2 hours) and in Belfast City. You’ll visit:

This is another of the more popular day tours from Dublin, having racked up an impressive 4.8/5 from 2,189 reviews at the time of typing.

Check prices + learn more here

4. Cahir and Blarney Castle (from €65 p/p)

kissing the blarney castle

Photo left by Chris Hill. Photo right by CLS Digital Arts (Shutterstock)

The last of our half day tours from Dublin is going to appeal to those of you looking to visit some of the most impressive castles in Ireland.

This is a 12-hour tour that includes the entrance fees to each of the attractions. And, while there’s a good bit of driving involved, it’s broken up with the stops at the below castles:

Review wise, at the time of typing it has racked up a 4.6/5 review score from 227 reviews on GetYourGuide.

Check prices + learn more here

Very do-able day trips from Dublin by car

sally gap wicklow

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The second section of our guide looks at the various self-guided day tours from Dublin that’ll suit those of you with a car (plan on renting? See our guide to renting a car in Ireland).

Below, you’ll find places to visit around Dublin that are located less than a 1-hour drive from Dublin, so you won’t be stuck in the car for too long.

1. Wicklow (55-minute drive)

things to do in wicklow

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Also known as the Garden of Ireland, Wicklow one of the best day trips from Dublin for good reason! Well-known for its outstanding natural beauty, the county is blessed with glittering lakes and monastic villages and ruins.

My favourite of the many things to do in Wicklow is to head for a drive along the Sally Gap, which is one of the most scenic corners of Wicklow.

Highlights of this driving/cycling route include Lough Tay (aka Guinness Lake) and Glenmacnass Waterfall.

If you like to explore on foot, there are plenty of handy walks in Glendalough to tackle along with some slightly tricker walks in Wicklow to head off on.

2. Meath (35-minute drive)

things to do in meath

Photo left: Brian Morrison. Right: Tony Pleavin (via Ireland’s Content Pool)

County Meath is another of the best day trips from Dublin by car. It will take you about 35 minutes by car to reach and there’s an endless number of things to do in Meath to keep you busy.

First, check out the Hill of Tara, one of the most important archaeological sites in the country. This magnificent hilltop monument is home to many tombs and secret passages worth exploring.

Another not to be missed site is Newgrange, a prehistoric passage tomb located just a short drive from the town of Drogheda. Guided tours of this 5,200-year-old monument are available from the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre.

There is also Trim Castle, the best-preserved of the many Anglo-Norman castles in Ireland. Are you a fan of “Braveheart”? The site was used as a shooting location for this popular film.

3. Louth (45-minute drive)

things to do in drogheda

Photo left: David Soanes (Shutterstock). Right: Ireland’s Content Pool

A trip to the mighty little county of Louth is another of our favourite Dublin day trips, as there’s a crazy number of places to visit and things to do in Louth.

Although it’s the smallest county in Ireland, Louth houses some of Ireland’s greatest historical treasures. Kick-off your trip to Louth with a visit to the ancient town of Drogheda where you will find everything from impressive medieval ruins to tourist attractions like the Millmount Museum and Beaulieu House and Gardens.

Here’s a guide to the best things to do in Drogheda if you want to see what else the town has to offer. No visit to Louth is complete without checking out the gorgeous little fishing village of Carlingford, a spectacular landscape full of Irish mythology.

There are heaps of things to do in Carlingford, from a greenway to cycle along and plenty of pubs, to walking trails and great places to eat.

4. Wexford (1.5-hour drive)

hook peninsula

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Wexford is another of the more overlooked day trips from Dublin. The first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions Wexford are spectacular beaches and idyllic towns.

A popular destination for holidaymakers looking to escape from all the hustle and bustle of Dublin, Wexford is home to the oldest operating lighthouse in Ireland, the famous Hook Lighthouse.

Explore the grounds of the Kennedy Homestead, the birthplace of John F. Kennedy’s grandfather, or enjoy go-karting and pet animals at the Kia Ora Mini Farm.

One of my favourite places in Wexford is the Loftus Hall, the most haunted house in Ireland. Adult-only night tour of this mansion is simply a must!

5. Kilkenny (1.5-hour drive)

kilkenny castle

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Although many of those heading off on day trips from Dublin tend to favour Meath and Wicklow, there’s plenty to explore in nearby Kilkenny.

Located a 90-minute drive from Dublin, Kilkenny is famed for its medieval vibe. The Marble City, as some like to call it, is not short on amazing attractions to explore.

If you hope into our guide to the best things to do in Kilkenny, you’ll see that there’s everything from the historic Medieval Mile to the Dunmore Cave to explore.

Make sure to visit the 12th century Kilkenny Castle and its lovely rose garden, as well as other notable attractions in Kilkenny like the Kells Priory, Rothe House, St. Canice’s Cathedral, and the Kilkenny Way hurling experience.

Dublin day trips: Which ones have we missed?

I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out a brilliant day trip from Dublin (or 7!) from the guide above.

If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!

FAQs about the best short day trips from Dublin

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘day trips in Ireland by car from Dublin? to ‘What are the most unique places to visit outside Dublin?’

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

What are the best day trips from Dublin?

In my opinion, the best day tours Dublin has to offer are Wicklow, Meath and Louth as they’re 1, close and 2, home to endless things to do.

What is the best organised one day trip from Dublin?

It depends. There are endless Dublin day trips to tackle. The tours above, particularly the Wicklow one and the Galway one, are worth checking out.

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