If you’re debating staying in Malahide in Dublin, you’ve landed in the right place.
Located just 18km from Dublin City Centre, you’ll find the picturesque village of Malahide. Although, with a population of around 16,000, it’s classed as a town now.
Popular with locals and overseas visitors alike, Malahide blends chic contemporary shops and restaurants with traditional Irish pubs and an abundance of history.
Below, you’ll find everything from things to do in Malahide to where to eat, sleep and drink. Dive on in!
Some quick need-to-knows about Malahide in Dublin
Although a visit to Malahide is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
2. A fine base to explore Dublin
Malahide is the perfect base when visiting Dublin, with its lovely beach, colourful marina, and manay local attractions. A 30-minute trip to the city centre sets you right in the middle of Dublin’s tourist attractions, or you can head along the Coast Road and on to Portmarnock and Howth.
3. A gorgeous place
Although town-size, Malahide retains a sense of intimacy with traditional shop fronts and cobbled streets. Winner of several Tidy Town awards, the town boasts an array of shops, restaurants and pubs. The town is surrounded by the beautiful grounds of Malahide Castle, which is a fine spot for a stroll.
A brief history of Malahide
It’s thought that the name Malahide (sandhills of the Hydes) derives from a Norman family from Donabate, but far back in the mists of 6,000 B.C., there’s evidence of habitation on Paddy’s Hill.
A “fishing and fowling” people called the Fir Domhnainn was believed to have settled on the hill for a few hundred years. St Patrick is supposed to have visited in 432 A.D., Vikings came in 795 A.D.
They remained until the Normans took over from the last Danish King of Dublin in 1185. In the late 19th Century, it became a tourist resort and a sought after residential area.
Things to do in Malahide (and nearby)
So, we have a dedicated guide on the best things to do in Malahide, but I’ll give you a quick overview of our favourite attractions.
Below, you’ll find everything from Malahide Beach and the castle to some indoor attractions and plenty of walks and scenic drives.
1. Malahide Castle Gardens
The Castle gardens are set on 260 acres of parkland and have thousands of varieties of plants and trees. The Fairy Trail alone stretches for 20 acres across grass and through woodland. I don’t think it’s only me that gets excited about the idea of a Walled Garden – it’s so evocative of times gone by.
When you see the Victorian Conservatory, you’ll be transported to a more gentle time for sure. This walled garden is one of only four botanical gardens in Ireland. It started life more than 200 years ago as a kitchen garden for the Talbot family.
2. Malahide Beach
Malahide Beach stretches for 2km between the town and the estuary. Swimming isn’t allowed here due to the strong currents, but it’s an excellent place for a walk between the sand dunes or along the promenade.
There are lovely views of Lambay Island, Donabate, Ireland’s Eye and Howth. There’s lots of parking with a large car park and on-street parking as well. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months, and there’s an ice cream van in the car park.
3. Malahide to Portmarnock coastal walk
A 40-minute walk will take you from Malahide to Portmarnock along the clifftop. There’s parkland on one side and the beach on the other. The paths are wide enough to facilitate baby buggies and families, runners and walkers.
You can drop down to the beach at several points and extend your walk that way. When you get to Portmarnock and the Martello Tower, you can add its 2.5km of Portmarnock Beach to the walk.
The path is easy going with very little incline and it’s a good option for those with a buddy in tow.
4. DART day trips
When visiting Dublin, get on the DART, a public transport rail system that runs between the North Dublin village of Howth to the North Wicklow village of Greystones. Get yourself a LEAP card at only €10 for 24 hours, and explore some of the prettiest coastal villages in Ireland.
Maeve Binchy fans will love stopping off at Blackrock, the setting for many of her novels. If you’re a swimmer, head for The Forty Foot in Dun Laoghaire or farther on, you could get off at Killiney. Bray is a bustling town, and you can walk from here on the Greystones to Bray Cliff Walk.
Restaurants in Malahide
Although we go into the town’s food scene in depth in our Malahide restaurants guide, you’ll find the best of the bunch (in our opinion!) below.
This restaurant is beautifully decorated in warm and cosy colours. It is perfect for couples, friends or families; the food arrives on time and together. Decent portions and great cocktails add to the experience. If you like Asian food, you will love this restaurant – the flavours are incredible.
2. Old Street Restaurant
Michelin recommended, this restaurant is housed in two of the oldest buildings in Malahide that have been sympathetically restored. The ambience is comfortable and casual, and the food is fresh and seasonal with produce sourced from around Ireland.
3. FishShackCafé Malahide
If you’re looking for a consistently good restaurant, FishShackCafe seems to have hit the sweet spot. The only problem you might have is trying to choose from the extensive menu. The staff are great, and they knock up some of the best fish and chips in Dublin.
Pubs in Malahide
There’s a handful of brilliant pubs in Malahide, dotted around the town’s busy streets. Below, you’ll find three of our favourites.
An authentic Irish pub. Great bar food, lovely staff and excellent service. This is a busy, bustling pub with lots of scope for privacy if that’s what you’re looking for. Live music adds to the atmosphere, and you couldn’t have a better spot for a party or other gathering. You can also have home catering if that’s what you prefer.
If you’re looking to party, Duffy’s is the place to do it. It’s also one of the best places to meet before heading off into Dublin for a night out because of its location on Main Street and close to Malahide Dart Station. Its recent refurbishment has created a contemporary establishment with a menu to suit every taste.
Fowler’s is an institution in Malahide since it was first licensed in 1896. It’s a favourite with families for the friendly welcome and excellent service. Fowlers is also the only establishment in the country to have a cold room where patrons can view the beverages being stored.
If you’re thinking about staying in Malahide in Dublin (if you’re not, you should!), you’ve a pick of places to stay. Here are some of our favourites:
Note: if you book a hotel 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. Grand Hotel
Only five minutes from the train station in the heart of Malahide village is the gorgeous, 203-bedroom Grand Hotel. It’s been in existence since 1835 and has had a series of owners over the years. My favourite story is about Dr John Fallon Sidney Colohan. He bought the hotel and painted it pink because he loved and consumed a lot of pink champagne. Nowadays the hotel is celebrated for its accommodation with sea views.
2. Castle Lodge B&B
The first thing you notice about Castle Lodge is its cheerful appearance. Lots of hanging baskets bursting with colour cheer up the dimmest of days. The second thing is the welcome you get from the friendly hosts—many visitors say it’s like coming home. It’s located only 10 minutes from the airport. You can avail of the free parking and walk just a few minutes to the centre of Malahide and the Castle.
3. White Sands Hotel (Portmarnock)
The White Sands Hotel is located in Portmarnock, a 5-minute drive from Malahide to one side and 15 minutes to Howth and its fabulous sea views on the other. The family-run hotel overlooks the gorgeous Portmarnock Beach, and of course, the golf courses in the area are significant attractions—the hotel will help you with bookings. The staff are super-friendly, efficient and helpful, and the rooms are spotlessly clean and comfortable.
FAQs about visiting Malahide in Dublin
Since mentioning the town in a guide on where to stay in Dublin that we published several years ago, we’ve had hundreds of emails asking various things about Malahide in 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.
Is Malahide worth visiting?
Yes! Malahide is a scenic little seaside town that’s close to the airport and easily accessed via the DART. It’s home to lots to see and do along with some great food and pubs.
Is there much to do in Malahide?
Yep – there’s plenty to do in Malahide, from the beach and the castle to the railway museum and the marina, there’s lots to keep you busy.
Are there many pubs and restaurants in Malahide?
There’s loads of good pubs (Gibney’s, Duffy’s and Fowler’s) and there’s an endless number of great restaurants.
Norah is a writer and self-publisher of fiction and non-fiction. She adores the excitement of unknown places and together with several locations in Ireland, has, over 21 years, made her home in London, The Hague and New Zealand, returning to Ireland with her Kiwi rescue dog Barney, in tow.