If you’re debating visiting or staying in Skerries in Dublin, you’ve landed in the right place.
If you’re looking for a delightful little coastal town near Dublin, Skerries makes for a great base from which to explore the area.
The historical town has plenty of things to see and do, including some delicious food and lively pubs along the harbour.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at what makes Skerries such an amazing place to visit and why you just might want to call it home!
Some quick need-to-knows about Skerries
Although a visit to Skerries in Dublin is nice and straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Skerries is located north of Dublin City on the coast between Rush and Balbriggan. It’s a 45-minute drive from the city centre via the M1.
2. Easy to get to/from
It’s a handy place to get to and from Dublin even if you don’t have a car, with a railway service stopping right outside Skerries town. There are frequent services throughout the day, with the trip taking around 30-40 minutes.
3. A sea-side base to explore Dublin from
Skerries is a great coastal town to use as a base to explore Dublin. The beautiful spot has plenty of things to see and do, including historical museums and old castles in and around the town. It’s also got loads of good dining options, which makes it a top place to relax with good food outside of the bustling city.
With plenty of history and beautiful scenery, Skerries is an attractive spot to stay near a stone’s throw from the city. Skerries’ earliest history is dominated by several invasions, including by the Vikings, who used the nearby islands as bases for raids.
In the Middle Ages, the area was the property of the monastery of Holmpatrick until the 17th and 18th centuries when the town itself was developed further by the Hamilton family.
Skerries has always been considered a strategic fishing port because of its natural formation on the coast. However, it was also known for a variety of other industries including hand embroidery.
It’s perhaps most well-known now for its old mills, which date back to the monastery of Holmpatrick and operated until the 20th century.
With most of the former industries having declined, Skerries has become a beautiful little resort town, with a beach, quaint cafes and lively pubs. There is also plenty of the history to explore on a visit as well.
Things to do in Skerries (and nearby)
Although we go into what to see in the area in detail in our guide on the best things to do in Skerries, I’ll give you a quick overview below.
From hikes and walks to fine food, historical sites and beautiful beaches, there’s no end to the number of things to do in Skerries.
1. Head for a stroll (or a swim!) on Skerries Beach
Skerries Beach is split into North Beach, along the 1.2-km cove adjoined to the fishing harbour and South Beach, which runs for 2km down the sandy coast. Both offer an incredible opportunity to walk and swim.
South Beach in particular has a long esplanade and coastal walkway stretching from Red Island down the length of the beach, which is perfect for your morning stroll. Meanwhile, the relatively calm waters make it a great place to go for a dip, if the weather is warm.
There are a couple of popular spots to jump in for a swim on Red Island too, known as The Captains and The Springers, they have concrete platforms and stairs into the water.
2. Give sea kayaking a crack
Sea kayaking is a popular activity in Skerries. Jumping in from the main harbour, you can head out and explore the nearby islands, watch seabirds and get a whole new perspective of the coastline.
If you’re an advanced paddler, then you can even go further out into open seas and venture towards Lambay Island for a full-day adventure. Otherwise, if you’re a complete newbie then you can get in touch with Shearwater Sea Kayaking for courses and guided excursions, which includes all the equipment and gear that you need.
3. Or take a sea tour to Rockabill Lighthouse or Lambay Island
If you want to explore Rockabill Lighthouse or Lambay Island without all the paddling, then there are popular sea tours you can head off on.
Skerries Sea Tours can take you out to Lambay Island, the largest island off the east coast of Ireland with plenty of early history and birdlife to admire.
Or, you can choose to tour out to Rockabill, about 5km offshore which is also an important breeding site for a range of birds. Tours range from 1-2 hours and includes an informative guide to explain all about the nature and history of the area.
4. Tackle the Skerries Coastal Walk
If you’re up for a long walk along the coast, Skerries has a beautiful 2.5km one way path along South Beach. The path traverses the full length of the sandy beach to the east of town and goes around Red Island to the harbour.
It’s a handy trail if you want to walk from North Beach to South Beach right along the coast. You’ll get stellar views all the way around, including out to the islands. If you’re a keen birdwatcher, you might even get to see some of the sea birds that the area is so well-known for.
5. Visit Skerries Mills
A visit to Skerries Mills is a must while in town. The family friendly attraction has a long history of stone ground milling dating back to the 12th century. It features three National Monuments, including a four-sail and five-sail windmill and old water wheel.
They run hourly tours with informative guides who can take you through the history of the farming and milling process. There’s also a wonderful little café, Watermill Café, where you can get some freshly baked goods and coffee, while you browse the gift shop.
6. Head for a ramble at Ardgillan Castle
You’ll find Ardgillan Castle to the north of Skerries along the coast. The grounds here are beautifully maintained and you can soak up sea views as you ramble.
It’s a beautiful spot to visit with a range of activities on offer, including castle tours, garden tours, afternoon tea and theatre events.
The estate also has a public park with magnificent views across the sea. There’s plenty of walking trails, a cycle path and a playground for the kids.
Restaurants in Skerries
Now, we go into the best places to eat in the town in our Skerries restaurants guide, but we’ll give you a quick overview of our favourites below.
1. Stoop Your Head
This family-run seafood restaurant is located right on the harbour on Red Island. It gets rave reviews for its fresh seafood, including prawns and crab. In fact, the seafood chowder is widely considered to be the standout dish on the menu. Looking straight across to the sea, they also serve up a great pint to go with your meal.
2. The Brick House
Another excellent option on the harbour in Skerries is The Brick House. Their food and service are equally great, with a variety of options on the menu to suit a range of tastes. From Irish beef burgers to the catch of the day, serving sizes are big and you can look straight over the sea from the window.
3. Di Vino
Located on Church Street in Skerries town, this little unassuming place has incredible Italian food at good value prices. Open every day except Monday, Di Vino is known for their delicious fresh pasta, including fresh seafood options.
Pubs in Skerries
There are some brilliant pubs in Skerries that are perfect for a bit of rest-bite after a few hours spent exploring the town. Here are our favourites.
1. Joe Mays
On Harbour Road in Red Island, Joe Mays is a great little pub that offers outdoor sitting with views right across the bay. It’s the perfect setting for a post-beach pint, with welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff. It’s been open since 1865 and is now run by the fourth generation in the May family, so you can’t beat the traditional hospitality on offer here.
On Church Street in the middle of town, Nealon’s Bar is an old school Irish pub with dim lighting and dark timber furniture. There are screens playing the latest live games, or you can head out to the beer garden for a pint of Guinness with your mates.
3. The Snug
Tucked down New Street in the heart of Skerries, the Snug is a wonderful pub full of character and atmosphere. It has a beautiful interior with a polished bar and warm lighting, along with plenty of rock memorabilia on the walls. They offer drinks for everyone from Guinness to fancy cocktails.
Accommodation in Skerries
So, there isn’t a huge number of places to stay in Skerries, as this really is more of a residential town. However, there are som.
1. The Redbank Guesthouse
This elegant guesthouse is located on Church Street right in the middle of Skerries. They offer a variety of rooms to suit different travellers, all with polished interiors and comfortable beds. They serve a delicious breakfast each morning before you head off and explore the surrounding area.
2. The White Cottages
This beautiful accommodation option offers three cottages right on the water’s edge outside of the centre of town. The nautical themed cottages have plenty of comfortable amenities, with a complimentary breakfast, cosy heated guest lounge and a terrace for when the sun is out.
FAQs about visiting Skerries in Dublin
Since mentioning the town in a guide to Dublin that we published several years ago, we’ve had hundreds of emails asking various things about Skerries 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 Skerries worth visiting?
Yes! Skerries is a lovely harbour town that’ll make you feel like you’ve left the hustle and bustle of the capital behind you. There’s lots to do and plenty of great restaurants.
Are there many places to eat in Skerries?
There’s an endless number of places to eat in Skerries. From casual cafes and pub grub to some more sophisticated eateries, there’s endless places to grab a bite.
Are there many things to do in Skerries?
There’s a good few things to do in Skerries, like the beach, the coastal walk, the kayak tours, the lighthouse tour and Skerries Mills.
Elisha is a freelance writer, content creator and blogger and her work can be read in Lonely Planet, Remote Lands and Matador Network. You’ll usually find her travelling in offbeat places or hiking wherever there are mountains; always with a camera in hand.