Dublin is a wonderful city to visit, but you’ll probably find yourself wanting to get out of the city and take a day trip around Ireland’s east coast. You won’t want to miss out on any of these amazing day trips from Dublin!
After you’ve spent a few days exploring Dublin, you’ll definitely want to see the rest of the Emerald Isle. Since Ireland is a small country, it’s really easy to take a day trip to a ton of unique places. You’ll be surprised how much of Ireland you’re able to see on a day trip! You may even want to combine some of your day trips from Dublin, if you have enough time, just to make sure you see it all.
If you’re looking for a guided day tour, I recommend checking out Viator’s tours from Dublin.
The Best Day Trips from Dublin
Explore Medieval Kilkenny
Just an hour and 20 minute drive from Dublin is the medieval city of Kilkenny, Ireland. It’s main sights are Kilkenny Castle, its historic cathedrals, and its beautiful abbeys. Enjoy the Medieval Mile, a stretch of narrow lanes and historic buildings that run through the town along the bank of the River Nore.
Kilkenny grew from a monastic settlement to a thriving Norman merchant town in the Middle Ages, and some of the well-preserved medieval architecture still survives. Many of Kilkenny’s buildings are made with black stone encrusted with white fossils that was quarried locally, as well as with Kilkenny Black Marble. This gives the city the nickname “Marble City”.
Visit Glendalough and the Monastic Site of St Kevin
Glendalough, from the Irish Gleann Dá Loch meaning “Valley of two lakes”, is a glacial valley with an Upper Lake and a Lower Lake framed by towering mountains.
This was the site of a monastic settlement founded by St Kevin in the 6th century (pictured at the top of the page). An array of monuments still sit partially ruined on the grounds. These include the unique gateway that at one time was two stories tall, the 30-meter tall round tower, the large cathedral, and St Kevin’s Cross. Legend surrounding St Kevin’s Cross says that anyone who can hug around the width of the cross body and have their fingers tips touch will have their wishes granted.
Glendalough has 9 maintained walking trails for you to explore. It is free to visit the lakes and the monastic site, but you will have to pay for parking.
Drive Through the Wicklow Mountains
Depending on which routes you drive, you’ll see the Powerscourt Estate and Gardens, which has the highest waterfall in Ireland; the historic Avondale House, home of Charles Stewart Parnell; the popular Glenmacnass waterfall; the Liffey Head Bog, which is the source of Dublin’s River Liffey; the views over Lough Tay; the legendary Guinness Estate, known as Luggala; the views from the top of the Wicklow Gap; and more!
Kiss the Stone at Blarney Castle
Every year, millions of visitors make the pilgrimage to Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone. The stone supposedly gives the gift of eloquence, and so for over 200 years, people have been bending over backwards (literally) to kiss it.
While the castle and the stone are the main attractions at Blarney Castle & Gardens, the grounds also encompass 60 acres of lush parklands. There’s a lot to discover here, from the poison gardens to the Scottish baronial Blarney House to a series of escape tunnels.
You really could spend all day exploring Blarney Castle and its extensive grounds; but if you wanted to limit your time here and see more on your day trip, I’d recommend adding more castles to your trip— like Cahir Castle and the Rock of Cashel.
Learn the History of Cahir Castle
Located in County Tipperary, Cahir Castle one of Ireland’s largest and best preserved castles. Its name comes from the Irish cathair, meaning “stone fort,” and that’s exactly what it is. Cahir Castle sits on an island surrounded by the River Suir and maintains much of its original defense structure, including its working portcullis.
A 45 minute guided tour of the castle takes you through these defenses and shows just how difficult it was to storm the castle, although it was captured quite a few times.
After the guided tour, you’re free to explore the rooms and towers on your own. One of the towers gives a great view of the town and the river flowing around the castle.
Marvel at the Rock of Cashel
In County Tipperary sits the Rock of Cashel. According to Irish mythology, the hill this cluster of buildings sits on was taken from the Devil’s Bit, a mountain 20 miles north of here. The devil supposedly took a big bite out of the mountain when St Patrick banished him, and the devil spat that piece out here at the Rock of Cashel.
This castle is made up of a group of Medieval buildings. These include a 12th century round tower, a 12th century chapel, a 13th century cathedral, and a 15th century castle. As the seat of the kings of Munster, the Rock is also said to be the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St Patrick in the 5th century.
You can take a 45 minute guided tour of the grounds, or you can do a self-guided tour on your own.
Where to Stay in Dublin
Find the perfect place to rest your head on your visit to Dublin, from the top rated accommodations to unique stays you can’t get anywhere else.
More Things to Do in Dublin
Explore all that Dublin has to offer! Check out these posts for more Dublin itineraries.
- 7 Free Things to Do in Dublin, Ireland
- 1 Day of Sightseeing in Dublin, Ireland
- 8 Things to See and Do In Dublin, Ireland
- Chef-Driven Dublin Restaurants You Need to Try
Ready to visit Dublin, Ireland? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book your flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find Accommodation: You can find top hotels in Dublin using Booking.com.
- Book a day trip: Find an amazing day tour that is worth your time using Viator.
- Get a Guide Book: Check out the guide books from Fodor’s, Lonely Planet, or Rick Steves for in depth info about traveling to Ireland.
What are your favorite day trips from Dublin, Ireland? Let me know in the comments!