Looking for something to do outside of Dublin? Here there are 5 amazing places that you can reach in few minutes from Dublin using public transports or driving a car. There are several small towns on the coast which can be easily reached by DART. You can decide to go to Malahide to know more about its castle and the Irish history, or if you want to hike, you can go to Bray and walk the famous cliff walk to Greystones, or if it’s Sunday you can go to Dún Laoghaire and taste typical food from different countries around the world in its amazing market. If you have a car, you can also add Wicklow to your destinations for beautiful hikes in Wicklow Mountains National Park, or you can go to Emo Court to learn about Irish history and relax in the beautiful gardens of the mansion.
Malahide is a lovely town on the north side of Dublin and it can be easily reached by DART or bus. The main attraction of the town is the castle and the gardens, which are accessible for free. The castle is open every day from 9.30am- 5.30pm and it is accessible just through tours. The full price ticket is 12 € (here more info about ticket prices and opening time).
After the garden visit, you can decide to relax at the visitor centre, where you can enjoy the delicious food from AVOCA, or you can walk to the city centre and have a beer in one of the many pubs there (my favourite one is Gilbert & Wright because food is great and it’s so cozy!). If the weather is nice you can also stroll by the sea and enjoy the sunset from there!
2. Bray and Greystones
If the weather is good and you like hiking you have to go to Bray and walk on the cliff to Greystones. The trail is accessible in less than one hour from Dublin by DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit), the Irish train which runs along the coast from Howth to Greystones, and it can either be started from Bray Seafront or Greystones Harbour.
The walk is extremely scenic and it is even more beautiful during spring because of the presence of colza flowers all over the cliff. I’m sure you will enjoy the inebriating smell of these flowers.
I simply love this trail and I also wrote a post just about it (Click here if you want to read my post about the cliff walk Bray – Greystones).
3. Emo Court
Emo Court is a mansion in County Laois, and it said to be one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets. I don’t know if it’s true, but this place is truly stunning. The court includes a beautiful neo-classical house surrounded by a huge garden which includes also a lake and woodland walks with beautiful trees. The access to the gardens is free, while the ticket price to see the house is 5€ (here more information about the Emo Court House).
Also in this case, the best season to go is spring, when you can come across a carpet of pretty bluebells while exploring the wood.
If you want to know all the places where you can find bluebell carpets in Ireland, then you need to click here to have a complete list of all the best places where you can see these pretty flowers.
Wicklow Mountains National Park is situated just south of Dublin. Unfortunately, it’s not easily accessible by public transport, but there are several private tours which organise daily trips to the Park. However, I don’t recommend to go with organised tours because you won’t have enough time to fully appreciate the park. If you can, then the best option is to rent a car and go independently.
It’s not difficult to see deer and feral goats while hiking in the park, which is also home to red squirrels, pine martens, badgers and peregrine falcons, which are more difficult to see. The main attraction of the park is Glendalough, the beautiful valley famous for its lake. At the western end of the valley, there is the parking area, from which the Upper Lake is easily accessible. In this valley, there are several way-marked walking trails (here you can find more information).
5. Dún Laoghaire
The last (but not least) town which can be easily reached from Dublin is Dún Laoghaire. The city is super cute, and the seaside is amazing. Here there is Ireland’s most famous swimming spot: the Forty Foot, which attracts swimmers even during winter (here you can find all the best places to swim in Ireland).
If you can, you should definitely go there on Sunday, when the food market is held at People’s Park.