Answers from Our Experts (1)
With new highways linking most major cities in Ireland, it’s now easier than ever to day trip from Dublin. Here are Forbes Travel Guide editors’ top picks for sightseeing spots less than an hour away:
1. Head to Howth. Hop on the DART heading north from the City Centre for an afternoon by the bay. At the West Pier, seals often bob just past the harbor wall. If you love seafood, you’ll have no shortage of options while you watch fisherman at work. Dublin Bay prawns, oysters and chowder are all on offer, but make sure to save room for Beshoff restaurant for a proper fish and chips. Take the circle route along the cliff that loops the peninsula for stunning sea views including all of Dublin Bay, the Wicklow Mountains in the distance and Ireland’s Eye (a short boat ride away). If you can tear yourself away from the coast, venture inland for a look at the 15th century ruins of Howth Castle.
2. Wander Wicklow. You’ll need to rent a car to most easily access scenic County Wicklow, known as the Garden of Ireland. A scenic drive through the Wicklow Gap will wind through dramatic valleys and boglands travelling west. You may spot livestock grazing on the scrubby brush; keep a weather eye open for precious Dutch paintings purportedly hidden amidst the peat by gangsters. End your journey in the picturesque town of Glendalough, where many would-be hikers depart for the 82-mile trek through the mountains that is the Wicklow Way. If you’d rather stay grounded, round towers, ruined churches and impressive stone crosses mark out the medieval monastery nestled in the cemetery.
3. Meander Meath. The Boyne Valley in County Meath is home to Newgrange, a remarkable megalithic passage tomb older than Stonehenge and the pyramids of Giza. On the winter solstice, lucky lottery winners can huddle inside to await the dawn, when the sun lines up with the roof box, illuminating the chamber within. Take the Mary Gibbons bus tour for a complete history lesson from the Stone Age through the Battle of the Boyne. Stops also include the Hill of Tara, the seat of the Irish High Kings of old, and panoramic views of 23 counties on a clear day.