Numerous wonders await outside Dublin’s city limits—historic castles, dramatic cliffs, vibrant cities, and even a nearby country—all easy to explore on guided day trips from the Irish capital. Here are some of the best options for travelers to Dublin.
Galway Bay — 129 miles (208 km) from Dublin
Some of Ireland's most spectacular scenery lies along its Atlantic Coast near the modern city of Galway and picturesque Galway Bay. Tour the ancient viking city of Limerick, explore medieval Bunratty Castle, have a pub lunch in the charming town of Doolin, drive through the rugged mountains of Connemara, or take a flightseeing tour over the pristine Aran Islands. Depending on what you want to see, tours may last as long as 14 hours.
Northern Ireland — 135 miles (218 km) from Dublin
Make the journey across Ireland's northern border to Northern Ireland, considered an entirely different country. Its top sights await, including the UNESCO–listed basalt columns of Giant's Causeway, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, and Dunluce Castle, which was featured as the House of Greyjoy in the TV hit Game of Thrones. Remember to dress in layers and wear sensible footwear, as the stones of Giant's Causeway can get slippery.
Cliffs of Moher — 160 miles (257 km) from Dublin
Rolling green hills meet the Atlantic Ocean in dramatic fashion at the Cliffs of Moher on Ireland's west coast. For 5 miles (8 km), 700-foot-tall cliffs rise vertically from the sea, and on a clear day, it's possible to see as far as the Aran Islands and the mountains of Connemara. Expect a long day (between 10 and 15 hours), but know that it's well worth it to see one of Ireland’s most famous natural attractions.
Blarney Castle & Cork — 165 miles (266 km) from Dublin
Blarney Castle dates from 1446 and is home to the Blarney Stone—legend states that if you kiss the stone, you will be granted with the "gift of gab" and never again be at a loss for words. A short drive away is Cork, Ireland's second city, and Cobh, the country's largest emigration port. Expect day trips to last upwards of 12 hours.