Dublin City Trips and Tours
Learn about Dublin's top tours and trips you won't want to miss.
Places to visit with your car rental
Once you have picked up your Dublin hire car, you’ll be ready to get out and explore. The city centre is compact and can be explored on foot, but if you plan on getting out into fringe neighbourhoods or the more distant countryside, you’re definitely going to want to have a hire car.
Visitors are often advised not to rent a car if they are only staying in Dublin. There is merit to this, given the sometimes-confusing network of one-way streets. It’s important to stay out of bus lanes, as well, as this can incur fines during peak travel periods. However, public transport isn’t as convenient as it ought to be in Dublin. Taxis queue at ranks and can seldom be flagged down curb-side, and the bus schedule can be tedious.
For those who intend to see more than the city centre, there is ample cause to hire a vehicle in Dublin City. Two main motorways access the city: the M1 and the M50. The M1 heads north from near the city centre and follows the coast up to Dundalk, Newry and, eventually, Belfast. The M50 takes a wide arc around the west side of the city and provides access to a network of secondary motorways. From here, you can connect virtually anywhere in Ireland by car.
Bear in mind that crossing River Liffey on the M50 requires taking the Westlink Bridge, which is a toll bridge. The toll varies depending on the vehicle and the method of payment. If you pass the gate without paying, a camera will take a photograph of your registration plate, and the toll needs to be paid before the end of the next day.
Day Trips and Drives from Dublin City
With a hired car in Dublin, you’ll undoubtedly want to get out and explore the area outside the city. There are plenty of attractions within an hour’s drive – even more for those who want to drive a bit further and make a day or two of it.
This outpost is about 15 kilometres north of Dublin centre. The peninsula with its crags and cliffs is an excellent place to get out of doors and enjoy a walk. Monolithic ruins on the site can be visited for a charge. Howth is also an excellent location to enjoy some fresh seafood, stop for a cup of coffee or walk along the pier. Keep an eye out on your visit for the local seals who are not shy.
County Meath is 50 kilometres north of Dublin. This was historically the seat of the High King of Ireland, and its 5,000-year-old ruins Brú Na Bóinne Archaeological Park have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Newgrange is the centerpiece of the Brú Na Bóinne Archaeological Park, and is a 5,000 year old passage tomb.
The ‘Garden of Ireland’ is a mountainous stretch of land south of Dublin. Part of the fun of getting here is driving through the mountains – an aspect you’ll miss if you take the train from Dublin. Rural villages, scenic river valleys and quiet forests are all in the mix.
County Carlow boasts 8,000 years of history and can be reached by driving southwest on the M9 for a little over an hour. An even mix of ancient attractions and modern conveniences await visitors, making this a popular weekend retreat.
Kilkenny can be reached in less than two hour’s drive from Dublin. It has its own castle, charming boutiques and very walk-able cobblestone streets. You can see most of the main attractions on foot in a couple of hours, but the entertainment scene warrants staying over a night or two for those with time to spare.
It’s difficult coming up with a shortlist of attractions to see in Dublin. There’s just so much to see and do. These are some of the most popular sightseeing attractions in Dublin, but they by no means constitute a comprehensive list:
Dublin Zoo and Phoenix Park
These two places come as a pair as Dublin Zoo is situated inside Phoenix Park. The park itself is the largest inner city park in Europe and is populated with a huge variety of wildlife. Please be wary of the wandering deer if you are driving through. Phoenix Park is also home to the Presidential residency. Dublin Zoo is located halfway up the park’s main road and a popular one for families visiting Dublin City. The zoo areas include World of Primates, African Plaines, African Savanna and new petting zoo featuring a number of farm animals.
Trinity College has been a facet of Dublin city culture since its establishment in 1592, 300 years before the establishment of the county it is situated in. Originally built by the ruling British Empire, Trinity College has become a shining light of Irishness and culture becoming home to the Book of Kells. The Book of Kells written in Latin circa 800, was sculpted by Celtic monks combined with the Long Room make it a hugely popular tourist spot.
Dublin Castle, built in the 13th century has functioned as a military fortress, prison, treasury, court of law and home of the English Government. As a result, hours can be spent in Dublin castle learning about its role in the history of the island. Located in Dublin 2, Dublin Castle is a short walk from Grafton Street.
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