By Jessica Colley—
Dublin is a coastal city, but wandering around city center you might never know it. Many flights from the US arrive under the shroud of night, and travelers never get the chance to see just how stunning the Bay of Dublin and the coast can be.
A train that runs along the coastline of Dublin can change all that. This affordable option, called the DART, has stations spread throughout the center of the city. For a €2 ticket and a 20-minute train ride, Cheapos can gain a whole new perspective on the Irish capital.
I have a few favorite day trips from Dublin. I choose between them depending on how adventurous (or hungry) I’m feeling at the time.
DART south to Dalkey stop.
This day trip is for the day you wake up free of a Guinness-induced headache and have lots of energy. Climb aboard the DART heading south for the village of Dalkey. From here, consult the map at the station and walk 10 minutes to the entrance of Killiney Hill Park.
Take that “hill” part seriously–it will be a bit of a climb up to the top of the park. Views at the top are the reward. Pass blooming wildflowers and keep following the incline to emerge at the top of the hill, with incredible views north to Dublin and south along the craggy coast of the Irish Sea. (This hike can be challenging at times–good shoes are essential).
DART north to Howth stop.
This day trip is for when you’re feeling more like a serious meal than a challenging hike. Board the DART train heading north for Howth, a coastal village known for fresh seafood. After a walk on the scenic pier, it will be time to get down to the business of eating. On weekends, there is a small outdoor market, but if you plan a trip during the week there is still plenty of seafood to be had.
Cheapos might want to fill up on fish and chips from Beshoffs (17 – 18 West Pier, Howth). There are some outdoor picnic tables to soak in the views or you can take a seat at the Oyster Bar in Beshoffs Market for a few just-shucked bivalves. Some visitors might not be able to resist the classic combination of fresh oysters and a pint of Guinness.
DART south to Dun Laoghaire stop.
The Dublin day trip for the best of both worlds is Dun Laoghaire. Head south on the DART to this coastal village that offers two lengthy piers where you can go out for a good walk (no climbing over rocks or serious inclines required) and once you return to the village, there’s plenty to eat.
One of the best-kept secrets is a tiny pizza shop called Don Mimi (5 Old Dun Laoghaire Road, Monkstown). After your walk to the end of the pier (where you can see across the water to Howth) dig into affordable pizzas at one of three tables in this authentic shop and chat about the sailboats, seals and fishermen you saw from the pier.
North or south, for a hike or a hearty meal, a ride on the DART train will reveal Dublin’s gorgeous coastal location.
Your favorite day trips from Dublin?
Have you taken any of these day trips — or would you recommend another? Tell us about it in the comments section.