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3 Weeks in Dublin with Family


My family (myself, husband and 2 girls—8 & 10) are headed to Ireland for 3 weeks at the end of July-mid August. My dilemma is that we want to see as much as possible but are staying at a house in Dublin. I am having a hard time planning an itinerary since our accommodations are in Dublin but we want to be able to see other areas as well. Can you please help with what areas would be best for day excursions? We would like to do as many day trips from Dublin as possible and limit overnight excursions to about 2-3. We definitely want to see the major sights and some hidden gems since this is our first trip there. We will have access to a car but also plan to use public transportation as well. I’m not sure how long it takes to travel to certain sites from Dublin, so any advice is greatly appreciated!

Thank you in advance, Julie

Posted by
6584 posts

You really need to get yourself a good map of the country to plan your excursions.
We stayed in Dublin a day and drove down to the southwestern coast--about 225 miles away. Ireland's larger than I thought.
We made day trips out of Waterville--including the Ring of Kerry. And we stayed back in Dublin before flying back to the U.S.
You might choose to stay in a more central location to do day trips from than Dublin.

Posted by
1869 posts

Your not going to see the whole island if yoyr base is Dublin! Don’t even think about it! You can head south (Wicklow, Powerscourt, Glendalough) or north (Belfast, Newgrange), but otherwise you will be driving too much. Check viamichelin for driving times!

Posted by
359 posts

If it's financially feasible I'd go to the southwest for a few days to see things like the ROK, the Skellig Ring and Dingle. Or near Galway in Connemarra which is also gorgeous..........and not worry about double paying for a few nights - it's worth it if you can. It would be pretty rough if you had three weeks in Ireland and were limited to Dublin.

If you are limited to Dublin there are fantastic day trips in the surrounding area. To echo the always accurate Diveloonie to the south are the stunning Wicklow Mountains and the monastic settlement at Glendalough. This is one of Ireland's most magical spots. Pick a nice weekday to go - avoid the weekend day trippers from Dublin. Remember driving time estimates are notoriously off in Ireland.... add 30% for driving times then factor in stops for food, gas etc.

To the north of Dublin the 5,000 year old toombs at Newgrange are incredible. The Boyne Valley and nearby Tara are wonderful as well. Also a quick trip to Belfast is nice too....and if it holds interest the Titanic museum is well worth a visit.

Another thing we loved as much as any of the "must see" sights was taking a leisurely drive out into the Midlands not really targeting anything, just roaming, discovering seeing totally non tourist Ireland and taking the time to interact with the locals. We are not outgoing folks but the Irish people welcome you in a way that is actually shockingly warm.....without even trying we've ended up getting invited to a home for dinner, or great fun conversations and getting tips for really special local, non guide book stuff. If you can just wander, stop and explore - it's fantastic.

Try and take some days in the SW if you can. If you can't .......enjoy the has a lot to offer. Dublin has some nice stuff but is near the bottom of places in Ireland for us but the great thing about Ireland is there is a magic almost everywhere if you take the time to look. Just point yourself in any direction, get out of the city and it will be wonderful.
Have a great trip !

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you for the advice!

Yes, we definitely know it will be difficult to see the entire island while being based in Dublin. We do plan to take 2-3 overnight excursions. I like the idea of visiting Belfast as one overnight. What other places/cites do you recommend taking overnight trips to? I also do like the idea of going mid-week to avoid as much of a crowd as possible.

Posted by
359 posts

Another spot about 2-2 1/2 hours from Dublin is Kilkenny which has many great spots to see and things to do including historic sights, pubs and restaurants, scenic areas and an abundance of things nearby......great spot for an overnight. It's also only 1 - 1 1/2 hours from Cashel if the beautiful Rock of Cashel has interest for you.

Just another thought.

Posted by
623 posts

I was going to suggest Rock of Cashel/Kilkenny but ewewoolknit beat me to it :-) . I will also second (third?) diveloonie's suggestion of Wicklow, Powerscourt and Glendalough. You could either make that an overnight or you could make it multiple day trips. I think there is public bus service to both Powerscourt and to Glendalough. If you head to the Boyne Valley you might enjoy spending a few hours in Trim. The Trim Castle tour is quite interesting and you can stroll along the Boyne River. I believe that there is a day tour from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher. But I think that is a very long day. Another overnight possibility is Galway. And if possible, consider taking one 2-3 night trip so you can head west to Kerry, Dingle, Beara or Connemara.