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5 days in Ireland without a car. What day trips from Dublin would be the best?

I am traveling to Ireland with my 18YO son and 20YO daughter in July. This will be our first big trip since my husband passed away 2 years ago. He always did all the planning, and I'm overwhelmed and nervous! I want this trip to be special for my kids, and want to see some of the best of Ireland. I'm working on places to stay and day trips from Dublin. After these 5 days, we'll be going to Scotland for 3 days, then to London, then to Portsmouth for the Goodwood Festival. Any suggestions on day trips from Dublin? We'd definitely like to see the Cliffs of Moher. Any other suggestions on day trips and the best company with which I should book them? I've heard more than once that driving in Ireland is challenging and I'd be better off using public transportation and bus/trains. Thank you for any advice.

Posted by
319 posts

We used to find a trip to Newgrange and Hill of Tara from Dublin. Newgrange is an ancient burial mound and the Hill of Tara was the seat of the ancient Irish kings. It was an all-day bus trip with a good guide. Newgrange is really cool and they have an excellent visitor's center.

Posted by
359 posts

Second the trip to Newgrange.....if you or your kids enjoy history it's fantastic.

The Cliffs of Moher is about 4 hours one would be a brutally long day on a bus or train/bus. The tour buses charge about $65 per person and its a 13 hour trip !!!! UGGH.

I would recommend the Wild Wicklow and Glendalough tour. It's 8 hours w nice stops. It's about $35 each. Nice pub lunch in a village, the beautiful Wicklow Mountains and Sallys Gap where Braveheart was filmed and on to Glendalough with the haunting and beautiful monastic ruins. Awesome. If you just Google Dublin to Glendalough tours you'll get some nice reliable options.

The buses are extremely comfortable and well run. I prefer can be a challenge but is not remotely as hard as some make out. Buses though are a fine option.

A day trip to Belfast is doable and interesting. Maybe visit the Titanic Visitor Experience which is supposed to be fantastic.

I also would urge you to pick out a nice accessible seaside village away from the city hustle and bustle of Dublin and visit local sights and just calmly wander seeing normal Irish life and getting a real chance interact with the people who are amazingly warm and welcoming......that will provide trip memories that equal or far surpass the big sights. Just finding a little shop, bakery or pub on your own and talking with folks is seriously what makes trips super special.

I would though unless for some reason you enjoy LONG bus rides try to avoid the 13 hour tours just to see a famous tour spot. There are lots of places near Dublin. Hope you have the trip of a lifetime !!!!! Ireland is fantastic !!!!

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you so much for all your excellent advice! I was worried about that long bus ride. We are really looking forward to Ireland, and your information will really help us.

Posted by
1008 posts

If you or your kids like horses, go to the Irish National Stud near Kildare. Their website gives directions for both train and bus from Dublin. It’s about an hour trip. We really enjoyed the museum and walking around the paddock area. My friend and I both owned Thoroughbreds back then and still ride dressage.

Posted by
552 posts

I also think the day trip to Newgrange is a very good choice, as is Glendalough. I would not try to do the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin as it is a very long bus ride and the weather may not be agreeable once you get there. Belfast is a reasonable day rip by train, and you can wander downtown, see the Titanic museum, city hall, maybe do a half day guided tour of other sights. Dublin itself has enough to see and do to fill at least two days, just use the hop on hop off bus to get around.