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Three hours to kill near Dublin Airport

Three of our five travelers will be arriving at the Dublin airport at 7:25am, while the other two will arrive at 10:35am. Once they arrive, we'll be picking up our rental car and heading out into the countryside (no connecting flight, so no need to worry about that).

Since we'll have about three hours to wait for the rest of our group, I'm hoping to find something close to the airport to do. It looks like we can store our luggage at the airport, so I'm hoping we can take advantage of that and take a taxi somewhere. I've looked at Malahide. I'm know we won't be able to visit the castle, but would it still be a nice place to walk around for a couple of hours? Does anyone have any other suggestions within a short taxi ride from the airport?

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
64 posts

Hi - My daughter and I were recently delayed 10 hours in Dublin - on St. Patrick's Day, no less. Stowing our luggage was fairly easy to do - they give you a claim ticket and you pick it up when you return, though plan ahead because there may be a line of people ahead of you for both drop off and pick up. We took the shuttle bus into downtown Dublin, which was very convenient and inexpensive. I want to say it was a 20 minute drive each way. The driver was amiable and helpful in providing suggestions. Because we were there St. Patrick's Day, many businesses were closed and the roads were blocked off for the parade. We settled for an Irish breakfast and enjoyed the quiet streets before the American college students descended on the city. Also, consider time of year you are travelling. We were desperately wishing we had brought warm jackets, hats and gloves because it was downright cold. If I were you, I wouldn't venture too far from the airport. You do need to consider picking up your luggage and making your way back to your gate.

Posted by
2691 posts

It's early, so what will be open? Also, you don't say whether you are just hanging around to meet the others, or whether the 5 of you are then flying elsewhere? I don't see any time consideration for exiting with immigration and customs, or time required to re-enter security for an onward flight. Given the last 2 time requirements, you don't have any time to leave and see anything.

Posted by
12 posts

Sorry to be unclear; I've updated my original post. We'll just be hanging around and waiting for the other members of the group. We don't have a connecting flight, but after a long, overnight flight I'd like to avoid sitting in the airport for three hours. In my experience, going through customs upon arrival doesn't take very long. I'm not expecting a lot of places to be open; I'm just hoping to find a nice place to walk around, get some fresh air, and maybe get a bite to eat. After that, we'll meet up the rest of our group, pick up the rental car and get on with our trip.

Posted by
128 posts

Our recent experience with an early morning arrival was that it took about 1/2 hour to get through passport control and another 40 minutes to get our luggage because 4 flights were arriving around the same time all from East Coast airports. My point is that you might not have 3 hours! From what I have researched it takes approximately 25+ minutes to get into Dublin City Center so you have to factor in travel time as well.

Posted by
2691 posts

I like this website for airport information. It's 'sleeping in airports', but does include some ideas of what do do during layovers. Personally, I wouldn't aim to leave and return with only 3 hours, but each to their own. Check Google maps for anything you may be able to walk to if all you want to do is stretch your legs. Or see what the website suggests: https://www.sleepinginairports.net/guides/dublin-airport-guide.htm
If any of you are eligible for free lounge access, this might help pass the time.

Posted by
540 posts

It seems to me that if everything on your arrival goes smoothly, and especially if you have carry-on luggage and are able to stow and retrieve it easily, you might be able to get a taxi out to Malahide and walk on the beach a bit or get a coffee, then get a taxi back. Being sure to get a taxi back may be an issue if it’s the weekend. My only experience with Malahide was when we were staying an airport hotel and drove out there for dinner. We walked on the beach a bit afterward. It’s something you can keep in mind, and see how things go on arrival. On the front end of that trip we landed in Dublin at 5:30 am and had a 5 hour layover. We got an Irish breakfast and wandered the many, many shops (which were open) before settling down to wait for our flight. So 3 hours doesn’t seem too bad to wait. You could play it by ear if you think the arrival, stowing and retrieving luggage would work with the time you have then. I would let your friends know your plans in case you run late.

Posted by
57 posts

Swords is the town before Malahide.

It's around a 10 minute taxi ride away from the Airport.

If you're looking to see a castle that's a very hidden gem, visit Swords Castle. You'll more than likely have the place to yourself.

There's a cafe close to it called the Green Straw that does great coffee and even better pancakes.