Having previously explored the various day trips you could take around Ireland, we now take a look at summer excursions a little closer to the capital. Byrne and Lydia, two Student Ambassadors, look at some of the short trips you can take to sights just outside of Dublin.
Newgrange, a prehistoric Passage Tomb in County Meath, is a perfect day trip excursion for any history buff. Surrounded by the Irish countryside and less than a 60 minute journey from Dublin city centre, a visit to Newgrange is also perfect for those of us who need a break from urban living!
Buses to Newgrange can be taken from the Bus Aras Station with a student return ticket costing 25.65 euro – with a packed lunch, this is a savvy tourist’s means of exploration!
2. Castletown House:
Castletown House is situated just 20km outside Dublin City Centre. A large, impressive Country House with beautiful surrounding lands promises a comfortable spring-time picnic – or a rainy dash to Castletown House’s front door!
To get to Castletown:
With Dublin Bus, take the 67 bus from Merrion Square to Main Street Celbridge and walk (approx.. 10 – 15 mins) down the avenue to Castletown House.
If you’re searching for an escape to the sea, then consider a trip to Bray! A seaside town situated close to Dublin City Centre offers stunning, oceanic views, quaint little tea shops and hosts a myriad of Arts festivals. Bray is also home to Ardmore Studios, an Irish film production company that has produced films and television series such as the Tudors, Braveheart and My Left Foot – you might even be in with a chance to meet your favourite actor!
To get to Bray:
Bray is on the DART Rail Network and a train can be taken from Pearse Street Station just across from Trinity’s Sports Centre and next to the JCR on Pearse Street. Return tickets cost 6.30 euro.
Howth is a stunning coastal fishing town, just north of Dublin City. It has a remarkably small village feeling, considering its close proximity to the city centre. Indeed, it is very well serviced, with commuter darts every few minutes from town. Hence, one can leave at a moment’s notice to find the perfect, quick escape.
On a sunny day, get up and out of the city from Pearse station, and arrive into the quaint town of Howth. Directly in front of the train station, there is a wonderful tea room, called “The Dog House Blue’s Tea Room” that serve lovely tea and cake.
A strip of road leads you to a small marina, where boats bobbe in the wind. Across the strip, there is a very easy hill walk, and a view point where you can look across the bay of the Irish sea into Dublin City. After you’ve worked up an appetite with the short walk, we recommend returning to the city and having the famous fish and chips from Beshhoff’s The Market.
How to get there:
Howth is very easily accessible – the Dart zips along the coast in under 30 minute from Pearse Station (at the bottom end of Trinity) right to the town. Look for the Howth Train, Northbound, €6 adult return.
Powerscourt Estate is a large country estate, complete with a grandiose house and manicured gardens. Originally a 13th Century castle, the building was altered and changed into a Manor in the early 1700s. Recently refurbished into a hotel and golf course, the grounds make for a perfect day retreat. You can see the house, stroll through the gardens, and eat in the lovely restaurant, Avoca. The restaurant is possibly outside the student budget and so we recommend a bringing a small picnic in conjunction with a trail to a stunning waterfall – the highest in Ireland!
How to get there:
Take the Dart southbound to Bray from Pearse Station. The 185 bus goes from Bray Station to Powerscourt.
Kilkenny is a beautiful medieval city in the south east of Ireland, sporting one of Ireland’s largest castles, complete with acres of manicured lawns and a forest leading to the River Nore. Kilkenny is an hour and a half train trip away from Dublin City – the journey is a relaxing, winding course through the gentle rolling Irish countryside.
Things to do:
The train stop is quite near the city centre – exit the platform, descend the small hill and turn left onto John’s street – an old street with a plethora of traditional Irish Pubs. The historic John’s Bridge is at the end of this street, with the fortified castle high on a hill on your right. We recommend taking a tour of the castle, and then a lazy afternoon picnic in the grounds. Other noted attractions in the city are to walk the old town, like Butterslip, Kieran’s Street and Kyteler’s Inn, and the wonderful St. Canice’s Cathedral.
Kilkenny is also a noted centre of the Arts. The Kilkenny Arts Week Festival happens annually in the first week of August, and sees the city come alive with exhibitions, theatre, music and street art.
How to get there:
Take the Waterford Bound train that goes from Heuston Station, Dublin. A student return ticket is €21.
7. Hillwalking in Glendalough
Glendalough is a historically significant monastic site, having had settlements founded as early as the 6th Century. It is located in the mountainous areas of Wicklow, affectionately named “The Garden of Ireland”. The entire area is a protected national park, saturated in beautiful indigenous Irish flora and fauna. There are nine demarcated woodland trails through the region, from easy to moderate in difficulty. There are maps and information available at the Visitor Centre in the old town. More information can be found here.
Glendalough is a living dream for the outdoor nature trail lovers. It is an idyllic day-trip escape from the city, and sees Irish nature at its best.
As it is a national park, access is more difficult, with little to no public transport services. We would recommend gathering a group and chartering a minibus to take you to and from the site, before your day’s walk!
For example: http://www.glendaloughminibushire.com/