30th Mar 2018
The spring solstice has come and gone, and it’s time to start setting our sights on one of the best parts of the warmer weather: day trips. There’s nothing like venturing off with friends and family for the day, sans the stress of planning an overnight stay. Whether it’s hiking through the hills, relaxing beachside, or learning a bit of history; there’s something for everyone on this list. Here are our top places for a day-getaway:
A charming village full of some of the best seafood on the east coast, Howth is only about a 30 minute DART ride from Dublin city centre. The cliff walk features sweeping, magnificent views of the glittering sea and black cliffs; but there’s plenty to explore if you venture a little inland too, including Howth Castle. We love the surrounding gardens which are perfect for a spring stroll. Just a 10 minute walk from the Castle, you’ll find the Howth Market, where local crafts and food are sold. Buy some jewellery as a souvenir of your day, and grab some food to have a picnic by the water.
When you’re standing at the edge of the lake, you’ll understand why Saint Kevin was said to have stood in the water for three days straight. The monks who founded Glendalough put an emphasis on connecting with nature, and if you take a trip out to this site in County Wicklow, you can see why. The cascading valley descends into twin lakes, framed by deep forests and hidden waterfalls. Take a walk on level ground around the perimeter of the water, or if you’re up for it, a steep hike leads to the top of the mountain where you can witness one of the most spectacular views in Ireland. Glendalough also houses the ruins of St. Mary’s church, a stone cemetery, and an impressive Round Tower dating back to the 6th century.
Located in County Wicklow is the breathtaking Powerscourt Estate. Originally a castle built in the 8th century, the Powerscourt Estate was remodeled in the 13th century and served as a family seat to the Viscounts Powerscourt. The gardens on the grounds of the estate are perfect for wandering around and between the Japanese, Italian, and walled gardens, your day will be well-spent. If golf is more your thing, Powerscourt Golf Club’s 18-hole course is just around the corner. And Powerscourt waterfall which holds the record as the tallest waterfall in Ireland is a 20 minute drive down the road.
Bray is a great day trip for all ages, featuring carnivals, concerts and seaside hikes. The Bray cliff walk features beautiful views, and if you’re lucky the occasional pod of dolphins can be spotted off the shore. Alternatively take a walk down the promenade, where you will come upon Sea Life Bray – Ireland’s leading aquarium. Featuring sharks, octopuses, and stingrays, this is an attraction you can visit rain or shine. Be sure to check out the Bray website before you go, where you can find postings for year-round festivals and events.
Venture back in time for the day at Newgrange. This neolithic monument was built in the year 6200 BC, making it older than the Egyptian Pyramids and Stonehenge. One of the most famous and well-preserved national monuments in the country, Newgrange is thought to have been built as a ceremonial site and burial ground, the stone carvings that surround the interior and exterior of the structure are a prime example of early human art form. Our only caveat with this World Heritage Site that they don’t take bookings, and are typically booked out by 3pm, so try and get there early.
The capital of Northern Ireland is both a cultural and historical hub. The most popular tourist destination in the city is the Titanic Belfast, where the infamous Titanic was built. Now it serves as a museum for the tragic event, as well as the maritime history of Belfast. Another attraction includes the Belfast Botanical Gardens, which underwent restoration in 2017. If you’re hungry after touring the city, St. Georges Market offers top notch food stalls with a variety of options including vegan and gluten free. The market’s 250+ vendors also sell everything from vinyl records to vintage clothing. And if you’re thirsty at the end of your day, stop by Belfast’s famous Crown Liquor Saloon for a pint in this intricately decorated, Victorian-style pub.
With 38 acres full of rolling hills and gardens, the Airfield Estate is a wonderful place to take the family. Located in Dundrum, Airfield mixes nature and farmlife, not too far from the city. Airfield Estate says their mission is, “to deliver an experience which offers visitors a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with the land and the food it produces.” Much of the daily activities you can participate in at Airfield revolve around farm work, including milking cows, feeding calves, and collecting eggs. After you’ve explored the grounds and helped out around the farm, head over to Airfield’s Overends Kitchen to get a delicious meal with ingredients right from the farm.
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