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6 of our favourite day trips outside of Dublin

6 of our favourite day trips outside of Dublin


by Sarah Gill
07th Jul 2024

Here, six IMAGE staffers give their two cents on the best day-long excursions outside of Dublin so that you can explore a little further afield, while still being able to return home and sleep in your own bed.

Sarah Finnan, Deputy Digital Editor

Having grown up in Longford, Sligo was always my family’s first choice for a summer day out and it’s still one of my favourite places to go back to. If the sun is shining, you can’t go wrong with a stroll along one of the many gorgeous beaches. Streedagh Beach – where parts of Normal People was filmed – is one of my top reccs. It’s about a 23-minute drive from Sligo town and the perfect place for a picnic. You might even spot horses from a local equestrian school trekking along the seafront! If the weather doesn’t play ball, head straight for the Voya seaweed bathhouse in Strandhill. One of only a few dedicated seaweed bathhouses in Ireland, it boasts a brand-new rooftop bathing area and is one of the most relaxing ways to unwind.

Megan Burns, Editor, IMAGE Interiors; Deputy Editor, IMAGE

I love Kilkenny for a day trip, it’s the perfect city to wander around, and if you’re travelling from Dublin you can hop on the train. There are several museums, and I love the National Design & Craft Gallery in Castle Yard, where you can see craftspeople at work and buy Irish design.

Kilkenny Castle is always worth a visit, whether you go inside or just explore the grounds. For lunch, head to Nóinín for delicious dishes made from local produce, and grab a coffee at Low Lane , or if you have your four-legged friend in tow, the dog-friendly Wild Tails Café right beside the river.

Marlene Wessels, Art Director

One of the benefits of having visitors is that you make time for things you might not do otherwise. I had a cousin visiting recently and I took her to Powerscourt. I have been there so many times, but I am always taken back by the beautiful canopy of trees as one drives up to Powerscourt Townhouse.

Day Trip outside Dublin Powerscourt

It was not the best day weatherwise with showers and a grey sky but Powerscourt Gardens were beautiful as always. There were plenty of roses, the walled garden was colourful with an abundance of texture and flowers and I always love visiting the pet cemetery (with a gravestone for Eugenie, the Jersey Cow and Princess the Aberdeen Angus). The Japanese garden is always popular with the moss hideaway and one can pretend play in the stone tower.

After our wander through the gardens we enjoyed an Avoca coffee and sandwich in the garden terrace.

Dominique McMullan, Editorial Director

I recently visited Beyond The Trees at Avondale House for the first time and I’m still thinking about it. I was with my kids and between the huge wooden structure with amazing views, the beautiful trees, the slide, the playground and the cafe that had chips, ice cream and wine – the whole family had a great day. It’s about an hours’ drive from Dublin and totally worth it.

Jolene Reid, Business Development Manager

Funtasia Theme Park Drogheda is a guaranteed family fun day out. Our son loves it! It has everything under the one roof from their waterpark, bowling, crazy golf, a huge arcade area, zipline, waterslides, restaurant and play area. Less than an hour from Dublin, kids and families love it. Well worth a visit.

Sarah Gill, Staff Writer

Look, hear me out for a second: Roscommon. A county that many people seem to have driven through once and never thought about again, I am bound by a weird sense of Rossie pride to advocate for this little place, so if you’re planning a midlands day trip, please consider the following.

Just over an hour and a half’s drive from the capital, I would recommend embarking on a loop walk at Sliabh Bawn, followed by lunch in Rogue & Co or The Comfy Café. While you’re in town, a browse around the jewellery and antiques in Time Pieces is an absolute must.

If you’ve still got time, Oweynagat—or, the Cave of the Cats—is one to tick off the bucket list. It forms part of a complex of 50 archaeological monuments that make up the ancient pre-Christian Connaught royal site of Cruachán, and is thought of as the gateway to the underworld.

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