A visit to Ireland’s capital city of Dublin, is a trip you will never forget – from the world famous Guinness factory, to the frenetic live music scene around Temple Bar. But what you may not know about Dublin, is some of the most beautiful places in Ireland are all within short driving distance of the city. All you have to do is rent a car in Ireland, and you can enjoy beautiful coastal villages, stunning mountain scenery and breathtaking green fields from Dublin – it’s really that easy.
In fact, many of Ireland’s most impressive attractions are located just a few hours from the main city center, and can all be visited in day trips from Dublin Ireland.
If you are short of time, then here’s our Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher tour – the best way to enjoy the famed Irish city of Dublin, and its stunning surrounding landscapes in just one day:
Driving time: An hour and 30 minutes
Take the M50/M11 from Dublin’s city center and head south to the beautiful Wicklow region. Known as the “Garden of Ireland” the area is rural and green – exactly how you imagine the Irish countryside to look. Here you can visit the gardens of Enniskerry, which were voted the third best gardens in the world by National Geographic, gaze at a 400-foot-high natural waterfall, and enjoy views of the stunning County Wicklow countryside. This rural setting is a great place to enjoy a breakfast picnic and kick-off the first leg of your day trips from Dublin Ireland.
Driving time: 30 minutes
Drive just 30 minutes into the Wicklow Mountains to experience the beauty of Glendalough – a historic site, with a stunning lake that is definitely worth visiting all year round. Hike along the trail that connects the Lower and Upper Lakes, which is all part of the protected Wicklow Mountains National Park. Look out for wild orchids, native flora and fauna, and Peregrine falcons along the way while enjoying the clean and fresh mountain air.
Driving time: About 3 hours
This is the longest stretch of the drive, but the views of the Irish countryside are absolutely spectacular, and are well worth the extra travel time. When you arrive in Limerick, you will get to experience a historic Irish city and its culture, that has had less of a tourist influx than Dublin. Limerick, which started as a Viking colony, has a bloody past that can be explored with a visit to King John’s Castle, and the infamous Treaty Stone. Highlights also include the difficult Angela’s Ashes walking tour, and lunch in a pub that has live, traditional Irish music.
Cliffs of Moher
Driving time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
For the final leg of the trip you will take the 2000km-long Wild Atlantic Way. The road is windy, wild, and rugged, and offers some incredible photo opportunities. You can stop and start on the road, as long as it’s safe to do so, to take snaps and enjoy the views. The cliffs are around 700 feet high and five miles long, so allow enough time to explore them on foot and in the car. On a good day you can see the Aran Islands and Maum Turk mountains from scenic vistas along the cliffs. Spot the five different layers of rock deposits in the cliff face as you walk the well-signposted trails, on a journey you will never forget.
Driving time: 15 minutes
Drive to the nearest, and one of Ireland’s most beautiful villages, to finish your Dublin to Cliffs of Moher road trip. The village of Doolin is Ireland’s traditional music capital and is also a pretty seaside fishing village with panoramic views of the Cliffs of Moher. Here you can enjoy a traditional Irish meal, or a fresh seafood dinner in a world-famous local pub while listening to some classic Irish music. There are plenty of accommodation options available in the village if you wish to stay here for the night. The village has everything from bed and breakfasts, to boutique hotels, and it’s the perfect place to relax before driving back to Dublin the next day.
Day Trips from Dublin Tips
- Many of the roads in Ireland are clearly signposted, but be aware that they can be a little narrow.
- These day trips from Dublin Ireland take a total of 6 hours and 45 minutes, so make sure you head out nice and early to ensure you experience the day.
- Make sure you take a break at least every hour of driving.
- The tour has been timed with meals in certain stops, but if you prefer to take your own food and eat on pretty stops along the way this is also an option.
- On your way back– if you plan to drive back to Dublin– make sure to stop in Galway Bay.