You can easily spend a few days exploring Dublin. From touring the Guinness Storehouse to visiting Kilmainham Gaol to seeing the Book of Kells at Trinity College to shopping on Grafton Street and of course tipping a pint in Temple Bar, there are plenty of things to keep you occupied in Ireland's capital.
But, if you find yourself with more time in Dublin, don't discount a day trip. Ireland is a small country (relatively speaking), and you can actually see quite a bit in just one day.
Here are a handful of day trips to consider from Dublin:
One of the most popular day trips from Dublin is to Glendalough Glen of the Two Lakes in County Wicklow. Glendalough is only about an hour from Dublin, so this could actually easily be a half-day trip. The highlight of Glendalough, besides the scenery, is the ruins of an old monastic settlement that dates back to the 8th century.
Along Ireland's wild Atlantic coast lie the famous Cliffs of Moher that rise straight up out of the sea, topping 700 feet in some spots. Visiting the Cliffs means a long day trip from Dublin (it's 3.5 hours one-way), but it's definitely worth it, since you won't see a landscape like this anywhere else in Ireland.
Another day trip to Ireland's west coast you could make would be to Galway and the Aran Islands. The Aran Islands three islands located at the mouth of Galway Bay give you a glimpse into what Ireland was like before the modern day happened. You'll still find thatched roofs and tiny pubs and the remains of things like the prehistoric Dun Aengus Fort on the island of Inishmore.
If the Atlantic coast doesn't call to you, consider a trip to the city of Cork and the famous Blarney Castle. The Castle, which dates from the mid-1400's, is best known for the Blarney Stone. It's said that if you kiss the stone, you'll receive the gift of gab and always be eloquent when speaking. Kissing it requires you to hang upside down over the edge of the castle walls, though, so it's certainly not for those with a fear of heights. Blarney Castle also has a series of beautiful gardens, which are actually better than the stone-kissing experience.
While not part of Ireland, it's just a couple hours away from Dublin and makes for a great visit. The capital city of Belfast is only about a 2-hour drive, making it a very easy travel day. While there, you can take a black taxi tour to learn more about Belfast's history and its Troubles, or you could visit the newly-opened Titanic Museum (the oceanliner was built here). There's also usually an option to add on a visit to Giant's Causeway from Belfast. This UNESCO-recognized site comprises of thousands of basalt columns rising out of the sea on the Northern Ireland coast, looking like stairs for a giant.
Which day trip would YOU take from Dublin?
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Graduate student by day and avid traveler and blogger by night (and on weekends and during holidays), Amanda is just a small-town Ohio girl trying to balance a "normal" life with a desire to discover the world beyond her Midwest bubble. Amanda's adventurous nature and inability to say "no" have led her to some pretty amazing adventures all around the world. But she has no desire to stop exploring anytime soon. Read Amanda's blog, A Dangerous Business, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus.
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