5 easy must-do weekend trips from Dublin

Published by: BouncePosted
Weekend trips from Dublin

Ireland's capital, Dublin, is absolutely packed with things to do. As well as having the country's best restaurants, Dublin is home to major cultural institutions like the National Museum of Ireland and EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum. Plus, while Dublin may be Ireland's biggest city, it's still surrounded by some beautiful countryside that makes it easy to enjoy both natural and cultural highlights in the capital of the Emerald Isle.

Dublin's city center is packed with attractions, great restaurants, and lively pubs. But sometimes, you just want to get away from the chaos of the city and enjoy a weekend break that lets you see more of the country. After all, as great as Dublin is, there's more to Ireland than just its capital city.

Luckily, Ireland isn't a big country. Just about anywhere on the island of Ireland, including Northern Ireland, is reachable in just a few hours from Dublin. Whether you choose to travel by car, long-distance bus, or train, you'll be able to access some truly incredible locations on weekend breaks from Dublin.

Traveling light is the best way to make your weekend getaways easier. That's why Bounce provides luggage storage in Dublin and in hundreds of cities around the world. Drop off your bags at a Dublin luggage storage and bring only what you need to make the most of your Irish vacation.

Weekend trip from Dublin to Wicklow Mountains National Park

Wicklow Mountains National Park

Just a short distance from Dublin, the Wicklow Mountains provide a glimpse of Ireland's wilder side. This national park, popular for day trips from Dublin, is one of the best trips for nature lovers and is worth visiting for just about anyone.

Distance from Dublin:

It's just 33 km from the center of this great city to one of the country's most outstanding wilderness areas. The drive will take around 50 minutes, but you'll spend a lot longer exploring once you arrive in the park.

Our activity recommendations:

Old Military Road: The main road running from Dublin right through Wicklow Mountains National Park, Old Military Road was built by the British Army following the Irish rebellion of 1798, long before the country was partitioned into Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The road was intended to make it easier to crush the rebellion in this remote and mountainous area, but now, it provides the perfect way to access the natural beauty of the park. Driving along the road and enjoying the scenery is one of the most relaxing weekend breaks you can take.

Lough Tay: This atmospheric lake has been featured in many movies and TV shows over the years. Basically, whenever anyone wants a mystical-looking lake surrounded by low mountains, they come here. Drive around the lake and enjoy the views from the many scenic viewpoints, and you'll feel like you've stepped right into an ancient Irish myth.

Ballinastoe Forest: If you're looking to go hiking in the Wicklow Mountains, this is the place to do it. One of the most popular attractions in the National Park, this forest is a great place to go for a walk or bike ride and enjoy the fresh air. Parking is limited in this popular place, so it's never a bad idea to arrive early.

Best season to visit:

Ireland's temperate climate means that outdoor attractions are feasible at any time of year. However, the cold and rain of the winter months may put you off taking weekend breaks in the Wicklow Mountains at that time of year. Better to stick to the summer or at least a warm spring day.

Kilkenny weekend trips from Dublin


Kilkenny is a city with a rich past and plenty of historic sights, even by Irish standards. Located in Ireland's ancient east, this might be the ideal place for day trips and weekend getaways for history buffs, but this extremely walkable city has something to offer just about everyone.

Distance from Dublin:

120 km from Dublin, you can reach Kilkenny with a drive of around an hour and a half. You can also reach the city by train on the Kildare/Waterford service from Heuston Station, which takes about the same amount of time.

Our activity recommendations:

Medieval Mile: The Medieval Mile runs through the heart of Kilkenny from the well-preserved castle to St Canice's Cathedral. Along the way, you'll get to see the Medieval Mile Museum and some of this ancient city's most intriguing medieval ruins. There's also a wealth of cafés, restaurants, and pubs along the way and some quaint stores where you can browse for souvenirs.

Kilkenny Castle: Looking at this well-preserved castle now, it's hard to believe it goes back to 1195 and the Norman conquest of Ireland. The beautiful grounds were designed and landscaped in the 19th century, turning this from a fortress into a pleasure palace, and it's a wonderful place to wander and enjoy incredible historic sites here. There's also a gallery where you can appreciate art in this stunning setting.

Smithwick's Experience: Smithwick's beer is an icon of the city and has been brewed here for hundreds of years. Visit this brewery to learn more about this famous pint and its historic links with the city. Plus, you'll get to sample some delicious beer while you're here.

Best season to visit:

The historic charm of Kilkenny is just as potent at any time of year. There are enough indoor activities here to shelter you from the worst of the winter weather, and a bowl of Irish stew and a pint in a nearby pub will be more than enough to chase the chill away if you choose to visit during the off-season.

Educational weekend trips from Dublin

Bru na Boinne and Newgrange

One of the most spectacular ancient sites in all of Europe, this is a place of deep cultural and historic significance to the Irish people. Explore the remnants of the ancient past at one of Europe's most significant archaeological treasures.

Distance from Dublin:

Bru na Boinne is located 55 km north of Dublin, but the two are not connected by a highway, so expected to take around an hour to drive this distance.

Our activity recommendations:

Bru na Boinne Visitor Center: This site is more than 5,000 years old, making it older than Stonehenge and the pyramids. The collection of prehistoric art here is unparalleled, preserving over 90 different Neolithic monuments. Therefore, to get the most out of the site, you'll need to first visit the visitor center to fully understand what it is you're seeing. The visitor center uses interactive exhibits to explain how this massive complex was built and what significance it had in Irish history. Unsurprisingly, this unique area has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its importance to the archaeology of Europe.

Newgrange: Probably the most famous monument in the area, Newgrange is a huge 80 m burial mound that dates back thousands of years. Explore the stone chambers and learn more about the lives of the people who lived and died in Ireland all those centuries ago.

Best season to visit:

You can visit Bru na Boinne at any time of year. However, if you can manage to get a highly sought-after ticket, you can go inside Newgrange tomb on the winter solstice, December 21. At this time, a single shaft of light from the sun beams a golden pathway right to the heart of the tomb, a display of the precision involved in making this structure and a hint at the spiritual beliefs of the people who built it.

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

One of the most iconic natural wonders in all of Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher is one of the top attractions of Ireland's West Coast and a ruggedly beautiful place you simply have to see for yourself.

Distance from Dublin:

It's around 260 km from Dublin to the West Coast of County Clare, where the cliffs rise above the Atlantic Ocean. Too far for a day trip but ideal for weekend getaways, reachable with just over three hours of driving from the capital.

Our activity recommendations:

The Cliffs: Rising to a height of 214 m or 700 ft at the highest point, the cliffs provide an incredible view over the roaring waves of the Atlantic Ocean. You can walk along the cliff edge and admire the almost supernatural beauty of this rugged destination, but make sure you have a sturdy pair of shoes and a good sense of balance.

Visitor Center: Partially buried under a hill near the cliffs, this unobtrusive visitor center will explain more about the geology and ecology of this unique environment. Stopping here will give you a better understanding of just how unique these cliffs are, making it even easier to appreciate them on one of the best weekend getaways from Dublin.

The Burren: At the northern end of the cliffs, this rocky landscape feels like an alien world. This flat and virtually treeless karst rock plateau is home to significant historic sites like a prehistoric dolmen and stone fort, and it's a great place to capture photography or just enjoy the wildness of this exceptional landscape.

Best season to visit:

The weather gets wild around the cliffs during fall and winter, so although summer brings tourist crowds, it's probably the best time to visit. In the warmer months, you can even take advantage of some of the sandy beaches you'll find along the coast of Clare and take a swim to cool off.

Weekend trips from Dublin to Wild Atlantic Way

Wild Atlantic Way

As impressive as the Cliffs of Moher are, they are only part of a much larger trail that embraces this rugged coastline. The Wild Atlantic Way is a network of hiking trails that lets you experience the best of the West Coast. Don't forget your hiking boots!

Distance from Dublin:

The Wild Atlantic Way covers more than 2,000 km. Its northern end is on the Inishowen peninsula in County Donegal, a good four hours from Dublin. However, you can pick up the trail almost anywhere on the West Coast. For example, the town of Sligo is less than a three-hour drive from Dublin.

Our activity recommendations:

Hiking: Obviously, taking a hike is one of the best things to do along this massive hiking trail. The trail is broken up into different sections, so you can choose anything from a short stroll to a multi-day expedition. Along the way, you'll see much of Ireland's West Coast, encompassing everything from major cities to remote villages.

Surfing: As it travels through Mayo, the Way passes through an area known as the Surf Coast. This is where you'll find some of Ireland's biggest waves, so if you've ever wanted to try surfing, now is your chance. Yes, the water is cold, but the waves are exhilarating, and you'll probably be so excited you won't even notice how cold the water is.

Villages: As you travel this epic hiking trail, you'll pass through many quaint villages where you can stop for a night and enjoy Irish hospitality. The areas of outstanding natural beauty along the trail are almost endless, and in among the rolling hills, you'll come across small towns and villages where it seems like time has stood still. Eat local produce and drink in neighborhood pubs, and you'll be getting a glimpse of Irish country life you won't soon forget.

Best season to visit:

You can walk the trails at any time of year. Summer brings the best weather but also brings the biggest crowds. Still, on a trail this huge, it's not hard to get away from the crowds and find your own quiet corner of paradise.

Best weekend trips from Dublin


There's more than enough in Dublin itself to keep you busy for a long time. If you only have three days in the city or so, you're going to struggle to fit in everything you want to do even without leaving Dublin itself.

But if you live nearby or have been to Dublin before, it's well worth considering seeing more of Ireland, whether on the best day trips from Dublin or on a longer weekend voyage. Ireland has so many fantastic places to explore that you'll never run out of ideas.

Newsletter Banner

Love discounts and traveling?

Sign up for our newsletter to get insider travel tips and a 10% discount delivered straight to your inbox.

No spam here, just the good stuff.

Get the
Bounce app

Instantly find locations nearby to drop off your luggage wherever you go.