Where to go in Dublin
A bit away from the city centre, you will still find areas that have preserved a village feel without being too affected by the urban sprawl. Glasnevin is a good example and provides a perfect sunny Spring afternoon destination close to the National Botanic Gardens.
If you like the outdoors, Phoenix Park, is probably the closest destination and your best option. With its 712 hectares (1760 acres), it is the second biggest European urban park after Birmingham's Sutton Park.
However, the best trips beyond the city can be found around Dublin Bay and are easily accessible from the DART line, the coastal railway transport. You can find more information in our page for transport in Dublin.
Howth is a rugged peninsula that closes Dublin Bay at its northernmost point. It has an old church, an old castle and a harbour, but the best part is probably its cliff walk which features stunning views over Dublin Bay with the Wicklow Mountains in the background.
Designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the North Bull Island is a sandy beach located along the northern part of Dublin Bay. The place is visited mostly by golfers, kite-surfers and bird watchers as it is a stop over for nearly 40,000 migrating birds.
The southern part of the bay also has a number of old castles. In the town of Dalkey, in particular, you will find three of them: Goat Castle, Archibold's Castle, which has a visitor centre and Bullock Castle near the little Bullock fishing harbour.
Dalkey also has a hill from where granite was quarried to build the nearby harbours of Coliemore and Dún Laoghaire. Nowadays the quarry is open to the public and used by local climbers. It holds one of the 21 Martello Towers built by the British to prevent Napoleon from invading Ireland. But unlike the other towers, that of Sandycove is a Joycean landmark, as it is the location of the opening scene of Ulysses. Today, it is used as a museum and is the starting point for the Bloom's Day celebrations.