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Best Tours and Day Trips from Dublin

If you want to know Dublin and its surroundings, I recommend that you join a guided tour so as not to leave a corner without visiting

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

7 min read

Best Tours and Day Trips from Dublin

Sunset at Dublin Docks | ©Giuseppe Milo

Most travelers visiting Dublin focus their visit on the sights of the Irish capital. However, there are many secrets in and around the city that are off the beaten tourist track. These tours and excursions are for you to discover them:

1. Excursion to the Cliffs of Moher and Galway

Cliffs of Moher | ©Theo Crazzolara
Cliffs of Moher | ©Theo Crazzolara

You have probably heard on more than one occasion about the myths of Irish culture. You may even have read books or watched movies on the subject. However, nothing compares to the feeling of having a specialized guide tell you all about it in a organized tour to see the sights of Moher and Galway.

A two and a half hour drive from Dublin is the port city of Galway, characterized by the charm of its colored houses and the vitality of its streets.

During a walking tour of the center your guide will tell you about the importance of this city and then you will have time to visit it at your leisure. Then you will visit the impressive Cliffs of Moher overlooking the Atlantic and over 200 meters high, famous throughout Ireland.

What is included in this tour

  • The services of a Spanish-speaking guide
  • Round-trip transfer from Dublin city center
  • The entrance to the cliffs

What you should know

Food is on your own (you will find places to eat during the tour and you can also bring a picnic) and the tour will not be cancelled due to rain (something very common in and around Dublin) so you should dress appropriately.

You can book online and cancel free of charge up to 24 hours before the day you choose. You will receive an email with all the necessary information and details of the departure time and point in Dublin.

This tour is for you if...

If you want to combine natural landscapes with rural landscapes while discovering interesting stories about the history and legends of Ireland.

2. Game of Thrones Location Tours

The Giant's Causeway | ©Bea and Fredi
The Giant's Causeway | ©Bea and Fredi

One of the day trips from Dublin that has become most popular among travelers visiting the Irish capital is the tour of different locations in Ireland that appear in the series Game of Thrones. There are many options, but I recommend these two:

Regardless of the tour you choose, I recommend booking it online in advance to reserve a time on the day that suits you best. Once you have chosen the day you want to do the tour, they will confirm your reservation and email you the details of the meeting point in Dublin from which the tour departs and the time you need to be ready.

Path

The tours covering the Game of Thrones route are similar and all of them include the services of a specialized guide and the transfer from the center of Dublin in a vehicle equipped with all the comforts to make the journeys a pleasant experience. Some of the most outstanding stops will be:

  • Dunluce Castle: in fiction it was the castle of House Grejoy, located in the Iron Islands and has also appeared in the film The Chronicles of Narnia. In real life, the castle located next to the cliff has witnessed shipwrecks and bloody assaults that have nothing to envy to the plot of the series.
  • Giant's Causeway: when you contemplate this place the first thing you think is that it is incredible that its relief of 40,000 stone columns has been shaped by nature, but it is so. The site has been declared a World Heritage Site and, regardless of its appearance in the series, it will leave you speechless.
  • Belfast: the city is home to the film studios where the series is filmed and also, in keeping with film traditions, the "Titanic Studios".

This tour is for you if...

If you are a fan of the series, since many of the anecdotes that your guide will tell you will have to do with details of the filming. However, if you simply want to discover breathtaking landscapes, I can assure you that you will also be very satisfied.

3. Excursion to Howth and Malahide

Malahide Castle | ©antonf
Malahide Castle | ©antonf

A visit to Malahide Castle and Gardens, located on the outskirts of Dublin (a half hour drive) is a history lesson of the city and the country. For over 800 years, this was the residence of the Talbot family and, although it began as a basic fortress, over the years it was extended in the style of medieval fashion.

On this half-day tour of Howth and Malahide a guide will pick you up in the center of Dublin and take you in a bus with a maximum of 30 passengers to visit first the castle, which also has a butterfly and peacock conservatory, and then to Howt village where you can enjoy free time to explore it at your leisure.

This tour is for you if...

If you are interested in learning more about the history of the country and want to visit one of Ireland's most famous castles in a morning or afternoon.

4. Guided walking tour of Dublin's dark side

Mummies of St. Michan's Church ©Jennifer Boyer
Mummies of St. Michan's Church ©Jennifer Boyer

I have to admit that of all the guided walking tours through the center of Dublin this is my favorite. I have always been interested in the stories of ghosts, apparitions, legends and murders that give a city a dark and particular character. All cities have some story of this type behind their most relevant points of interest, but few have as many as Dublin.

This guided walking tour of the dark side of Dublin takes place at sunset is available in English and Spanish and lasts two and a half hours. There will be a maximum of 40 passengers on the tour and children under 13 years of age are excluded.

Points of interest

  • The Dublin Castle: there the guide will tell you the history of beheadings and occult practices.
  • The Church of St. Michan: famous for the mummies exhibited inside and for the whispers that many visitors claim to hear coming from the crypt.
  • The Olympia Theater: where you will hear a chilling ghost story.
  • The Smithfield Square: the nerve center of the city with a wonderful architecture.

This tour is for you if...

If you want to get away from the official history told in the textbooks and tour the most relevant points of Dublin from a different perspective.

5. Dublin's traditional pub tour

Typical Dublin pub ©Alex Ranaldi
Typical Dublin pub ©Alex Ranaldi

Irish beer is famous all over the world, but so are its pubs. Logically, in Dublin you can enjoy the most emblematic and this guided tour of the traditional pubs gives you the opportunity to discover and enjoy them with a local guide.

For three and a half hours you will enjoy a tour of Dublin's most traditional pubs and get an introduction to this part of Irish culture so popular around the world. The tour is available in English and Spanish and includes discounts on free food and drinks at selected venues.

Once you book online, you will receive in your email the details of the itinerary and the meeting point from where the tour will depart at sunset. In addition to tasting whisky, craft beer and Guinness, you will also enjoy live traditional music and chat with the locals as if you were a local and not a tourist visiting the city.

This tour is for you if...

If you feel like spending a relaxed time in the company of locals and getting to know the nightlife of the city.

6. Guided tour of the Teeling Whisky Distillery

Teeling Whisky Distillery | ©William Murphy
Teeling Whisky Distillery | ©William Murphy

Not only beer is famous in Ireland, whiskey is also an institution and that is why one of the most demanded activities is the guided tour to the whiskey distillery in Teeling. This is the only working distillery in the city and this tour is focused on the operation of the distillery.

This tour is for you if...

If you are interested in whiskey making, the history of this drink and its importance in the Irish capital.

7. Guided sightseeing bus tour through Dublin

Visit Dublin without getting off the tour bus | ©bug weiser
Visit Dublin without getting off the tour bus | ©bug weiser

One way to discover the city is by purchasing a pass for the Dublin sightseeing bus. Why is this activity included among the best guided tours? Because it has on-board commentary in several languages that put into context the different sights of the capital so that, in addition to enjoying the scenic views, the traveler learns during the tour.

The pass for this sightseeing bus also features fast, queue-free access to the famous Guinness Store, an iconic landmark of the city. You can use the Dublin Big Bus for 24, 48 or 72 hours depending on the pass you buy. With any of them you can make use of the free stops.

If you are interested in knowing more about this kind of tours, you can read this article about Hop on Hop off Bus Tours. You can make your reservation online.

This tour is for you if...

If you are looking to optimize to the maximum your time in the city so you don't miss anything without having to make long walks.

Ana's Traveller Tip

Most tours are not cancelled due to rain, which is very common in Dublin. Count on it and wear appropriate clothing and footwear.

8. You may also be interested in

Guinness Factory | ©Ryan Schreiber
Guinness Factory | ©Ryan Schreiber

If in addition to touring Dublin and its surroundings you want to delve a little deeper into the culture and traditions of the city, you can not miss a visit to the legendary Guinness brewery, where you can tour inside and learn about the process of creating beer and taste it. Here you have all the information you need to know to organize your visit: Guinness Storehouse Tickets and Tours.

I also recommend you to consider the option of acquiring the Dublin Pass tourist card to get quick and cheaper access to the main attractions of the city. In this article about Dublin Pass I tell you all the details so you can decide if it is worth it or not.