The Best Day Trips From Dublin By Train (11 Ideas)
Every once in a while, we all need to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and take a day trip to somewhere new.
Thankfully, Dublin’s city train network is connected to all corners of the country. Whether you want to spend the day walking down the Salthill promenade in Galway or just enjoy one of the county’s pretty coastal towns like Portmarnock, you can go pretty much anywhere. Since there are so many options, we’ve decided to put together a comprehensive list of the best day trips from Dublin by train. So buckle up and all aboard, because that day tour list of yours is about to get a whole lot bigger.
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What To Know About Dublin’s Rail Network
- Dublin’s rail network is operated by Irish Rail, which is the country’s national rail operator.
- The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) is the rail system in Dublin city. If you’re taking a train ride around Dublin, you’ll take the DART.
- There are three main train stations in Dublin from where you can start your day tour. They are Connolly, Pearse, and Heuston.
- Booking your day trip train tickets on Irish Rail’s website is generally cheaper than booking at a station.
- The Leap Visitor Card is a travel pass that gives you unlimited access to the city’s public transport system for a certain amount of time. Find out more here.
A List Of The Best Places To Visit By Train From Dublin
Day Trips By Train In Dublin
The seaside town of Howth is an easy day trip that many people take each day. Only a 25-minute train ride from the city, Howth is known for its beautiful cliff walk (one of the best walks in Dublin) and the tasty fish and chips served at Beshoffs.
Howth’s cliff walk offers some amazing views, as well as white sandy beaches and trails for all levels of fitness. On a clear day, the view you’ll get of Dublin Bay will take your breath away.
Find a place to chill and watch the fishing trawlers float into the harbor one by one with a bag of chips. A favourite pastime of many Dubliners.
More Things To Do On Your Day Trip To Howth
- Admire the Baily Lighthouse
- Cliff jump into the Irish Sea
- Get your hands on some local produce at the Howth market
- Go kayaking (trips run daily)
South of Dublin city and only a 25-minute train ride away, you’ll find Dún Laoghaire. The bustling town is mostly known for its busy harbour that dates back to the 19th century during the Victorian period. As you walk around, Victorian architecture is still visible.
Dún Laoghaire Pier is split into two walls; the East Pier and the West Pier. Most people stroll along the 2.6km East Pier. It’s a great place to catch a view of the ships coming in. You might get lucky and see one of the seals that are known for popping their heads above the water to say hello to people passing by.
More Things To Do On Your Day Tour From Dublin City To Dún Laoghaire
- Check out the National Maritime Museum
- Wander through the People’s Park
- Learn how to sail
- Have fun with your kids at the Harbour Splash Aqua Park
- Enjoy an ice cream at Scrumdiddly’s
One of the most popular train tours from Dublin is to Malahide to see the castle and gardens. The train ride is only 29 minutes from the city and runs at least twice an hour.
Malahide Castle dates back to the 12th century and was once home to the Talbot family, who were given the land by King Henry II. You must book a guided tour online to get a look at the inside of the castle. Access to the 260-acre grounds is completely free and is frequently visited by locals for their morning stroll.
More Things You Can Do On Your Day Trip From Dublin City Centre To Malahide
- Tackle the Malahide to Portmarnock coastal walk
- Check out the Casino Model Railway Museum
- Go for a dip at Malahide Beach
- Grab a bite to eat at Siam Thai
Killiney is an affluent Dublin suburb and has plenty of things to see and do to fill up a one-day tour. The quick train ride only takes 20 minutes from the city, but be warned, this is a busy route, so you could be standing for the duration of the trip.
If you’re an outdoorsy lover, you’ll absolutely adore Killiney. From walks in nature up to the top of Killiney Hill to swimming in the freezing cold baths, you’re spoiled for choice. Just make sure you don’t forget your swimming trunks.
More Things You Can Do On Your Day Trip Out Of Dublin To Killiney
- Catch some of the best views at Sorrento Park
- Take a boat to Dalkey Island
- Play a round of golf at Killiney Golf Club
Portmarnock is a beautiful place to visit in Dublin by train, filled with picturesque beaches and a famous golf club, and is only a 20-minute ride from the city.
A chilled-out Sunday should be spent strolling along Portmarnock’s Velvet Strand Beach. Join the hundreds of other locals on their daily stretch, grab an ice cream and soak in that fresh seaside air.
You could even possibly do a half-day trip to Portmarnock and then follow on to Malahide, which we spoke about previously since they’re so close to each other.
More Things To Do On Your Train Trip From Dublin To Portmarnock
- Ride a pony along the beach
- Hire a bike and take a seaside cycle
- Enjoy a Sunday roast and Irish hospitality at O’Dwyers Bar & Grill
Popular Day Trips From Dublin Around Ireland
On the west coast of Ireland is the vibrant city of Galway. It’s a city where traditional Irish music pumps throughout the day and bars spill out onto the streets at night.
Galway has plenty of fun things to do. Explore the Latin Quarter whilst nursing a takeaway pint of Guinness on a hot summer’s day or admire the marvelous Galway Cathedral.
Thousands of tourists from all over the world and Ireland take the train to Galway every year from Dublin. There’s a direct from Heuston Station, which takes 2 hours and 20 minutes. It’s not too long and runs a couple of times each day, which makes it an easy one-day trip option.
More Things To Do On A One-Day Trip To Galway
- Walk under the Spanish Arch
- Go for a dip at the Salthill Promenade
- Take a boat tour to the Aran Islands
- Get a photo of Kirwan’s Lane
Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Belfast is an interesting city for a day trip out of Dublin. Filled with amusing attractions, rich history, and a food scene like no other, you could easily spend more than 24 hours there.
Belfast is a city with a turbulent past, and the scars can still be seen today. On your tour by train, make sure you check out the likes of the Peace Walls, which were constructed to ease tensions between the Catholics and Protestants in the city. Black Taxi tours are the best way to learn about the city’s more recent history.
There’s a direct train from Connolly Station in Dublin to Belfast which takes 2 hours and 10 minutes. It runs a few times per day.
More Things To Do On A Day Trip To Belfast
- Visit the Titanic Experience
- Go to see the animals at Belfast Zoo
- Fill your belly at the Muddlers Club Restaurant
- Chat with the locals at Cathedral Quarter
Bray is the perfect day trip option if you haven’t got too much time on your hands, as it’s located just under 42km from the city on the Wicklow/Dublin border.
Start your day off at the promenade along the beach and have a little dip if the weather isn’t too bad. After that, make your way up to Bray Head, where you’ll be treated to one of the best views in Ireland. Be warned, the hike up there is more difficult than it looks. Before you head back on the train, stop at Joe’s Chicken. Their chicken is literally to die for. You won’t be disappointed.
Hopping on the train and taking a day trip to Bray is easy as pie. Multiple trains run from Connolly Station every day, and they take, on average, about 50 minutes.
Note: Even though Bray is in Wicklow, it’s on the DART line.
More Things To Do On A Day Trip To Bray
- Check out the Sea Life Bray Aquarium
- Take on the Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk
- Beat your significant other in a game of bowling
- Walk around the Kilruddery House and Gardens
The Dublin to Cork train ride is one of the more scenic ones on this list and one of the best in Ireland. You won’t be bored looking out the window, put it that way.
Cork is the second largest city in Ireland after Dublin. Some people from Cork like to say that it’s the real Irish capital for a bit of fun and it winds the Dubs up like hell.
Spend the day exploring the amazing sights in Cork City, such as the historical landmarks like the Cork City Gaol, or catch a 360-panoramic view of the whole city at the top of the impressive Shandon Bell Tower.
Taking a train from Dublin to Cork takes a total of 2 hours and 37 minutes. You have to depart from Heuston Station as it’s the only station in the city that offers the direct route.
More Things To Do On A Day Trip To Cork
- Devour some food at the English Market
- Kiss the Blarney Stone
- Take a trip to Fota Wildlife Park
- Head out to Spike Island
The Waterford Greenway
Any of our readers who are cycling enthusiasts are going to love this one.
The Waterford Greenway is a day trip idea outside of Dublin that includes a 46-kilometre cycling trail that begins in the delightful city of Waterford and goes all the way through the county and ends at the town of Dungarvan. This cycle is the perfect way to encounter the true beauty of the sunny southeast (Waterford’s nickname).
Waterford is one of the most up-and-coming destinations in Ireland. Besides the Greenway, there are a handful of more ways you can spend your day, like discovering how the world-renowned Waterford Crystal is made or heading out to the seaside village of Dunmore East.
To get to the Waterford Greenway from Dublin, take the train from Heuston Station to Waterford City. It takes 2 hours and 11 minutes. Once you arrive in the city, make your way to Grattan Quay. That’s where the Greenway begins. From there, you’ll be able to hire a bike for a reasonable price from Waterford Greenway Bike Hire on Hanover Street.
More Things To Do In Waterford On A Day Trip Besides The Greenway
- Hike up to see Coumshingaun Lake
- Head out to Tramore to the amusement park
- Explore the Medieval Museum
Medieval streets, huge caves, and a cracking nightlife scene are just some of the things Kilkenny is known for. It has the nickname “the “Marble City,” but it’s not actually a city. But we’ll let the cats roll with it (people sometimes refer to people from Kilkenny as cats).
The enchanting town of Kilkenny should be included in every list of one-day trips from Dublin. It has everything you need for a 24-hour visit, from the mesmerizing Kilkenny Castle to the interesting Smithwicks experience, where you can learn all about the popular Irish ale.
The train to Kilkenny can be taken from Heuston Station. The journey only takes 1 hour and 43 minutes, so it’s relatively short.
More Things To Kilkenny On A Day Trip
- Make your way through the chilly Dunmore Caves
- Head over to St. Canice’s Cathedral and take a photo
- Check out some exhibitions at the Butler Gallery
Other Great Day Trips From Dublin That Can Be Reached By Car, Train, Or Bus
- The Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare
- The Giants Causeway, Co. Antrim
- The Wicklow Mountains
- The Ring of Kerry
- Newgrange and the Hill of Tara
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Rail Travel Expensive In Dublin?
Trains are, by no means, the cheapest form of public transport you can use on your day trip from Dublin. Buses are the most cost-efficient, but they take longer, whereas trains are a little bit more expensive, but you get to your destinations faster.
See below for some examples of prices.
- Dublin Connolly Station to Bray return – €23.98
- Dublin Connolly Station to Cork return – €58.78
- Dublin Connolly Station to Galway return – €34.78
Can You See Dublin Without A Car?
You don’t need a car to see the best of Dublin. The Irish Rail network has improved a lot over the years, so getting around the capital has never been easier. Trains depart on time, and most major towns have a train station. Worst case scenario: you must take a train and then a bus to your final destination; however, you should be fine.
Written By Adam
Where In Dublin is owned, controlled and run by Adam Ryan. He’s a one-man army who knows Dublin like the back of his hand and strives to help anybody planning on visiting Dublin enjoy themselves.