It’s been almost two years now I packed my life in one and only suitcase and arrived in a country, where vinegar crisps, a sandwich and milk are the best option for a lunch and where rain touches your skin more often than your daily shower. Ireland became my temporary home, a small flat in Dublin my lovely shelter.
To be honest I never really fell in unconditional love with Dublin, however we have together built a special relationship. I enjoy all the lovely people, crazy nights, delicious beer and job opportunities he offers and he’s not mad at me when I escape his buzzing streets during the weekends. As cool as the city center may seem, there’s in fact some inner desire in me calling for discovering and exploring behind the city’s borders.
Regarding the capital, you can easily find plenty of tips where an average tourist goes, what they do, what beers they drink. The thing is however, Dublin city is different from the rest of the country and does not really represent the Irish culture in its true sense. If you are staying in Dublin but you would like to meet Ireland, I would suggest you hopping on DART (local public train) or bus and go and see the real beauties of Ireland.
Let me introduce you my favorite spots. Places I love to return to, places that somehow touched my heart. Myself I don’t own a car so wherever I go I use public transport. It is true that Irish public transport is not the best in Europe, yet it can still take you to many beautiful places. I chose 5 of them for you. They are no more than 1 hour from the city center and are easily reachable by train or bus.
OFF WE GO!
How to get there: DART
Time spent on public transport: 30 minutes one way
Keep an eye out and you might spot Bono here. Seriously, no wonder he bought a mansion here. Dalkey is just magic. Have a coffee in its lovely city center and then go for a walk (7-10km) along the sea. You can go on a beach or climb the Killiney hill which offers a spectacular view on the sea from one side and on Dublin city from the other. Before leaving Dalkey you can have a look on a little castle just in the heart of this town.
How to get there: bus
Time spent on public transport: 1 hour one way
Have you seen Braveheart? Then you have seen this town too. Filmmakers (and Mel Gibson surely too) knew that Trim would be a perfect match for their movie. Trim castle, the oldest Irish bridge in use and ruins of St Mary’s Abbey are the main highlights of this Norman city. Take a short walk along the river Boyne and experience the life in Trim in the Middle Ages.
How to get there: DART
Time spent on public transport: 30 minutes on way
Thanks to its summer-ish scenery I literally feel like being on holidays when I go there. On the way to beautiful Skerries beach you cannot miss two mills that have decorated this town since the end of the 18th century. After you take a bath in the sea (be prepared for fresh 13°C water!), take a short walk along the sea to Skerries Port where a variety of restaurants and cafés can accommodate you and your growling stomach.
How to get there: DART or Dublin Bus
Time spent on public transport: 30-40 minutes on way
To all fish & chips lovers and dedicated hikers: ‘Go to Howth.’ If you happen to be either (or luckily both) of them you will love this place. This idyllic fishing village is a major fishing center, a yachting harbor and one of the most sought-after addresses in town by both tourists and locals. Put on your trainers and set out for Cliff Walk that will lead you to Lambay Lighthouse. You can stop at the summit pub for a pint of Guinness while enjoying the stunning landscape and then take a bus to Dublin. Or, if fresh enough, you can go back to Howth village and try traditional fish & chips in one of several seafood restaurants.
Greystones – Bray
How to get there: DART
Time spent on public transport: 45 – 60 minutes one way
This is another stunning cliff walk. It is around 7 km long and can be either started from Bray Seafront or Geystones Harbor. The Cliff Walk follows the coastline and the amazing views along the walk is what makes you come back. Moreover, if you get lucky you may see dolphins out at sea, so keep an eye out! Keep an eye out for your feet as well as the surface can vary in place, but it’s nothing you wouldn’t manage. Just enjoy the scenery and fresh air.
You can see from the photos that weather in Ireland varies often. Of course, I wish the sunny days prevailed the rainy ones. However deep inside I know that Ireland needs rain in order to be so wonderfully green.
See you next time!