Weekend Trips and Getaways From Dublin

Benbulbin sometimes spelled Ben Bulben or Benbulben is a large rock formation in County Sligo Ireland
Benbulbin sometimes spelled Ben Bulben or Benbulben is a large rock formation in County Sligo Ireland | © Yllar Hendla / Alamy
Chloe Byrne

Dublin is surrounded by natural beauty, film-famous landscapes and bewitching medieval towns. While the capital promises raucous nights with the city’s witty locals and picnics on the vast green of Phoenix Park, it’s hard to resist the pull of rural treasures that sit just a train ride away. If you’ve got the urge to adventure outside the city, take a look at our dynamic collection of weekend trips.

Kerry

EKRB78 Colorful pub signs in Kenmare, County Kerry, Ireland

An idyllic spread of countryside punctured by the ancient ruins, cloud-shrouded mountain peaks and jagged cliff edges, Kerry is the quintessential picture of Ireland. Take a drive along the famous Ring of Kerry route, which winds past the ice-cream-coloured houses of Kenmare town and on through Killorglin – home to the kooky goat-celebrating Puck Fair. The long-running event’s origin is a toss-up between pagan festivals or the legend of a fleeing goat that warned of the arrival of Cromwell’s army.

Ennis

KPJ0BG Ennis Friary, Abbey Saint Lifford, Ennis, County Clare, Ireland

Strewn with the crumbling ruins of medieval abbeys and castles, Ennis is rich in history and character. The town’s picturesque centre is lined with rows of colourful buildings and pulsing pubs that regularly come to life with live Irish music. The surrounding region is a treasure trove of fossils and archaeological sites such as the Burren – a vast jigsaw of glacial-era limestone that appears like something from another planet.

Sligo

CC0X0T Rugged Sligo coastline with Classiebawn Castle in the background. Mullaghmore. Ireland

Known in Gaelic as “the place of shells”, Sligo is infused with the salty air of its surfer-magnet bays. The county is a goldmine of coastal villages and rugged landscapes that sit along the Wild Atlantic Way. The cinematic scenery has found fame as the inspiration behind W.B. Yeats’ many works – with the poet even being buried near the foot of Benbulbin mountain – and more recently as the setting of Sally Rooney’s phenomenally popular novel (and equally popular TV series) Normal People (2018).

1. Sligo Surfing Lesson

Activities, Class

Surfing at Strandhill beach, Sligo, Ireland
© Mark Henderson / Alamy

Under the guidance of a born and bred Strandhill native, take to the waves of this world-class surfing location for a thrill-seeking experience. Rain or shine, professional body border Seamus McGoldrick has created a safe environment for aspiring surfers to learn the ropes and find out a bit of local history while they’re at it. Backed by rolling sand dunes and overlooked by the neolithic tomb of mythological Queen Maeve (that tops the summit of Knocknarea), the surf lesson’s striking setting is reason enough to try riding the tempestuous waves of Sligo.

Connemara

2BF32GF The Cong Abbey ruing in Cong, County Mayo, Connemara, Republic of Ireland

The Connemara district is a rugged sprawl of untamed hinterland and secluded, Atlantic-facing fishing villages. Tradition oozes out of every blade of grass and the cracks of Gothic Revival castles. You may hear the melody of classical Irish folk songs spilling out of traditional pubs or sit down for a hearty sea-faring meal in one of the coastal restaurants. The region is also predominantly Irish-speaking – a perfect excuse to try a phrase or two in the mother tongue.

Galway

E0CWNE Galway Cathedral; Galway City, County Galway, Ireland

Known as the festival capital of Ireland, Galway vibrates with the wild beat of live Irish folk music carried on the wind from characterful buskers and colourful pubs. The harbour city splinters out from its 18th-century hub of Eyre Square and is speckled with the architectural vestiges of its medieval roots. Once you’ve taken in the limestone structure of 16th-century Lynch Castle and the striking spires of the collegiate church of St. Nicholas, you should head to the Salthill suburb to try one of the famous oysters.

2. Coastal Walk and Abalone Farm Tasting Tour

Activities, Tours

People walk along the coast of Inisheer Island on Galway. Bay, Wild Atlantic Way; Inisheer Island, County Galway, Ireland
© Design Pics Inc / Alamy

Witness the thriving aquaculture of County Galway’s Atlantic coast as you follow in the foraging footsteps of our primeval ancestors. Set off on an eye-opening ramble along the Atlantic shores, breathe in salty sea air and discover the allure of its unspoiled wilderness while learning about the edible sea plants (such as seaweed) that creep along the coastline. With your fresh haul in tow, return to explore a boutique abalone farm and discover the mechanics behind running the sustainable business. The tour finishes with a tasting of the fresh seafood that you’ve been learning about, serving up inspired dishes like abalone sashimi, sea lettuce and samphire.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.?>

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

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