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9 spontaneous day trips around Dublin to take this weekend

These are not your usual tourist traps – these are hidden gems for Dubliners in the know.

DUBLIN IS A small enough city, and therein lies a lot of its charm. No matter where you’re located in the city it’s easy to get around so a spontaneous trip somewhere cool is never too far away.

There are loads of hidden gems around the city and we’ve rounded up some of the best for you. Let us know in the comments below if you know of any more to share with us.

Now, head off into the great blue yonder.

1. Picnic at the Blessington Street Basin

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The Blessington Street Basin is a reservoir in Dublin 7 built in 1810 and later opened as a public park. In 1991 it underwent a massive refurbishment and is now just the place to head to for a city picnic.

Getting there on public transport: 122/140/83A/40 all stop within walking distance. 

2. Portmarnock to Malahide walk

Take the Dart to Portmarnock and walk the strand from there to Malahide – it’s about a 5km walk. When you get to Malahide village you can reward yourself with a delicious lunch in one of its many cafés.

You could even head to the castle and have a wander around the gardens there – if the legs aren’t walked off you yet.

Getting there on public transport: Dart from city centre to Portmarnock station.

3. Tour the abandoned Magazine Fort, Phoenix Park

You can avail of free Office of Public Works (OPW) tours on Fridays and Sundays at the abandoned Magazine Fort in the Phoenix Park. It was built in 1735 and occupied by the British until 1922.

And while you’re there, sure, you could go check out the wild deer, or the zoo, or rent bikes… The park is your oyster.

Getting there on public transport: 37/39/39A will all drop you near to the Phoenix Park. 

4. Visit the Hungry Tree, Constitution Hill

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The hungry tree is exactly what it says on the tin – a tree that is in the process of consuming a wrought iron park bench. It’s located in a park in King’s Inns on Constitution Hill, and while you’re in the area you could have lunch in one of the many tasty, trendy cafés on Capel Street.

Getting there on public transport: 140/40 will drop you nearby

5. Have a Bram Stoker Day around Marino

There is a ton to do in Marino – in fact you might not have time for it all. First head to the Casino, one of the finest neo-classical buildings in Europe, and spend some time checking out all the architectural tricks and the tunnels underneath.

Then head to Marino village itself and check out Bram Stoker’s house there. You can visit the Bram Stoker museum nearby and have coffee or lunch in Bram’s café too.


Getting there on public transport: 15/123 bring you to Marino

6. Kayak down the Liffey

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Another way to see Dublin is to get away from dry land altogether. You can kayak down the Liffey and see all the famous landmarks from the water. It takes about two hours to do a tour down the Liffey and you’ll pass by the Four Courts, the Custom House and a lot of bridges.

Getting there on public transport: Any bus, Dart, Luas or train to the city centre.

7. See three counties from the top of Glasnevin Cemetery tower

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The stairs in the O’Connell Tower in Glasnevin cemetery were blown up by Loyalists in 1971 – but they’ve recently been restored and you can climb to the top of the tower. From there, on a clear day you can see three counties (Dublin, Meath and Louth).

While you’re out there you may as well take a cemetery tour and you can always rest your legs with a drink in the Gravediggers pub nearby.

Getting there on public transport: 9/40/140 will drop you very close by. 

8. Dog café, Ardgillan Castle

We don’t want to leave out your four-legged friends out of your day trips, so why not head to Ardgillan Castle and pop into the dog café there. There are treats for dogs and humans alike and loads of room for roaming.

Getting there on public transport: Train to Balbriggan station, then walk to the Lady’s Bridge on the Skerries road and access the Castle from there. 

9. Corkagh Pet Farm, Clondalkin

Corkagh Park is a 300 acre park in Clondalkin and comprises Corkagh House and rose garden, a playground, a fishery and the pièce de résistance - the pet farm.

Whether you’re big or little, you’ll appreciate heading to the pet farm and checking out the hens, geese, goats and all the other farm animals hanging around.

Getting there on public transport: 13/68/69 will get you there.

What are your hidden Dublin gems to spend the day at? Let us know in the comments below.

If you’re setting off on a spontaneous day trip around Dublin, remember your Leap Card. With auto top up, you never need worry about being out of money, and with Leap 90 you can save €1 if you take two or more trips within 90 minutes. Or if you’re out for the day, the price is automatically capped. Head over to Leap Card to find out more

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