One of the loveliest things about Dublin is its location at the mouth of the River Liffey on Dublin Bay. The city grew from the convenience of the area as a landing place for the Vikings and now stretches around all three sides of the bay.
The coastal villages around the bay and up and down the coast are easily accessible from the city, taking about half an hour on the DART, or Dublin Area Rapid Transport. The scenery along the way is well worth the ride. Head to Howth with its fishing and yacht harbour. For great views walk on the headland which overlooks the whole of Dublin Bay – but take a scarf for those winds which come in off the Irish Sea. Howth Castle has a lovely garden, and Ireland’s Eye, a short boat ride away, has a puffin colony. For those who like trams, fire engines and buses, the National Transport Museum of Ireland is located at Howth. If you prefer sandy beaches to rugged headlands, go to Dollymount Strand, only about twenty minutes from the city centre.
Join the locals walking their dogs or paddling in the sea. Nearby is North Bull Island, an accessible nature reserve and bird sanctuary which also has great views of the Wicklow Mountains. If you feel like going a little further afield, the DART goes all the way north to Malahide, a mixture of suburb and village 16 km north of central Dublin. Here you can visit Malahide Castle which is turreted as a good fairytale castle should be and in 100 hectares (247 acres) of park and woodland. One family, the Talbots, lived here from 1188 until 1973 when it was sold to the Irish state. Naturally one family member is rumoured to still live there – as a ghost.
Planning a trip? Browse Viator’s Dublin tours & things to do, especially Dublin Bay and Malahide Castle Half-Day Tour, Dublin Liffey River Cruise, and Wicklow Mountains, Avoca and Glendalough Rail Tour from Dublin.