Day Trips from Dublin by Car

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Dublin's Doorstep: Best Day Trips from Dublin by Car

The Irish city of Dublin has some truly astounding sights and activities for travelers to take part in, enough to keep someone busy for weeks on end, but rather than spending all your time in one place, why not travel outside the city limits to see what else Ireland has to offer? Our Dublin's Doorstep itinerary takes you through 6 counties over 3 days, with driving only taking up 2 to 3 hours per day. From the seat of your Ireland rental car, you will get a chance to see lush, green countryside, magnificent views, quaint villages, and historic landmarks that will make you never want to leave.
 

Best Day Trips from Dublin Driving Distances
Section Distance (Miles) Estimated Time
Day 1: Dublin to Avoca 46 1 Hour, 56 Minutes
Day 2: Avoca to Tullamore 95 2 Hours, 39 Minutes
Day 3: Tullamore to Dublin 68 2 Hours, 18 Minutes
Total: 209 6 Hours, 53 Minutes

Preparing for Your Drive from Dublin

Day Trips from Dublin MapThe roads along our Dublin's Doorstep itinerary do not charge any tolls, but it is always good to have extra cash with you when traveling. Make sure to exercise caution along the narrow roads that are common throughout Ireland, especially during bad weather. Following country and major roads, our itinerary will give you a great mixture of what the island has to offer, and you won't have to worry about getting lost. However, if you have GPS on your phone or a GPS device, make sure to bring it along. Our itinerary gives a good overview of the attractions along the way, but it by no means covers all there is to do on the route. Make sure you have all the travel information with you before setting out on your journey. Supplies to pack include extra warm clothes, water, and food, in case of an emergency. Effectively planning for your travels means you will have the peace of mind to enjoy your trip. Make sure to remember to drive on the left side of the road!


Wickow Mountains Scenic DriveDay 1: Dublin to Avoca via Glendalough

With your car rental in Dublin, take the R115 south toward Glendalough, and enjoy the gently rolling landscape of the Wicklow Mountains National Park. This first leg of your journey is spectacular - the sky seems larger than usual as the hills and mountains rise up to meet it. You will eventually reach the R755. Take a left toward Sally Gap, where the valley will open up in a dramatic shift of scenery. You may recognize the area - it was one of the principal set locations for the film Braveheart!

As the road takes you back into the hills, please exercise caution along the rocky terrain. You will at one point be driving along a cliff. Make sure to stop to get a good look at Lough Tay below. Once you've taken in all the beauty you can handle, get back in the car and continue along the R755 toward Glendalough. Translated from Irish, Glendalough means "Valley of Two Lakes," which suggests correctly that you are in for some more stunning views. After a right turn and a jaunt up the R756, you can park and walk through a small wood to get a good view of the massive mountains that surround the lake nearby. The Round Tower at Glendalough is a 6th-century building that is still standing. Here you can take a glimpse at a time long-forgotten.

Returning to the road, drive on the R755 south to Rathdrum. At this point, the R755 will end, so take a right on the R752 to reach the first destination on our itinerary, Avoca. Grab a pint and relax at one of the local pubs before settling in for the night.

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Dublin Day Trips: TullamoreDay 2: Avoca to Tullamore and Kilbeggan via Abbeyleix

As Avoca recedes behind you, stay on the R752 for a while and then take the R747 to the right. Today you will be in the car for a bit longer, because this is the longest leg of the journey, but that doesn't mean you are going to be bored. This is perhaps the most beautiful leg of the journey, as well. The pastoral scenery and sylvan waters that run parallel to the road will make you feel like you've entered another world. The rivers that you see at this point of the trip are the Aughrim and Derry. Make sure that your camera has plenty of battery life, because you are going to need it. Many small villages and towns dot the map along this route, so make sure to stop and visit for a taste of the local flavor.

The R272 and R726 will take you to Carlow, where you can visit Duckett's Grove to see a great example of a Gothic Revival ruin from the 19th century. Moving along, travel toward Abbeyleix on the R430 through farm country in County Laios. Past Abbeyleix lie the Slieve Bloom Mountains, which are truly a wonder to behold. Take the R440 and R421 to reach Tullamore, where you can visit the distillery of Tullamore D.E.W. and Kilbeggan to learn some of the history that these whiskeys made.

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Tullamore to Dublin Day TripDay 3: Tullamore to Dublin via Ballymore Eustace

The final day of your trip takes you from Tullamore back to Dublin city. The wide horizons along the R420 will be sure to give you some great photo opportunities. The Japanese Gardens at the National Stud near Kildare are some of the finest Japanese gardens in Europe, well worth the stop. You can also see the thoroughbred horses of the Stud on a guided tour of the facilities. The Curragh Military Museum, located just up the road in Kildare, is perfect for history buffs and military enthusiasts.

Ballymore Eustace lies just beyond Kildare. To reach this small yet vibrant town, take the L6080, R448, and R413. The River Liffey flows past the town on its way to Dublin, providing a relaxing place to stop and rest. If you are hungry, be sure to check out the Ballymore Inn, where some of the best food on the island is served. After sating your appetite, take the L6048 and connect with the N81. Then take the R137 the rest of the way into Dublin. You can finish your day at one of the many pubs in the Temple Bar district with a pint of creamy Guinness.


Check out our other road trips in Ireland for further inspiration


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