Dublin is a charming city full of culture, creativity ceol agus craic. It also has an envious setting surrounded by both mountains and sea. It’s a combination few other cities can match, and one that can be easily explored and exploited due to the relatively small size of the county.
A thoroughly enjoyable way to see all that Dublin has to offer is by taking a road trip on two or four wheels.
To give you a bit of destination inspiration, here are some of the most scenic drives in Dublin.
Dún Laoghaire Sunset Drive
Ireland is located high-up in the northern hemisphere. This position means that the country gets long, lingering summer sunsets. Catching the sundowner over the sea, where the sun kisses the waves goodnight, is one of the great experiences of summer. The place to do this in Dublin is in Dún Laoghaire.
To get there from Dublin City centre, drive towards Irishtown and take the Dublin coast road all the way out. Along the way, you’ll pass through Sandymount. This is a great place to stop and have a walk on the beach, which is overlooked by a 19th-century Martello tower.
Continue along the R131 that leads onto the R118 and soak up the coastline and clifftop views. Stop in the pretty village of Blackrock for some shopping or Monkstown for a bite to eat.
When you reach Dún Laoghaire, park up at the harbour and head to Teddy’s Ice Cream and join the queue. If you don’t know, Teddy’s is a Dublin institution and enjoying a 99 whilst walking the pier is one of the summer's top pleasures.
As you wait for mother nature to put on her evening performance, grab a perch overlooking the Irish Sea. With the sailboats bobbing and clanging and seals lounging and laughing, it is an incredibly theatrical setting. Dún Laoghaire has to be one of the most scenic sunset drives in Dublin.
Dún Laoghaire to Greystones Coastal Drive
Explore the coastline on this 20km road trip from Dún Laoghaire to Greystones in County Wicklow. On this very scenic drive, dramatic seascapes keep you company. Don’t worry, there are plenty of places to safely pull over and admire the view. Don't forget your camera.
You’ll also pass through some picturesque coastal villages including Sandycove, Dalkey and Killiney. As you make your way up the Vico Road, make sure you drive slowly past the lavish houses and remind yourself to play the lotto. Also as you drive through Dalkey, keep a lookout for the village’s famous residents including Bono, Van Morrison and Neil Jordan.
En route, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take a refreshing dip in the Irish Sea. Sandycove and Killiney beach are both lovely spots for a swim, as is the Vico Bathing Place, known locally as the Vico Baths.
If you have the kids in tow, plan a pit stop in Bray so they can burn off some energy playing on the promenade and burn a hole in your pocket playing at the amusements.
Your final destination of Greystones is well-known for its terrific local restaurants. So park up and tuck into some hearty food, or just grab a take-out and enjoy a picnic on the pebbly beach.
North Coast Dublin Drive
Another salty sojourn for you, but this route takes you along the north coast of Dublin. On this 60km drive, you’ll pass through the attractive areas of Howth, Malahide and Rush before ending up in the charming seaside town of Skerries.
This road trip is well suited to those who like to feel the sand between their toes and the salty air on their face as there are plenty of scenic spots to stop and stretch the legs. One of the best places to pitstop is at North Bull Island. This island in Dublin Bay is a National Nature Reserve and is a playground for wildlife and a paradise for naturalists.
There are plenty of other things to do en route if you want to take a break from driving. A great thing to do with children is to visit Malahide Castle, one of Ireland’s oldest medieval castles. You can stop in Howth and partake in one of Ireland’s oldest traditions: eating fish and chips on the harbour wall whilst being besieged on all sides by bully seagulls. It’s mighty craic altogether.
Your final destination of Skerries has a long, golden swathe of sandy beach backed by dunes with a safe swimming area. It’s the perfect place to relax after such an active road trip and enjoy the spoils of the seaside.