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day trip from Dublin

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We have 2 days in Ireland this summer on the way to mainland Europe, I want to get the most out of it since I'm not sure when we will be back. I was going to spend one day in Dublin(that's where we are flying) and a day trip to see the most interesting things.
I found 2 day tours - one to Cork and Blarney Castle and the other to cliffs of Moher, bunratty castle, burren, galway bay. We are interested in the countryside, castles and picturesque scenery. Which one is more interesting?

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    With just two days, I don't think I would choose to go as far afield as the two tours you mention. They will be long days and very full. It is about three hours out to Galway Bay and the other things on that tour are not close by, so may be just drive bys with a brief stop for a photo op and then you have three hours to get back to Dublin so that is six hours on a bus plus the time between Galway Bay ande Bunratty Castle.

    There is much to see and do in Dublin itself, but there are plenty of places that are close by where you can go by public transportation on your own.

    Trim (to the north of Dublin) has a great castle.

    Take the DART (commuter train 15 minutes) out to Howth. Great walks, fishing harbor, a lighthouse, great views (in good weather) from the hill at Howth.

    Take the Dart south to DunLaoghaire (pronounce dun-leary) and walk about the harbor. Or further south to Bray and enjoy the seaside promenade and catch a bus to Enniskerry and enjoy the gardens at Powerscourt--just a short walk from the center of Enniskerry.

    Take the train from Heuston Station to Kilkenny. There is a castle there with magnificent gardens, St. Canice's cathedral with its round tower, medieval streets, Have lunch at Kytelers Inn and hear its story of witch craft. Catch a train back to Dublin at your choice.

    There are bus tours that go out to Glendalough. There is a good visitor center which explains the history and geology of the area with a short film and large three dimensional map. The monastic ruins are peaceful and there is a good walk down to the lake. Glendalough is hard to do using public transportation, so I would recommend a tour to do that if it interests you.

    Have fun and hope it whets your appetite for more of Ireland.

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    Hi --- I studied abroad in Ireland for nine months (2003-2004) and was again there for a grad program for 10 weeks in the spring of 2006. My information may be a bit dated, but...

    I adore Dublin and it remains one of my favorite city. You can spend two full days there, but if you are looking to see the Irish country side I'd suggest going all out and cramming as much as you can in one day.

    As Irishface said there are plenty of great day trips. My favorite is Howth. If the weather is nice it's great for a hike and some beautiful scenery. I also recommend eating at the Bloody Stream. A little touristy but the food is pretty good. It's a short ride on the Dart (Dublin commuter train) so it's very accessible.

    I had a friend visit me in 2006. We decided to take a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher. Looking at your itinerary I'm guessing you're looking at railtoursireland.com. I took that trip and had a great time. You cover a lot in a short amount of time. As I remember it we did a short drive through Limerick (really there's not much there to see anyways). I enjoyed the castle and farm and lunch at Doolin's even left us enough time to walk around afterwards. We had more than enough time at the cliffs for pictures. From there it you basically drive past the Burren (we did get a chance to get out and take photos) and onto Galway. The weather was beautiful that day so it was really a scenic trip. We even had a problem with the bus between Limerick and the castle that the company resolved quickly to get us moving along the way. The cliffs are amazing and I was happy I did it.

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    Irishface has given you a lot of good suggestions for day trips from Dublin that won't require you to sit all day in a bus, car or train. I would probably recommend Glendalough over the others (which I have visited as well) because the scenery is absolutely amazing. I would suggest doing one of the walks at Glendalough (described on their website) to see even more amazing views. We did the Short Spinc Walk and the views of the glacial lakes from the clifftop were indescribably beautiful.

    ParisNiceLondon's day trip to the Cliffs of Moher sounds great, but you always run the risk of fog over there which would make the trip rather uneventful. That's exactly what happened to us during our driving trip last May. The fog rolled in during the afternoon so we skipped the Cliffs of Moher. Fortunately, we had seen the cliffs at Kilkee and Loop Head (for free) earlier in the day.

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