Dublin has a whole slue of activities and attractions that have kept visitors busy for centuries. Guinness. Cathedrals. Guinness. Ancient manuscripts. Guinness. Museums. Guinness. Parkland. And, yes more Guinness. And while the city could very well occupy enough of the travelerâ€™s time, just beyond are several day trips to give you a taste of something other than city living. When Irelandâ€™s capital starts to get old or the pub scene begins to hurt your head, consider renting a car or signing up for a bus tour to these Dublin day trips.
BrÃº Na BÃ³inne
Just 40 kilometers from Irelandâ€™s capital city, in County Meath, the site of BrÃº Na BÃ³inne composes of three main prehistoric wonders, Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. At times, only Newgrange is open to the public. Those looking to just walk up to Newgrange will meet a brick wall. You must arrive at the BrÃº Na BÃ³inne visitorâ€™s center and go on an organized tour. Independent trips are not available. Throughout busier parts of the season, you will need to arrive early or wait for hours. Solo travelers can benefit from scoring those single spots on the bus that would otherwise go unused.
Newgrange alone is worth the day trip out of the city for its age. The large tomb predates the pyramids of Egypt and Stonehenge. It was probably constructed around 3200 B.C. Newgrange was believed to hold the remains of those at the top of the social ladder, but the real mystery is how it was constructed. Stones used to build the tomb, weighing tons, hail from as far away as County Wicklow. Without the proper technology, the work appears to be that of myth and magic. You can enter the tomb, but photographs are not permitted. Seeing this structure is an otherworldly experience for the appearance looks nothing like the Ireland most know.
The Wicklow Mountains
Only 10 miles south of Dublin, a starkly different scene presents with the Wicklow Mountain landscape. The National Park covers an area of around 20,000 hectares. Mountain blanket bogs, lakes and moors wiggle into this scene. You can explore the area by taking advantage of a number of hiking trails. Be warned however, the highest peak isnâ€™t all that high at 924 meters. The setting for a number of films, donâ€™t miss Sally Gap and Glendalough, Irelandâ€™s most impressive monastic settlement. Saint Kevin founded Glendalough in the 6th century. There are a few loops throughout the mountains you can take, but any way the road leads is a satisfying one in these naturally raw and rich mountains.
After visiting the Trinity College in Dublin, you might want to head to Trim, where Elizabeth I almost built the college. Located in County Meath, Trim was once a major player in local affairs. That fact is evident in the Trim Castle, Irelandâ€™s largest Anglo-Norman fortification. While there is not much to the town but the castle, you come here for the Castle. Used in Braveheart, the Trim Castle is proof of the townâ€™s medieval importance. It began in 1173 by Hugh de Lacy.
The Hill of Tara
Once you find the Hill of Tara, it tends to look like nothing more than just that, a hill. However this space is Irelandâ€™s most sacred stretch of turf, home of the mystical druids. While there were plans to plow right through the Hill of Tara in order to put up a motorway, once road workers found Stone Age passage tombs and other prehistoric burials mounds, they had to rework their plans. The Hill of Taraâ€™s history goes back at least 5,000 years.
Written by: Suzy Guese