Soak up Ireland’s culture and history by exploring downtown in the morning before savouring locally sourced fish and chips for brunch. Have a lovely afternoon stroll, marvelling at the stunning harbour views, inhaling the breeze, and sampling a delicious cone of ice cream. Hit a lively seaside pub at sundown for some dazing live sessions and craft beer ‘til it’s time to go home to your hotel.
If these things sound like a perfect weekend break in Dublin to you, then Dun Laoghaire is the best place to be.
Dun Laoghaire is a historic port town located just 40 minutes to the South of Dublin. While it’s known for its scenic coastal walks that satisfy every sea lover’s wanderlust, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Dun Laoghaire is also a hub of memorable cultural experiences that beg to be discovered by locals and tourists alike. The town is home to a wide array of attractions, from heritage sites and parks to contemporary venues like boutique shops, cafes, restaurants, and pubs.
Planning to visit Dun Laoghaire soon? Check out these 7 amazing experiences you shouldn’t miss.
1. Walk around the Dun Laoghaire Harbour
No Dun Laoghaire trio would be complete without walking one (or two, if you insist) of the Harbour’s piers: The East Pier and the West Pier. Both will give you stunning views of the Dublin Bay, but they differ in terms of walking experience.
The East Pier is the more popular one for walkers, joggers, and pleasure seekers. Its 2.6-kilometre walking path has undergone extensive renovations throughout the years. Today, it boasts a smooth concrete and seashell surface, granite walls, and a Victorian shelter and bandstand.
Along the way, you’ll feast your eyes on picturesque views of boats and yachts going in and out as well as the Howth Head Peninsula across the water. At the end of the path stands the East Pier lighthouse, built in 1847 and continues to wow visitors with its historic charm.
Compared to its Eastern counterpart, West Pier offers a more rustic walking experience. It’s less frequented de to its earthen track road. However, West Pier is quieter and offers better views of Dublin and Howth. If you don’t feel like walking, renting a bike is another great option for exploring the harbour.
2. Indulge yourself in a Dun Laoghaire hotel and spa
Aside from taking in the views of Dublin Bay and having a gastronomic adventure in the heart of town, there’s another relaxing activity you should reward yourself with: a stay in a nice hotel with a spa. Luckily, you can find a wide range of hotels in Dun Laoghaire for your rewarding weekend break.
If you can’t find a seaside hotel, consider hotels ideally located a few kilometres from the picturesque towns of Dun Laoghaire, Killiney, and Dalkey. Check the hotel’s proximity to attractions too, as well as the nearby restaurants, pubs, cafes, shopping centres, and major transportation hubs.
3. Chill by the harbour with an ice cream cone
What’s the first comfort food that comes to mind when we talk about mile-long walks on a hot sunny day and coastal views? Ice cream, that’s right. Luckily, the best ice cream in town is at your fingertips.
Locals rave about Teddy’s Ice Cream Parlour which is home to the “99” whipped ice cream cones in Ireland. In case you don’t know, “99” refers to creamy plain ice cream in a cone, with a Cadbury’s flake sticking out of it. While it sounds humble to some, it’s anything but ordinary according to fans. The ice cream parlour has been operating since the 1950s and never fails to have long queues — that’s all we need to know.
4. Sail via Dublin Bay Cruises
Don’t want to stay on land for the rest of your Dun Laoghaire trip? You can sit back with a drink while sailing along the beautiful Dublin Bay. Dublin Bay Cruises offer a variety of tours including the Dalkey Island, Howth, and Dublin City Tour.
5. Or discover fun ways to hit the water
If you’re prepared to get wet, you may check out other water activities waiting for you in Dun Laoghaire. We’ve got sea kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, and hitting the water via Harbour Splash Aqua Park,
6. Have a short walking tour in the historic Dun Laoghaire town
Want to start your day with history? The historic heart of the 200-year-old town is home to a couple of heritage sites to include in your itinerary. Among
National Maritime Museum – housed in a former Mariner’s Church, Maritime Museum was built as a place of worship for seafarers whose vessels sought refuge in the harbour. The museum is filled with maritime memorabilia, like artefacts of sailors and explorers who traversed the Irish Sea.
DLR Lexicon – just beside the museum stands DLR Lexicon, the flagship library for Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown with impressive architecture and unparalleled Dublin Bay views.
Oratory of the Sacred Heart – this small, memorial chapel is another Dun Laoghaire treasure, created to celebrate the end of World War I and honour the local Irishmen who were killed in battle.
People’s Park and Farmers Market
Whether you’re planning a picnic or just a relaxing afternoon break, the People’s Park is a great place to unwind. It’s a quaint landscaped park at the end of Upper George’s Street. Aside from setting up a picnic, you can also savour amazing dishes at Fallon & Byrne, a restaurant in the Victorian park shelter.
On Sundays, the park is dominated by a colourful farmer’s market, offering fresh produce from Ireland and abroad.
7. Visit the pubs to dine, drink, and be merry
Want to get a slice of Ireland’s pub culture sans the overwhelming noise and tourist traps in Dublin’s Temple Bar? Dun Laoghaire has a wide array of pubs and clubs worth checking out. From old-school gastropubs serving hearty treats like fish and chips to nightlife spots with a wealth of booze and live entertainment, you won’t run out of options in Dun Laoghaire.
Aside from harbourside pubs with stunning coastal views, the heart of town also has an array of amazing spots for a meal, drink, and entertainment. Drink Guinness pint. Catch a show or traditional music session. Party until sundown.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a free-spirited writer who hates being locked up at home. She loves traveling, eating, taking food and streetscape photographs, and simply enjoying new experiences and writing about them. To know more about hotels and travel blogs, you may visit Rochestown Lodge Hotel Dún Laoghaire.