Did you know that just 20 minutes from Dublin’s city center, you can experience the coast and the mountains of Ireland? Not only that, but some of the country’s most charming coastal villages lie just North of the city in an area referred to as the ‘North County’. There are also 38 kilometers of walking trails for you to explore, as well as many other outdoor activities.
Visit Malahide Castle
Malahide is a heritage listed seaside town with many boutique shops and restaurants. Malahide Castle dates back to the 12th century and has over 270 acres of green space and forest parkland.
The castle was once owned by the Talbot family for nearly 800 years. It’s still fully furnished and with a (guided/audio) tour, you get to step a bit back in time and see how people lived and passed their time day to day.
We just took a guided tour of the castle itself, which I can definitely recommend, but there is also a beautiful garden which we didn’t spend time in unfortunately. There is a visitor center where you can get a map (or download below) to explore the more than 5000 different species of plants and flowers.
The Oak Room
The Large Drawing Room
The Great hall
Even found a bit of Dutch History on one of the paintings: Jan Wyck’s painting ‘The Battle of the Boyne’ (Read more about this war on the brilliant BBC website)
Nice little shop at the castle with local produce
You wouldn’t expect a beach in Dublin, would you? Well, there are actually many along the coastline! For example here at Portmarnock!
This is also the town where you can find the Clash Gaelic Games School that we wrote about before.
Portmarnock is famous for its world class golf course that opened in 1894 and it’s also the place where the Jameson distilling family lived. The beach here is monitored by a life guard during the summer season from early April to the start of October.
Because in Ireland, pots of gold are around every corner!
Howth is a picturesque coastal village with plenty of seafood to eat yourself silly. We visited in winter, which I wouldn’t so much recommend as it is mainly windy and cold, but I can imagine that this place must be lovely in the Summer.
You can discover it on foot walking around the marina, or go to Howth Head for good views of Dublin Bay, the Wicklow Mountains and the Boyne Valley.
There is also a (ruined) castle from the 15th century with a rhododendron garden that is apparently worth visiting, but that’s something I’d have to check next time!
How to Get There?
Malahide Castle – See all tours to Malahide on GetYourGuide
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Disclaimer: My trip to Dublin was part of the ‘Dublin: a Breath of Fresh Air’ Campaign (#LoveDublin), a collaboration between Tourism Ireland and iambassador. All photos and opinions are my own, as always.