Outdoor adventure, tasty seafood, quirky shops, ancient castles and a magical shoreline – the coastal towns and villages of Dublin Bay promise unforgettable trips out of the city.
Stretching from Malahide in the north to Bray in the south, the curving coastline of Dublin Bay provides a splendid setting for a string of charming coastal towns, villages and fishing harbours.
Easily reachable from the city centre via Dublin’s Dart light railway system (as well as by bike, bus and taxi), the bay’s range of coastal escapes offer a breath of salty sea air and a bracing counterpoint to the bustling city streets.
From stunning cliff walks at Howth and paddle boarding in Skerries in the north, or wild swimming at the famous Forty Foot at the southern tip of Dublin Bay, there is a host of things to see and plenty of activities to fill perfect afternoons, day excursions and even overnight stopovers.
South of Dublin, medieval Dalkey, filled with culture, adventure and a wealth of places to eat and drink, is one of Ireland’s most picturesque villages. From the main street, it’s a short walk to the Coliemore Harbour, where you can take a boat trip to Dalkey Island. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can go abseiling or mountain biking at Killiney Hill where there are fantastic views over Dublin Bay. Return to the heart of the village to enjoy sumptuous snacks and beverages in one of the upmarket eateries.
Another elegant stop just 13km from Dublin’s city centre is Dún Laoghaire. It boasts a gorgeous waterfront promenade still as popular with walkers today as it was in the Victorian era, when the town was established. This is the major sea link from Ireland to Britain and France – close your eyes and all you hear is the jangle of the yachts and boats moored in the harbour. Take a Segway tour, go sea kayaking, visit a museum and top it all off with an ice-cream cone on the pier.
Take some time to relax and book yourself into this luxury hotel -the Royal Marine Hotel was first built in 1863. Dating back to 1828 however, a hotel known as Hayes Hotel stood on this magnificent site overlooking Dublin Bay. The hotel was purchased by William Dargan, builder of the first Railway in Ireland between Dublin and Kingstown (Dún Laoghaire) and the new Royal Marine was built with part of the old Hayes Hotel incorporated into the new design.
The newly developed Royal Marine Hotel first opened its doors in 1865 and has been a Dublin and Dún Laoghaire Institution ever since.
The Royal Marine Hotel is regarded as one of the finest 4-star hotels in Dublin and has hosted many Heads of State, Kings, Queens and celebrities including old blues eyes Frank Sinatra, Laurel & Hardy and Charlie Chaplin, to name a few. The British Queen Victoria visited Ireland via Dún Laoghaire and enjoyed a 16-course breakfast in the hotel shortly after arriving. The Irish freedom fighter Michael Collins is believed to have hidden out in Room 210 with his partner Kitty Kiernan.
Dún Laoghaire Harbour
Heading north from Dublin city centre, Howth is just 9km away. A foodie haven and set amid magnificent coastal scenery, there is a lovely fishing village vibe here. Discover its waterfront, piers and numerous walks, including a narrow cliff walk providing a breathtaking seaside adventure with superb views of the water and Dublin city.
There is an abundance of eateries in Howth, and it is no surprise that on the coastline seafood is a speciality in the choice of charming restaurants. The village’s cafés, delis, bars, grills and coffee shops also offer the chance to while away a couple of hours taking in the activities of the seafront.
Further north, Malahide is a beautiful heritage village full of old-world elegance. There is a host of chic boutiques, bookshops, and antique shops to lose yourself in, or you could tour the 900 year-old Malahide Castle set in 250 acres of parkland and gardens. The Malahide to Portmarnock walk here will take you along the coastline of the shores of Dublin Bay where the Velvet Strand, popular with wind surfers and kite surfers, vies for the title of Dublin’s best beach.
Head a little further out of Dublin Bay and you come to Skerries, ideal for seafront trails, woodland walks, exploring islands, great food and guided tours of two windmills and a watermill – one of Ireland’s foremost industrial heritage centres. Everywhere you go in Skerries and every path you follow offers great views of the sea and surrounding nature. Browse bookshops and artist studios, take in the fresh sea air and have a pint of the black stuff in Joe May’s pub – you might not want to go back to the city.