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Coastal Towns in Dublin Bay

By Visit DublinDublin's Official Tourism SiteBIO
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From its most northward point at Skerries to Dalkey in the south, Dublin Bay is full of beauty and punctuated by charming coastal villages.

Take a day trip and wander around picturesque towns, discover secret beaches or enjoy breath-taking cliff walks. Whether you want outdoor adventures, tasty seafood, quirky shops, historical castles or a magical shoreline – the bay has it all!

Explore it for yourself with a little help from our guide to Dublin Bay day trips...


Coastal Towns in Dublin Bay

Malahide

Malahide, easily accessed with Dublin Bus or via the DART (the latter offers up a trip with stunning sea views), is a colourful, picturesque seaside town, full of character. Nestled on the Broadmeadow Estuary just 16km from the city centre, Malahide is the perfect spot for a bit of sailing, a fishing trip from Malahide Marina or a wander along the stunning coastal path to Portmarnock. 

Steeped in history dating back to pre-Viking days, the gem of Malahide’s historical buildings is Malahide Castle. Set in beautiful, well-maintained grounds, the 12th century castle and demesne are open to the public for guided tours, with the Talbot Botanic Gardens behind the castle being a particular favourite with visitors. 

Having worked up a hunger exploring Malahide, you’ll be spoiled for choice with many fantastic restaurants, gastro-pubs, bistros and cafés dotted throughout the village. If the salty air has you craving seafood you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better place to sate your appetite than the Seabank Bistro located on the Coast Road

Howth

Located on the Howth Peninsula, this old fishing village maintains much of its old-world charm alongside more modern updated buildings. Jutting out into the sea, Howth provides a natural boundary in the north of Dublin Bay and with Ireland’s Eye and the Lambay Islands (a great spot for mackerel fishing) just off its coast, it’s one of the most eastern points of Ireland and a true sea lover’s paradise.

Whether you stroll along the harbour soaking up the sights and sounds or get closer to nature with a walk along the cliffs, Howth will help you out with signposted walks. Getting there is easy and the DART (Dublin's city rail network) goes right into the village and a trip from the city centre takes less than 30 minutes.

When your appetite builds, you won’t be far from some fantastic fare. Establishments such as O’Connell’s Pub on the East Pier and Octopussy’s Tapas Bar on the West Pier offer some of the best seafood Dublin has to offer. Alternatively, pack a picnic of tasty, locally-sourced food from Howth Market and enjoy your lunch on a hilltop with a sea view. 

Coastal Towns in Dublin Bay
Coastal Towns in Dublin Bay

Dún Laoghaire 

Heading south out of the city, our next stop is the bustling port town of Dún Laoghaire. During Victorian times, the formerly named Kingstown was popular as a seaside holiday location. Some of the traditional features of this era are still visible in the town, including the well-preserved bandstand, People’s Park and stunning architecture of the Town Hall, all of which lend a gentrified air to the area.  

If you like a bit of adventure, Dún Laoghaire can oblige – take a Segway tour, go sea kayaking and rock climbing or experience some Gaelic games with the help of CP Adventure. Alternatively, enjoy a leisurely stroll along the promenade with an ice cream from Teddy's (a local favourite) or grab some seafood chowder at their larger esablishment, Teddy’s Promenade Café. Grab a pizza at Bistro Le Monde or head to The Purty Kitchen for some delicious pub grub and one (or two) craft beers.   

You can get to Dún Laoghaire via the DART or by hopping on a Dublin Bus in under 40 minutes. Or why not take to the seas with Dublin Bay Cruises with a choice of departures from Dún Laoghaire, Howth or the city centre.

Dalkey

Continuing on our southbound journey, we arrive in delightful Dalkey. Home to celebrities and some of Dublin’s finest cafés and bars, this old port town has many little harbours dotted around its coast offering boat hire and fishing opportunities to locals and visitors alike.  

The village has a long, proud history that is celebrated at Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre. The castle offers an insight into life back in medieval days with actors bringing history to life as they guide you around the castle. The castle doesn’t focus only on the distant past – the Writers' Gallery celebrates scribes of the area like Maeve Binchy and Samuel Beckett. Guided walks of the village are also available. 

If you like to eat while absorbing culture, then Biddy's Cottage is the perfect place for you. Step into the turf-fire warmed atmosphere and enjoy some traditional storytelling while sipping on your cuppa and nibbling on your oatcakes. If you need something more substantial to give you the energy to explore Dalkey, grab some lunch at one of the finest restaurants in the village, DeVille’s. This centrally located restaurant is renowned for its seafood chowder and Bloody Marys and offers the perfect place to celebrity spot.  

Coastal Towns in Dublin Bay
Coastal Towns in Dublin Bay

Skerries

Leave the picturesque south side coast and the city behind to make one more pitstop on your tour of Dublin Bay – all the way north to the beautiful village of Skerries. Enjoy a short train journey along the scenic north Dublin estuary before this village – packed with atmosphere and great seafood – comes into view. 

Taken from the Irish Na Sceirí, meaning ‘The Rocks’, Skerries is a postcard-worthy haven with much to discover. As you might expect from a coastal town and once-thriving fishing port, Skerries’ connection to the nearby sea informs much of day-to-day life. When it comes to food, many restaurants serve up catch-of-the-day specials and delicious seafood dishes.
 
Strand Street plays host to buzzing cafés and restaurants from pizzerias to intimate tearooms and warm family restaurants that specialise in seafood, steak and Italian cuisine. Along the harbour, you’ll find hip haunts that mix authentic sea-faring atmosphere with incredible seafood such as locally caught prawns and crab claws. In town, you’ll find 12 traditional pubs, all home to a lively, traditional Irish atmosphere and steeped in the country’s charming culture.

Image credit Lasma Kerve