The summer is on the way! If we even get a few weeks of sunshine this year we will be delighted. Last year we spent a lot of time in the car, in the scorching heat, on the way to a different destination every week. This year will probably be no different but we are definitely going to explore more local destinations that don’t involve a three hour drive.
I was really delighted when the lovely people over at Chill Insurance asked me to write a blog post for them on any tips I had for the best drives in Ireland. I spend a lot of time in my car and it can be expensive with fuel costs, motor tax, services and of course car insurance. I have to be savvy about the insurance I buy and make sure I am getting the best deal out there. Chill insurance have a great range of options and they don’t make you fill out a massive long form to get a quote- ain’t no one got time for that! 🙂 At the moment they have a €40 online discount so head on over to chill.ie/car-insurance to get a quote.
So with getting the best out of our car in mind, we have come up with a list for you of places to visit that are only 30 minutes drive outside of Dublin. Whats even better- 8 of these places are completely free to visit. So get the picnic basket ready, get the walking shoes on and lets go Galavanting!
The Glen of the two lakes and home of St Kevins cemetery. This National park is by far and away one of my favourite places to visit in Ireland and only a short drive down the M50 and across through Laragh in Co Wicklow. Choose from a number of looped walks, easy strolls along the river or a jaunt over to the miners village. St Kevins cemetery is also worth discovering. The car park is just €5 for the day.
Two: Hell Fire club
If you want an epic view of the city that’s just a short drive up through Knocklyon then the Hell Fire club is the place to visit. A nice easy walk up Montpelier hill to a stone hunting lodge with a dark history. There’s plenty of space for a picnic here while you enjoy one of the best views of Dublin’s fair city. Parking is free.
Three: Trim Castle
A bit of a stretch on the 30 minutes but definitely one to visit on a date, a family day or with a group of friends. This is Ireland’s
largest Anglo Norman Castle and where the film Braveheart was made. Adult prices are €5 and there is plenty of parking around Trim. Trim is a gorgeous little town with lots of cafes and restaurants if you aren’t doing a picnic.
Four: Howth Cliff Walk
This is a fantastic walk at any time of the year (maybe not in high winds) that loops Howth head and boasts views of Lambay Island, Irelands eye and the Baily lighthouse. This well worn track is suitable for kids too. Park at the Marina in Howth and enjoy a chowder in the Brass Monkey afterwards! Yum!
Five: Tayto Park
A great day out for all the family and only a short drive down the N2. Irelands only theme park and zoo- a visit to Tayto park
will make sure the kids sleep in the car the whole way home- you even get a free bag of Tayto for the way home. Entry starts at €15.50 and they also do a really good value yearly ticket so you can visit as many times as you like.
Take a drive up the M1 and discover this gem of a beach. This is one of the only places in Ireland where you can drive onto the beach- meaning there is no long walk from the car to your landing spot.
This amazing coastal walk is just a short drive down the M50. Park up the car at Bray seafront and walk towards bray head. You will see the start of the trail here. Its a 7km walk over to Greystones so a perfect lenght to get the heart racing. Watch out for the dart as it passes through the tunnels underneath you! This path has a really interesting history to it also, so make sure and check out Lord Meaths Lodge too. Pop into any of the lovely cafes or restaurants in Greystones before hopping on the dart back to Bray!
Eight: Castletown house, Newbridge
This OPW site is a must see in Co Kildare. Only 20kms from the city centre and 10 minutes from the M50, Castletown house is open 7 days a week. Free parking and entry into the estate makes it a very attractive day out. There is a fantastic Country market and craft fair here on the last Sunday of every month that you would spend hours walking around. Lots of looped walks and beautiful parkland to discover so make sure to bring the picnic basket!
Nine: Lough Tay
The Guinness lake. Right in the middle of the Wicklow mountains but a short drive outside the city. This lake, shaped like a pint of Guinness- with the creamy top and all- is actually on the Guinness family estate. The views from the parking lay-bys are out of this world and you will find no where like it in Ireland.
Ten: The Hill of Tara
Exactly 30 minutes from the M50 this ancient site was the seat of the high kings of Ireland. For anyone into history or mythology this is a very special place. Tours can be taken around the site from May to September but the site can be accessed all year around.
So there you have it- we hope we have given you some inspiration for the sunny days and even the not so sunny days. Driving around our beautiful Country is the best way to see it and if you are spending money on car tax, services, ncts and insurance then you might as well get the most out of it. With Chill.ie they are comparing all of the big insurance companies to get you the best rate for your car insurance- so you can spend the money you have saved on a new picnic basket, tent or just on a fabulous weekend away to treat yourself.
Until next time- Happy Galavanting xx