Dún Laoghaire is a surprisingly spectacular and elegant travel destination in Ireland. It is a gorgeous coastal town nestled just 23 minutes away from Dublin, surrounded by mesmerizing sea views, and filled with world-class beach resorts, inviting villas, and tall palm trees. Once a kingdom of legendary fifth-century ruler High King Laoghaire, Dún Laoghaire today is immensely popular for its exotic marine attractions, leisure activities, urban development, and welcoming culture. There are a lot of amazing things you can do in Dún Laoghaire, including strolling around the fantastic harbors, catching the drowning sun at serene beaches, and indulging in watersports for some great adventure thrill! Read on to know more about the best things to do in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland.
1. Stroll on the Dún Laoghaire piers
Start your day by strolling along the amazing piers of Dún Laoghaire. Located near Crofton Road, the piers are simply astounding and invite you to take a glimpse of beautiful boats sailing on the harbor, awe-inspiring sights of Howth village, and a panoramic view of the ocean. There are two piers here: East and West Pier. East Pier is a busy and safe pier to enjoy long walks with breathtaking scenes, while West Pier is a peaceful dock to walk on and witness the tranquility of the sea. Don’t forget to pick a frosty ice cream from Teddy’s and crispy sea snacks from the Fish Shack van. They’ll complete your experience at the Dún Laoghaire piers for sure!
East and West Piers
Address: Crofton Rd, Dun Laoghaire, Ireland
2. Learn about Ireland’s marine history at National Maritime Museum
Visit National Maritime Museum to explore Ireland’s rich marine history, struggles, and accomplishments. The nautical museum is set inside the 180-year-old Mariners Church building, with medieval-styled interiors and beautiful stained-glass windows. The guides are experienced and will help you discover the fascinating tales of marine battles, heroism, and victories accompanied by explaining to you details about every artifact displayed in the museum, especially the ancient ships and wired steam engines. After exploring Ireland’s rich marine history, visit the museum’s cafe to grab a freshly brewed cup of coffee and savor tasty light snacks.
National Maritime Museum of Ireland
Address: Haigh Terrace, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Website: National Maritime Museum of Ireland
Opening hours: 11am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 6.66 USD
3. Enjoy panoramic views at James Joyce Tower and Museum
Named after a popular literary figure of Ireland, James Joyce Tower and Museum is an interesting tourist attraction nestled at the shore of the Sandycove Beach. It’s a Martello tower built by the British in the 19th century with the purpose of protecting Dun Laoghaire from the Napoleon invasion. The museum is located inside the tower, housing evocative artifacts and treasures dedicated in the memory of James Joyce. The top view from the tower is amazing, with fascinating panoramic sights of the sea, serene surroundings, and wonderful mountains. The volunteers here are hardcore Joyceans and love to share everything they know about the famous Irish writer.
James Joyce Tower and Museum
Address: Sandycove Point, Dún Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland
Website: James Joyce Tower and Museum
Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)
4. Try your hand at standup paddleboarding
Standup paddleboarding is a popular watersport in Dún Laoghaire. It’s a type of surfing where you stand upright on the board, paddle your way through the water, and explore marine life for a while. It’s safe and easy to learn for all levels of adventure enthusiasts, right from regular water dwellers to novice landlubbers. Big Style and Above Board are popular standup paddleboarding schools and rental shops from where you can learn this emerging watersport and start exploring the marvelous coastal areas of Dún Laoghaire!
Address: Dún Laoghaire Harbour, Ireland
5. Indulge in cultural events at Pavilion Theatre
Pavilion Theatre is the cultural hub of Dún Laoghaire, popular among locals and tourists for hosting entertaining dances, music, literature, live shows, comedies, and theater arts performances by talented artists. Opened in 2000, the municipal theater features modern interiors and has a seating capacity of 324 people, with easy wheelchair access. Catch an evening or morning show to explore the delightful Irish culture and dine at the theater’s in-house restaurants and bars to make the most of your experience here and leave with unforgettable Irish memories!
Address: Marine Rd, Dún Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland
Website: Pavilion Theatre
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 12pm - 5pm, 6pm - 8pm (closed on Sun)
6. Swim in the pristine Irish waters of Forty Foot
Swimming in Forty Foot is one of the best experiences you can have in Sandycove, Ireland. Just a 14-minute train ride away from Dún Laoghaire near James Joyce Tower lies this beautiful swimming hole with clear blue cold waters, friendly locals, and fascinating coastal beauty. The atmosphere at Forty Foot is lovely, with plenty of cliffs to jump off into the sea as well as many stairs with which you can climb back up safely. Forty Foot is a well-maintained site with changing rooms, lifeguards, and quick-service restaurants serving frosty beers and yummy snacks. Kindly make sure you bring your swimming suits along as the rentals can run out of stock in a busy season.
Address: Sandycove, Dublin, Ireland
7. Hang out with friends at the pretty People’s Park
People’s Park is a great place to meet locals, hang out with friends, and unwind from the tiring hustle and bustle of city life. The beautiful park was opened in 1890 by town commissioners and features Victorian architecture with well-maintained gardens, vibrant fountains, fun children’s parks, and plenty of restaurants and cafes serving tasty organic burgers, authentic Korean noodles, creamy chocolates, and healthy veggies. Good for all days, the park comes to life on Sundays as it is filled with Irish market vendors selling a wide variety of goods and gifts—ranging from awe-striking paintings to craftworks, artifacts, and organic farm produce.
Address: Park Rd, Glasthule, Dublin, Ireland
Website: People’s Park
Opening hours: 8am - 8pm (daily)
8. Pay tribute to Irish warriors at Oratory of the Sacred Heart
Oratory of the Sacred Heart is a beautiful chapel set on Library Road in Dún Laoghaire, featuring medieval architecture well-adorned with spectacular Celtic artworks and splendid stained-glass windows. The chapel was built with the purpose of honoring the brave Irish warriors who fought during World War I and sacrificed their lives for the love of the nation. The masterpiece artwork is decorated by Sister Concepta, a nun who dedicated 16 years to this famous oratory. If you’re a history buff or an aspiring artist, then visiting this oratory is a must.
Oratory of the Sacred Heart
Address: Library Rd, Dún Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland
9. Unwind at Dun Laoghaire Harbour
This harbor is the most loved tourist attraction in Dún Laoghaire, widely popular for its architecture, outstanding location, and breathtaking coastal sights. There are a lot of activities you can do here, like doing a cruise tour, walking on the beautiful piers, visiting the local shops to savor delicious Irish culinary treasures, catching the drowning sun, or simply relaxing and watching the ships sailing through. Dún Laoghaire Harbour is a city hub for thrilling water adventures you can indulge in, including standup paddleboarding, kayaking, and scuba diving.
Dún Laoghaire Harbour
Address: Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Ireland
Website: Dun Laoghaire Harbour
Explore the rich marine life of Dún Laoghaire
Dún Laoghaire is the perfect place to escape from the daily hustle and bustle of city life. Here you can explore the town’s rich history, breathtaking coastal life, and friendly culture. Read our recommended list to discover the best things to do in Dún Laoghaire and make the most of your travel experience.
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