For many visitors to Ireland, Dublin is their first port of call. So after a couple of days soaking up the culture, history and friendly atmosphere of the capital a change of scenery can be a lovely contrast to bustling city life.
So seize the steering wheel of a rented car and head for the hills, the coast, or even the plains!
Here’s a couple of the best scenic routes out of Dublin to turbo boost your holiday and get your wanderlust firing on all cylinders. Just day-trips to begin with, but there’s nothing to stop you wandering off into the sunset. Be sure to fill up on petrol and wait for the green light to signal adventure!
If it appeals to you to climb up the side of an ancient volcano, or to bathe in an icy cold lake as did the early Christian monks, then the route through Wicklow Mountains National Park is the way to go. Head southwards out of the city through the suburb of Rathfarnam. Then take Military Road marked as R115 out of the village and follow the route southwards through the very heart of the mountains, enjoying spectacular vistas as you travel.
When you get to the picturesque village of Laragh take the R756 northwest to bring you to the serenely beautiful Glendalough, a medieval monastic settlement hidden in a sleepy wooded valley. Complete with an intact round tower, the place has remained relatively unspoilt since its foundation by St. Kevin in the 6th century. With signposted hiking trails and climbing routes the outdoorsy types will adore this part of the National Park.
Leaving from Glendalough and still following the same road, takes you past Turlough Hill where a trail leads you off the beaten track to remote Lough Nahunagan. Hitting the road once more follow the R756 until it meets the R758 at Lockstown Upper. The romantic Blessington Lake Drive, L4365, leads you to Blessington and the N81, the main road from Kildare back in the direction of Dublin’s bright lights once more.
For those who want to tick another UNESCO world heritage site off their to-do list or if you feel a connection to the mythological past, a visit to the ceremonial centre of pre-Christian Ireland and an excursion to the plains of Meath could be right up your street! Head north out of Dublin city leaving the Phoenix Park behind, passing through Blanchardstown and get motoring up the M3 but be advised that tolls are payable on some parts of this journey, so have some change at the ready!
Turn off the M3 at Junction 7 taking the exit to Skryne/Johnstown. Follow the R147 to your first destination which is of course; The Hill of Tara. Prepare yourself to savour the mystique of this ancient and magical site. Topped by the Lia Fáil, or ‘Stone of Destiny’, the Hill of Tara will set you tingling with the momentous weight of 2,500 years of history.
Leaving along the way you approached; make your way back towards the M3 heading north. But this time follow the R153 in a north-easterly direction, across the Plain of Meath, until you turn left at Balrath to meet the N2. Then, turning right to join the R150, this road will lead you straight for Donore and the only access point to the Boyne Valley complex of Neolithic monuments. The route may seem tricky, but what awaits the intrepid traveller is more than worth the effort. The landscape thrums with the special magic of the pre-Celtic ancestors. Older than Stonehenge and an astronomical timepiece, Newgrange never fails to impress. Its sister tombs of Knowth and Dowth nestle into the bones of the earth with an inevitable permanency. They are true wonders of the ancient world and you will never forget them.
A taster of just a couple of the many scenic drives that await you from the Dublin roads!
Pick up a car hire Dublin Airport and enjoy these trips! Guest post by Irish Car Rentals, with nationwide locations in Ireland servicing customers from all over the world.