5 Weekend Road Trips Near Dublin

July 7, 2023 in Destinations, Experiences, Routes, Tips for Travellers, Ireland & Travellers

It can feel like forever between your holidays. Life’s busy, and you quickly find yourself counting down the days until your next getaway. Time off is precious, and so we tend to use it sparingly to visit distant places and see the family. But that time in between trips can be frustrating, and you’ll quickly find yourself in need of a little getaway… Perhaps a weekend road trip?

We’ve rounded up five road trips near Dublin that you can easily complete in a weekend. No additional holiday time is required, although you might want to combine it with a bank holiday to really get the most out of it. These weekend road trips near Dublin will allow you to get a much-needed taste of adventure as you wait for your next big getaway.

Woman in a hat looking out of lush landscape from campervan window

1. Copper Coast Drive

Looking for an easy road trip to do with your partner? The Copper Coast Drive is short enough to ensure you don’t reach the bickering stage, while still being one of the best romantic getaways near Dublin. 

Named after the massive mines that operated in the area throughout the 19th century, the Copper Coast offers some of Ireland’s best scenery. Don’t let the name fool you, for you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery and foliage!

We recommend heading first to Tramore Beach, where you can start the day with a coffee. Then drive along the coast, with stops in Newtown Bay, Dunabrattin Head and Bunmahon Beach, to name a few. The drive from Dublin should take about 2,5 hours, and then driving the Copper Coast should take about 1,5. Be sure to take plenty of breaks to explore the great view!

Things to do on the Copper Coast Drive

-Plan a stop at the remains of Dunhill Castle. This castle dates back to the 1200s when it was built by the la Poer family over the site of a Celtic fort. Little remains of the castle, but the crumbling ruins provide a romantic backdrop.

-Stretch your legs with the Fenor Bog Walk. The Fenor Bog was Waterfod’s first area to be designated a National Nature Reserve in 2004. Over 225 plants and wildlife live in its midst, with some being exclusive to this region. Fun fact: it’s known by locals as the best place to spot dragonflies.

-Take a moment to gaze up at The Metal Man. Located near Newtown Cove, this statue was constructed after the HMS Seahorse tragedy in 1816, which took 360 lives. The cast-iron statue is said to protect seafarers. If you’re hoping for a ring on your finger, the legend goes that hopping barefoot three times around the pillar will encourage matrimony within a year — worth a go!

Staying at: Casey’s Caravan Site

Finish your drive at Dungarvan and pitch your motorhome at Casey’s Caravan Site for the night. This motorhome site offers direct access to Clonea Beach, so you can end your day with a lovely picnic with a sea view. It’s also within walking distance of pubs and restaurants in the small village of Downings, as well as a delightful Pitch N Putt course.

Tallacoole, Clonea, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland
52.097270, -7.548526

Cosy campervan set up in beautiful landscape in Ireland

2. Wexford

Known primarily for its picturesque beaches and cosy towns, Wexford is often overlooked in terms of weekend trips from Dublin. It’s an hour and a half from Dublin, so perfect for a night or two away. Wexford is a delightfully calm place, perfect for those looking to slow down and forget everything on their to-do list.

Things to do in Wexford:

-Take a stroll along the old town walls. You’ll soon spot the West Gate Heritage Tower, a restored 13th-century tollgate. You can finish off your walk at the ruins of the 12th-century Seiskar Abbey. 

-Kids and adults alike will adore the Seal Rescue Centre. Located in Courtown, you’ll get the chance to see rescued seals that are being rehabilitated to return to the wild. We recommend timing your visit for the ‘Seal Feed and Enrichment Experience’, which is held every two hours between 9 am and 3 pm.

-If the weather permits, consider spending a day at one of the many great beaches in Wexford. We’d recommend Cullenstown Beach, Booley Bay or St. Helen’s Bay. You can easily get some delicious fresh seafood nearby to finish your day.

Staying at: Ferrybank Caravan and Camping Park

You’ll struggle to find a better location from which to explore Wexford in all its glory. Ferrybank Caravan and Camping Park is less than a mile from Wexford Town and 2,5 miles from the National Routes. A real highlight of this campsite is the recreation hall, which offers a place for campers to relax and dine in comfort while meeting fellow adventurers!

Tincone, Ferrybank, Co. Wexford, Ireland
52.345518, -6.451557

Cosy campervan bed overlooking nature

3. Kilkenny

You’ll find Kilkenny only ninety minutes away from Dublin, although it’ll feel like a completely different world. Kilkenny is famed for its medieval vibe and is often referred to as the Marble City. It’s a magical place that will quickly cause you to forget the bustle and stress of daily life. You’ll be transported to another time and lose yourself in the majestic structures of the past.

Things to do in Kilkenny:

-Take an afternoon to explore the incredible Kilkenny Castle, which is one of the most popular visitor attractions in Leinster. Built in 1195, it was a symbol of the Norman occupation, and later became a vital element in the town's defences. You can explore the castle with a self-guided tour.

-Many visitors to Kilkenny neglect to stop by the Dunmore Cave, and we urge you not to make the same mistake. The earliest mention of Dunmore Cave dates back to an ancient, 9th-century Irish poem, where it was described as ‘the darkest place in Ireland’. The cave is open to the public, so you can wander through the limestone chambers that have formed over millions of years.

-Grab your walking boots and hike up Brandon Hill. The summit of Brandon Hill is the highest point in the county and one of our favourite places to visit in Ireland. On a clear day — rare but possible in Ireland — you’ll be treated to a jaw-dropping panoramic view of the countryside. This walk can take three to five hours, depending on your pace, but is worth it. 

Staying at: Tree Grove Caravan and Camping Park

This family-run campsite is often described as ‘rural bliss’. It features everything you need in a site, including a laundrette, WiFi, hot showers and a kitchen area. No one will have to be left behind, as dogs are also welcome at Tree Grove Caravan and Camping Park! This campsite is less than one mile from Kilkenny City Centre, allowing you to walk over for a good pint or bite to eat.

Treegrove Camping, Danville House, Newross Road, Kilkenny
52.640069, -7.2289554

Kilkenny, IrelandPhoto by NIR HIMI on Unsplash

4. Wicklow

If you’re looking to lose yourself in nature for a few days, then we’ve got the perfect getaway for you. One might initially dismiss Wicklow from a list of road trips from Dublin due to how close it is, at less than a 1,5 hour drive. Yet Wicklow doesn’t have to be the end point of your journey, but rather the beginning.

First, head to Wicklow and take in this lovely city for a few hours, maybe sit down for a delicious lunch to start your holiday. Then it’s time to leave town and head into nature. Drive to Glenealo Valley, an incredible nature reserve. Spend the night at one of the best campsites in Wicklow National Park, and then spend the next day exploring. We guarantee that you’ll love it so much that you’ll return for another trip in no time!

Things to do in Wicklow:

-Before leaving Glenealo Valley, walk slightly out of the way to visit Saint Kevin’s Pool. It’s a secluded walk, so ensure you wear proper footwear and bring enough water with you. Once you reach the pool, you’ll see why it’s worth it. The water is a beautiful deep copper from the rich nutrients in the mud and flows gently along the rock formations.

-If you’re open to a challenge, pack some snacks and tackle Eagles Crag. It’s a difficult hike, but not too challenging as long as you take your time. You’ll find plenty of great pit stops along the way, but save some time to enjoy the divine view at the top. Many hikers bring their dogs along for this route as well.

-We can’t resist a waterfall, and Glenmacnass Waterfall really is one of the finest we’ve seen in Ireland. You can hike your way right to the top of it, and it’s linked to many other hiking routes to continue your journey afterwards. If you can manage it, this is a great trek to do before sunrise to ensure you have the view to yourself.

Staying at: Roundwood Caravan and Camping Park

This popular campsite sees a lot of returning customers, as it is known for being friendly, clean and well located. It’s particularly loved by families, and while your kids enjoy the playground you can enjoy some peace and quiet. 

Togher Beg, Roundwood, Co. Wicklow, A98 W3R8, Ireland
53.069055, -6.222786

Couple relaxing on campervan in Wicklow National Park, Ireland

5. Galway

Many people don’t realise that a Dublin to Galway road trip is actually possible within a weekend! Swap your view for a few nights, and immerse yourself in this bustling harbour city. Galway is known as the festival capital of Ireland, hosting an average of 122 festivals and events annually. There is always something happening just around the cobblestoned corner, and it’s the perfect place to bring someone who loves the finer things in life: music, culture and the arts.

The driving part of your Dublin to Galway road trip should take about 2,5 hours. If you’re looking to stop along the way, we recommend a lunch break in Athlone, a medieval city filled with historic sites and lovely cafes.

Things to do in Galway:

-Visiting Galway doesn’t have to pull on your purse strings! There are plenty of free things to do in this city. You can visit the Spanish Arch and tour the Galway Cathedral. Additionally, the Galway City Museum is free and dedicated to the cultural heritage of the city.

-If you’re looking for a peaceful stroll, head to Kylemore Abbey and the Victorian Walled Garden. You can explore the Gothic Benedictine nunnery, and then take a tour through the lush garden. It’s waterside, and plenty of woodland trails surround it in case you’d like to extend your walk.

-If you’re looking for the people of Galway, look no further than the Latin Quarter. This is a new name for the old medieval city, which is the thumping heart of Galway filled with arts, crafts, drinks and delicious bites to eat. We recommend heading over towards the end of the day for the best atmosphere.

Staying at: Connemara Caravan and Camping Park

Nothing beats pitching your motorhome with a sea view. You’ll struggle to close your curtains for the night and lose that gorgeous sight, but at least the sound of the waves gently lapping against the shore can lull you to sleep. Connemara Caravan and Camping Park offers direct access to Lettergesh Beach, so you can be the first one there when the sun rises.

Lettergesh Beach, Renvyle, Gowlaun, Co. Galway, H91 NR13, Ireland
53.603552, -9.900960

Lively street in Galway, Ireland

Photo by Justin Scocchio on Unsplash

Ready to embark on one of these road trips from Dublin? All of these journeys focus on minimal driving and maximum fun, to ensure that you can get the most out of your weekend. 

They’re best tackled from behind the wheel of a motorhome. Need a ride? Check out our wide selection of motorhomes for hire in Ireland. Whether you’re looking for romantic getaways or just weekend trips from Dublin, you won’t go wrong with any of the lovely destinations on our list.