Dún Laoghaire - Rathdown County offers an ideal balance between the vibrant capital and unspoilt countryside. Discover many a delightful village and town, explore a magnificent coastline, relax in spectacular countryside or enjoy numerous leisure pursuits.
Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre is a must visit attraction for anyone interested in the heritage of the area. This medieval tower is one of the original seven tower houses of Dalkey, and dates back to 1429. It includes a murder hole, barizan, garderobe and battlements.
A short walk along the coast from Dún Laoghaire brings you to Sandycove where James Joyce opened his masterpiece Ulysses in the Martello Tower. This was his home for a short while and now houses a museum in his honor. The James Joyce Museums’ collection includes letters, photographs, first and rare editions and personal possessions of Joyce as well as items associated with the Dublin of Ulysses. (Advanced bookings must be made).
People come from all over Dublin to walk Dún Laoghaires two piers, the East Pier is 1,290 m long, and the West Pier 1,548m long, each ending in a lighthouse.
The waterfront houses four yacht clubs and there is a wide choice of water related activities including sailing, wind surfing and diving. The clubs frequently host regional, national and international events but there are also a variety of courses available for beginners and the more advanced.
If ‘hitting the water’ is not your preferred activity then head for the hills and enjoy meandering through the relatively undemanding countryside:
•Enjoy the challenge of the internationally famous Wicklow Way walking trail.
•Alternatively do it all on horse back with a fully qualified guide and enjoy the beautiful panoramic views of Dublin.
•Sample the spectacular view from Vico Road in Killiney which has been described as a northern echo of the Bay of Naples.
•Visit Marlay Park, the starting point for some of the Wicklow Way walking trails
•Drive up the Dublin Mountains through Sandyford, Stepaside and Glencullen where you can take in fabulous views of the whole of Dublin City and county.
•Climb the hill of Killiney for spectacular views of Killiney Bay, Dún Laoghaire Harbour and Dalkey Island, or stroll along the wonderful woodland and cliff walks located there.
•Dún Laoghaire – Rathdown County is a golfer’s paradise. There are a number of top courses such as Kilternan Golf & Country Club and also a number of challenging par three courses located throughout the county.
•Experience the unique fun and excitement of horse racing in Ireland at Dublin’s only racecourse Leopardstown Racecourse. Located just six miles due south of the city centre, Leopardstown is one of Europe’s premier race courses offering both national hunt and flat racing.
Throughout the year the Dun Laoghaire area hosts numerous evetns that attract visitors and locals from far and wide. Just a sample of some of the main events coming up include Bloomsday, Dalkey Book Festival, ISAF World Youth Championships, Dlr Fusion, Mountains to Sea Book Festival and Marlay Concerts. For a comprehensive listing of all events in the area click here
The county has a long history and rich heritage. The heritage town of Dalkey retains an old world atmosphere with its many historical buildings. The castle contains a heritage centre with a varied collection relating to the history of Dalkey and a 7th century church dedicated to the local saint, St. Begnet. Today the medieval town of Dalkey is a charming, quaint village with narrow winding streets, fascinating gift shops and small restaurants and pubs with plenty of atmosphere.
Monkstown, situated half a mile from Dún Laoghaire, derives its name from Cistercian Monks who founded Monkstown Castle in the 12th century. Monkstown Church, right in the centre of the village, is built in a Moorish Gothic style and plenty of Edwardian houses are scattered throughout the area.
How to get here
From Dublin Port to Dún Laoghaire – Rathdown is a mere twenty minute drive along the N11 or Coast Road leading to the heart of the county.
Alternatively leave the car at home and use the excellent bus service, the Dart or Luas direct from Dublin City Centre.
For those travelling from the North of Ireland via Larne the M2, M1 and M50 are all excellent roads with good directional signs, although be aware that there are toll booths on the latter