There are plenty of Dublin day trips to choose from. However, many day trips from Dublin are on the well-established tourist track. Places like Glendalough, Trim Castle and the Boyne Valley and Newgrange are well tred by tourists. If you are looking for a non-touristy Dublin day trip, I invite you to consider Rogerstown Estuary and Ardgillan Castle; the perfect combination of outdoorsy adventure and a taste of upscale Irish manor living.
Hiring a GoCar in Dublin
GoCar is the perfect alternative to renting a car in Dublin. We've taken GoCar to County Wicklow for the day in the past. GoCar's carshare service normally charges by the hour with a component of distance. GoCar's GoFar plan allows you to reserve a GoCar for more than 6 hours and avail of a 0.10 EUR per km rate. Be aware that only a single driver can hire a GoCar so it won't be possible to share driving duties with a partner.
You can find lots of little known nature areas within an hour's drive of Dublin. How far is Rogerstown Estuary from Dublin? Dublin to Rogerstown Estuary takes about 45 minutes by car. Rogerstown Estuary is an ideal non-touristy Dublin day trip destination for a hike and a bit of birdwatching. You can find up to date details on how to get there, opening hours, and parking coordinates on the Rogerstown Estuary Facebook Page.
A Turvey Parklands Walk
Park near the Turvey Parklands and embark on a nature walk to Turvey Hide. Walk on well-marked trails through tall grass and meadows. You may even spot some cattle grazing not far from the path. Beware of Bull! a sign warned. That's my philosophy when hiking and in life :)
Rogerstown Estuary Birdwatching at Turvey Hide
We visited Rogerstown Estuary on a cold November day. After our hike from the Turvey Parklands car park, we welcomed the opportunity to warm up at Turvey Hide. Local volunteers sporadically staff the hide and spend their days observing birds of prey like osprey and peregrine falcons and plenty of resident and migratory wildfowl like redshanks.
BirdWatch Ireland Reserve Baleally Lane
Return to your GoCar and drive across the mouth of Rogerstown Estuary to Baleally Lane. The BirdWatch Ireland Reserve at Baleally Lane is a little difficult to spot. Look for a long muddy driveway with just a couple parking spots in front of a gate boasting a BirdWatch Ireland sign.
Rogerstown Estuary North Hide
You may also find avid volunteers observing the resident birds in the North Hide. Often they'll have their scope trained on something interesting like a bird of prey. Stay for a chat and you might spot a curlew flying over Rogerstown Estuary like we did.
Now that we've gotten some exercise, it's time to spend the afternoon at the magnificently situated Ardgillan Castle.
Ardgillan Castle is just 30 minutes onward drive to the north of Rogerstown Estuary and is a perfect stop to add to a non-touristy Dublin day trip. Ardgillan Castle and Demesne sits dramatically on the Irish Sea and offers spectacular photo opportunities.
SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Do the castles of Ireland capture your imagination? You've seen Ardgillan Castle, now why not plan a day trip to Drimnagh Castle in Dublin or a weekend trip to discover all the things to do near Kilkea Castle in County Kildare? If you are willing to venture a little farther afield, check out Bunratty Castle, one of the top things to do in Limerick. While you're in Limerick, make a pitstop at Dromoland Castle.
Walk Ardgillan Demesne
The expansive and well-manicured Ardgillan Demesne surrounds the big house and offers ample opportunity to stretch your legs. In fact, this outing is arguably one of the best walks in Dublin. Sit on the grass and listen to the wind whistle across the land and hear the waves crash below. You may even hear trains passing by along the coast. Owned by the Taylor family for over two centuries, in exchange for rights for the train to pass over their land, the Taylors in turn could hail any passing train and ride for free. What a life!
Tour the Big House
Ardgillan Castle Afternoon Tea
Ardgillan Castle Rose Garden
After the leisurely Ardgillan Castle afternoon tea service, we walked off all the decadent treats in the Ardgillan Castle rose garden. We visited in late Fall but there were still a number of flowers in bloom. I can just imagine how radiant and fragrant the Ardgillan Castle rose garden is in spring and summer.
Ardgillan Castle Walled Garden
No Irish manor home is complete without a walled garden. We took some time to explore the Ardgillan Castle walled garden which featured well-coiffed hedges and flower beds.
Ardgillan Castle Fairy Tree Trail
One of the most enchanting features of the Ardgillan Castle grounds is the Ardgillan Castle Fairy Tree Trail. Check out the forested area at the border between the Ardgillan demesne and formal gardens and discover tiny houses reputed to homes of resident fairies. What better way to capture the imagination on a non-touristy day trip from Dublin!
As you can see, the area north of Dublin is full of non-touristy gems just waiting to be explored. What better way to do it than with GoFar by GoCar?