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Is Clontarf (Brian Boru's Kingdom) Worth Visiting on a Trip to Dublin?

Discover a one day itinerary covering Clontarf Dublin. Explore Dublin's Northside in Clontarf. Discover non-touristy Dublin for a day with a visit to Clontarf including stops at Clontarf Castle and Bull Island.
In this post, we travel to the Clontarf neighborhood of Dublin where we'll explore what you can do in a day. Read on to discover reasons why I think Clontarf is worth visiting.

About Clontarf Dublin

Clontarf is a neighborhood in North Dublin situated along Dublin Bay. Important moments in the history of Clontarf include the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 where Irish king Brian Boru confronted the armies of Leinster and Dublin and emerged victorious.

His goal? Unite every Celtic kingdom under a single ruler. Steep in over a millennium of history as you explore this off-the-beaten path neighborhood in County Dublin.
Clontarf Castle Hotel in Dublin Ireland

About This Dublin City Itinerary

One Day in Dublin City Itinerary Rating: Ambitious
This Dublin itinerary is recommended for people interested in: nature, hiking, history, literature

Castles and Coast in Clontarf Dublin Itinerary in Brief

  1. Breakfast and coffee: Lotts and Co.
  2. A morning walk on Bull Island
  3. Stroll St. Anne's Park
  4. Eat lunch at Olive's Room in St. Anne's Park
  5. Explore Clontarf Castle Hotel and St. John the Baptist Cemetery
  6. Make your choice of Evening Activity
    • The Brazen Head
    • Davy Byrnes plus Literary Pub Crawl 
    • (Seasonal) Casino Marino

Explore other one day Dublin City itineraries here:

One Day in Dublin City Recommended Itineraries

Castles and Coast in Clontarf Dublin Itinerary in Detail

Take the DART train from Dublin City Centre (Tara St., Pearse Street, and Connolly stations are all centrally located) to Clontarf.

Walk to Lotts and Co. to enjoy a coffee and takeaway pastries for breakfast. Lotts and Co. is a local grocery chain. If you'd like, you can browse the aisles and pick up something to snack on later as well.

North Bull Island in Clontarf Dublin
Travel on foot along the coast by Clontarf Road and then cross the Wooden Bridge onto Bull Island for a hike. Time your visit with low tide if possible for maximum bird watching opportunities.

Walk through St. Anne's Park in Raheny and admire the rose gardens and the impressive copse of moss covered trees. Make your way to Olive's Room which is located in a lovingly renovated part of the Red Stables in St. Anne's Park.

Fill up on a freshly made sandwich and perhaps a sweet treat from their tempting display. Alternatively, if you get hungry earlier, check out the shops and restaurants on Vernon Avenue in Clontarf on the way to St. Anne's Park.
Lunch at Olive's Room in Clontarf Dublin
Your next stop after lunch is Clontarf Castle. Clontarf Castle is situated on, not surprisingly, Castle Avenue. Pass the gate house, walk up the winding driveway and behold!...a castle surrounded by modern day vehicles!

There has been a castle on this site since 1172 but the current building dates to 1837 and is now a luxury hotel (one of the more unique hotels you can stay in so close to Dublin City Centre). Inside, the tower is decked out in period decorations.

Find information on the history of the castle and the Battle of Clontarf hanging conveniently on the wall. Stop for a drink at the bar and steep in the ambiance before moving on.

Did you enjoy your visit to Clontarf Castle so much that you want to see more castles? Why not make time to head over to Drimnagh Castle, one of my favorite Dublin hidden gems. Of course, this itinerary will keep you busy for the whole day, so save this idea for a separate Dublin day out!

Things to do in Clontarf Dublin: St. John the Baptist Cemetery
Since you're in the neighborhood, make a stop at St. John the Baptist Cemetery. The grounds are simply stunning.

Take a quiet amble around to respectfully admire the worn and tilted gravestones. Step through the open gate off to the side of the main leaf covered ruin and you'll find yourself standing in the center of an old church.

Don't you just love taking walks and discovering something completely unexpected? Always walk through the open door.

Do Irish castles capture your imagination? You've seen Clontarf Castle, now why not plan a day trip to Ardgillan Castle or a weekend trip to discover all the things to do near Kilkea Castle in County Kildare?

Head back into Dublin City on the DART. Depending on your interests, you have a choice to make: Food, Folklore, and Fairies at the Brazen Head or the Literary Pub Crawl.

The Brazen Head is Ireland's oldest pub and dates back to before 1200. The Brazen Head hosts a storytelling event featuring "Food, Folklore, and Fairies".

When we went, I was a little skeptical that it might just be incredibly touristy. However, while there were plenty of tourists in the audience, it was great craic and I learned a lot about Irish Folklore.

Storytelling is interspersed with the food service (filling Irish fare). Our storyteller was simply riveting. As you enjoy dinner and the show, take a look at the surroundings.

Portraits of famous Irish patriots line the wall above you. The combination of food and storytelling makes for a fantastic evening's entertainment at the Brazen Head.
Dublin Literary Pub CrawlIf you opt for the Literary Pub Crawl, pop into Davy Byrnes in the Dublin City Centre for a spot of dinner and a pint before the tour kicks off. You'll be impressed by the colorful glass dome of the pub not to mention the piping hot and delicious Irish stew.

The Literary Pub Crawl kicks off at The Duke just across the street. Expect to be entertained with readings from some select Irish authors and maybe a little song and dance.

Throughout the evening you'll visit three different pubs (we visited The Duke, O'Neill's, and The Old Stand). Your hosts will pepper you with trivia questions throughout the night: pay attention, there are prizes at the end of the tour.

Seasonal Variation: Did you know that Bram Stoker, author of Dracula is from Dublin? If you visit Dublin in October, instead of returning to Dublin City from Clontarf, head to Casino Marino. This is where Bram Stoker stayed while writing Dracula in 1897. 

Day Out in Clontarf Dublin Map

Click on the map below to open up an interactive map of the points of interest in Clontarf highlighted on this one day Dublin itinerary.

Guide to Sidewalk Safari Dublin City Itineraries

  • Leisurely: No need to get up super-early to start this itinerary which is always good if you experienced a little too much of Dublin's famous craic the night before. Take your time exploring the sights on these itineraries or take detours that you discover on your own in the process of following my suggestions.
  • Intermediate: You should be able to comfortably fit in the activities recommended even if you don't get an early start. There is a fair amount of walking involved in these itineraries to get from place to place.
  • Ambitious: Lots to see plus a lot of walking. Make sure to get an early start or you won't make it to everything on the list.
The perfect formula for a day out in Dublin City includes: breakfast/coffee, morning activities, lunch, afternoon activities, a pub stop, dinner, and evening fun.

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How to Spend a Day out in Clontarf Dublin

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Is Clontarf (Brian Boru's Kingdom) Worth Visiting on a Trip to Dublin?
Is Clontarf (Brian Boru's Kingdom) Worth Visiting on a Trip to Dublin?
Discover a one day itinerary covering Clontarf Dublin. Explore Dublin's Northside in Clontarf. Discover non-touristy Dublin for a day with a visit to Clontarf including stops at Clontarf Castle and Bull Island.
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog