Best Attractions near the Cruise Port in Dublin

Great Views, Rich History and Sea Frolic Near Dún Laoghaire

Most of Dún Laoghaire’s attractions centre around its strong maritime history and beautiful coastline. If you want to learn more about the marine life that surrounds it and the sailing tradition that still lives on in it surrounds then head to the National Maritime Museum, which features a load of interesting facts and information about the area. For those with a sense of adventure the Shackleton Endurance Exhibition has received great reviews and features a replica of the boat that rescued Shackleton’s crew.

Out in the fresh air there are plenty of great ways to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Dún Laoghaire. Take a long walk down the East Pier and listen to the buskers whose notes linger on the breeze. If it’s warm enough why not follow the sculpture trail towards the Forty Foot where you can get your toes wet with a host of local swimmers who use the baths all year round. You can dive into the Irish sea with a scuba diving trip, or remain above land with a tour of Dublin Bay that will take you across to Howth, the peninsula that sits directly across from Dún Laoghaire Harbour. A wealth of outdoor and indoor activities that will suit the whole family.


Southside coastal areas

Killiney Hill is a beautiful walking destination that allows you panoramic views over Dublin. It has plenty of walking trails as well as a series of quarry faces to rock climb on. When you reach its summit you'll get a stunning vista over the entirety of Dublin to the North as well as the coast of Bray and Greystones to the South. If you have a pet with you this is a great place to take them for a walk. Meanwhile if you're a keen hiker yourself this is definitely one of Dublin's prime spots for a bracing walk. Treat yourself to a pint afterwards in nearby Dalkey.

Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: For outdoorsy types, this is one of the best walks and views in Dublin.

Emily's expert tip: If you want to take a travelling pet for a walk this is a prime spot.

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If you're feeling up to taking a dip in the Irish sea then there's no better place to do it than the Forty Foot. A local swimming baths that has been operating for generations, the Forty Foot juts out from the edge of Sandycove and will often have bathers of all ages taking to the surf as a daily ritual. During the summer months it will often be packed with swimmers going for a leisurely breaststroke or performing death-defying jumps. The baths are very basic, you won't find private stalls for changing or many other amenities so be sure to bring your own equipment.

Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: This is a swimming bath used by Dubliners by over 250 years.

Emily's expert tip: There aren't any lockers here for your valuables so travel light.

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Southside coastal areas

Located in the centre of the bustling town of Dalkey, Dalkey Castle dates back to the 14th century castle/townhouse that has beautiful views overlooking the coast. There are also live performances to immerse you in the Medieval/Tudor experience, where performers in period costume act out the daily lives of those who would have worked in Dalkey Castle in the 15 and 1600's. The tours usually run every half an hour and last about 25 minutes. This is a great option for kids and helps to bring to life the rich history of this seaside town. A quick and fun tour for all the family.

Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: The live performances in costume at Dalkey Castle really make it a cut above the rest of many castle tours.

Emily's expert tip: Check which seasonal performances are on offer before you go.

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The East Pier in Dún Laoghaire is a popular walking spot for locals and tourists alike. Take a stroll and expect to see dinghy races in the harbor or the ferry arriving while the dulcet tones of buskers waft across the sea air. As you approach the harbor mouth you'll most likely spy local fishermen trying to get in a good haul or seals and porpoises rearing their heads above the surf. If you're lucky there might even be a band playing in the old band stand. You'll get a beautiful view of Dublin Bay and there are plenty of places to grab a bite to eat nearby to refuel after all that sea air.

Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: This walk is a local institution and you'll really get a feel for the town when looking back from the end of the pier.

Emily's expert tip: If it's sunny be sure to stop off and get an ice cream at Teddy's to cool down.

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If you want to get a real insight into the history of Dublin Bay while taking in the stunning vistas from Dún Laoghaire to Howth then set your sights on a Dublin Bay cruise. These cruises last only 90 minutes and take you from Dún Laoghaire harbour across to the neighbouring peninsula of Howth, another seaside town with a rich sailing tradition. You'll take in Dalkey Island, the famous lighthouses along the way and Ireland's Eye as you draw into Howth Harbour. It's a great way to get an all-encompassing view of the city while learning about its history too.

Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: A great way to take in Dublin as a bay with great views and some sea air.

Emily's expert tip: You'll need to make your way back to Dún Laoghaire via Dublin's suburban rail system once you've reached Howth.

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Every Sunday some of the best produce in the city is on offer in the People's Park in Dún Laoghaire at the weekly farmer's market. If the weather is good make the pilgrimage to this seaside town and enjoy the some of the exceptional produce on offer while taking in the sights around you. From gluten free baking to artisan cheeses, falafel to high quality pork and delicious, freshly squeezed lemonade there will be something to pique your interest. Afterwards you can take a stroll on the pier or walk into Sandycove for a bite to eat. Dubliners head straight to Dún Laoghaire on a good day so you'll mix with the locals.

Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and get to know the local producers of Dublin.

Emily's expert tip: Get there early in order to get the best the market has to offer - things often sell out.

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The harsh Irish sea might not be the ideal place to scuba dive, but the islands that lie nearby to Dún Laoghaire's coast have diving opportunities that rival some of the best diving spots in the country. If you're an experienced diver with plenty of prior practice this is the dive for you - despite Dalkey's seemingly calm surfaces there are strong currents beneath - expect to encounter a range of anenomes, starfish, wrasse, octopus, lobster and many more fascinating creatures. Dives usually take place around Dalkey Island and the nearby Muglins. If you're an avid diver you may want to check the dates for dives to shipwrecks in Dublin Bay.

Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: A great way to interact head on with the marine wildlife that surrounds Dublin.

Emily's expert tip: This activity is really only for very experienced divers.

Read more about Dive Ireland Scubadiving →

Dún Laoghaire Cruise port is having a revival with the new influx of large scale cruise liners coming to this seaside town. Currently a small set of shops and cafés, the harbour in general is set to undergo a large regeneration in the years to come with a plan to install an urban beach with floating sea-pool to accompany it. With a Purple Ocean restaurant jutting out beside the port there's also an opportunity to grab a bite to eat nearby. The port itself will likely shape shift significantly over the coming years to accommodate the large numbers passing through it.

Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: The gateway to Dún Laoghaire as a cruise town, this is where your journey begins.

Emily's expert tip: Head for a walk on the nearby East Pier to get a feel for the harbour

Read more about Dún Laoghaire Port →

The National Maritime Museum in Dún Laoghaire is located within the Old Mariner's Church, fittingly one of the only remaining places dedicated to sailors for worship. The museum itself is dedicated to things like Ireland's coastline and nature, a maritime art gallery, replica ship radio room and a Titanic exhibition amongst others. One of the stand out pieces is the Baily Lighthouse optic from Howth, Co. Dublin. This optic was used in one of Dublin's most prominent lighthouses between 1902 and 1972 but now resides in the National Maritime Museum, casting a lesser light over the exhibition. For anyone with an interest in the sea and maritime heritage this is a wonderful place to step back in time and learn more about Ireland's sea life.

Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: A unique building dedicated to mariners with great and informative exhibitions.

Emily's expert tip: Check out the museum's website to see what exhibitions are currently running.

Read more about National Maritime Museum of Ireland →

For anyone with an interest in the Antarctic and exploration, the Shackleton Endurance Exhibition in Dún Laoghaire offers a rare insight into Irish-born Sir Ernest Shackleton's epic Trans-Antarctic voyage of 1914 - 1917. Featuring over 150 photographs taken of the expedition by their photographer Frank Hurley alongside a full-size replica of their lifeboat, the James Caird, which was instrumental in their rescue. Shackleton's team included three Irishmen and the images give and unparalleled view into the horrors and triumphs they experienced. Well priced at €5 for adults and €3 for children, this is an exhibition which is frequently hailed as being 'surprisingly excellent' and well worth a visit.

Recommended for Attractions near Cruise Port because: Stunning old photographs that will surprise in their quality.

Emily's expert tip: There are group booking prices and corporate event prices available here on request.

Read more about Shackleton Endurance Exhibition →


Meet Emily Carson

Emily grew up in Dublin, and studied French and English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. During her university years, she lived in both Scotland and France, but traveled around Europe...  More About Emily