One of the beauties of Dublin is that a quick train journey from the city centre using the city's commuter rail service will take you to a seaside suburb that feels totally removed from the urban sprawl. Take the DART north to Howth, a seaside-fishing village with great seafood restaurants and lovely scenery. Take a walk up Howth Head -a popular walkers spot- and get an incredible view of Dublin Bay and the city. If you're driving then venture up to the top of the peninsula before returning to the city along the coastline, but don't worry if you've opted for mass transit, as the view is just as nice.
Local Expert tip: Wright's of Howth contains plenty of delicious treats and snacks.
If you're a statue or literature enthusiast then a walk around Merrion Square and a glimpse of Oscar Wilde lounging on a rock should be right up your alley. The statue depicts the playwright with a knowing smile reclining on a granite boulder. Wilde is composed of several different coloured stones and is affectionately referred to as 'The Quare in the Square' which is a tongue-in-cheek Irish way of saying the 'queer in the square'. As one of the statues that shows a bit more character and whimsy then your usual bust of historical figures it's a sightseeing favourite.
Local Expert tip: On Sunday's Merrion Square has a lovely outdoor art market on its railings, a perfect cultural accompaniment to Oscar.
The East Pier in D�n 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.
The Memorial Gardens, which were initially conceived as far back as 1919 to commemorate the Irish men and women killed in the First World War, were only officially opened in 1988. Despite being postponed for decades due to funding and political issues and its period as an occupied traveller site it was finally restored and now represents a beautiful, tranquil garden in the city. Places on the slopes of Kilmainham Hill, which is chronicled as being the camping place of the great Irish king Brian Boru this area is steeped in history.
Local Expert tip: If you want to photograph or video within the gardens you'll need to obtain a commercial permit.
Situated in Glasnevin The National Botanic Gardens are a beautiful and tranquil place where over 300 endangered plant species from around the world are conserved. The gardens themselves are over 150 years old and features a visitor's centre complete with lecture hall, restaurant and display area with exhibits relating to the history and purpose of the gardens. Throughout the year there are also concerts, photo exhibitions and demonstrations held in the gardens for your enjoyment. Apart from these designated events though the gardens' main function is as a scientific collection and therefore no jogging, bicycles, picnics, dogs or playing music are allowed.
Local Expert tip: The Botanic Gardens are one of the few places where red squirrels are still seen as they have a great food supply. There have been few sightings recently though so if you do catch sight of a red squirrel you must notify the visitor centre!
If you want a picturesque train journey topped off with a bracing hill walk with panoramic views then Bray Head is the destination for you. On a sunny day you can enjoy the breathtaking views as the DART wraps around the Dublin coastline before enjoying a walk to its peak. The Bray Head walk isn't overly strenuous and is completed every Good Friday by locals in honour of the stations of the cross. If you're looking for a more active day then check out some of the 27 rock climbs that surround Bray Head.
Local Expert tip: If you do the full Bray Head walk you will end up at Greystones Harbour and a short walk will bring you to the DART Station so you can return to the city with great views along the way.
Christchurch Cathedral is Dublin's oldest medieval cathedral dating back to the 11th Century and is located in the heart of medieval Dublin on Wood Quay. The cathedral includes the supposed tomb of Strongbow, a Norman-Welsh warlord, a mummified cat and rat that were found behind the organ, 17th Century stocks used to punish offenders and historic books and carvings – basically your full quota of cathedral-fare. If you're of the religious persuasion then taking in a mass at Christchurch can be a truly beautiful experience, meanwhile people of any faith are encouraged to step foot in this historic building.
Local Expert tip: Check out the website for events such as the Irish Craft Fair that is held in the cathedral.
Are you tired of spending your touristy afternoons stuck on a stuffy bus listening to a disinterested tour guide going through the motions? Well you can be guaranteed a different experience entirely on the Dublin Viking Splash Tour. The tour features authentic Viking tour guides complete with horned hats and encouraging roars. The tour itself takes place on both land and sea in original WWII amphibious vehicles and spans from Stephen's Green down through medieval and Georgian Dublin before plunging into the Grand Canal Basin.
Local Expert tip: Be sure to wear rain jackets on this tour to avoid a damp afternoon.
If the deer roaming around Phoenix Park aren't enough for you then simply head into Dublin Zoo in the same grounds to get your full quota of exotic animals and birds. Dublin Zoo is the country's most popular visitor attraction, receiving almost one million visitors last year and with such a diverse and exciting animal population it's easy to see why. Over 600 animals are housed within its walls and there are daily events, feeds and talks to enjoy. If you're hungry then head to the Meerkat Restaurant where your meal with be overseen by the inquisitive meerkat population.
Local Expert tip: If your dog is on holiday with you there is a point in Dublin Zoo where it can be held and looked after during your visit.
The Phoenix Park is not only the home to our President, zoo, Victorian flower gardens, Papal cross and a herd of wild deer it is also one of Europe's largest urban parks and has acres of beautiful parkland and leafy trails to enjoy a long, meandering walk. Phoenix Park also doubles as a venue and space for many different events such as organized family picnics, motor and cross-country races. This is the perfect sightseeing place to take your kids in order to pack in some history and scenery with more fun activities.
Local Expert tip: If you're a keen cyclist there are plenty of cycle tracks around Phoenix Park to enjoy.