Madeline Messina is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An Advertising major and a French and Francophone Studies minor at the University of Florida, she is studying abroad in Dublin this semester.
In this week's post, Madeline tells us her top 10 places to visit in the Dubliin area by using the DART.
One of the great advantages of being on the CAPA program is having a Leap Card. The Leap Card gives cardholders access to the Dublin bus, the Luas, and the DART, or Dublin Area Rapid Transit. The DART is the easiest way to get to neighboring towns in County Dublin from Dublin city center. The DART is a great way to get familiar with Ireland without taking an entire day to travel. It runs until 10pm so there is plenty of time to take the DART anywhere, even if just for an hour or two. The following list is some of my favorite DART stops that I think are must-sees for anyone staying in the Dublin area.
For this stop, I have a small disclaimer: I haven’t actually been to Shankill on the DART, I just have plans to go. However, I thought it deserved to make it on the list (if only for an honorable mention) because of what I have read about it. The Shankill DART stop is where you can start a marked hike through the Dublin Mountains Way, and pass sites like the Hell Fire Club, Cruagh Massy’s Link, and the Tibradden Mountain Trail. The hike comes highly recommended and offers trails of varying lengths and difficulties to suit any hiker.
9. Port Marnock
Port Marnock is a great place to have a relaxing day on the beach. The stop is nice and quiet, perfect for decompressing after a long day of work.
The Malahide stop is perfect for someone who wants a small town feel without going too far outside of Dublin. For lovers of history, Malahide also plays host to Malahide castle. Tours are fairly inexpensive, but you can even see the outside of the castle and gardens for free! The tour is brief so I recommend the second option.
7. Dun Laoghaire
Dun Laoghaire is also a great small town, but unlike Malahide has a great coastal walk along the docks. Dun Laoghaire is also a great place to grab dinner, as they have lots of diverse options. I would recommend going on a Friday or Saturday though because things tend to close very early in Dun Laoghaire during the week.
6. Bay Side
Bay Side, while seemingly just a suburban residential area, has one of the best beaches in the area. Bay Side is great for collecting sea shells, as the entire shore is sprinkled with them. At one part of the beach, there are thousands of small petal-shaped violet shells that make the beach look like it’s covered in flowers.
Greystones also hosts a great hiking opportunity. You can walk from the Greystones DART station to the Bray DART station on a beautiful cliffside walk.
4. Bray (bus to Enniskerry)
In Bray, you can take a bus to Enniskerry, which is just a 10-minute bus trip from the station. Enniskerry is where you can find a wonderful view of the mountains more inland, and also where you have a chance at meeting some horses!
Howth is a fishing village and one of the last stops on the northern-bound DART. Howth is a great place to do a cliffside walk, but also excellent for climbing the mountain there to get a beautiful view of the city. Howth also boasts the best sea food in the area, so make sure to pick up an order of fish and chips!
Killiney has an excellent beach and a charming town, but what’s better is the hike to the top of Killiney mountain. There you can find an obelisk and tea room to take a rest after you hike to the top. It is a great hike for beginners with a stunning view at the top. The hike leads the way to the Dalkey stop.
The hike from Killiney to Dalkey is one of the best things about the Dalkey stop. But Dalkey also has an adorable town and several beautiful castles scattered around the town. When I was there, there was a regatta going on, so hundreds of sailboats spotted the sea, making it an ideal place to have a picnic and watch the boats go by. There’s also a small island and observation deck, where you can look through binoculars to see an old abandoned tower and church. The charm of the town, myriad of sites to see and activities to do put Dalkey at the No. 1 DART stop.
If you have a Leap Card, be sure to take advantage of the DART! There’s so much to see in Dublin outside of city center, and the DART is the perfect way to see it all.
Madeline's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned.