Although you’ll need a car to fully explore what the regions around Dublin have to offer, it’s possible to see virtually all of the big attractions by taking guided bus tours. Most leave from central Dublin, quite early in the day, and deposit you back around 5 or 6pm. Book tours directly with the operator; the Dublin tourist offices can also help. Here are a few of the most popular ones.
Newgrange Tours by Mary Gibbons (www.newgrangetours.com; 086/355-1355) are among the most respected of the guided tours that visit the ancient burial site. Mary is an excellent guide, and her tours have an allocated entry slot at Newgrange, meaning you don’t have to wait. Tours run daily from several pickup points in Dublin, between 9:30am and 10:10am Monday to Friday (returning about 4:30pm); and 7:40am and 8:15am Saturday and Sunday (returning about 3:15pm). The cost is €40, or €35 for students.
Glendalough Bus (www.glendaloughbus.com; 01/281-8119) runs day trips from the north side of St. Stephen’s Green (opposite the Starbucks at St. Stephen’s Court) to Glendalough every day at 11:30am. Tickets cost €20 and you buy them from the driver.
The Wild Wicklow Tour (www.wildwicklow.ie; 01/280-1899) takes in Dún Laoghaire Harbour and Dalkey, before heading to Glendalough and the Sally Gap. They even take you to a pub for lunch (not included in the price). The tours—which are perhaps skewed toward youthful travelers—leave from several points in Dublin, “early but not too early” (8:50am to 9:40am). Tickets cost €28 adults, €25 seniors, students, and children.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.