Dun Laoghaire – a seaside marvel that you shouldn’t miss

Nestled on the scenic south coast of Dublin Bay, Dun Laoghaire (pronounced “Dun Leary”) is a charming seaside town that combines the best of Irish heritage, maritime leisure, and modern elegance. As your local guide, I’m thrilled to unveil the treasures of Dun Laoghaire, promising an unforgettable journey through its vibrant streets, historic sites, and breathtaking natural landscapes. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or a foodie, Dun Laoghaire has something special for everyone.

Getting There

Dun Laoghaire is conveniently accessible, making it a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of Dublin City. Easiest and the best is to get there by train, the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) offers a picturesque route along the coast, delivering you to Dun Laoghaire station in the heart of the town (make sure that you sit on the left side of the train going there). If you prefer the road, several bus lines serve the area (7, 7A, or 46A for example), or you can drive and take in the stunning coastal views at your own pace.

Dun Laoghaire
Dun Laoghaire

What to Do

The East Pier Walk: Begin your adventure with a leisurely stroll along the East Pier, a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Stretching over a kilometer into Dublin Bay, the walk offers spectacular views of the Irish Sea, the Dublin mountains, and the charming marina. Don’t forget to treat yourself to an ice cream from Teddy’s, a local institution, as you enjoy the sea breeze.

The West Pier Walk – similar to the East pier, but a lot less crowded.

The town centre: George’s street is where the life is – numerous shops, restaurants, places to sit and soak up the area – it’s all here.

The James Joyce Tower and Museum: Literature enthusiasts will relish a visit to the James Joyce Tower, one of a series of Martello towers built to withstand an invasion by Napoleon. It now houses a museum dedicated to the author, who made the tower the setting for the opening of his masterpiece, Ulysses.

The People’s Park: For a more relaxed pace, visit The People’s Park, where beautifully landscaped gardens, a children’s playground, and a charming Victorian bandstand await. On Sundays, the park hosts a vibrant farmers market, offering a delightful selection of local artisan foods and crafts.

Teddy’s Ice Cream: A local legend, no visit to Dun Laoghaire is complete without tasting the famous 99 ice cream cone from Teddy’s. This iconic treat has been delighting visitors for decades and is the perfect accompaniment to a seaside walk. You are guaranteed to see people queueing in any weather, promise.

Sunday Market at the People’s Park: Beyond the delicious food and artisan products, the market is a lively gathering place where you can enjoy live music, meet local artisans, and soak up the friendly community atmosphere. The stalls are full of baked goods, home made candles, fresh vegetables and anything in between.

Dun Laoghaire East pier view

Where to Eat

Dun Laoghaire boasts an impressive array of dining options, catering to all tastes and budgets.

Hartley’s Restaurant: For those looking to indulge, Hartley’s offers a sophisticated menu with a focus on local, seasonal ingredients, all served in a beautifully restored Victorian building.

The Purty Kitchen: One of the oldest pubs in Dun Laoghaire, The Purty Kitchen is perfect for enjoying traditional Irish fare and live music in a cozy, welcoming atmosphere.

Box Burger and Platform Pizza Bar: For a more casual dining experience, these two side-by-side eateries offer delicious gourmet burgers and artisan pizzas, respectively, in a lively, fun setting.

The Forty Foot – cheap and cheerful – yes, somewhat a controversial choice, but the Wetherspoons’ owned place has a lot going on. Free refills on coffee, cheap food (not great but if you stick to the basics, it will keep you going) and a really nice view towards the see from the first floor.

Coffee and fish and chips in Dun Laoghaire

Local Tips

  • Maritime Museum: Don’t miss the National Maritime Museum, located in the 1837 Mariners Church, to delve into Ireland’s rich maritime history. You might think it weird place for a museum but it works.
  • Forty Foot (not the pub!): Brave a dip in the Forty Foot, a renowned swimming spot offering exhilarating sea swims, if you’re feeling adventurous. There are always locals dipping in and out so you won’t be alone.
  • Sandycove beach: It’s a really nice walk from the town centre along the see, about 15 minutes stroll, and definitely worth the visit. It is small but aside from the beach, you get nice views of the town.
  • Shopping: Take a wander through the town’s shopping districts, where you’ll find everything from high street brands to unique boutiques and antique shops. It has a sea-side town vibe, hard to describe but you’ll know when you’re there.
Maritime museum in Dun Laoghaire
Dun Laoghaire plaza
Dun Laoghaire plaza