Cork is Ireland’s second largest city and its rich history and busy present has plenty to offer those taking tours to the city. Try the ‘English Market’, a Victorian indoor market in the centre of the city packed with displays of local produce to rival anything in Europe, the foreboding Cork City Gaol which presents a totally different slice of Victorian life, or St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, a fairytale church of twisting spires and gargoyles.
Day tours from Dublin to Cork can also take in Blarney Castle, famous for its stone which can bestow mellifluous verbosity on those who manage to kiss the underside. Also worth a visit in the Cork area is the nearby town of Cobh, whose seaport has remained largely unchanged since the ill-fated Titanic sailed from there in 1912.
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The Giant’s Causeway on the northern tip of Northern Ireland is one of the most popular excursions from Dublin, a natural wonder consisting of 40,000 hexagonal stone columns formed by a prehistoric volcanic eruption, and now presenting a unique and memorable sight as the huge honeycomb matrix descends into the sea.
Legend has it that giants once used the causeway to walk across the waves from Ireland to Scotland, which is just about visible on a clear day.
Belfast in Northern Ireland
Nothing epitomises the troubled history and recent blossoming of Ireland like the North’s capital, Belfast. Riven by sectarianism for centuries, the passing of the Troubles has seen Belfast city reborn as a cultural and commercial success story.
Day trips to Belfast can take in guided tours of the Memorials and museums commemorating the past, or visitors on independent excursions can simply soak up the atmosphere in the centre of this thriving city.
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The Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are probably Ireland’s favourite destination for day trips and excursions. On the west coast of Galway, on the opposite side of Ireland to Dublin, the 8km long cliffs offer a spectacular sight as they plunge 200m into the pounding seas below.
Day trips to the Cliffs of Moher offer the chance of spellbinding views across Galway Bay to the Aran islands, as well as the lunar-like landscape of the Burren area. The Cliffs of Moher are around a 2.5 hour drive from Dublin city centre, so many tours offer an overnight stay in Galway City to give more time for exploration.