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The string of pretty coastal towns, villages and fishing harbours stretching from Balbriggan in the north through to Skerries, Malahide and Howth in the south, a matter of just 25 miles (40km), offer an altogether calmer and more sedate alternative to complement the bustling city streets of Dublin. These places are perfect for afternoon or day excursions or a relaxing worthwhile tour on their own.
The towns are all quickly reachable from the city centre via Dublin’s Dart light railway system (not to mention bike, bus or taxi) – you’ll see beautiful sandy beaches in the north, inviting you to while away a few hours. These gradually give way to ragged cliffs and gorgeous sheltered coves in the south, enticing you towards sea-side seafood treats, long walks, a boat trip, stylish shopping, museums or even a swim.
To the north Balbriggan has a rich coastal heritage, a short walk along the shoreline from the harbour to its Martello tower is enough to showcase a rich industrial history along with beautiful views. En-route to Skerries from Balbriggan is Ardgillan Castle & Gardens
Skerries, winner of the very prestigious ‘Tidy Towns’ competition 2016, was famously home to St. Patrick when he first arrived to these shores. Its skyline is punctuated by Skerries Mills, a complex of a five sail windmill, four sail windmill, water mill and bakery. Offshore are five islands.
Historically a thriving fishing port and a major centre of hand embroidery Skerries still retains traditional Irish atmosphere and is steeped in the country’s charming culture.
Swords is an ancient town, founded in 560AD. Places of interest include Swords Castle, Swords Round Tower, St Columba’s Church and medieval Belfry, and Broadmeadow Estuary. Swords is a bustling village at heart, with an abundance of shops, including the Pavilion Shopping Centre, restaurants, and pubs.
Malahide is a very beautiful heritage village with old-world elegance. The stately 900 year-old Malahide Castle set amid 250 acres of parkland and gardens. There’s a host of chic boutiques, bookshops, and antique shops you could lose yourself in for hours along with a broad range of pubs and restaurants can take you well into the night.
Picturesque Howth is a foodie haven and set amid magnificent coastal scenery and a lovely fishing village vibe.
Howth is best discovered on foot and its waterfront and piers are a good starting point on your exploration. There are numerous walks, and a narrow cliff walk provides a breathtaking sea-side adventure, offering splendid views of the water and Dublin city.
- Castles, Country Houses and Gardens, Windmills and Lighthouses
- 18 Heritage Sites
- 7 Offshore Islands
- Historic Fishing Harbours
- 12 Martello Towers
- 88kms of beautiful coastline
Visit All Year Round
The villages of Howth, Malahide, Swords, Skerries and Balbriggan are great to visit at any time of year. They offer an altogether calmer and more sedate alternative to complement the bustling city streets of Dublin. They are villages filled with living history, fantastic food and great atmosphere– all just a short ride out of town. And the funny thing is – they’re all different. Now all you have to do is pick your favorite!
Other Useful Information
DINING / REFRESHMENTS
North Dublin's Coastal Villages offer a mouth-watering array of gastro-pubs, cafés, restaurants ranging from traditional and cosy to inventive, modern and stylish. The area is most on the map as a major Irish gourmet destination.
The coastal villages in North Dublin provide lots of shopping choices including trendy boutiques, gift and craft shops and markets. So, whether you’re looking for a gift with a personal touch and with local flair or the latest in fashion trends, you will find something to please.
WALKING AND CYCLING
Walking and cycling enthusiasts love North Dublin's coastal villages. Peninsulas, beaches, cliff walks and coastal tracks provide many options for enjoyment and the opportunity to explore the natural habitats of a wide variety of fauna and wildfowl. And, a friendly café, pub and comfortable accommodation are never far away.
The Fingal Dublin Bay Coastal Strip has grown in popularity for water sport enthusiasts and it offers sailing, diving, windsurfing and leisure boating.
Visitor attractions in the villages are many and varied, including magnificent castles and stately homes, some dating back to the 12th century, many of which are set amid fine gardens in spacious demesnes.
Free and pay-for parking is available in the villages.
Free Wi-Fi is available in many of the hotels, other accommodation, restaurants and visitor attractions in the area.
ACCOLADES & AWARDS
- Dublin Coastal Villages – Foodie Destinations 2016 Finalist
- Skerries – Winner Tidy Towns 2016
Averaging 10 miles from Dublin Airport North Dublin’s Coastal Villages are located in the Fingal region of Dublin. Fingal is renowned for its old world charm and rich heritage and derives its name from the Gaelic words 'Fine Gall' meaning 'land of the fair haired stranger' in reference to the Vikings who settled in the area from the 8th Century onwards.
Aspects of Fingal rich heritage and long history are encapsulated in the many famous buildings, churches, castles, great houses and archaeological sites located in the area. The wealth of monuments, some dating as far back as 5,000 years, spanning various periods of Fingal history from Christian civilizations and the Viking occupation to the diversity of Anglo-Irish history.
Fingal is also rich in cultural heritage such as crafts, literature and music and its abundant natural heritage from its fine regional parks, beaches and fishing ports to its offshore islands estuaries, rivers and canals.North Dublin's Coastal Villages Nearby Attractions