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Whether you want to absorb the sights and sounds of Dublin, taste traditional Irish food and drinks or explore the scenic countryside, the following guided tours have got you covered. The trips, identified by U.S. News as the best using both traveler and expert input, focus on Dublin’s history and heritage with unique twists. Some focus on its biggest attractions, others engage participants with fearsome tales and there are even a few that explore film locations from popular movies and shows. But all have one thing in common: knowledgeable guides to share the insights of a local.
Viking Splash Tours
Price: Adults from 33 euros; kids from 27 euros
Duration: 75 minutes
Explore Dublin’s streets and the Grand Canal Basin via amphibious vehicles with Viking Splash Tours. Along the 75-minute ride, passengers see popular sights, such as Georgian Dublin, various cathedrals and U2’s recording studio. Outings begin and end at St. Stephen’s Green. Viking hat-wearing guides win praise for their funny and informative storytelling. Tickets cost around 33 euros (about $35) for adults, with discounts for seniors, students and children ages 3 to 14. Children younger than 3 are not permitted on this tour. Tours take place multiple times a day, every day.
Dublin Traditional Irish Musical Pub Crawl
Price: From 19 euros
Duration: 2.5 hours
Described as a “moving concert,” this 2.5-hour tour is led by two professional musicians who regale patrons with both tunes and information about traditional Irish music while traveling to pubs around the city’s Temple Bar area. Revelers rave about the relaxed pace, the music and the storytelling. Tours last from 7:30 to 10 p.m. and are available four nights a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) from May to September. The tour operates on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in April and October, and every Saturday (plus select dates around St. Patrick’s Day) in March. The pub crawl costs 19 euros (approximately $20) to attend; alcoholic beverages cost extra. Travelers can also opt for a 5:30 p.m. pub crawl dinner show with Irish dancing for 55 euros (about $59) per person.
Secret Food Tours Dublin
Price: Adults from 79 euros; kids from 65 euros
Duration: 3 to 3.5 hours
Sample a variety of favorite Irish dishes on this leisurely 3- to 3.5-hour stroll through Georgian Dublin – a small area in the southern region of the city. The tour includes four to six stops for samples of Irish potato cakes, Irish stew, ice cream, smoked salmon and a surprise dish. Guides provide commentary on the area’s history and, of course, its cuisine. Foodies find this a satisfying way to learn about the city’s dining and drinking culture, and the guides are regarded as dedicated and accommodating. Tickets start at around 79 euros (about $84) for adults; an upgraded drinks package that includes an Irish tea and a glass of beer or wine (plus a total of eight stops) is available for an additional 18 euros (about $19). Children (ages 3 to 12) and teenagers (ages 13 to 17) can participate at discounted rates of 65 euros ($69) and 69 euros ($73), respectively. Start times range from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. daily. Be aware that this tour cannot accommodate dietary restrictions or substitutions.
(Courtesy of Vintage Tea Trips)
Vintage Tea Trips – Dublin Afternoon Tea Trip
Price: Adults from 49.50 euros; kids from 27 euros
Duration: 70 to 80 minutes
Enjoy a traditional afternoon tea service while seeing Dublin’s top sights on this 70- to 80-minute bus tour. The double-decker buses depart the Temple Bar area and drive past tourist hot spots like Phoenix Park and Christ Church Cathedral. Along the way, you’ll sip tea and eat treats, such as scones and tea sandwiches. Travelers like the tea and food; they also say the experience is a novel way to see the city and enjoy the guides’ commentary. Tours depart Thursday through Monday at 1:15 and 3:30 p.m.; there’s an additional 11 a.m. start time on each of these days except for Monday. Adult fares start at 49.50 euros (around $52); tickets for children start at 27 euros (about $29).
Wild Rover Tours – Cliffs of Moher, Atlantic Edge Ocean Walk & Galway City Day Tour from Dublin
Price: Adults from 75 euros; kids from 70 euros
Duration: 13 hours
Wild Rover Tours’ buses take riders across Ireland to see some of the country’s best natural sights. The first stop is the Cliffs of Moher for views of the Atlantic Ocean and thousands of seabirds. You’ll then see Burren National Park and enjoy views of Galway Bay and the Aran Islands. The final stop is a visit to the city of Galway for a guided walking tour. Tour-takers rave about the stunning views as well as the professional, knowledgeable drivers and guides. The daily tour starts around 7 a.m. and ends at 8 p.m. Tickets cost 75 euros (about $80) for adults and 70 euros (roughly $74) for kids. The tour cannot accommodate anyone younger than 2. The price covers admission to all sites visited, but it does not include lunch. Wild Rover also runs day tours featuring the Giant’s Causeway and Belfast, among other options.
Finn McCools Tours – Giant’s Causeway and Titanic Tour from Dublin
Price: From 83 euros
Duration: 13 to 14 hours
Travelers looking to hit several sites throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland in one day will want to consider this daytrip from Dublin. Buses depart from Dublin City Gallery on Parnell Square North at 6:45 a.m. and head to the ruins of Dunluce Castle for a photo op, followed by longer stops at Giant’s Causeway – a group of thousands of basalt columns formed by a volcanic eruption, which stretches from Northern Ireland to Scotland. Next, you’ll head to the Dark Hedges (an avenue of intermingling beech trees seen in the “Game of Thrones” TV series). After that, you’ll spend about 1.5 hours exploring the Titanic Museum (admission is included), followed by a half-hour wandering through Belfast on your own. The bus returns to Dublin between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. Travelers recommend the tour and say it’s “worth every penny.” Tickets cost around 83 euros (about $88) per person, regardless of age. The company offers several other tours throughout Ireland that depart from Dublin, as well as tours with departures from Belfast and Galway.
Dublin Free Walking Tour – Free Tour South Side
Duration: 3 hours
Travelers regard guides of this walking tour as extremely knowledgeable about the city and its history. During this three-hour stroll of Dublin’s south side, you’ll see top city sights like Trinity College, Temple Bar and Dublin Castle, among others. The tours are offered every day at 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. While the morning walks tend to focus on popular attractions, afternoon outings may stop at more off-the-beaten-path spots. There is no charge for these walks, though guides appreciate tips at the conclusion of the trip. Dublin Free Walking Tours also runs a walking tour of the north side of Dublin.
(Courtesy of Gary McParland/Game of Thrones Tours)
Game of Thrones Tours – Winterfell Trek from Dublin
Price: From 70 euros
Duration: 11 hours
“Game of Thrones” fans regularly praise this tour, calling the featured stops and the stories shared by guides incredible. During this daylong outing, you’ll visit the Tollymore Forest Park (the backdrop for many of the first scenes of the series), see Inch Abbey and have lunch at a local pub. The highlight of the tour is a hike through Old Castle Ward, which served as the filming location of Winterfell. Though you’ll be transported to the different locations via coach, there is a lot of walking involved on the tour; patrons suggest wearing sturdy shoes or hiking boots. Tickets, which start at 70 euros (around $74), include entrance to the castle as well as use of cloaks and other cosplay props. It does not include lunch. Note: Children younger than 12 may not take the tour and children ages 12 to 17 must have a signed parental consent form. Schedules vary by season, but tours typically take place Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday during the summer months, and Wednesday and Saturday in the winter, spring, fall. Groups typically depart at 7:45 a.m.; buses arrive back to Dublin around 7 p.m. The company also offers this tour with a departure from Belfast.
Rural Tours – Dublin Mountain Pub Tour
Price: From 45 euros
Duration: 5 hours
After you’ve had your fill of the pubs in central Dublin, check out what the rural pubs have to offer on this five-hour evening tour. You’ll visit three rural pubs, including one of Ireland’s oldest and most highly elevated. Tour-takers find the guides entertaining and hospitable and the beer and music first-rate. Tickets cost 45 euros (about $48), which includes transportation from and back to Dublin. Tours run on various days depending on the season and start at 6:30 p.m. year-round; they usually end around 11:30 p.m. Check the company’s website or Viator for schedules and booking availability. Participants must be at least 18 years old to tour. Rural Tours also runs a pub tour in the Wicklow Mountains, among other options.
SANDEMANs New Europe – Dublin Dark Side Tour
Duration: 2.5 hours
The Dublin Dark Side Tour explores the spookier side of Ireland’s folklore and legends. The 2.5-hour walk through cemeteries and back alleys (as well as to landmarks like St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Dublin Castle) features tales of serial killers, ghosts and the Gaelic festival that spawned Halloween. Guides are consistently lauded as gifted, humorous storytellers who make the excursions fun rather than frightening (though other tour-takers note some stories are graphic). Tours start from Barnardo Square at 5 p.m. every day except Monday and Wednesday. Tickets are free, but tips are encouraged. SANDEMANs also operates a free walking tour of the city and a couple of ticketed private tours.
Collins Day Tours – Glendalough, Wicklow and Kilkenny Full-Day Tour
Price: Adults from 40 euros; kids from 25 euros
Duration: 9 hours
Highlights of this daylong excursion include Wicklow Mountains National Park, walking tours of the medieval city of Kilkenny and of the sixth-century monastic settlements in Glendalough Valley. There will also be plenty of photo opportunities along the way. Guides regularly win praise not only for their insight, but also for their enthusiasm and warmth. Tourists also find they are given plenty of time at each stop. Buses depart from Hotel Riu Plaza The Gresham Dublin at 8:45 a.m. every day and return to the city at 6 p.m. Tickets cost 40 euros (roughly $42) for adults, 35 euros (about $37) for seniors and youth ages 12 to 17 and 25 euros (approximately $27) for children ages 3 to 11. The price does not cover lunch or entrance to Kilkenny Castle.
Irish Day Tours – Cliffs of Moher Day Trip from Dublin
Price: Adults from 75 euros; kids from 37.50 euros
Duration: 12 hours
Irish Day Tours’ Cliffs of Moher tour makes for a great daytrip from Dublin. The tour departs the city at 6:50 a.m. Guides will take patrons through the iconic cliffs, stop in the charming village of Doolin at lunch time (though meals are not included in the cost of the trip), admire the rocky landscape of the Burren and spend some time wandering through Galway City before returning to Dublin around 7 p.m. Past visitors say the bus drivers and guides are highly entertaining and knowledgeable. Tickets start at 75 euros (about $80) for adults, with discounts for seniors and children. Irish Day Tours also conducts daytrips to Blarney Castle and Cork, as well as to the Connemara region, among other excursions.
DoDublin – Ghostbus Tour
Price: From 35 euros
Duration: 2 hours
Listen as skilled storytellers recount legends of terrible acts and sinister figures – including the doctor believed to have inspired novelist Bram Stoker’s Dracula character – while being shuttled around Dublin to a graveyard, a church and other purportedly haunted sites. Participants say there is a great deal of laughter during these lighthearted explorations of Dublin’s dark side. The Ghostbus Tour lasts approximately two hours and takes place every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, departing at 7 p.m. at 9:30 p.m. Tickets start at 35 euros (about $37). Tour-takers must be at least 14 years old to participate.
Dublin Literary Pub Crawl
Price: From 15 euros
Duration: 2.5 hours
This walking tour is a kind of roving theatrical performance during which professional actors recount scenes from the city’s storied history and its literary heritage, while quoting its most celebrated authors. During the roughly 2.5-hour walk, you’ll visit four historic pubs in the city, as well as Trinity College. Book lovers declare the performers to be entertaining and memorable. The walk begins at 7:30 p.m. at, appropriately enough, a pub: The Duke Dublin. Outings are offered every evening from April through October and Thursday through Sunday from November to March. It costs about 15 euros (nearly $16) – slightly less for students – to take this tour. Drinks are not included in the price.