The Short Version
Are you asking yourself, “how do I do one day in Northern Ireland?” Well, let me tell you. You can absolutely do Northern Ireland in a day leaving from Dublin. Here is where you can for sure hit up with plenty of time to spare, assuming you leave early:
- Dark Hedges
- Giant’s Causeway
- Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
- Dunluce Castle
The Long Version of One Day in Northern Ireland
I absolutely wasn’t going to let us explore Ireland and NOT go to Northern Ireland. I had seen pictures of Giant’s Causeway and was confused/intrigued and had to go there. But, with 10 days, 1 car, 3 women, and lots of stops, we decided it, “fuck it, we can do this in 1 day.” And we did.
If you’re coming from Dublin, you can hit these in order that they’re listed. If you’re coming from a different direction make sure to plan out what makes the most sense based on your origin.
We left Dublin at about 7am and drove first to the Dark Hedges probably around 9am. There were very few people there at that time so we were able to gallivant around Dark Hedges with very little interruption.
We drove to Giant’s Causeway and probably got there around 10am (it was pretty close to Dark Hedges) and went on one of the guided tours. Our guide was awesome and told us all of the history and folklore that we absolutely would not have known had we not gone on the guided tour. It was still relatively early in the day so there weren’t a ton of tourists but there were some so you had to maneuver to get some really good, empty photos. Not all that difficult but a couple of key spots you really just took turns snapping pictures of other tourists so they’d take one of you.
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is literally like, right next door to Giant’s Causeway so was super easy to get to. You buy your ticket and you basically hike over to the bridge. It’s super cool and not scary at all if you’re not afraid of heights. There was also this incredibly impressive boat situation that was lifted onto the island that local fisherman use and I still don’t understand how it worked but it was impressive.
This was an EXCEPTIONAL stop that I’m so glad we made. I honestly wanted to go there after reading that it was the inspiration for Castle Greyjoy in Game of Thrones, and I totally get why. It was beautiful, set on the seaside cliffs, and it was really amazing. We were there until closing time and it was really spectacular to walk through this castle, dating back to the 1300s. Amazing.
If you made it this far, I’m proud of you. And if you’re debating on Northern Ireland for your trip, you can absolutely do it in a day and not actually feel like you want to die. We were impressed by how *not* tired we were, and how much interesting stuff we got to see. Not convinced? Check out my Instagram Highlights to see how gorgeous Ireland, and Northern Ireland, really were.
Now, go off and book your trip! And be prepared to eat well along the way too, with my food guide to Ireland.