Established in 1204 and in continuous use ever since, the world famous Dublin Castle has been at the forefront of Ireland’s history for more than 800 years. With staterooms and apartments that have housed many prominent historical figures over the centuries, a 19th century coach house, an army barracks from 1811 and a 13th century Norman Tower among its structures, it's clear that Dublin Castle has undergone many transformations throughout its long history. Most of the buildings are still in official use today, but the gardens, museum, library and chapel are free to explore, with the State Apartments and Medieval undercroft accessible by guided tour.
To the north east of Dublin city is the peninsula of Howth Head, accessible through a narrow strip of land from the village of Sutton. On the peninsula is the village of Howth, Baily Lighthouse, a castle, an abbey, the pier, and some of the most amazing hill and valley country, along with beautiful beach and cliff surroundings. Summiting the highest peak or traversing the many cliff walks rewards with stunning sea views, while visiting Baily Lighthouse allows a fabulous panorama of Dublin Bay. There are also many colonies of seabirds, including razorbills, kittiwakes and Great Cormorants.
Killiney Hill is found to the south east of Dublin city, is 500 feet high and topped with a stone obelisk that was completed in 1742. Clear days give astonishing views out to sea, sometimes as far as the mountains of Wales, but whichever direction you look is rewarded with a fantastic sight. Dozens of walking paths criss-cross the Hill, and many visitors enjoy merely strolling along the beach below before climbing the hill to take in the surroundings.
About 900 feet off the coast of Dalkey lies the small and uninhabited Dalkey Island. Although it's only a five-minute boat ride to the island, most visitors prefer to merely enjoy the views of it from the nearby coast. The remains of a church, houses and a Martello Tower fort can all be seen, along with occasional herds of wild goats. Visiting the island is simple enough, and the channel that separates it from the mainland, though deep, is very popular for fishing, diving and sailing.
Skerries Harbour on a sunny day is a fabulous place to relax and watch the world go by. Skerries, the name meaning 'The Rocks', is a seaside town north of Dublin that is a popular visitor destination. The location features five islands off the coast that were said to be used as staging points for Viking invasions 1300 years ago. There are many reasons why people like to spend time in Skerries, but sitting a harbour-side pub, watching the seals chasing the fishing fleet as it brings its catch home, is perhaps the most peaceful and simplest to arrange.