Dún Laoghaire (pronounced and occasionally spelled "Dunleary", formerly called Kingstown) is a port and seaside town in County Dublin, 10 km south of Dublin. It's an early 19th century creation: Dublin itself was the traditional port, but the approach was hazardous, with several tragic shipwrecks. An alternative harbour was sought and Howth and Dún Laoghaire competed for this role. Howth lost out because it kept silting up, so for almost 200 years Dún Laoghaire was the main port of entry to Ireland, with ferries from England and Wales. In the early 21st century Dublin regained its role with greatly improved docks and approaches, and a motorway tunnel so that vehicles could bypass city congestion. The ferry terminals moved there and Dún Laoghaire became much quieter, though cruise liners sometimes call.
By trainDart trains run every 10 mins or less from Malahide and Howth through central Dublin (Connolly, Tara St & Pearse stations) and the southern suburbs to . The trains continue south to Dalkey, Bray and Greystones. All these stations are within the Dublin "short hop zone" so the standard flat fare is €3.30 adult single, €6.25 day return, €2.40 single with LEAP card.
A further 3-5 mainline trains per day call on the route between Dublin Connolly, Wexford and Rosslare, which has ferries from Fishguard and Pembroke.
From Belfast, Newry, Drogheda or Sligo, change at Connolly for the Dart train. From other cities (eg Galway, Limerick or Cork) trains run to Dublin Heuston, take the tram to reach Connolly.
Dublin Bus 46a runs here from city centre every 10 mins or so. The route is from Phoenix Park, Dublin Northside through Phibsborough, O'Connell St downtown, then south via Leeson St, Donnybrook, and Stillorgan Rd (N11) to Foxrock then turning up Kill Lane, Mountjoy and York Rd to Dún Laoghaire railway station.
Aircoach 703 runs hourly between Dublin Airport and Dún Laoghaire, stopping by the Royal Marine Hotel, and continuing to Dalkey and Killeney. It's scheduled to take an hour but is often snarled in Southside traffic. Aircoach 702 between the airport and Greystones & Bray runs further inland via Cabinteely and Loughlinstown.
Inter-city buses bypass Dún Laoghaire so you have to travel into central Dublin and come out again. The closest approach is by the bus from Wexford, which calls at Loughlinstown 4 km south, you could pick up a local bus or taxi there. But the train would bring you to town centre.
By boatThe big ferries no longer come here, but you can still arrive old-style by Dublin Bay Cruises. They have daily sailings to Dublin and to Howth, landing at Dun Laoghaire's east pier. To Howth, they sail mid-March to September at 12:30, taking an hour, with views over Dalkey Island, Clontarf, Bull Island, Baily and Kish Lighthouses, Howth Head, Ireland's Eye and Lambay Island. The return sailing (from Howth west pier) is at 15:30. An adult single is €25, which includes a voucher to return by Dart train for only €2 if you don't sail back.
A number of years ago, Lower George's Street underwent pedestrianisation, placing a ban on all general traffic with the exception of bus routes toward central Dublin.
- has become a pleasant place to stroll since the ferries moved into Dublin. There are two long granite piers, the east and the west, with the shorter Carlisle & St Michael's piers in the middle. A plaque here commemorates the original Laoghaire, a 5th C High King of Ireland who used this as a sea base for raiding Britain and Gaul.
phone: +353 1 280 0969address: Haigh TerraceSituated in the former Mariner's Church. Exhibits include the Optic from the Bailey Lighthouse at Howth.
Moran ParkThe small park fronting the Maritime Museum, centred around the sculpture "Christ the King." In 1898 Moran Park House was an early receiver of a wireless test transmission, when Marconi himself sent reports of the local Regatta to this building for newspaper publication.
People's Parkaddress: Upper George's StBeautifully laid out with different flower beds, this Victorian park has a children's play area and Tea Rooms. It's enclosed by wrought iron railings and gates and two very fine cast iron fountains. A market is held here every Sunday 11:00-16:00 year round.
phone: +353 1 280 9265address: 17 Sandycove PointThe Martello tower with its gun platform and living quarters remains much as Joyce described it. The Museum's collection includes letters, photographs, first and rare editions and personal possessions of Joyce as well as items associated with the Dublin of Bloom. First editions of most of Joyce's works are displayed, including the original Ulysses published by Shakespeare and Co in 1922. There's also one of two plaster death masks of Joyce by sculptor Paul Speck.
Cabinteely) is a parkland suburb 4 km south of Dún Laoghaire. Its main sights are the 18th C Cabinteely House, occasionally open for events, and two 12th C Celtic High Crosses. Cabinteely is about 2 km from the Luas tram Green Line.
- Sandycove beach and the Forty Foot Deep are next to the Martello tower; there's a small beach with lifeguards. The "Forty Foot Deep" is traditionally a male nude bathing area, featured in Joyce's Ulysses. In the 1970s female activists successfully campaigned for the right to get equally cold and miserable here, albeit not as shrivelled. You can even scuba-dive in the Deep, where Dublin Bay Prawns and various squidgy-widgy things wave unfriendly limbs at you, but don't take a flying leap off the jetty before checking the depth below. The name refers to the height of the Martello tower rather than the sea depth, which is tidal, and in 2004 the city council were found liable when someone seriously crocked themselves on a rocky outcrop by trusting to the name "Forty Foot Deep".
phone: +353 1 231 2929address: Marine RdHas theatre, cinema, dance etc.
phone: +353 1 280-9827address: Unit 3, Pavilion II, Marine RoadChoose from 800 wines & a wide range of beers and spirits.
phone: +353 1 280 4752address: 2 Queen's RdOfficial gift shop for the Royal National Lifeboat Institute.
- People's Park Market: Sunday 11:00-16:00, see above.
- George's Street is main drag, with a slew of the usual high street choices.
Harry's Cafe Barphone: +353 1 280-8337address: 21 Upper George's StGreat breakfast & lunches. Raspberry or Blueberry muffins are recommended.
phone: +353 86 452 9394address: 1a Windsor TerraceA popular ice-cream parlour with multiple locations.
phone: +353 1 231 1926address: The Pavilion Centre, Marine RdA modern JD Wetherspoons chain pub.
O'Neillsphone: +353 1 280 2657address: 17 George's Street UpperGood pub with bar food.
Dunphysphone: +353 1 280 1668address: 41 George's Street LowerSolid central pub.
phone: +353 1 284 6025address: 73 George's Street UpperOld style bar with live sports on TV.
phone: +353 1 284 1524address: 7 Dunleary RdRight on DART and bus lines to central Dublin, but they only rent by the week, with 1 2 3 & 4 bedded rooms, no dorm. So it's more like student self-catering than a hostel. Kitchen & dining room, light breakfast is included. Rooms are en-suite. Laundry facilities, individual lockers, Wifi, TV lounge with open fire. Barbeque area weather permitting, this is Ireland.
- Royal Marine Hotel is a grand old pile facing the harbour, B&B double €150.
phone: +353 1 285-3555address: Killiney, Dun Laoghaire3-star with spa and leisure centre. All rooms have Wi-Fi, satellite TV, work desk with phone, hairdryer, iron & board, tea & coffee making facilities.