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Dublin Day Trip to Newgrange and Carlingford

Looking for a fun way to spend a day during your Ireland vacation? We recommend a Dublin day trip to Newgrange and Carlingford especially if you like history and oysters.

Looking Up at Newgrange in Ireland
Looking Up at Newgrange

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It’s fair to say that I’m a city person.

I spent the first 21 years of life in suburban Atlanta, and since then I’ve lived in the cities of San Francisco, New York, Denver and Philadelphia.

It’s no surprise that I immediately felt comfortable in Ireland’s capital city, but it was a real treat to get out of Dublin for a day trip to the Boyne Valley. It was a full day with a visit at UNESCO World Heritage site Newgrange, a gourmet lunch at Ghan House, a walk through the medieval Village of Carlingford and a tour of the Carlingford Oyster Company.

Day Trip from Dublin

Newgrange

We left Dublin bright and early for Newgrange, an ancient temple older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids. Although I’m not the most spiritual person, I was surprisingly moved by the 5,000-year-old Neolithic structure, especially when our knowledgeable tour guide simulated winter solstice in the heart of the passage tomb.

I literally got chills from the experience. I’ll be thinking about Newgrange while I celebrate the winter solstice each year going forward.

Neolithic Carvings at Newgrange in Ireland
Neolithic Carvings at Newgrange

Gourmet Lunch at Ghan House

After a bonus stop at the 10th-century Monasterboice, we headed to lunch at the family-run Ghan House. We were warmly greeted by owner Paul Carroll who shared his family’s 20-year history at the inn whose name is said to translate to a little strand by the sea.

The 18th-century Georgian Inn has won numerous accolades and has been recognized by the British Automotive Association, the Restaurant Association of Ireland and the Bridgestone Guide.

Inside the Charming Ghan House Dining Room in Ireland
Inside the Charming Ghan House Dining Room

I assumed that we would have a quick lunch as part of the busy day trip, but instead we were treated to a leisurely three-course meal. The menu offered various culinary options like lamb, duck and steak, but I chose to go local. When in Rome, or Carlingford, as they say.

Carlingford Crab Cake
Carlingford Crab Cake with Pickled Cucumber, Aioli and Herb Salad

The food was delicious, enhanced by the inn’s charming atmosphere, good conversation and flowing Chilean Merlot.

Baked Cod
Main Course – Oven Baked Cod with a Chorizo and Cannellini Bean Casserole and a Herb Cream; Served with Vegetables and Potatoes of the Day

I was tempted by the sweet desserts, but I instead opted for the cheese plate. I wish I had saved more room for the generous pieces of Cashel Blue, Smoked Gubbeen and Guinness Cheddar. Note to self – Ireland has awesome cheese.

Irish Cheese Plate
Dessert – Selection of Irish Cheeses with Homemade Biscuits and Homemade Chutney

We got a chance to check out the inn’s 12 rooms between courses. Each unique room has been modernized for maximum comfort, but there are elements of the past like clawfoot tubs and antique furniture. Ghan House reminds me of the bed and breakfast where we stayed in Chaudenay, France and is worthy of a visit on my next Ireland trip, hopefully with Daryl in tow.

Carlingford

Carlingford is just an hour from Dublin, but it’s a world away from the city’s hubbub. The town is a gem with centuries of history, views of the Irish Sea and good pubs.

Medievil Town of Carlingford Ireland
Old and New Co-Exist in the Medieval Town of Carlingford
View of the Irish Sea at Low Tide
View of the Irish Sea at Low Tide
Irish Coffee Lesson at PJ O'Hares Pub in Carlingford Ireland
Irish Coffee Lesson at PJ O’Hares Pub in Carlingford Ireland

After a too-quick tour of the medieval town with an expedited Irish Coffee demonstration, we made our last stop of the day at the Carlingford Oyster Company. In a nutshell, or oyster shell, it’s fair to say that I was about to have the best oysters of my life. Stay tuned for my synopsis of the oyster farm experience in my next post.

Hungry for More?
Check out our Dublin Food Guide and Dublin Cafe Guide for some of the best food and drink options in Dublin.

Disclosure: The day trip and lunch were provided by Fáilte Ireland as part of my participation at the TBEX Europe conference. As always, all opinions expressed are completely my own.

About the Author
Mindi Hirsch left corporate America to embark on a never-ending quest for the next great meal. The award-winning Food & Travel writer lives in Lisbon with her partner Daryl.

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Elaine Schoch

Thursday 16th of July 2015

Sounds like an amazing day! I'll have to check out Fáilte Ireland's tours when we make our way to Dublin.

Natali Mckee

Sunday 12th of April 2015

My husband and I are obsessed with Ireland. We are counting down the days until we can visit, which won't be for another 3 years! sigh

melody pittman

Tuesday 16th of December 2014

oh that crabcake looks divine! yum i hope to make it to ireland some day. do they have all the curry restaurants that scotland and england does?

Mindi Hirsch

Tuesday 16th of December 2014

The cuisine in Dublin is very sophisticated, so you can probably fine most anything there.

Red Hen

Thursday 14th of November 2013

What a wonderful day out! I`m dead jealous even though I`m only a Neolithic stone`s throw away from all of those places! :-) Wonderful pictures! I want that crab cake!