Finding good Ireland day trips is one of my favourite summer activities. This week (18 July 2016), I tried a cruise from Dun Laoghaire to Killiney on board the St Brigid ferry with Dublin Bay Cruises. This is an early evening voyage. It lasts about 70 minutes and passes Sandycove, the 40 Foot and Dalkey on the way to Killiney Bay.
The cruise is easily accessible by public transport or car. The East Pier is just a short walk from the Dart Station and there is plenty of parking nearby. The largest car park, adjacent to the harbour, was advertising a day rate of €5 when I walked past yesterday.
Finding the ferry was easy. I didn’t see any signage until but the St Brigid was visible as I walked towards the peer. The ferry was moored adjacent to the Dublin Bay Cruises office. You can book in advance but I bought my ticket on the pier.
Then, with about half an hour to spare before departure, I bought a 99 from the famous Teddy’s ice cream stand on the pier before heading back to board.
Armed with sunglasses, a hat, a bottle of water, my 99 and a handbag, I was a bit overburdened and, as it was low tide, the gangplank was quite steep. That caused me a moment’s anxiety because I have a fear of going downstairs but I needn’t have worried. One of the crew kindly walked ahead of me and even carried my ice cream so that I could hold on to the rails on both sides!
Safely on board, I found a seat facing the water and settled in to enjoy the cruise. It was a beautiful, sunny evening and the views of Dun Laoghaire as the ferry left the harbour were spectacular — glistening church spires and lots of interesting buildings on my left, Howth to my right, Dalkey, Killiney and the Wicklow Mountains behind me.
Exiting the harbour, the ferry passed by Sandycove with the crew pointing out landmarks along the way including the Martello Tower made famous by Irish writer, James Joyce.
Dalkey Sound and Dalkey Island
Further along, we passed Dalkey Sound and saw the Kish Lighthouse before entering Killiney Bay. There, looking south along the coast, we took in spectacular views of the Wicklow Mountains with Sugarloaf easy to pick out in the evening sunshine.
Then, the St Brigid circled back around Dalkey Island, close enough to get excellent views. Although not inhabited now, Dalkey Island has an interesting history dating back to the Mesolithic age and beyond. There is evidence that humans used the island through the Iron Age and into the Early Christian period. It also has associations with the Vikings. The cruise provides great views of the Island’s Martello tower and the ruins of St Begnet’s Church. There is a pod of dolphins in the area and although we didn’t see them, we did spot lots of seals swimming close to the island’s shore line.
Then, it was back to Dun Laoghaire, passing the famous 40 Foot bathing spot on our left before returning into the harbour. Safely disembarked, I strolled back to the Dart station and hopped on a train that had me back at my base 30 minutes later.
All in all, the Dun Laoghaire to Killiney cruise with Dublin Bay Cruises was very enjoyable. My adult ticket for the ferry cost €22. There are special rates for groups as well as for children and seniors and there are discounts if you book a second cruise. If you’re looking for Ireland day trips, it’s one to consider.