One of the things I love about Dublin is how close to so many other cool places it is. I've previously told you about all the wonders of BRAY and HOWTH, but this time our destination is a wee bit different. No cliffs, but castles. I'm of course talking about Malahide.

Malahide is a town North of Dublin, and couldn't be easier to reach: the Dart takes you there in half an hour from the city centre. The biggest attraction by far is the Malahide Castle, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the whole of Ireland, according to someone somewhere. I had insisted on going for almost three weeks, until finally the miracle of sunshine was blessed upon Ireland and we had the perfect weather and zero excuses to ditch this thing again. So off we went, no idea what to expect.

Malahide turned out to be the most adorable thing. I took so many pictures. So. Many. Let's have a look!

Now this wouldn't be an Irish coastal town if it didn't have a small harbour, like so. We took a tiny tour around.

I tried to come up with a cheeky thing to say about this photo but then my buzzkill editor side took over and all I can say is I LOVE OUTDOOR LIGHTING.

Now, the cute city centre. Photos will follow below. I mean, how are you supposed to pick a restaurant when they all look so welcoming? I want to eat in all of these. I want to get my hair cut in that salon just because of the lights outside.

I honestly had no idea how many palm trees there'd be in Ireland before I moved in and was baffled by all things tropical. What's up with that? Where do you guys get your palm trees?

After rolling around aimlessly for an hour or so and getting lost like two times we finally headed to the right direction and found the castle grounds - which was surprisingly hard for us taking into account it's pretty much the same size as the whole town centre in itself. And it's right across the road from the train station, but you know.

There was an inner garden here, but you'd have to pay to get in. Alex wanted to come back in the summer.

The castle! Apparently the oldest parts of it date back to the 12th century, owned originally by the Talbot family for over 790 years. It eventually got sold to the Irish State in 1973, and is now open for visits.

We didn't go in: visiting the castle and the West Gardens inside the walls comes with a price we were not interested in paying at this time of the year - 12€ for adults, 8€ for students and 6€ for kids. We planned on returning during summer when we'd actually see flowers in bloom.

The castle and the surrounding lands are a pretty impressive sight in itself though:

Alex was fascinated by these flowers. No matter how far the winter is, I'm still confused by the amount of green in here at this time of the year. Is this the real life? Is this my winter now? Smelling flowers in February?

Later on in the evening we returned to the town and found a pub to have a pint in. Gibneys was pretty full and sportsy, but we fit in and had a break before heading back to Dublin.

A lovely trip all in all! Like Howth and Bray, Malahide was added to my personal list of "Places Where I Want to Retire". Talk about a long-term plan....

Have you been to Malahide? Are there any other such spots within a day trip distance from Dublin I should go and check out? Share your tips and thoughts in the comments below!

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