Balbriggan 5 day itinerary
Visitors to Balbriggan have a wealth of choice on things to do. Castle visits, coastal walks and art appreciation are all easily accessible to the visitor. Why not spend your first day checking out Balbriggan lighthouse and harbour. The lighthouse was built in 1769 under the supervision of the Hamilton family of Hampton hall. The harbour itself was built between 1761-1765. Candles were the original means of illumination. George Hamilton was the keeper of the lighthouse for the first 43 years. On his recommendation the lighthouse was increased in height and the source of light was changed from candles to five oil lamps, each with a reflector. Balbriggan ceased to be a sea light in 1860 and became a minor harbour light. By 1960 Balbriggan had become an unwatched electric lamp. In 1989 the responsibility for Balbriggan lighthouse passed from Irish lights to Dublin Port and Docks.The removal of the glass and brass dome of the lighthouse has caused consternation to the local population for many a year. In 2017 Fingal County Council commenced work on the lighthouse to replace the dome. If the sea air has worked up an appetite there are many options for dining in Balbriggan. Food on offer ranges from Irish traditional to the many cuisines from around the globe now represented in Balbriggan.
Ardgillen castle and Bremore castle are within easy access of Balbriggan. Both venues offer something for the visitor looking for a history visit. Ardgillen castle began life as a country house but over the decades many additions expanded the house, leading to it’s designation as a castle. The sprawling demesne provides 5kms of walks with beautiful gardens and playground on offer. Guided tours of the ground floor of the house are available and the coffee restaurant is an ideal place to enjoy a well earned break. The views of the Irish Sea from Rockabilly right up to the Mourne mountains are among the best on the East coast. Bremore Castle is a large tower house located north of Balbriggan. Estimated to have been built in the 14th century, the Norman Barnewalls family held it from the time of construction till 1727, the year in which it was sold. Presently, this grand structure has been reduced to ruins, with the remains standing in place since the mid and late 16th century. Reconstruction work on the castle has been ongoing and this amazing structure is open to the public. Round off day 2 of your Balbriggan stay with good food and good craic in one of the many venues in Balbriggan.
A visit to the Church of St. Peter & Paul’s Balbriggan is a must for those who appreciate art and fine craftwork. Known for its beautiful collection of stained glass windows by Harry Clarke Studios, the Church also houses two exceptional original stained-glass windows designed and created by Clarke’s own hand, The Visitation and The Widow’s Son. Harry Clarke is now recognised internationally as a genius of his age, his work being analogous with that of his friends, W.B. Yeats and George Russell (AE). Clarke worked intensely at his art, as if conscious that death would overtake him at an early age. He had been diagnosed with tuberculosis and suffered from poor health for most of his life. During his short life, Harry Clarke created over 160 stained glass windows for religious and commercial commissions. His work can be found throughout Ireland and England as well as the USA and Australia.
A longer stay will allow the visitor to visit Dublin city centre and one of the many tourist attractions in Ireland’s Capital. Public transport is the best way to make the journey into the centre. From Balbriggan the bus trip takes around 1 hour, or the train takes about 40 minutes. A day spent shopping or visiting the many historic attractions might be finished off with a meal in the city centre before taking public transport back to Balbriggan. Transport services run until approximately 23:00. Alternatively, if the sight-seeing has taken its toll an early evening return to Balbriggan for food in one of the many eating venues can provide a relaxing end to day four.
A visit to one of the other Fingal towns or villages is a great way to spend day five in the area. Rush, Skerries or Malahide are all within 30 mins from Balbriggan by bus and train. The sea air and historic sites dotted around the Fingal coastline will give the visitor a taste of what is on offer for the compulsory return visit to the area. Newbridge House and demesne in Donabate, or Malahide Castle will provide a different insight into Fingal’s many big houses and castles. A visit to Malahide offers History and retail in equal measure. A tour of Malahide castle will unveil some of the rich history of the area, before spending the rest of the day shopping. The visitor can choose to finish the day in Malahide with many food options or return to Balbriggan where, by now you will be treated as a regular in the bars and restaurants.