Ultimate Guide to Getting Around Ireland

Ireland has a well used and convenient public transportation system to travel within Dublin, its surrounding areas and to connect to the different cities towns and villages in Ireland. In Dublin, the well-connected transport system means that tourist do not have to rent a car, look for expensive parking spots in the center and get caught up in the traffic jams. Many of the attractions in the map below can be reached by using the Irish public transportation system for getting around Ireland, you don’t need to rent a car

Ireland Driving Route
Visit over 100 attractions in the Glens of Antrim and Northern Ireland.

Bus Services for getting around the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland

  1. Bus Eiréann is the national bus transportation and is used for connecting to towns and villages outside of Dublin. Tickets can be obtained from the BusEiréann stations, online or pay the driver. It is best used for trips outside of Dublin and connects to many of Ireland’s attractions. Station information for the different cities and towns can be found HERE
  2. From Dublin, Bus Eiréann will also take you on day trips to popular tourist sites such as 5,200 year old passage tombs at Newgrange, the megalithic tombs at Newgrange or the famous Glendalough valley monastic site in the picturesque Wicklow Mountains National Park. The Bus Eiréannn transport map has a list of the stations throughout Ireland to help in getting around Ireland
  3. In Dublin, you will notice that Bus Eiréann routes run in sync with Dublin Bus and they may sometimes share bus stops. Bus Eiréann buses serve a different purpose. Bus Eiréann passenger s are travelling out of Dublin beyond the reach of intercity Dublin Bus. Passengers coming into Dubli n on Bus Eiréann are being dropped off in Dublin coming from locations outside of Dublin. Bus Eiréann is not used for getting around Dublin, Ireland City Center. The Bus’s start and end station is at the Busaras or central bus terminal at Store Street on the North Quays. This is located near the International Financial Services Centre
  4. There are other bus companies for getting around Ireland besides Bus Eiréann. This includes privat e coaches and intercity coach operator Gobus.ie. Gobus may be cheaper in some cases, a list of Gobus destinations can be found HERE

Irish Rail for getting around Ireland

Iarnród Éireann or Irish Rail encompasses the InterCity Rail System and The DART (Dublin and surrounding Area l Rapid Transit). There are two main Irish rail stations that can be used for getting around Ireland: Heuston Station and Connolly Station for the InterCity Rail System:

  • Heuston stations. Station connects with the South and West and Southwest (Ballina, Westport, Galway, Ennis, Limerick, Tralee, Cork and Waterford lines)
  • Connolly station  serves Sligo, Wexford and Belfast. It has trains take you to Belfast in Northern Ireland and therefore you would be crossing the invisible but real border between the Republic of Ireland (part of the European Union) and Northern Ireland (Part of the UK). From Belfast you can use the Northern Ireland Rail System Translink for getting around Northern Ireland.

Station Listing – lists all the rail stations in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland used for Getting around Ireland

Unless you are planning on travelling outside of Dublin or travelling outside the Greater Dublin area, you will not be using the Iarnród Éireann InterCity Rail System. This system is used for getting around all of Ireland, Republic of Ireland and up to Northern Ireland

Irelands Free Journey Planner

Use either the Journey planner website or download the Journey Planner app from the app store, google pay store or windows store for getting around Ireland.

Features for the journey planner tool include coverage for all of Ireland including many rural towns and cities. It is a public transportation app covering buses, trains, buses and trams.

Getting Around Dublin and Ireland (Republic of Ireland)

Dublin Bus

Dublin Bus (Bus Átha Cliath) operates a Dublin city-wide bus system allowing riders to get around Dublin, Ireland

The last Dublin bus is at 11:30 pm. However, Dublin bus also operates Nitelink. Nitelink provides night time service on Fridays and Saturdays from midnight to 4am

Essentially, Dublin bus is owned and operated by the state and serves the city of Dublin and the Greater Dublin surrounding area. Additional information and route planners can be found on the Dublin Bus website

From Dublin Airport to Central Dublin

Public transportation in the form of the local buses run by Dublin Bus will take you from Dublin airport to central Dublin or Sutton DART station in the Dublin Greater Area. It takes about 45-60 min by bus. The Buses 16, 41 and 102 will take you to the city center and you can board these buses in Zone 15 in the parking lot. View Dublin Airport bus map here. Tickets can be purchased right on the bus but you will need exact change or euro dollars; the machine does not give out change. Just drop the money into the machine when you board. The Dublin bus is a great inexpensive option from getting around Dublin, Ireland.

Local buses are cheaper but they are also slower than private airport coaches. One of these private coaches transfer is Airlink route 747. The Airlink bus stop is just outside Terminal 1, however it does make a stop at Terminal 2 before continuing to the city center. Tickets can be purchased for cash from the driver or you can purchase a Leap card inside the terminal and pay with the Leap card. Once you arrive in the city center, follow the maps and tours below to explore central Dublin using the three Dublin Walking Tours

  1. Dublin Walk 1 – Top 18 Attractions, guide to Dublin City Center, North of the River Liffey Dublin
  2. Dublin Walk 2 – Top 16 attractions, guide to attractions South of the River Liffey, including the Temple Bar Region
  3. Dublin Walk 3 – Top 16 attractions, guide to Historic Old Dublin

Airport Bus Service Schedule for getting around Dublin, Ireland:

Bus Etiquette

When there are queues at the bus stop, it is not rush seating when the doors open. The person who was there first will be near the stop and will board first. The rest will board in the order of arrival at the bus stop. Enter and leave the bus from the front entrance located by the driver. If the bus has a middle door, do not stand there, the driver will generally not open it at your stop and you will have to run to the front of the bus to disembark. A general thank you for the driver is common courtesy and expected when passengers leave.


DART is a suburban rail system route for getting around Dublin, Ireland. It connects north to south along the coastline of Dublin Bay

The DART is not as useful for travel within Dublin central however it does connect to suburbia and towns just outside the city (Greater Dublin Area). It can connects to Dublin’s LUAS tram station at Connolly Station and the Dart Trip planner is very helpful to plan your journey. The DART Lines run from Greystones, in County Wicklow, in the south to Howth and Malahide in north County Dublin.

DART Services for day trips around Greater Dublin Area:

  • Howth – A favorite locations on the East coast. Its just north of Dublin with spectacular views from the cliff tops. Visit the fishing village of Howth including Howth Castle. Climb the Howth Hill, hike along the cliff tops and stop for a meal in the village. Both DART and Dublin Bus will take you to Howth
  • Killney – The scenic coastline of Killney has been compared to that of the Bay of Naples and the street names tend to be Italian. A small affluent suburb south of Ireland, it has hardly been touched by tourism. Use the DART for getting to Killney
  • Bray – Bray is the largest town in Wicklow south of Dublin. It is a popular seaside town with the locals.. You can get to Bray by using either Dublin Bus or DART
  • Greystones – It is a charming and affluent suburb located next to Bray, south of Dublin. A perfect romantic getaway with B&B’s, restaurants and boutique stores. The DART and Dublin Bus both have stops in Greystones
  • Malahide – Travel north of Dublin to Malahide. A scenic coastline makes this popular with both locals and tourists. If you are visiting in the summer, attend one of the many summer festivals, visit the museum to explore its Viking history

Luas Tram System

Luas means “speed”. The Luas Tram system connects Dublin City Center to the suburbs. There are two main lines, the Red Line and the Green Line. The two lines connect in central Dublin via a short walk at Abbey Street, O’Connell GPO (General Post Office) and Marlborough Street tram station. The Luas website also contains a helpful Journey Planner. Additional information including map of stops, timetables and ticket prices can be found on the Transport Ireland website.


Dublin Transport Map – This map lists all stations, including DART and LUAS stations used for getting around Dublin, Ireland

Transportation Tickets used for Getting around Dublin and Republic of Ireland- Leap Card and Rambler Tickets

Public Transportation fares in Dublin are determined by the start and end destination for both rail and buses so the farther you travel the more the ticket will cost

Leap Card

Leap Card – An alternative to carrying change and determining fares is to purchase a Leap Card. It can be purchased from the Dublin Bus, Tram or Rail station or from any agent. The driver is informed of the destination and the validating machine is setup to the left of the entrance door on the Dublin Bus. Based on the destination, the appropriate fare is deducted from the Leap card. Leap cards can be used on In the Republic of Ireland (not Northern Ireland) on Luas, DARTBus Éireann, and Dublin Bus, Irish Rail.

Fares savings can be of up to 31% for single trips when the Leap Card is used for getting around Ireland

  • Fare capping – If you make a lot of trips, the Leap card will automatically cap process to a maximum amount for the day/week and the rest of travel in that week is essentially free. Maximum cap amounts are different for the Bus, Luas, DART or Rail.
  • Leap Cards can be purchased and topped at a over 600 locations in Ireland including the Dublin Airport. A list can be found at the Leap Card Purchase locations website
  • Using Leap Cards
    • A 90 Minute fare now applies to most journeys in the Dublin area when using the Lead Card
    • When using Leap cards on trains, trams, and Luas activate the trip by holding the card to the Leap card machine when you start the journey. At the destination, hold the card to the Lead card machine again to mark the completion of your journey so that the system can subtract the correct amount of money used. You need to both sign in at the beginning of your journey and sign out at the end of your journey. This process is not necessary when only using the bus. If you are only using the bus for the journey (and not a combination of Bus+Train/DART/Luas), you need to activate the start of the journey when you enter the bus, there is no need to sign out
    • Leap card tips

Rambler Pass

Rambler passes are convenient and cheaper if you travel infrequently i.e. 2 days one week and 3 days the next week. Rambler tickets can be added to the Leap card at a Leap Card outlet. Use the Leap card when boarding and it will deduct automatically. However if you do not want to deduct a Rambler fare from your card and would rather deduct a single fare instead, let the driver know and he can do that for you. After 8pm Rambler fares are not valid and the Travel credits are used from the Leap Card.

Getting Around Ireland from Dublin to: Galway, Cork, Kilkenny or Belfast

Getting around to go to Kilkenny, Ireland

  • This is one of the most well preserved medieval town in Ireland. Explore the winding cobblestone streets, visit the oldest pub in Ireland “hole in the wall” and explore the many attractions using the Kilkenny PDF attractions map
  • Use the Kilkenny City map to leave the central core and explore the city
  • The fastest way to get to Kilkenny is by Irish Rail. You can catch the train from Heuston station and arriving at Kilkenny MacDonagh on the Kildare/Waterford line using the Journey planner website

Getting around to Cork, Ireland

  • Cork is a compact and walkable city, it is the second largest city after Dublin and Belfast in Ireland. Tlhe many attractions to visit such as the English Market, Blackrock observatory, the old city walls, Shandon Bells and unspoiled beaches. Cork is known for its coffee culture and food scene. As such, Cork is often referred to as the food capital of Ireland
  • The Cork city bus map can be used to explore attractions outside of downtown Cork
  • In Dublin, you can take Irish Rail from Heuston station to Cork Kent station. it is always 1 more ex l pensive then the bus service. Both GoBus.ie and Irish rail will take you to Cork

Getting around to Galway, Ireland

  • Galway is on the opposite coast of Dublin. A very popular place with tourist and a highlight for many. The Galway walking tour explores the many attractions in Galway
  • You can get to Galway by Irish rail from Dublin’s Heuston station or by bus using Gobus.ie. Aside from car rental, these are my favorite ways for getting to Galway from Dublin.
    • You can also use Bus Éireann instead of Gobus.ie. Use the journey planner for public transportation. In the planner, select Dublin station to Galway station for the different options
    • The journey planner is for all of Irelands public transportation (not Gobus.ie as its privately operated). The planner will give you rail and bus options or a combination for travel in Ireland
  • When you get to Galway, use the Galway city bus map to explore Galway
  • Favorite daytrips from Galway include the Cliffs of Moher, Doolin Village and Aran Islands
    • Galway to Cliffs of Moher, (public transport Bus Eireann 350 to Cliffs of Moher Coach Park)
    • Galway to Doolin, (public transport Bus Eireann #350 to Doolin Hotel. Explore Doolin village and walk from Doolin village to Cliffs of Moher Cliff Walk. From Doolin, the walk to the Cliffs is uphill and along the coast. When it rains it can also be muddy
    • Galway to Aran Islands (Bus Eireann 424 to Rossaveal Ferry port). Take the ferry from Rossaveal to Aran Islands. Additional information can be found at the Aran Islands ferry website HERE
    • Galway to The Burren National Park:
      • take Expressway Bus #51 from Galway Eyre Square to Ennis Station. It is 9 stops and will take about 1.5 hours to Ennis.
      • At Ennis Station take Bus Eireann route 333 to Corofin Village. The village is 5 stops from Ennis and will take approximately 30 minutes to get there. The total trip is just over 2 hours
      • In the village of Corofin, disembark and walk 2 minutes to the Burren National Park Information Center. From the information center, take the free shuttle bus to the park
      • The parking is very limited in the National Park, if you are driving to the park it is strongly advisable to park your vehicle at the Burren National Information center in Corofin. From there take the free shuttle bus to the park

Getting around to visit Belfast, Northern Ireland

  • Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland and part of the United Kingdom and therefore the currency is British Pounds (not Euros as in the Republic of Ireland)
  • You can reach Belfast by catching a train from Connolly station in Dublin

Public Transportation for getting around Northern Ireland

  • Translink Northern Ireland’s main public transportation includes:
    • NI railways: Translink Northern Ireland Railways
      Train service that operates express and commuter services for getting in and around Northern Ireland.  Additional information can be found at the Translink website
    • Translink Ulster Bus: Ulsterbus and GoldlineTrans link,
      Ulster Bus operates from Belfast and connects towns and villages in Northern Ireland. This is the main company that operates in Northern Ireland for getting around. Additional information, including a trip planner can be found at the Translink website.

Ulster Bus operates from Belfast and connects towns and villages in the Northern Ireland. This is the main company that operates throughout Northern Ireland.

NI Train service that operates express and commuter services for getting in and around Northern Ireland.  Additional information can be found at the Translink website

Plan you bus or train journey in Northern Ireland by using the following journey planner:

  1. Translink Journey Planner HERE, operated from Northern Ireland
  2. Transport Ireland Journey Planner HERE, operated from Republic of Ireland

Translink has a number of options for Tickets and Travel Cards, including the Rambler Bus Service for unlimited day travel in Northern Ireland. They sometimes have Special Offers in the more scenic and rural areas

Please note that Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and uses Pounds for currency, while the Republic of Ireland is part of the European Union and uses Euros for currency. You will need bus or train fare in the appropriate currency

Getting around Ireland by car

It is much cheaper to book a car in advance and renting a car in Ireland is simple and straightforward. I would suggest that unless you already have collision insurance, you should obtain collision insurance from the rental agency. Third party insurance is a mandatory on rental cars and you will not have a choice, so prepare your budget for the additional insurance. Unless necessary, rent smaller cars as the minor roads to scenic spots are narrow, steep and sometimes without safeguards such as railings. You need to be 21 years old to rent with a driving history of at least 1 year and individuals under 25 will have a surcharge when renting a car. If you damage the car, make sure you fill in a police report at the local police station in Northern Ireland or the Garda Station in the Republic of Ireland (Police=Garda)

Basic rules of the road:

  • Drive on the left hand side of the road
  • Seat belts are mandatory
  • Do not use your phone while driving
  • There is ZERO tolerance for drinking and driving
  • Always have your license, registration and insurance documents available
  • Northern Ireland is imperial (miles), Republic of Ireland(Southern Ireland) is Metric (KM) so you will know when you cross the border as the sign posts will change
  • Petrol (Gas) stations are usually open between 8am and 10pm
  • In the Republic of Ireland, keep change handy for tolls (from €1.90 to €3.90), preferably Euros, it’s cheaper and Sterling.  They do accept credit cards but if you have exact change you can go to the “Change Basket” line and throw the change into the change basket thereby skipping the lines at the toll booth. There are no toll booths in Northern Ireland
  • Some villages are free parking others you will have to pay for parking. Signage on street will guide you as to whether it is free or meter parking
  • Motorways are marked by “M” such as M2, those are the main highways (usually Tolls in the Republic of Ireland). Next in size is “A” roads such as A1 or A2; they connect most cities. Everything else are smaller or minor roads often with farm traffic so relax it will take you longer than you think, lol. Honking is not an accepted practice
  • Gas / Petrol is generally cheaper in Republic of Ireland than Northern Ireland
  • The currency in Northern Ireland in Pounds Sterling (£), however most places accept Euros (€)
  • Have a really good road map or use google maps as there are many of minor roads

Ireland Attractions: Maps, Guides and Tours

  • Getting around Ireland – Using Public Transportation in Ireland
  • Cliffs of Moher – A very popular tour, a complete guide to the 16 attractions along the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk
  • Doolin – A quaint popular village in County Clare. Stop overnight and walk to the Cliffs of Moher from Doolin or enjoy the many other attractions in and around Doolin
  • The Ring of Kerry – A spectacular 111 mile scenic route on the Iveragh Peninsula. Start at either Kenmare or Killarney for a circular route of three hours without stops. Jaw dropping views of the Atlantic ocean, charming villages and wild sweeping mountains makes this a popular must see attraction in Ireland. Use the map and attractions for the complete self guided tour of the Ring of Kerry
  • The Dingle Peninsula – It is a 30 mile long clockwise loop that takes about 4 hours to complete. The area is the bedrock of Irish culture with signs in many villages and towns indicating that Irish is the predominant language in the area. The picturesque landscape includes rolling hills, craggy shorelines and sandy beaches. The PDF map and attractions guide explores the attractions of the Dingle Peninsula
  • The Ring of Beara – An 85 mile circular route, similar to Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula, however it is far less travelled. In that sense, it is a better drive as there are far less cars on the road. I found the Ring of Beara far more dramatic than either the Ring of Kerry or the Dingle Peninsula. It is not as popular because the tourist buses are not able to navigate the narrow roads with hairpin bends or the Healey Pass.
  • Dublin: Explore central Dublin on foot with these three self guided walking tours and map:
    • Dublin Walk 1 – Top 18 Attractions, guide to Dublin City Center, North of the River Liffey Dublin
    • Dublin Walk 2 – Top 16 attractions, guide to attractions South of the River Liffey, including the Temple Bar Region
      • The Book of Kells and Trinity College in Dublin. Trinity College is the oldest university in Ireland with the historic Long Room,and the old library with over 200,000 of the very old books. It is the most impressive library in the world
      • In Dublin visit the Little Museum of Dublin, Grafton Street, St Stephens Green and Kilmainham Goal (the prison where many rebels from the Easter Rising were held before their execution)
    • Dublin Walk 3 – Top 16 attractions, guide to Historic Old Dublin
  • Galway – Use the Galway Ireland guide for a flexible and personal tour of over 40 attractions Galway City
  • Aran Islands – For a truly authentic Irish experience visit the Aran Islands. They are located at the mouth of Galway Bay. You can catch a ferry from either Doolin or Rosseeval port (Shuttle from Galway to Rosseeval ferry port)
  • The Glens of Antrim – Driving route for the nine Glens of Antrim in Northern Ireland. The guide includes options for public transportation, walking trails in The Glens and Game of Thrones Attractions
  • Over 100 Northern Ireland Attractions – Visit over 100 attractions along the east and north coast of Ireland along the Antrim and Causeway Coastal Route. Travel by car or public transport from the Mourne Mountains to Londonderry. Includes game of thrones sites, castles and walks along the route
  • The Burren – Explore the karst moonscape bedrock of The Burren located in the southwest region and close to the Cliffs of Moher. Attractions in the Burren include ancient tombs, underground caves, walks on an unusual landscape and The Burren National Park