How to Travel to Ireland by Train

How to Travel to Ireland by Train
Ireland, land of wild windswept cliffs, pristine villages and breathtaking landscapes, beckons many an outdoor enthusiast. There are no rail services that connect Ireland directly with Britain, but you can combine rail and ferry tickets to enjoy a scenic journey to the Emerald Isle. Whether you want to explore the landscapes of Country Derry in Northern Ireland, stroll on the rocky beaches along the southern coast or get off the beaten path, you can find a rail and ferry combination to start you on your journey.

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Photo ID (EU citizens) Passport with six-month validity from date of entry (citizens of non-EU countries)
  • Photo ID (EU citizens)
  • Passport with six-month validity from date of entry (citizens of non-EU countries)
Step 1
Choose your route. Before buying your rail and ferry tickets, decide what your itinerary is. If you plan on traveling extensively by rail in Ireland and other European countries, you should consider buying a rail pass instead of a single journey ticket. Learn more about rail passes on www.eurolines.com.
Step 2
Decide on your port of entry. Ferries generally ply routes from Stanraer to Belfast (3 hours, 15 minutes), Holyhead to Dublin (3 hours) and Fishguard to Rossiare (3 hours, 30 minutes). Check out seat61.com/Ireland.htm to see a map of rail routes and ferry crossings from Britain to Ireland.

If you want to explore Northern Ireland, including Country Derry, Portrush's beaches, the Causeway Coastform and Rathlin Island, you should plan on using the Stanraer to Belfast crossing. If you want to start with the lakes of County Roscommon, arrive in Dublin and then take a bus to your desired destination. For a retreat to Killarney National Park, start in Rossiare and continue on the train to Killarney.
Step 3
Book your tickets. You can book combined rail and ferry tickets at a number of places. Eurolines and National Rail UK offer one-way tickets from London's Victoria Station to Dublin (12 hours, 30 minutes) for just £16 (about $26). Go to eurolines.co.uk to check combined rail and ferry rates between other cities. You can also book combined tickets on sailrail.co.uk, but the rates are slightly higher than Eurolines. On some ferry routes there are fastboat crossings and regular ferry crossings. The fastboat crossings take about half the time.

Tips & Warnings

 
If you don't plan on traveling a lot by train, it can be a lot cheaper to get single journey tickets than buying an expensive rail pass that you won't use. Book your combined ticket from your starting city to your destination city. If there are any places you want to visit where the train doesn't go, you can usually get there by bus. Go to buseireann.ie/ to see bus routes and fares in Ireland.
 
If you don't plan on traveling a lot by train, it can be a lot cheaper to get single journey tickets than buying an expensive rail pass that you won't use. Book your combined ticket from your starting city to your destination city. If there are any places you want to visit where the train doesn't go, you can usually get there by bus. Go to buseireann.ie/ to see bus routes and fares in Ireland.

Article Written By Heather Carreiro

Heather Carreiro is a certified English teacher who has been writing since 2008. The editor of Matador Abroad, her work has appeared online at BootsnAll, Matador Network, GoNOMAD, Journey Beyond Travel and Expat Women. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics and Middle Eastern studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is pursuing a Master of Arts in English at Bridgewater State University.

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