This is the promised second blog on our trip to Dublin and it is focused on a real snoozer of a topic, mass transit.
As you may have gathered from my previous posts, I don’t think driving is the best way to see Ireland, unless you are seeing very rural Ireland. Remember Ireland is an Island country and has a Gaelic version of “Island mentality” ... very laid back … take transportation that matches the culture.
For our trip from Galway to Dublin, we took an express bus. It was €20 each round trip (or return trip). Americans will say this is pretty expensive, but it is a deal when petrol is over $9 per gallon and the tolls for the M-4 at €2.80. It is over 250 km between Galway and Dublin so the price to drive round trip is about €70 in just petrol plus the €5.60 in tolls… throw in not paying for parking in Dublin … the free WiFi…the comfortable seats… the frequent schedule and stops ... and you have a deal…€75+ vs. €40 is a deal … even if you have to take a taxi to the bus station/stop.
We took a bus run by a company called Go Bus at gobus.ie. In the past we have also taken Citylink at citylink.ie. Bus Éireann is an option for Galway to Dublin; but a requirement if you want to get off between Dublin and Galway. Their website is at buseireann.ie and the fairs are slightly cheaper for Dublin to Galway, but will take a little over an hour more. Reservations for GoBus and CityLink are preferred but not required. A prepaid ticket and reservation guarantees you a seat on your bus. Because of the math I illustrated above, there can sometimes be quite a demand for these buses. One can also take the train for slightly more and about the same trip duration, although the trains between Galway and Dublin do not run as often as the buses.
Once you are in Dublin you have several other options for public transport:
Muni Buses – www.dublinbus.ie, fares vary, there is a €.60 city center fare which will be sufficient for most sight seeing destinations.
Luas – www.luas.ie - €6.10/€6.30 (buy from a machine versus an agent) for all day, cheaper fares available for single short distances. Buy ticket at stops. We primarily used the Luas for transport between tourist destinations.
DART – Dublin Area Rapid Transit – part of Irish rail. You might use if traveling to some of the outer suburbs of Dublin. Would probably use Irish rail if traveling to Galway, Limerick, and/or Belfast, prices are slightly higher from Galway to/from Dublin . The train from Galway goes to Heuston station that requires taking the Luas to the Connolly or other stations if you are going on to other cities or to the DART.
Hop-on/Hop off tourist buses - http://www.dublinsightseeing.ie. Two day pass – goes to most (if not all) major tourist attractions. – €18.00/€15.30 (agent versus on-line buy)…kids are free, other tours and options. This bus has the added benefit of a running tour monologue.
Taxis – €7 or €8…best way to get home in the rain and/or after a night in the pubs ... a small premium for Sunday and after midnight…taxi calculator on-line…BTW, no tipping. or only if you want. We used a taxi after a late visit to the pub.
Walking – almost every place you probably want to see is in a 2.0 km semi-circle south of the River Liffey, with the center of the circle at the Ha’Penny Bridge. Yes it rains, bring a rain coat or jacket :-).
Bikes - Did not try this, but it is intriguing ... sort of a Zip Car for bikes. There are 44 stations throughout Dublin and you rent the bikes by the hour. See their website at dublinbike.ie for more details
Save yourself some Euros and forget a car while in Dublin. It will make your visit much more enjoyable. For travel planning I’d like to suggest flying to Dublin and spend 2 to 3 nights to see the city and getting over your jet lag and then experience driving on the “other side of the road” (no, not the wrong side of the road :-) ) when you are well rested and only driving on motorways (inter-state highway equivalents) or country roads with very few other drivers. Please see my previous post on driving in Ireland before renting a car.
See You in the Pub!
Jet Lag Jack