Travel Ireland via Public Transport

This is our independent guide to the various public transport services on the island of Ireland. Here, you’ll find an overview of information on buses and trains on the island.

Disclaimer: Please note that this guide is curated and maintained on a volunteer basis, and may not always reflect the most up to date information and/or developments in Ireland. A collection of official information sources have been included in this guide to help you along.

Getting around Ireland

The island of Ireland is split into 2 political entities – Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom, and the independent Republic of Ireland. Despite this, there is no hard border between both sides and the island boasts excellent internal connectivity.

A modern and well run public transportation network serves both sides of the border with a decent level of coverage. Separate public corporations operate the buses and trains on both sides, and it is important to know which operator you ought to be referring to. Córas Iompair Éireann (CIE) operate the trains and buses in the Republic via the Irish Rail and Bus Éireann subsidiaries, whereas Translink handles all of Northern Ireland’s public transportation under the NI Railways, Ulsterbus, and Metro subsidiaries.

Travelling between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland does not involve an immigration check at the border. However, border enforcement agencies of both sides do have the power to stop buses for inspections and have been known to do so. Bring your identity documents when travelling cross-border, and ensure you have a valid visa for either Ireland or the UK as required.

Are the buses and trains reliable?

Ireland’s buses and trains are generally reliable options for travelling between towns and urban areas. What is lacking, however, are public transport connections to and within outlying areas. Unfortunately these areas are usually where Ireland’s best natural sights are located, and I’d recommend renting a car if you need greater flexibility for your travel plans.

Travelling by intercity trains in Ireland

Both sides of the Irish border feature reliable intercity train services. Irish Rail in the Republic operates a variety of long distance services to key cities such as Waterford, Cork, Galway, and Sligo. On the other hand, NI Railways runs a much smaller network featuring a hybrid blend between commuter and intercity services, with most services stopping at all stations on the line.

Travelling intercity with Irish Rail
Our guide to travelling on Irish Rail’s intercity trains.
Travelling with Northern Ireland Railways
Our guide to NI Railways, a great way to see Northern Ireland.

Cross Border travel between Belfast and Dublin

The cities of Belfast and Dublin are connected by dedicated express buses and trains. The highlight is the specially branded Enterprise express train jointly operated by Irish Rail and NI Railways. Unfortunately I cannot verify if Starfleet also has a hand in the operations.

Cross-Border Bus & Train
Our guide to Bus and Train connections between Belfast and Dublin.

Getting to Newgrange via Public Transport

Newgrange is a prehistoric Stone-Age site located an hour north of Dublin. One of Ireland’s most famous attractions, the site is very much reachable by public transport.

Newgrange via Public Transport
Our guide to visiting Newgrange using Public Transport.