Getting to Newgrange via Public Transport

Newgrange is a prehistoric site located an hour north of Dublin.  It is Ireland’s Stonehenge and is a highly popular tourist spot. The site, collectively called “Brú na Bóinne“, features 3 Stone-Age passage tombs: Newgrange itself, Knowth, and Dowth, though only Newgrange and Knowth is accessible to the public.

Visitors can get to Newgrange either by driving, via tour buses, or via public transport. If you’re going via public transport, the closest starting point is the town of Drogheda. Access to the site is via the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre only.

Updated 16 December 2023.

Getting to Newgrange from Drogheda via Public Transport

The sole public transport link between Newgrange and Drogheda is the Local Link Bus Route 188 operated by Transport for Ireland under the Local Link service branding. This replaces the previous Bus Éireann route 163 that used to operate between Drogheda Bus Station and Newgrange with very low frequencies.

For visitors to Newgrange, Route 188 still serves Drogheda Bus Station and Newgrange as the old route 163 used to.

Local Link Route 188 Timetables and Frequencies

The new route 188 features more scheduled services per day than the old route 163. As of May 2023, the timings for the sector between Drogheda Bus Station and Newgrange are as follows:

Route 188 (Drogheda to Athboy)

Drogheda Bus Station07:5810:5812:4814:4816:33
Brú na Boinne Visitor Centre08:1511:2913:1915:1916:59

Route 188 (Athboy to Drogheda)

Newgrange (Brú na Boinne Visitor Centre)07:3009:1411:4913:4915:34
Drogheda Bus Station07:4209:3012:1914:1916:04

All services run from Monday to Sunday, except for 25th and 26th December, and 1st January.

Local Link Route 188 Fares

Tickets can be paid for onboard in cash or using the TFI Leap Card. Tickets can also be bought on the TFI Go app. Holders of the Free Travel Pass can also use them on Local Link buses including Route 188.

FaresCash Fare (EUR)TFI Leap & TFI Go (EUR)
Adult Single2.501.70
Adult Return4.00
Adult 1 Day3.65
Adult 2 Journey (TFI Go app only)3.40 (TFI Go app only)
Young Adult / Child Single1.000.85
Young Adult / Child Return2.00
Young Adult / Child 1 Day1.95

External Links

For more information, please visit the following links:

What’s changed from Bus Éireann route 163?

The new Local Link Route 188 bus is an improvement over the old route 163. Bus Éireann used to operate route 163 with only two scheduled services per day with departures at 11:15 am and 2:45 pm from Drogheda Bus Station. Quite frankly, this wasn’t helpful, and when I used this bus route in 2017 I only had time for Newgrange instead of both Newgrange and Knowth. Route 188 also goes further than the old route 163, meaning it is also more useful to local residents as a regular bus line.

With the new timings, you now have more choices for your trip planning, and it should now be possible to visit both Newgrange and Knowth with the Local Link Route 188 bus.

Getting to Drogheda via train and bus

Drogheda is well connected to Dublin by both rail and road. To keep things simple – it is most convenient to take Bus Éireann Expressway 100x from Dublin to Drogheda as the buses call at the Drogheda Bus Station, where you can interchange easily with the Local Link Route 188 bus.

By train

Drogheda train station is a twenty minute walk from the Drogheda bus station. Connections to and from Dublin are via Irish Rail’s Commuter service running between Dublin Connolly station and Dundalk. There are a variety of timings out of Dublin available on weekdays, Saturdays, and Sundays that allow a connection to Local Link Route 188 at your leisure. With the expanded schedules, you now have more flexibility to plan your day trip to Newgrange.

By bus

Alternatively, the Bus Éireann Expressway 100x service from Dublin provides a fast and convenient connection to Drogheda. The 100x service has daily hourly departures from Dublin’s Custom House Quay from 0700 am onwards, and takes between 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes to cover the distance to Drogheda Bus Station.  

Do note: Route 100x begins its journey at Wilton Terrace in South Dublin at 0640 am.  For connections in the city centre (or if you are connecting from Dublin Connolly station), catch the bus from Custom House Quay, right on the steps of the Custom House.  The first departure of the day from Custom House Quay is at 0700 am, and puts you in Drogheda at 0800 am.

Timetables

Getting from Belfast to Newgrange via the Enterprise train

The Enterprise train service between Belfast Lanyon Place and Dublin Connolly calls at Drogheda train station. It is very much possible to connect from the Enterprise to the Local Link Route 188, and you simply have to walk from Drogheda train station to Drogheda Bus Station.

Here are some recommended itineraries for visitors:

Belfast to Newgrange via Enterprise (Monday – Friday)

Dept: Belfast Lanyon Place (Enterprise)06:5010:3512:3514:05
Arrv: Drogheda MacBride train station (Enterprise)08:2212:0714:0715:40
Drogheda Bus Station (Route 188)10:5812:4814:4816:33
Newgrange (Brú na Boinne Visitor Centre) (Route 188)11:2913:1915:1916:59

Belfast to Newgrange via Enterprise (Saturday)

Dept: Belfast Lanyon Place (Enterprise)06:5009:3610:3512:3514:05
Arrv: Drogheda MacBridge train station (Enterprise)08:2211:0612:0714:0715:41
Drogheda Bus Station (Route 188)10:5812:4812:4814:4816:33
Newgrange (Brú na Boinne Visitor Centre) (Route 188)11:2913:1913:1915:1916:59

Newgrange to Belfast via Enterprise (Monday – Friday)

Newgrange (Brú na Boinne Visitor Centre) (Route 188)11:4913:49
Drogheda Bus Station (Route 188)12:1914:19
Dept: Drogheda MacBride train station (Enterprise)13:5615:55
Arrv: Belfast Lanyon Place (Enterprise)15:3517:26

Newgrange to Belfast via Enterprise (Saturday)

Newgrange (Brú na Boinne Visitor Centre) (Route 188)11:4911:4913:4915:34
Drogheda Bus Station (Route 188)12:1912:1914:1916:04
Dept: Drogheda MacBride train station (Enterprise)13:0213:5615:5519:35
Arrv: Belfast Lanyon Place (Enterprise)14:3715:3517:2621:05

Newgrange to Belfast via Enterprise (Sunday)

Newgrange (Brú na Boinne Visitor Centre) (Route 188)11:4913:4915:34
Drogheda Bus Station (Route 188)12:1914:1916:04
Dept: Drogheda MacBride train station (Enterprise)12:3416:3416:34
Arrv: Belfast Lanyon Place (Enterprise)14:0818:0818:08

The timings for the connection from the Enterprise to the Route 188 bus on Sunday aren’t very workable, so I’ve left them out of the tables. But as a whole, I won’t recommend making a day trip to Newgrange from Belfast with the Enterprise as the Enterprise scheduling isn’t very compatible with the Route 188 scheduling. I would recommend the Commuter trains from Dublin or the Expressway 100x bus instead.

For more information on Cross-Border travel options between Belfast and Dublin, please visit our info page for Cross-Border services.

What do I recommend?

The introduction of Local Link Route 188 and its increased timings have made public transit access to Newgrange from Dublin a very feasible option. You now have the time to visit both Knowth and Newgrange and should still be able to make one of the later bus timings.

To be frank, however, you will still have some timing constraints as compared to if you drove yourself. So if flexibility is what you’re looking for, then a driving day trip to Newgrange is for you. If driving is also not for you, then feel free to sign up for one of the many paid bus tours to the Newgrange site.

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Read my visit to Newgrange via Public Transport in 2017:

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