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Dingle from Dublin by Train, Bus, Etc. Worth it?

We will be in Ireland for 8 days in March. The plan, thus far is to spend the first 3 nights roaming a bit and the second 5 nights in Dun Laoghaire for exploration in Dublin, etc. This Dingle thing, we missed it the first time in Ireland, and I have been trying to plan it out, but maybe in March, it's not even worth it? Too cold? We'd be arriving at the airport @ 2:00, (not jet lagged as coming from Lisbon) heading to Heuston station, then taking a train--my thought was to spend a night somewhere along the way and continue via train to Tralee. Then, as I understand it, there's a bus to Dingle, but to see the "loop" we'd need to take a tour and spend a night there, likely. Would we be better off signing up for a tour from Dublin or Cork? Or just wait until we travel in a warmer time of year and visit Kilkenny and Glendalogh?

I feel like I am wearing myself out checking trains, B & Bs, etc . for the Dingle thing.

Posted by
3702 posts

There are some places that are best done by car. You can make them work by public transportation, but that takes more time and effort. Dingle, I think, is one of those places. Why not rent a car for a few days and save yourself all sorts of juggling?

Posted by
498 posts

Forget trying to get to Dingle by public transit. You only have eight days and it will just take up too much of your time getting there and back. If you really must see it you can take the train to Killarney and do a guided day trip from there. But, getting to Killarney by train is also time consuming so I would only do it if you can spend three or four days there. Killarney is a great base to see other sights, but I'm not sure if the guided day trips would be up and running in March. If you don't plan to have a car then maybe the first thing you need to check is the status of the guided day trips before you make plans to go all the way there. You best plan may be to spend your time closer to Dublin, Kilkenny is a nice little town and would make a good day trip, and even Galway or Belfast aren't too far away by train. You will see more if you stay fairly close to Dublin and spend less time in transit.

Posted by
114 posts

We thought of renting a car, but don't feel comfortable driving on the "wrong" side of the road. I am checking on the tours--

Posted by
988 posts

Hi Cheryl,
Driving on the “wrong” side gets way too much airtime. Not a big deal. Get an automatic with GPS and you will have the hang if it in no time. Dingle is worth it and having a car is, well, freedom!
I drove in Ireland by myself with 2 kiddos in backseat. And I didn’t put a single scratch on the car. You can do it!

Posted by
1868 posts

I feel your pain. I wanted to see Dingle and I didn't want to drive. I only had two weeks and I realized that the time spent to get to Dingle on Public Transport simply wasn't the best use of my time. There are so many lovely places to go in Ireland and Northern Ireland that are convenient, or almost convenient, for public transport.

I would encourage you to consider a short trip to Northern Ireland instead. The train and bus connections there are very efficient and the scenery is beautiful.

We stayed three nights at Port Ballintrae at the Bayview Inn. It was by far our favorite hotel on our entire trip. You look out over the lovely bay. Take the train to Coleraine, walk across the station and get on a bus for the short ride to the hotel (bus stop just outside the door). Near by are Portrush, Bushmills, the Giants Causeway, and Dunluce Castle. We walked to all of them, but the bus is also quite convenient.

I have put Dingle aside for another time. I was glad that I did.

Posted by
114 posts

We may just save Dingle for another time, though there are so many places we still want to visit, I hope we'd get back!

Yes, Belfast is a lovely city--we did visit it in 2016.

Posted by
140 posts

If you really want to visit Dingle I wouldn't be overly concerned about the weather as long as you wear layers you'll be fine. One just never knows about the weather in Ireland.

One plus is that you would be there to enjoy Dingle without the crowds. I might decrease the nights near Dublin in exchange for Dingle. There are tours offered in Dingle but not sure if they would run in March, however you could splurge and use a taxi for a tour of the peninsula. I believe you take the train to Tralee and then you'd need a taxi to Dingle which would not be cheap. I don't know about the bus service to Dingle. You can get to Dingle but as you are finding out it takes research and driving your own car preferable. If this is too much for this trip Kilkenny and Glendalough are 2 of my favorites and you'd find plenty to enjoy at these two sites.

Posted by
4205 posts

In answer to your question is it worth it, my answer is yes. Then again in March weather can iffy.

And please don’t take offense but I have never understood why we yanks are so fearful of driving on the opposite side of the road. My UK and Irish friends never seem to complain when they do the same here and have to negotiate the LA freeways to Disneyland.

I learned to drive when LBJ was in office, with a clutch. Have driven all of Eire, and Northern Ireland twice, solo. In all honesty it takes about 5 minutes for you to adjust. It’s the roundabouts that were as surprise, CA doesn’t have too many anywhere in the state. Have also driven from Heathrow to the Cotswolds as well as the intriguing Lyme Regis on the UK’s Jurassic Coast. No scrapes, fender benders on any of the trips.

The beauty of Slea Head, Dingle and Ireland’s West Coast is stunning but March might not be the best month.