Please sign in to post.

Dublin to Derry

We fly into Dublin in June. We will stay in Derry, do the loop in Donegal, then on to stay Portush to see the coastal sights finishing in Belfast. Then we will return to Dublin to meet up with family. My question is, should we rent our car at the Dublin airport and drive to Derry. Or should we take the train to Belfast, tour Belfast and then rent our car to go to the coastal sights, Portrush, Derry and Donegal, returning the car at the airport in Dublin? We have plenty of time to stay as long as we wish so saving time isn’t an issue. Also, we will not be jet lagged. Nor are we concerned about the most economical choice. Which makes more travel sense? Are the roads better going one route instead of the other? We realize that the Donegal loop and coastal roads will be smaller and that’s fine. So so we start in Belfast or Dublin with the car? Thank you all.

Posted by
4081 posts

There is no train from Dublin Airport.
You have to catch the dedicated shuttle bus into Dublin then catch the Enterprise train into Belfast from Dublin Connolly.
It is more sensible to catch the hourly coach direct from the airport direct to Belfast Europa Bus Centre.
IMO you don't need a car in Belfast but from the rest of your trip I would rent a car from Belfast City Airport (not the International Airport). The City Airport is downtown with both a dedicated bus from the City Centre and a rail station.
You are straight onto the main highways from the airport.
You would need to check if you can cross the Border back to Dublin with the car.

Posted by
2674 posts

I agree - catching the airport bus from Dublin to Belfast upon arrival, spending a few days seeing the sights, then collecting your rental at the City airport on your way out of town would be the most efficient use of your time.
A suggested itinerary would be to head north from Belfast along the Antrim Coast - one of the prettiest drives in Ireland on a sunny day. There are a number of picturesque little Glens along the way to explore. You could take a few days meandering north, enjoying the area at your leisure before stopping at Portrush and using that as a base for exploring the Causeway Coast.
Derry is worth a few night too (IMO) - lots of history to soak in, and city itself is quite nice.
You could then continue a counter-clockwise circuit to include the highlights of Donegal before returning to Belfast to return your rental. Dropping it in Dublin would incur a sizeable one-way international drop fee so you're probably better off trying to avoid that.
After dropping the car you could return to Dublin via bus or train to begin your family visit.
The Ulster-American Folk Park near Armagh in NI is worth a stop, especially if your heritage traces to Ulster. It does a great job of explaining the history of the out-migrations of the early 1700's plus it's just a pleasant day out. Can google it to see if it might be of interest.
I'm not aware of any restrictions driving a rental car between NI and the Republic. You'll just want to ensure that the company is aware of your plans to do so ... for insurance purposes primarily.