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Train and Bus travel help in Ireland

I know I have my work cut out. We don't want to drive in Ireland. I have Belfast and Dublin ( staying at Dun Laoghaire) worked out. Have 13-14 nights to fill, wanting to end up flying back to US probably from Shannon. Wanting to stay 3 nights in towns for transportation will be long. Not wanting big Tourist sites. Have done Dingle peninsula drive and Ring of Kerry 10 years ago. Interested Rock of Cashel (2 nights) , Aran Island ( fly to Inishmore, 2 nights), Muckross Farms tour (talk with people). This trip really to visit with locals. We love the Pubs. Would appreciate transportation ideas from towns you've enjoyed.

Posted by
1835 posts

Your starting point should probably be to study the route map for Irish Rail and organize your trip accordingly: The Irish train system isn't the most robust in Europe but it'll take you where you want to go as long as you're aware of its limitations.
There's a similar website for the trains in Northern Ireland.
Getting up to Belfast is pretty easy - about two hours from central Dublin. There are numerous day trip providers that can help you organize a trip to the Causeway Coast as well as excursions to the walled city of Derry ... one of the most fascinating destinations in Europe - easily worth a day of your time.
There's no train service to Cashel, but it's only 15 minutes from Cahir so you could probably spring for a taxi. Don't know about bus service.
Looks like your other proposed destinations are serviced by the train system, although in some cases it may be a convoluted process trying to string together an itinerary. Maybe someone else here can chime in about whether local bus service might be preferable in some cases.
There are plenty of local day trip providers operating out of Killarney, Limerick & Galway if you're interested in exploring further afield from any of those.
Good call arranging a couple of nights/one full day on Inishmore. It's a whole different place once the day trippers have departed on the last ferry in the afternoon.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you...I'm actually looking at taking a ferry from Scotland over to Belfast. Spending 5 days in Belfast, then 4 days now in Derry. Then to Dun Laoghaire 5 days. Train to Galway and? stay in Galway or continue by bus over and spend 2 nights in Rossaveal before flying to Inishmore tor 2 nights. Maybe they keep our carryon bags and we just day a day bag to Island. Will have to check out staying 3+ nights in Limerick ( ? Bus/tour to Rock of Cashel and other day trips). Again fly out of Shannon Airport back to US. That will give me a good 21 nights total.
I could add 3-4 more night in Scotland then( Have never been there). Scotland planning 5+ nights in Edinburgh and have 4-5 nights unplanned. Extra dayscould add 3-4 more for Scotland. We love history and People's stories.. I'm a big fan of Outlander series(not my Husband, but he's fine as long as Pubs around.
My Big Plan May, June, and most of July 2022 includes Italy, Germany, Scotland, Ireland total not over 80 days. Have visited some sights, years ago, but never Scotland or N. Ireland.
Again, Thanks for your response.

Posted by
3061 posts

Have you ever been to the coast of Northern Ireland? We traveled just by public transport on our trip and found that we truly loved our 3 night stay in Port Ballintrae on the Antrim Coast. I don't know if transport links have been impacted by Covid, but we simply took the train from Belfast to Coleraine, walked through the station and onto our bus which deposited us outside our hotel about 30 minutes later.

We stayed at the Bayview Hotel in Port Ballintrae and I have to say it was one of our favorite hotels ever. The view from your window is breathtaking, the restaurant excellent, and the people friendly. It was easy to either walk (if you can do a few miles at a time) or take the bus to Port Rush, Dunluce Castle, Giant's Causeway, and Bushmills.

We then took the bus from there to Galway. It was a bit of a long day, but we saw many interesting village centers and traveled with locals. From Galway to went to the Aran Islands using the shuttle that goes from downtown out to the ferry. We spent 3 nights there as well. One great advantage of staying is that you have an entirely different experience after the ferries are gone or before the first one of the day. Several options for transportation in Inishmore. We did a bit of walking and rented electric bikes one day. I will say that I felt 30 years younger when that electric motor made the hills seem like nothing!

We even found a way to use public transport to go from Galway to Ashford Castle (school of falconry) when everyone said it couldn't be done. I won't go into the details here, but if you want to know just PM me.


Posted by
3 posts

Thanks to All who have sent me messages.
I'm sorry if I sent replies to the wrong person. I didn't realize I was getting different responses. HA.. I think I sent responses from one to another. Please respond if you got some messages that didn't make sense. I'm trying to figure out just how to post/answers on here.

Posted by
60 posts

Carol above posted about the public transport in Northern Ireland (I am from Northern Ireland btw) and whilst the public transport has been reduced it is still running you can still reach the Giants Causeway using the Train and Bus Combo Carol described if you use Translink who operate all public transport in NI ( use the journey planner and be sure to input "Great Victoria Street Belfast as your origin and the Aird the nook the Giants causeway as your destination in the journey planner Great Victoria street is the train station be sure to select both bus and train journeys and the planner will do the rest you will need a "I-link" Card zone 4 card this costs £16.50 for one day and gives you unlimited travel anywhere in Northern Ireland by train and bus