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Train or Car from Dublin to Belfast

I am having seconds thoughts on our itinerary. Our current plan is to fly into Dublin, rent a car and drive to Belfast, stay 3 nights in Belfast and go back to Dublin for 4 nights and on to Southern Ireland and back up to Westport & Galway - over a 17 day period. The flight into Dublin arrives at 11:45am. Our plan was to drive to Belfast that same day but many people have recommended that we not drive after the 10 hour flight and jet lag. A few questions
1. Should we take a train from Dublin to Belfast? If yes, what time should we plan to take the train given that we need to go thru customs and get to the train station?
2. Should we put Belfast at the end of our trip and drive from Westport to Belfast? A friend who lives in Ireland mentioned that the drive from Westport to Belfast is long and that is why we thought we should put it at the beginning of the trip but we are backtracking from Dublin to Belfast and back to Dublin and currently getting a rental car.

One reason we wanted a rental car was to stop at Brú na Bóinne on our way back from Belfast to Dublin with a rental car.
Any input is appreciated.

I guess the basic question is 1. we want to fly non-stop to Dublin so do we start or end our trip in Belfast as we want to visit Dublin, southern ireland, doolin, westport,

Posted by
2267 posts

You could take an Aircoach bus directly from the airport to Belfast.

Posted by
1477 posts

Don't drive off a transatlantic flight.

You will need to check whether you can hire a car in Northern Ireland and return it in Ireland? If not then turn the journey round.

Catch a train from or bus from Dublin to Galway and hire a car there. Then drive to westport and Belfast. Visit Brú na Bóinne on the way back to Dublin and drop off the car.