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First Trip to Ireland

I am flying into Shannon mid-August and trying to find the best routes for transportation. I want to visit Cork region as well as Dingle bay then over to Dublin, onto to Belfast, down to Galway City and back to Limerick City.

Please let me know if anyone has taken the train (I'm buying tickets using Rail Europe - the site says city trains are free)? Also, feel free to recommend places to stay (lots of character, not to pricey pleas).

Thank you in advance, Wendy

Posted by
3580 posts

It's not easy to connect all these places in Ireland, since train connections aren't as plentiful as in some parts of Europe. In the western parts of Ireland, you will probably need to use a bus or two. From Shannon it is an easy bus ride into Limerick; from Limerick take a train to Cork; from Cork you can probably get to Dublin by train easily enough; from Dublin to Belfast there are numerous trains and it's only an hour or two. For the rest of the trip either take buses around the north and northwest parts of Ireland to Galway or return to Dublin by train and take another train to Galway. Galway to Dingle--I think a train-bus combo is needed. Railway and bus employees can be helpful with the details. I think Eurolines would be the website to check on bus schedules. Check your guide books and internet sites for details. The scenery around the north and northwest parts of the island is gorgeous; I went that way by bus several years ago, stopping in Derry and Giant's Causeway.

Posted by
8700 posts

As Swan says, you'll need to take the bus where trains don't go. Before you commit to buying train tickets from RailEurope, go to and (not Eurolines) and price point-to-point tickets on both sites.

Posted by
83 posts

Sorry, got to put one strong vote in for a car rental. It will cost you about $350 for a week not including gas. Spent a heavenly week driving the west coast of Ireland. Everything is close, too many things to see you can not reach by bus. Forget the train.

read this link, we followed almost everything except we ran out of time to reach achill islands. and forget the hotels they recommend, they're for older, wealthier people.

recommendations: google Old Monestary Hostel, letterfrack. you won't be sorry you went.

Posted by
147 posts

Get a car. The best of Ireland is off the beaten track.

Warning. Irish refer to Limerick as "Stab City". Lots of crime and thugs.

Posted by
20 posts

I agree with everyone who recommends renting a car. Unlike most of Europe, Ireland is not well connected by train and bus. We have been to Ireland many times, always renting a car. In Dublin, we take the commuter train from a B&B in Sandymount, leaving the car behind. Swords in another great place to find a B&B near Dublin airport that has good commuter service to the city. Of course, Newgrange and beyond needs a car to reach. Whatever you decide to do, invest in the Ordinance Survey Maps that have details of roads and villages, so that you know where you are and what road leads where. You might also allow more time to get places than in the US. It is unlikely that you will travel 60 miles in an hour--even if you are going 60 mph. or its equivalent in kilometers. We usually head South and West out of Dublin as soon as we can, following the national roads. Have a great trip, whatever you decide, and do prepare for "soft" weather.