Thinking of taking a train to Galway from Dublin for the first part of our trip to Ireland, renting a car, doing our think, and then driving back to Dublin at the end of our trip. What do people think of the quality of train travel in Ireland? Probably 25 years ago, we took a train from Belfast to Dublin and weren't impressed. I expect that things have changed during that time. Any comments or ideas?
They have bought new trains since then, https://www.seat61.com/train-travel-in-ireland.htm
Irish trains are not the best and fastest in Europe, but they are good enough for the job they do.
I've taken Irish Rail many times and always found the trains comfortable, convenient, timely, frequent and cheap. Nothing fancy, just a basic travel option.
If you haven't yet visited, here's the link. Make sure to check out the rail system map for an eagle's eye view of just where the trains go.
We took the train in 2019. They were perfectly fine. I'd do it again.
Perfectly fine. Modern, clean, efficient, comfortable, reasonable, on time, not expensive. It's not exactly the Shinkansen or TGV, but it's a great, stress-free way to get around comfortably. My only disappointment is that it doesn't go everywhere. Otherwise, it's a perfectly good option for your plan.
Actually, you needn't take the train at all. There's an express bus that departs for Galway directly from Dublin airport that's quite nice, and which would save you the minor hassle of making your way into the city to the train station.
I too have taken trains within Ireland and also from Dublin to Belfast and recommend it. Ireland is one of the more scenic countries to visit offering good views along the way compared to the rest of Europe.