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How to Travel Around Ireland by Train?

Ireland might be a small island, geographically. The breathtaking views, welcoming hospitality, Donegal's wilderness, Mourne's majestic view, and the Causeway Coast are just some of the iconic memorable things of this land. The ruins of the land explain the prehistoric wealth of Ireland. Irish summer vacation would leave you surrounded by flowers and music festivals. The best way to enjoy the land and understand the culture is by taking a train ride to explore the region. Here is everything you need to know about exploring Ireland with trains.

Rail Networks in Ireland

There are two networks in Ireland namely, the Translink (Northern Ireland) and Irish Rail (Republic of Ireland). The main rail hubs of the island are Belfast and Dublin. The quickest train to cover the island is Enterprise, which runs between Belfast and Dublin.

Irish Train

Major Train Stations

  • Great Victoria Street station – Belfast
  • Lanyon Place – Belfast
  • Connolly Station – Dublin
  • Kent Station – Cork
  • Heuston Station – Dublin
  • Colbert Station – Limerick
  • Waterside Station – Derry` Londonderry
  • Plunkett Station – Waterford
  • MacDonaugh Station – Kilkenny
  • Ceannt Station – Galway
  • Rosslare Europort – County Wexford
  • Larne Harbour – County Antrim

Best Train Routes

If you wish to cover the island by trains, the best routes to choose are

  • Dublin to Galway – takes 2.5 hours
  • Dublin to Cork – 2.5 hours
  • Dublin to Belfast – 2.5 hours
  • Belfast to Derry` Londonderry – 2 hours
  • Belfast to Coleraine – 1.5 hours

Train Tickets

You ought to book your tickets via online as the ticket fare will be considerably lower. Irish Rail has online booking option while Translink tickets have to be booked in the station or while riding the train. The details about the fare of both the type of trains will be explained in their respective websites. If you are travelling as a group, you can opt for tourist tickets and family tickets, which would be comparatively less expensive than normal individual tickets.

Train Cards

Leap Visitor Card

This is a type of pre-paid card for unlimited train travels in commuter, Luas and DART rails. The card also allows bus, airlink and other travels up to 7 days from the first usage. The users have to touch the touch-on validation point with their card to book the ticket and touch again at the ending station to complete the transaction.

Leap visitor card can be bought in advance but, you cannot buy it as an e-card. It will be delivered to physical address. Thus, book it well in advance. If you do not have time to book in advance, you can buy it from any agent after reaching Dublin. This card can be topped for five times to extend its service.

iLink card

iLink card suits those who are choosing to travel in the Northern Ireland. This card allows unlimited travel for weekly, daily, monthly periods in Zone 1, 2, 3, 4, and North West. This card also includes Glider bus, Ulsterbus, and metro bus travel. You can extend the services by a month, week or day, at specific venues, but cannot top your card via online.

Tips for Train Travel in Ireland

  • If you are planning to cover the countryside, the train passes are not very useful.
  • You cannot make train seat reservation in the trains in Ireland. So, be early.
  • For Republic of Ireland train tickets, online tickets will be about 50% less expensive than the tickets got via manual booking in the station.
  • You can book tickets from the station 90 days prior to the travel date.
  • If you want to save considerable amount of money, choose to travel during mid-day.
  • Round-trip fare costs 10% less than two single-way tickets.

There are many luxury trains in the World named as Rovos Rail, Rocky Mountaineer and Palace on Wheels.

Know More about Palace on Wheels:

Suggested Read:

Frequently Asked Questions

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Taking a train is faster than bus journey or driving. However, many trains do not cover countryside.

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Children below the age of five are free to travel. Cost of the ticket for an adult varying between 1.70 and 3.60 Euro based on the zone, type of ticket, time of travel, and so on.

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The trains run at a maximum speed of 100 mph. However, the Mark 4 trains can run at a speed of 125 mph.

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Booking via online portals is cheaper than over-the-counter booking. You can buy ticket 90 days in advance.

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Yes, all the Irish trains have toilets.

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Since 2018, alcohol is banned in the trains. Those who bring alcohol on-board will suffer legal consequences.