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Post Info TOPIC: Planning Trip to Ireland Using Public Transportation by annjgr


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Planning Trip to Ireland Using Public Transportation by annjgr
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Registered User
Posts: 4
(8/8/05 9:02 am)

Planning Trip to Ireland Using Public Transportation

We are planning a 2nd trip to Ireland in March 2006. 2 years ago we took our 1st trip to Ireland and rented a car. At that time there were four of us traveling. My husband and the other man had planned to do the driving. The other man drove one time and would not drive again. My husband did all the driving after that and we covered quite a bit of territory. He feels like he did not get to see enough of the countryside since he had to concentrate on the road and at times it was pretty harrowing.
This time we are by ourselves and comtemplating using all public transportation.
Tentatively, we are planning to fly into Shannon. I know that we can take a bus from there to Galway where we plan to stay 3 nights, one of those being St Patrick's Day. We want to go to Northern Ireland, visiting Derry and Belfast. Then we plan to go South to Drogheda and visit a friend who owns a pub.
We would probably fly out of Dublin from there.
I have found a few trip reports from people who used buses primarily. I would love to hear from someone who has done this.

Michele Erdvig
Posts: 3321
(8/9/05 12:51 am)

Public Transportation


I'm glad you posted another topic with the words "Public Transportation" in the title. Hopefully Anita will catch up with you shortly. She has "been there done that" before and is very helpful with tips for traveling by bus and train in Ireland. Be patient and check in frequently. Meanwhile, do check the sites I told you about in your other post and check on those passes.


Unregistered User
(8/9/05 11:21 am)

Been there, done that

It is quite easy to travel Ireland on the bus as there is an extensive system all over the country. You may want to consider what I did and get a bus/rail pass so you can also take the train. These passes are good for a certain number of uses over a certain number of days. I got one for 8 uses over 15 days. If you plan carefully it's the best value for your dollar. This pass can also be used on the transit system in some cities. All you do is on the day you use it you write in the date, or at some train stations a ticket checker will punch it. Then you can use it that whole day for either the train or the bus. There were a couple of days where I used it several times just in one day. It covers travel to Northern Ireland as well. You can purchase the pass before you leave home, or pick it up at a bus station once you get there. You will find information on the pass on both the train and bus sites(the Emerald Pass). I only had one trip on the bus that was a problem. The bus driver was unfamiliar with the route and schedule I was using to get from Cashel to Kilkenny and tried to convince me I had to go back another way (so research you trip well), then one bus was over an hour late on a Friday before a long weekend. Otherwise, it was the best way to travel.

Registered User
Posts: 5
(8/9/05 12:06 pm)

Re: Been there, done that

Thank you Anita, I am so happy that you posted. I would like to ask you a few questions. Did you plan to stay at b&b's where you could walk from the bus station? Did you do a trip report? When you traveled in Northern Ireland did you use the bus or the train or both? We did travel on the dart from Drogheda to Dublin and back for the St Patrick's Day parade when we were in Ireland the first time. I understand that the train centers around travel from Dublin, isn't that correct?

Unregistered User
(8/9/05 6:37 pm)


I did post a trip report, but I think some of these were lost on this site due to a problem with the server. Is that right Michele? What I can tell you is that I stayed mostly in hostels, but did stay in a B&B in Athlone. I started my trip in Dublin for four days, then went south by train to Killarney for four days. From Killarney I took the train to Cork, then caught the bus to Kinsale where I spent two days. The next part was the tricky part. I took the bus from Kinsale back to Cork, where I caught a bus to Cashel. I only wanted to stop long enough in Cashel to see the Rock of Cashel (which is only a couple of blocks from where the bus dropped me off). I was able to lock my backpack under a stairwell at the site where I spent about two hours before going back to catch a bus to get me to Kilkenny. I had really researched all of the connections, and in Cork I had double-checked at the desk to make sure I could do it. I caused some confusion there and the girl made several phone calls as she didn't think I could do it. When I was getting on the bus again in Cashel the driver also thought I was wrong, but fortunately had a cell phone and made a call. I had to transfer buses in another town to get to Kilkenny, and this was the one that was an hour late. I spent two days in Kilkenny then caught the train to Athlone where I spent two days catching my breath and visiting Clonmacnoise. This is where I stayed in the B&B as there was no hostel. I walked from the train station to the B&B, but one of the owners gave me a ride to the station when I left. From Athlone I took the train to Galway where I spent four days. The last leg of my journey was the train back to Dublin, then I hopped on a city bus and crossed town to the catch the train to Belfast. Once I arrived in Belfast I caught the city train to my hostel, which was just two blocks away from the station. I didn't have enough time left to travel outside of Belfast by train or bus, but I had researched it and it wouldn't be difficult. Other than Dublin and Belfast most Irish towns are quite small and you shouldn't have any difficulty finding accomodation within walking distance of where you are staying. I know in Dublin there is one particular street that is one B&B after another. The train routes do all seem to end up in Dublin, and they are quite frequent. I might suggest that you go to the library and look at copies of Lonely Planet, and Let's Go. They do tend to cater to backpackers, but for that reason they are great for listing the accomodation that is close to train and bus stations. One of the keys to travelling this way is to learn to pack light. I did all three weeks out of a 50 litre backpack. I think you would really enjoy the train as they are much roomier than the bus, and you can get up and walk, or get something to eat or drink. The Emerald pass that I talked about covers both north and south and the buses, but what you should do is first figure out what towns you want to spend time in, how long you want to spend in each place, then look at the train schedules first. As you can see, I spent more than one day in each place, and once I got there I simply did guided day trips to see the sights. In total I think I did seven day trips, one from Dublin (Newgrange), two from Killarney(Dingle, and Gap of Dunloe), three from Galway(Connemara, Cliffs of Moher, Aran Island), and one from Belfast (Giant's Causeway). If you are going to rely on this mode of travel you are a little tied to their schedule so keep in mind that if you want to do a day trip from a certain town that they tend to leave around 9am. If you can't get there by bus or train by that time, then you either have to skip the day trip, or spend an extra day. So again, figure out where you want to go, then what you want to do once you get there, then look at the scedules. Personally, I did most of my travel in the morning. If I got into town around lunch then I used the last half of the day to get familiar with the town and do some shopping.

Michele Erdvig
Posts: 3324
(8/10/05 1:40 am)

Re: Planning Trip to Ireland Using Public Transportation


I'm so glad you caught up with Ann. Your first hand info about Ireland by bus and train is very valuable for those who are in the process of planning. Thanks for checking in and adding your comments.

Your trip report is still there! Not everything was deleted. :D It is on page 3 of the "I'm Back" section of the forum.


Registered User
Posts: 6
(8/10/05 6:44 am)

Re: Planning Trip to Ireland Using Public Transportation

Anita, thank you so much for answering my post. I have already read part of your trip report and it has a wealth of information for us. We will print all of it. Thank you too, Michele, for telling me about Anita. I'm sure we will be having more questions as we plan our trip.

Michele Erdvig
Posts: 3326
(8/11/05 1:02 am)

Enjoy the Forum


I'm glad you and Anita have hooked up here. She is a wonderful contributor and valuable member of this forum. She has so much good info to share and help others. Enjoy!



"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.

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