Getting around Dublin

Dublin LUAS
Dublin Bikes
Train at Killiney, South Dublin
DART Station

By far Ireland’s most populous city, Dublin is obviously by far the biggest and busiest and needs the most planning to get around.

By bus

Like the world over, buses in Dublin are confusing and slightly scary. Which stops service which parts of town, where do you pay and once on how do you know where to get off?

Start off by using the Dublin bus website which may or may not unmuddy the waters. Generally most lines pass through O'Connell Street or along the river at some point so these will be good calling points if just going searching on the ground.

They are great though in that they get into every nook and cranny of the city. Outer city centre attractions like Glasnevin Cemetery and Kilmainham Gaol are best reached by this method.  

By car

Driving around Dublin should only be done by supremely confident drivers. The city centre is very busy (especially during rush hour) and drivers face a myriad of issues including one way systems, lots of LUAS-induced roadworks, swarms of bicycles (who have their own problems to deal with), blasé road-crossing junkies and a lack of parking.  If you are intent enough on doing this then come prepared with patience, a GPS and preferably an able co-driver.

There is a very long tunnel from the Docklands that links the city centre to the M50 ring road in a far quicker time than the overland route. Be aware that the cheap toll of €3.00 per car rises to €10.00 at peak hours between 6.00 - 10.00 and 16.00 - 19.00. 

 

Aside from the increased flexibility you have – especially late at night – it’s simply barely any quicker to drive in Dublin than it is to get a bus, tram or train.

If planning on renting a car to explore Ireland, a good plan is to return to the airport and rent from there, thus cutting out Dublin driving. 

By train

Dublin has a light railway system known as the DART which mostly serves the coastal areas of the city. It’s great for daytripping as very pleasant coastal suburbs such as Howth, Dun Laoghaire and Malahide are all frequently accessible from the central stations of Tara Street, Connolly and Pearse. One can go further afield by using the Commuter lines – basically an extension of the DART with slightly nicer trains – from the same stations to other scenic towns like Skerries.

As the train line hugs the eastern side of Dublin centre it is good for areas like Trinity College, O’Connell Street and Grafton Street but it is a fair trek to attractions on the other side, like the Guinness Storehouse, Phoenix Park and Kilmainham Gaol. However, you can combine it with the LUAS line for handy results.

Trains are owned and run by the state in Ireland and as such they have seen a significant lack of investment in recent years. Minor delays are quite frequent as they incrementally steal minutes of your life but this is more felt by the armies of commuters than the occasional tourist user.

Like with any busy city, for your comfort it’s best to avoid the sardine can trains at rush hour – 7.00-9.30 and 17.00 to 18.30.

By tram

The geniuses of Dublin planning built two tram lines – known as LUAS lines – but they didn’t think to connect them in any way. So the Red and Green lines awkwardly sat apart like a husband and wife not talking to each other whilst connecting two sets of unconnected points together.

Apart from the aforementioned flaw, the LUAS is an efficient way of getting across the city and luckily they have decided to rectify issue when the LUAS cross city was completed at the end of 2017. Welcome to the future, Dublin.

The Red Line roughly runs east to west and connects the Park & Ride of the Red Cow with the Heuston and Connolly Railway Stations (for national railway services), O’Connell Street and the 3 Arena (Dublin’s main music vanue).

The Green Line is slightly less useful but connects Stephen’s Green on the south side of the leafy affluent hotel rich area of Ballsbridge just south of the city centre and the further suburbs to the south.

By taxi

You flash bastard.

Taxis are well regulated and you should always be on a metre. As usual, this is the most expensive option but can often be a good call if there are three of you. You’ll often be charged a supplement if four of you squeeze in to one taxi.

The taxis mainly congregate on O’Connell Street, along the river and Connolly Station and can also be hailed from the side of the road.

The traffic situation of Dublin during the week means that it can be pretty slow going in a taxi.

 

By bicycle

An option for the brave. Hordes of bikeriders may whizz through the streets of Dublin but bear in mind that this isn’t Amsterdam or Copenhagen. These courageous souls are mostly commuters taking their lives in their hands to save on public transport fees. Dublin is not a bike-friendly city – there are barely any bike lanes and the traffic is heavy and frenetic.

If undeterred, you can take advantage of the Dublinbikes pay and ride service. Many stations have credit card terminals where you can purchase 3-day tickets to take the bikes and cycle from point to point. It’s good value for money, only if you are going to make this your main mode of transport. 

 

One place, it is beneficial to cycle is Phoenix Park. Europe’s largest urban park is perfect for bikes as it’s too vast to be comprehensively explored on foot. Use the above method, rent a bike at phoenix park or take a tour with a guide. On a sunny day this is a great way to escape the claustrophobia of the city centre.

On foot

The main tourist centre from the O’Connell Street spire to the St Patrick’s Cathedral and from EPIC Ireland to the Jameson Distillery Bow St. is pretty easily traversable on foot and a lot can be taken in within one day.

Outside of the centre, the Guinness Storehouse is a bit of a trek but easily doable on foot. However attractions like Kilmainham Gaol, Phoenix Park and Dublin Bay Cruises are all at least 30-45 minute schleps for the hardy walker. The hotel hub of Ballsbridge is fairly handy 30 minute walk from the city centre,

trainline below Mussenden Temple

GETTING AROUND IRELAND

girl in red on Skerries beach in front of Rockabill Island

SKERRIES, COUNTY DUBLIN

St Patrick's Cathdral in the sun

A WEEKEND IN DUBLIN

© 2018 by Macanta Ireland. 

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