I love using public transport, not worrying about driving, and taking all the scenery in. I spent quite some time figuring out the best ways to explore the Emerald Isle, using handy websites and specific passes. Here’s everything I wish I knew when I first visited: For a city getaway
- Leap Visitor Card: valid for Dublin and its surroundings, it’s a great way to see Dublin and beyond for 1,3 or 7 days. This is valid on all buses (Dublin Bus), suburban trains (DART) and trams (LUAS). You can even use it on day trips to the coast (Bray, Howth or Malahide for instance).
- DoDublin Card: the DoDublin Freedom ticket gives you access to public transport in Dublin and includes also some perks, such as tickets to the Little Museum of Dublin and access to the sightseeing hop-on hop-off busses. Bear in mind that it is more expensive than the Leap Visitor Card and only valid for 72 hours.
For a trip all around the island
- Belfast Visitor Pass: a great ticket to get around Belfast for 1,2 or 3 days. It also includes selected discounts for tours and attractions.
- The I-Link travel card: This smartcard provides unlimited day, weekly and monthly bus and rail travel within specified zones across Northern Ireland. It can save you money compared to single tickets and could be your ideal companion along the Causeway Coast or anywhere in Northern Ireland for that matter!
- LEAP Card: the LEAP card can be used on most inter-regional buses and cities across the island of Ireland. You can recharge it online or in designated shops. While it’s not really a pass, fares are cheaper with the card and it makes travel and top-up more convenient -
- Eurail/Interrail: If you plan on traveling extensively using the rail network, an Interrail pass (or Eurail depending on your place of residence) can be a good deal. It is particularly useful if you plan to cover long distances on some travel days. People aged below 28 or above 65 can also avail of discounts.
To go further
- Trekker pass or Explorer Travel ticket (Irish Rail): These tickets allow you to travel through the Republic of Ireland for 4 consecutive days (Trekker Pass) or 5 days out of 15 days (Explorer). It’s recommended to book at least 7 days in advance to avail of discounted web fares.
I found public transport to be a wonderful and relaxing way to explore the island of Ireland, while still retaining flexibility over tour buses for instance. Here is more information on exploring Ireland by rail
, about public transportation in general
, and getting around cities such as Dublin
Pro tip: the Rome 2 Rio
site and Transport for Ireland
Journey Planner will tell you the best way to get from point A to point B if you are lost. Or you can ask a friendly local, up to you!
Do you have any tips or experiences to share about your trip to Ireland using public transport? I am all ears!