Getting around Ireland

Travel by car, bus and rail in Ireland

Travelling around Ireland on your next vacation? This guide gives you easy options for exploring Ireland's top destinations, whether you're on foot, touring by car or taking the train.

Ireland is a fairly small country and drive times between the major urban cantres are only about 3 to 4 hours.
Driving around Ireland

If you are planning to travel around Ireland by road then you’ll need to be prepared.  Most of the main roads in Ireland are of a high standard.  


There are a couple of terms used in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland that are different to those used in the US.  


Highways and parkways, as they are known in the US, are referred to as motorways, dual carriageways, single carriageways national roads and primary routes.

Ireland is a relatively small country and therefore hiring a car and touring the west coast is a great way to spend your vacation.
Renting a car

Due to its compact size, one of the better ways to tour Ireland is by renting a vehicle.  Rental is easy and varied, you can choose from cars, motorcycles and camper vans.


You will find car rental company office in all of Ireland’s ferry ports so it’s easy to just pick up your car and get driving, remember to drive on the left!


Here are a couple of tips to help you hire a vehicle:


  • You need to have a valid licence or and international licence to rent a vehicle.
  • You will need a full valid motorcycle driving test to rent a motorcycle.
  • Rental cars are usually standard / manual transmission, if you need an automatic, you’ll need to book one in advance.
  • Thinking about the campervan? As a rule of thumb, you will need to have held a driving licence for a minimum of eight years.

Most major Irish towns and cities can be accessed by train with all trains arriving and departures leaving from Dublin, the capital.
Traveling by rail

Most of Ireland's major cities & towns are served by rail.  Trains are a comfortable, convenient and relatively inexpensive way to travel around the country.  Southern Ireland is served by Irish Rail and over the boarder it’s Northern Ireland Railways. 


If you are staying in the Dublin city area, The Dart (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) serves the bay and city and the Luas, the light rail service travels across the south and west of the city including the city center areas.


You can book your tickets for train and bus travel in Ireland online or at the station of departure.
Rail tickets & fare prices

If you want to buy a ticket for a journey with Irish Rail (ROI) and know where you want to go in advance, then it’s best to book tickets online, prices can be up to 50% cheaper. You can only buy your tickets for travel with NI Railways at the station of departure, they cannot be booked online.


Both Irish rail and NI Railways sell family and tourist tickets, which will be more economical if you are planning to travel extensively on the island.

Bus touring through the Irish countryside
touring Ireland by bus

If you are looking for a relaxing way to find your roots in Ireland or you simply want to tour this amazing island then maybe a coach tour or city to city bus trip is the way to go.


Sit back and enjoy the spectacular sights of Ireland while someone else looks after the transport.  Experience the glories of Ireland from the comfort of your tour bus, it's  perfect, you don’t have to worry about maps or directions, just watch the beautiful, lush, green countryside glide by.

Ticket Booth Sign
Bus tickets & fares

There are two companies running local bus services in Ireland, Bus Eireann in the South and Translink in the North.  All Bus Eireann tickets can be booked in advance online or at the station of departure but you can only buy Translink Bus tickets for Northern Ireland at the sataion.  


There are also a vast selection of registered private coach tour operators, with scheduled tours, city-to-city trips, airport transfers, themed trips, golf trips and private vacations.