When you don't have a car Bus Eireann is a good substitute.The buses are very comfortable and you can get all sort of different passes that will make it cheap as well
The only problem is that to some destinations there are only 2 or sometimes just one connection a day but from what I understand they are rapidly improving this
Since I had only 16 days to see as much of Ireland as I could I even planed the bus times ahead through the internetsite of Bus Eireann and it all worked out perfectly.
The main tourist routes of the West of Ireland's Shannon Region are linked via the Killimer-Tarbert car ferry. This 20 minute journey across the Shannon Estuary will save 85 miles (137 km) from ferry terminal to ferry terminal.
Times may vary, check schedules.
1st April - 30th September Departure, Monday - Saturday, Sunday
every hour on the hour
07.00 - 21.00
09.00 - 21.00
every hour on the half hour
07.30 - 21.30
09.30 - 21.30
1st June - 30th September
(peak holiday season)
Two ferries operate, to give an additional half-hourly service between 10:30 and 18:00 from each side.
1st October - 31st March Departure- all week
every hour on the hour
07.00 - 19.00
10.00 - 19.00
every hour on the half hour
07.30 - 19.30
10.30 - 19.30
The ferry across the Irish Sea to Ireland from Fishguard, Wales to Rosslare is operated by Stena Lines. At the Rosslare Ferryport there is a rail and a bus station. You can rent cars and book bed and breakfast places there also.
We bought a ticket in London for the train to Fishguard and then Stena Lines across the Irish sea to Rosslare Harbor.
3 Hours 30 Minutes
CHECK IN TIME:
Individuals: 30 Minutes
Groups: 60 Minutes
For more info go to the Stena Lines website listed below.
The main airports are in Dublin, Cork & Shannon (there are several others including Knock & Kerry).
Dublin & Cork city centres can be quickly & easily reached by bus or taxi from the airports while Shannon is approximately half an hour outside Limerick city.
Driving is on the left hand side of the road & automatics are not very common when hiring a car. Irish roads can be narrow - drive slowly & enjoy the view!
Trains are usually the quickest way to get around however unless you are travelling between the main towns & cities the network is limited so bus is probably the best form of public transport if you wish to visit places off the beaten track.
I loved this site for finding places in Dublin. http://interactive2.iol.ie/maps/content/iolmap.asp
Spouse loved this site for driving instructions - like a USA AAA trip tik. http://www.theaa.com/travelwatch/inc/planner_main_redirect.jsp
You will be delighted to hear that the road network has improved HUGELY in the last couple of years with a first class Motorway network eg Dublin - Galway is now 2 hours - it used to be closer to 4. Cork - Dublin likewise, hours shaved off the travelling times.
Could I suggest www.theaa.com - GO TO Republic of Ireland on the Route Planner. It will give you exact travel times, plus you can print out the route as it is described step by step for you - saves you getting maps for your Sat Nav!
Good luck with that!
Good for you...and planning well ahead...I'm impressed! Why bother with a Tour Company??? The island's not that big, any places in particular you want to visit? Try www.buseireann.ie for Bus schedules and www.irishrail.ie for train options. If you book your tickets on-line they're cheap as chips, like €10 takes you across the country. Save your Euros for liquid refreshments ;-)
Ask before you buy your tickets if "hop on hop off" feature applies to *ALL* the stops or just a limited number of stops
Ask how long the bus will stop at a particular attraction if you want to do a tour there; or will there only be enough time for the gift shop?!
Also, make sure the price quoted by ticket seller includes two tickets not just one
We learned the hard way that it's what's *not* said that bites you in the thóin
We bought train tickets to go from Dublin to Killarney, then Killarney to Limerick, then Limerick back to Dublin (after we turned in the rental car). The ticket taker in Dublin warned us to "enter at the middle" of the train and "mind the reserved seats," or words to that effect. Entering at the middle of the train was easy enough, but it was not until *after* we sat down that we realized there are LED signs on the wall above the seats informing you the stop and name of the person that has reserved the seat. Once we realized this, we struggled out of our seats with our baggage and headed forward (away from the station) on the train to find seats without the "reserved" LED indicators. With the benefit of hindsight, I would have entered at the second to last car and headed forward (away from the station) to find unreserved seats more efficiently.
If you're looking for the easy way of getting from Dublin to the West Coast to start your holiday, I can certainly recommend Aer Aarann. Flights leave regularly from Dublin Airport to Sligo Airport near Strandhill. Fares are very reasonable and flying time is less than an hour. Connections between Aer Lingus and onto Aer Aarann in Dublin are quite regular. It is indeed a very convenient way to cross the country in a short space of time.
When travelling by road down the west coast to Co. Kerry or vice versa, there is a lot of time to be saved by using the Tarbert vehicular ferry between Killimer, Co. Clare and Tarbert, Co. Kerry. The difference between using the ferry and driving right around is 137 kms.
The ferry leaves Killimer every hour on the hour and Tarbert every hour on the half hour. No reservations are necessary.
There is a great little visitor's centre on the Killimer side where you can get a coffee and snack or some good locally made souvenirs. Parking is available but if the traffic is heavy, be sure to get your car into the line or you may have to wait till the next sailing.
I had planned to take the train from Killarney to Limerick on Sunday to rent a car there, primarily because I thought you could not hire a car on Sunday in Ireland. You can, but only from certain locations, mostly airports (like the Kerry airport).
Ferry trip from Killimer coming from the Cliffs of Moher to Tarbert on the way to Tralee and Killarney. 20 minutes crossing, You save 137 km, 46 sailings a day during the summer and 26 sailings during the winter. You pay your fare onboard.
From Co. Clare to Co. Kerry
The busses are more frequent than trains from the west to Dublin.
Citylink do a (Dublin) airport run from Galway City. Check their timetable at www.citylink.ie -
You should also check out the national bus line Bus Eireann www.buseireann.ie - they also have a specific "airport run" section.
I would recommend staying in Galway City for your last night and getting the bus directly to the airport next day. The city has probably the best nightlife of all the Irish cities - and a direct bus will use the newly completed motorway which extends all of the way from Galway to Dublin. This will save you the time and expense of getting out of Dublin city centre to the airport under your own steam!!
The first thing you must do is take a tour on the one of the hop off - hop on buses. We took the City Tour, Dublin Sightseeing bus. It's a great way to get your bearings, learn about the city's monuments and decide what you would like to see. City tour has 23 stops at Dublin's historic and cultural highlights. The complete tour lasts 1 hour 30 minutes. Their pamphlet gives you a short history of the stops and are numbered on the map so you will know where the bus will be stopping next. The times are even listed so you know when the bus will be returning to the stop you are visiting. If you are going to be in Dublin for three days they sell 3-day passes at a discount.
If the wind is blowing in Dublin and you're from a warm climate like California, riding the bus is much more comfortable than fighting the wind.
Check with your hotel or a tourist office for the location of the bus stop nearest you or look for the green tour bus sign usually with the local bus stop signs.
More Regions in Ireland