Dublin Transportation Tips by Dabs
Dublin Transportation: 387 reviews and 350 photos
We found most of Dublin to be walkable, we even walked from Ballsbridge over to the Watling Street Bridge near the Guinness Brewery which had seemed so far away when I did the HOHO bus the previous year. But for our final night in Dublin at the Ardmore Hotel, that was too far to walk to central Dublin so we used the bus that stopped just outside our hotel. The fares are based on stages, deduct the boarding stage number from the alighting stage number or you can do like me and just ask the bus driver.
From the Ardmore Hotel is was €1.80 each way, you pay the bus driver and must have exact change in coins, not paper. If you don't have exact change, the driver will issue a passenger change ticket for the overpayment which you have to take to Dublin Bus, 59 Upper O`Connell Street, in get a refund but that seems like more trouble than it's worth.
If you are planning on using the bus a lot, there are different options for day passes, multiple day passes and family passes, for more info click here and look at the different options for adult, family, tourist, and student tickets. The tourist tickets look to include the hop on hop off bus so be sure to check out the other cheaper options if you don't want that.
The buses are double decker, go up the stairs to the top and see if you can get the front seats for a nice view.
Our second experience on Aer Lingus wasn't nearly as good as the first, the first time we got exit rows both directions and had SO much leg room that I almost didn't even mind flying. This time we were in the regular coach seats, no smaller than the average plane but certainly not as pleasant. The dinner selection didn't look particularly appetizing either direction, fortunately we ate before getting on the plane in Chicago and I brought a sandwich for the flight back. The thing I did like about the flight was that you had a selection of movies that you could watch at your choosing. On the way back my suitcase had an unscheduled layover in Boston, the bag was tagged correctly, and I got it a day later when their courier service left it on the front stairs of my house instead of calling me as promised.
Dublin's airport is a manageable size compared to O'Hare or Heathrow and everything is very easy to find. Coming into Dublin, immigration was a breeze. If you are flying back to the US from Dublin, you may pass through US immigration in Dublin and need to allot extra time for this. There was a flight to Orlando that seemed to not go through US immigration in Dublin, not sure why. Once you get past immigration, there is not much in the way of food, just a snack shop, and no shopping so do that before you pass through.
Aer Lingus has self service check in machines and a bag drop, it took all of about 10 minutes to check in including switching my seat to an exit row on the 1st trip, on the 2nd trip I connected from London.
Sheep have the right of way at all times
There are some basic principles that you need to follow in Ireland to ensure a safe and happy trip, the first and most important principle, is that you drive on the wrong side of the road (ignore this principle if you are already driving on the wrong side of the road). Everything is backwards from the way you are used to driving, roundabouts, turns, gear shift. You should be able to master this after a couple of near head on collisions.
Sheep always have the right of way. They do a lot of damage to your car and you are probably tired of lamb stew by the time you hit one. Ditto for tractors, they are bigger than you, no further explanation necessary.
Advice for taking blind curves, hit the gas and close your eyes, the Virgin Mary you just saw on the side of the road will protect you.
Make sure you locate your reverse gear, you will need it when something bigger than you, say one of the thousand tour buses or tractors, demands the right of way on those cute country highways that purport to have two lanes but only if you are on a moped.
The most important role of the co-pilot is not to read the map nor is it finding a radio station that is not recounting the one major story that has broken in Ireland that day but rather to yell "left side of the road" "stay left" or any variation of that phrase as long as it contains the word left in it especially when a large tour bus is hurtling along aimed right at your vehicle.
Type: Car/Motor Home
I would not rent a car to visit Dublin but if you are starting your tour of Ireland from Dublin and heading straight out of the airport, then there are a few things you might want to know
1. Irish rental cars are notoriously dinged and dented, you should take a before picture of any damage to your car in case a dispute comes up later. Check for missing gas caps and mirrors.
2. If you are used to declining CDW because your credit card covers it, think again. Ireland is carved out of most credit card's CDW program, I've read that the only exception is a World Master Card and I believe the rental agencies require proof from your credit card that you are covered.
3. When I rented this car, this was the 1st time I had ever heard of Super CDW, basically if you take the Super CDW coverage, it limits your loss to 100€ instead of 1000€ (the amount varies by company). It was 12€ per day and we declined it, they will put a hold for the 1000€ on your credit card for the rental term.
4. If you are traveling on M50 from the airport, there is a barrier free electronic toll that needs to be paid which is currently 3€ each direction. You can purchase at the airport, pay online or at news agents. The barrier free toll is between exit 6 and exit 7, the toll must be paid before 8pm the following day or you may incur penalties which I assume the car rental company would pass along to you.
5. As with most European countries, most of the rental cars are manual. Expect to pay A LOT more for the luxury of not having to shift with your left hand
We rented from Dan Dooley based on recommendations on travel boards and had no problem with them, what I liked about them was that their quote included everything except for Super CDW and that there would be no haggling over insurance at the airport. Be careful to check that CDW is included in your quote, you will need that coverage. They did make us put down a 50€ gas deposit which was refunded at the end of the rental when we returned it full, we even made about 60 cents on the exchange rate fluctuation.
On our 2nd trip we booked through Aer Lingus Vacations and they also use Dan Dooley, this time the CDW was not included and we had to put up a €75 gas deposit which was refunded on return of the car with a full tank.
Type: Car/Motor Home
I used the DART trains to get to Howth, Malahide and Dun Laoghaire from Pearse Station in central Dublin. They are comfortable commuter trains and after the first ride, I found them quite easy to figure out as there are overhead boards on the track telling you the next destination.
Since I was doing a lot of traveling that day, I bought a day rambler pass for 8.30€ from the ticket desk, you can also buy from the machines. If you are just going to Howth and back from Dublin or even Dublin-Howth-Malahide-Dublin, it's cheaper to buy a return ticket or single tickets but as I took 6 separate journeys in one day, it was more cost effective to have the pass.
I also saw a family day rambler pass advertised, the DART website doesn't seem to have info on the day rambler passes but they do exist.
Luas are trams that run to different parts of the city than the DART trains, I used it to get to Heuston Station from Connolly Station. A round trip ticket in that zone cost me 2.90€, you can buy your ticket from the self service machines right next to the stops. The trip was less than 15 minutes, check the website below for frequency and operating times.
I asked the conductor if I needed to validate the ticket and he said if I got it from the machine that it was already validated. This tram is on the honor system, no one checked my ticket either way although I'm sure they must spot check tickets otherwise some people wouldn't pay.
There are many ways to get from the Dublin airport including an expensive cab and a very cheap public bus but when I arrived, I didn't want to fuss with multiple buses or a bus and train combo so I opted for the Air Coach which dropped me off a 1/2 block from the Davenport Hotel where I was staying. It's comfortable, clean and runs very frequently, every 10 minutes during peak hours, every 20 minutes during non peak and every hour in the wee hours of the morning.
There are two routes so make sure you get on the right one, you should be able to tell the ticket seller which hotel you are going to so they get you on the right bus. You can buy the tickets right outside the terminal, the Air Coach is very well marked once you get outside.
One item to note, I picked up the return shuttle at the same stop I got off at but it still had a portion of it's "To Dublin" route to finish so the ride from the airport took about 15-20 minutes and the ride back took 45-50 minutes. Instead of boarding at Merrion Square, I could have walked 10 minutes and boarded at Dawson Street or Suffolk Street which are on the return journey. The travel times on their website seem a bit inflated, perhaps to account for different levels of traffic.
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