Ireland is delighted to welcome visitors with special needs and reduced mobility, and services and amenities are always improving
If you are disabled or have reduced mobility, you can receive assistance when you fly to and from Europe under law. It is advised that you ask for assistance at least 48 hours in advance.
Airports must provide special assistance to get you to and from your flight, free of charge, including check-in and getting through security. Read more on Flight Rights.
The contact details for special needs assistance for every airport in Ireland are listed below.
Airports in the Republic of Ireland
Airports in Northern Ireland
Belfast International Airport
George Best Belfast City Airport
City of Derry Airport
Travelling by sea
The EU's regulations on maritime travel aim to ensure that every passenger can enjoy safe travel by sea, regardless of mobility. In Ireland, these guidelines were created so journeys by ship, boat or ferry are easier for everyone, whether those with a disability, travelling with children or luggage.
Dublin Bus is the main public transport provider for the Greater Dublin Area. Most of its fleet is made up of low-floor buses which have one wheelchair space that fits standard wheelchairs of up to 70cm wide and 120cm long.
On Dublin’s rail system, Dart trains feature generous space for wheelchairs but not every station is wheelchair accessible. You can find a station online and check its accessibility.
Dublin has two tram lines known as the Luas. As the most recent addition to Dublin’s public transport sector it is compliant with current accessibility and environmental standards for transport systems.
For Intercity and countrywide rail services in the Republic of Ireland, trains hold a limited number of wheelchair places. Irish Rail advises that those travelling with a wheelchair book in advance.
For those with limited mobility travelling in Northern Ireland, the Translink website includes an extensive guide on services for travellers with disabilities. It is recommended that you plan your journey in advance as not all buses or trains are accessible.
Bus Éireann’s accessible services include a number of buses with entrance ramps and designated wheelchair spaces. Almost 70% of their passenger fleet is accessible. Advance booking is required on inter-city routes.
Wheelchair accessible taxis
Wheelchair accessible taxis in the Republic of Ireland have a wheelchair icon on the roof of the vehicle, so they have been specifically modified to have specialist equipment including ramps, wheelchair anchorages and suitable seatbelts. The National Transport Authority has a complete list of all wheelchair accessible taxis in the island of Ireland.
In Northern Ireland, there are currently four types of taxi identified by the colour of taxi plate; green, yellow, white, and white and blue.
White and blue license plates are issued to some taxis that operate like buses – they charge passengers an individual fare on some routes. These taxis are not required to have a meter but are wheelchair accessible.
A yellow license plate means that the taxi can be hailed in the street or picked up from designated taxi ranks when the roof light is on. These taxis are wheelchair accessible and will have a taximeter.
A white license plate means the taxi can be pre-booked or hailed in areas outside a five-mile radius of Belfast City Centre. These taxis are not required to be wheelchair accessible or have a meter.
A green license plate means that the taxi must be pre-booked either in person, at a depot, or by phone. The majority of these are not wheelchair accessible, so it is best to request a wheelchair accessible taxi if you need this, although this is not guaranteed.
Disabled car parking
There are a range of parking facilities available to people with disabilities in towns and cities throughout Ireland. They are always located in "prime" parking spots beside building entrances, in city/town centres, etc. These parking bays are clearly marked for use by disabled people by both signs and road markings.
Although local authorities have no legal obligation to provide parking bays for people with disabilities, a certain number of spaces are available in all local authority on-street parking, local authority car parks and public building car parks. The location of these spaces will be laid down in local authority bye-laws.
For more info on disabled car spaces contact the local authority/council of the area in which you’re visiting, and you can access a full list of local authorities in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Motability Ireland provides car rentals to reduced mobility customers for use all over the island of Ireland. Their vehicles come with fully comprehensive insurance and 24-hour AA roadside assistance. The staff can even organise airport/ferry collections and drop-offs for you.
Accessible Ireland is a great resource for a list of accommodation options with disabled facilities.
The ABLE Q Mark for Accessibility is a logo to look out for. ABLE was introduced in 2012 and you’ll see the logo in tourism businesses including hotels and self-catering cottages. On the accommodation database you’ll see establishments that have achieved the ABLE Q Mark for accessibility. Cuisle is one holiday centre built specifically for disabled visitors on a 50-acre site belonging to Donamon Castle.
Disabled Friendly Hotels provides a wonderful database of hotels with features that accommodate special needs.
Each hotel partner is required to answer a series of questions to provide all the necessary information in order to make the process of traveling as smooth as possible for even the most disabled. As a quadriplegic the founder, Philip Quinlan, started the site in order to make the information easily accessible, including reviews to confirm the validity of the information provided by the hotels.
Accessible Ireland lists many tourist attractions with disabled amenities in Ireland. Some of Ireland’s historic sites, such as abbeys, castles and ruins, may not be as accessible as modern attractions such as Titanic Belfast.
Castles and towers may have a first floor that is accessible; however, they are less likely to have lifts. Heritage Ireland manages many of Ireland’s heritage sites, providing information on each site’s accessibility. In Northern Ireland, the National Trust runs sites such as The Giant’s Causeway and has great access information for each site including parking, toilets and the grounds.