Ireland’s rail networks serve the island with Irish Rail in the Republic and Northern Ireland Railways operating in Northern Ireland. The Dart (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) serves Dublin’s coast and city area from Howth and Malahide in north County Dublin via Dun Laoghaire in south County Dublin to Greystones in County Wicklow. Another way to travel in Dublin city is by Luas, the light rail service that travels across the south and west of the city including the city centre areas.
Fares and tickets
If you’re travelling with Irish Rail (ROI) and have your journey planned in advance it’s definitely a good idea to book tickets online as booking there can cut the price of rail tickets by half. NI Railways tickets cannot be booked online and must be bought at the station.
Both Irish Rail (ROI) and NI Railways (NI) feature extensive fare information on their websites. While there, you can check up on the family and tourist tickets, too, which will prove more economically friendly if you’re planning on a substantial amount of travel on the island.
And now, it gets even easier to travel in Dublin! The brand new pre-paid Leap Visitor Card is a prepaid pass that allows you to travel on all Dublin Bus, Airlink 747 buses as well as the Luas and DART for a whole 72 hours (3 days) from its first use. Simply use your card to Touch On Leap Card Validators before or as you board the bus/train/tram and Touch Off when you alight or leave the station and the journey is registered on your Leap Card. It's that easy.
Being a foreign exchange student is an advantage too: the Leap Trainee Card is available through your language school and directly from Dublin Bus. You can avail of a 1-week up to 4-week card, meaning you can hop on to the Luas, DART, Iarnród Éireann’s short-hop zone and Dublin bus at your convenience.
The Leap Card isn’t just good for getting around the city: you can use it to explore Dublin far and wide, including coastal villages, suburban towns and everything in between.
Travelling in Northern Ireland? Use iLink
Similar to the Leap Card, iLink <http://www.translink.co.uk/Fares/Translink-Products/iLink/> is a smartcard that gives you unlimited daily, weekly, and monthly bus and rail travel.
The iLink smartcard is available for Metro, NI Railways and Ulsterbus services within 5 zones. You can also top up your card at selected stations. Read this handy user guide <http://www.translink.co.uk/Global/4525%20ILink%20User%20Guide.pdf> for information on full iLink services.
Main train stations on the island of Ireland
Kent Station, Cork
Ceannt Station, Galway
Heuston Station, Dublin
Connolly Station, Dublin
Belfast Central Station, Belfast
MacDiarmada Station, Sligo
Duke Street Station, Derry-Londonderry