All aboard – 5 Great Irish Railway Journeys

Who needs a car when you can travel around the island of Ireland on majestic train journeys?

Killiney, County Dublin

From the coastal epic of the Dublin to Rosslare route along Ireland’s Ancient East, to inspirational journeys past mystical mountains, lakes and rivers… We’ve got five fabulous rail trips to get you started

Belmond Grand Hibernian

Sumptuous sleeper carriages inspired by Dublin’s refined Georgian architecture. Refined restaurant cars that serve up the very best of Ireland’s artisan cuisine. And a fabled landscape that rolls by in a pretty patchwork of soft greens. Welcome to the Belmond Grand Hibernian – a once in a lifetime journey on board Ireland’s most luxurious train.

Tailor your journey to your own personal tastes whether you’re after a complete Ireland experience with the Grand Tour of Ireland, hidden gems and captivating myths with Legends and Loughs, and or the very best culinary Ireland has to offer with a three-day Taste of Ireland

Don’t miss: As this is a guided tour, highlights depend on your choice of journey, from Blarney Castle in County Cork, to Titanic Belfast.

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The Dart

Dublin’s transit rail hugs the horse-shoe shaped coastline from north to south of the county and offers vast panoramas of Dublin Bay. It’s particularly beautiful at full tide, when the water slaps against the chunky granite walls that protect the railway tracks from the sea. Jump on in the city centre and set your destination for Bray in County Wicklow – along the way you’ll be treated to all kinds of coastal views as it speeds past sailboat-dotted harbours and around cliff-hugging coastline. In the other direction, take aim for Howth and its wild and windswept cliff path overlooking the picturesque harbour. Jump back on the Dart from here and you’ll be back in the city centre in around 50 minutes.

Don’t miss: There are so many places to get out and explore on the way, but a walk on Dún Laoghaire pier followed by fish and chips at the sea-facing Fish Shack is a particular pleasure.

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Derry~Londonderry to Coleraine

Vast sandy beaches, soaring cliffs, expansive ocean views – there’s a good reason that travel writer Michael Palin described the Derry-Londonderry to Coleraine train trip as “one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world”. With a travel time around 40 minutes, it gives you plenty of opportunities to hop off and discover some of the local highlights along the way, including the jaw-droppingly beautiful Benone Strand; and Downhill, where the iconic Mussenden Temple teeters on the edge of a cliff. Picture-perfect beauty.

Don’t miss: Coleraine sits on the iconic Causeway Coastal Route, with the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, the Giant’s Causeway and the village of Bushmills, home to the famous Old Bushmills Distillery.

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Downpatrick to Inch Abbey

Experience the nostalgia of rail travel in all its glory by jumping on board a fabulous vintage trail hauled by a steam engine. The journey starts in Downpatrick, County Down, and chugs gently along to Inch Abbey, a majestic ruined monastic site on the banks of the River Quoile that once starred in Game of Thrones©. As well as the atmospheric puffs of steam that accompany the trip, the landscape offers exceptional views of the Mourne Mountains, farmland and pastures and abundant wildlife. And although the journey is only 10 minutes – the experience is one to treasure.

Don’t miss: Downpatrick is said to be the burial place of St Patrick, and the Saint Patrick Visitor Centre tells the fascinating story of the saint’s life in a compelling multimedia exhibition.

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Cobh to Cork

Lonely Planet describes Cork city as “a thriving metropolis made glorious by location”, and what a location it is. Perched on an island in the middle of the River Lee, the beauty of its surrounds can be best enjoyed on a short rail journey out to the seaside village of Cobh. Make sure you get a window seat to enjoy the phenomenal sweeping views over the Belvelley channel and across the churning Atlantic Ocean. The journey only takes around 23 minutes, but you can make a day of it with stops at Little Island and Fota Island Wildlife Park.

Don’t miss: Cobh was the final departure point for the Titanic, and the town’s connection with the “Ship of Dreams” is brilliantly detailed in Titanic Experience Cobh.

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