Travelling around Ireland by train

Killiney Hill, County Dublin

Sit back, relax and take in the sights as you explore the island of Ireland by train

Killiney, County Dublin
Killiney, County Dublin

What you need to know

There are two rail networks operating in Ireland: Irish Rail in the Republic of Ireland and Translink in Northern Ireland. Dublin and Belfast are the key rail hubs, connecting travellers with cities and towns all over the island. The fast, efficient Enterprise train runs between Dublin (Connolly) and Belfast (Lanyon Place) and is generally the quickest way of travelling between the two cities.

Main train stations on the island of Ireland

Belfast Lanyon Place, Belfast

Great Victoria Street Station, Belfast

Connolly Station, Dublin

Heuston Station, Dublin

Waterside Station, Derry~Londonderry

Kent Station, Cork

Ceannt Station, Galway

Plunkett Station, Waterford

Colbert Station, Limerick

MacDonagh Station, Kilkenny

Larne Harbour, County Antrim

Rosslare Europort, County Wexford

Got questions?

Irish Rail has a handy online guide that covers everything from WiFi and travelling with pets and bicycles to facilities for disabled travellers. Translink also has information about accessible travel.

Insider tip: Rail services will be less frequent on Sundays and on public holidays, so do check timetables before you set out on your journey.

Downhill Strand, County Londonderry
Downhill Strand, County Londonderry

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 you can make some great savings. Translink (NI) tickets cannot be booked online and must be bought at the station or on the train.

Both Irish Rail (ROI) and Translink (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 cost-effective if you’re planning on a lot of travel on the island.

Leap Visitor Card

The Leap Visitor card is a pre-paid card that allows unlimited travel on Luas, DART and commuter rail services (and Dublin Bus, Airlink 747/757 and Go-ahead Ireland services) for up to 168 hours (7 days) from its first use. Simply touch the card on a ‘Touch-on’ validator point before you board the train, tram or bus, and touch off when your journey is finished. It's that easy.

You can buy the Leap Visitor card before you arrive, but this is not an e-ticket. It will be delivered to your address so buy it in plenty of time! You can also buy it when you arrive in Dublin from a number of different agents. If you decide to extend your trip by a few more days, you can top up your Leap card up to five times.

iLink Card

If you’re travelling in Northern Ireland, you can use the iLink card which gives unlimited daily, weekly or monthly travel on rail services within zones 1 – 4 and the North West Zone, as well as Metro, Ulsterbus and Glider bus services. Your card is valid from your first journey, and you simply touch your card to the target and the machine will beep if your card is read successfully. You can’t top up your card online, but you can extend your travel by a day, week, or month at a number of different venues

Malahide Station, County Dublin
Malahide Station, County Dublin

Getting around Dublin 

The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) train runs from Howth and Malahide in north Dublin right into the heart of the city, stopping at pretty coastal towns and villages, such as Dalkey in south Dublin and terminating in Greystones in County Wicklow.

Hop aboard the Luas, the swift tram service with two lines (red and green) that travel within the city. It’s a quick and hassle-free way to tour Dublin, and also venture outside of the city centre to discover charming suburban spots such as Ranelagh and Phibsborough.

 
Coleraine to Derry~Londonderry
Coleraine to Derry~Londonderry

Ireland by rail – some highlights

One of the most stunning rail journeys on the island follows the south-east coast from Dublin down to the Rosslare Europort, and takes you through Ireland’s Ancient East.

The 45-minute route between the Walled City of Derry~Londonderry and Coleraine along the Causeway Coastal Route was hailed by comedian and travel documentary-maker Michael Palin as the "one of the most beautiful in the world".

Discover more adventures around the island of Ireland

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