Ireland by train

Map with main train connections in Ireland

Traveling with Eurail in Ireland gives you the best of two worlds. The Republic of Ireland offers an enchanting green landscape, the lively capital Dublin, famous castles and charming pubs. Your Eurail pass is also valid in Northern Ireland. Visit the impressive coastline, explore the troubled history, and visit the vibrant capital Belfast.

Ireland in images
Train types in Ireland
Places to visit in Ireland
Events in Ireland
Benefits in Ireland
More about Ireland

Ireland in images

Ancient ruins of a castle, Ireland

Ancient ruins of a castle, Ireland

Dunquin Pier

Dunquin Pier

Temple Bar, Dublin

Temple Bar, Dublin

Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey

Belfast Castle

Belfast Castle

Train types in Ireland

 

Rail network

Ireland (Republic) ireland-irishrail-logo

The national railway company of Ireland is called Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail). Irish Rail provides a modern, comfortable and frequent rail service to most parts of Ireland. Visit the website of the Irish railway company: Irish Rail
 

Please note that on most Irish trains there is no class distinction.
 

Most trains in Ireland operate to and from Dublin. There are two main stations in Dublin: Connolly Station and Heuston Station. There are no trains connecting these stations, so you have to take a tram or bus to go from Connolly to Heuston.

 

Important long-distance connections from Dublin are:

  • Dublin Heuston – Cork, Tralee, Limerick, Galway, Westport, Ballina and Waterford

  • Dublin Connolly – Sligo, Wexford, Rosslare Europort and Belfast

 

The high-speed enterprise train is jointly operated by Iarnród Éireann and NI Railways. It runs 8 times a day between Dublin Connolly and Belfast (Northern Ireland) in just over 2 hours.

 

Other InterCity routes in Ireland, that also stop at smaller stations:

  • Cork – Tralee

  • Cork – Limerick

  • Limerick – Rosslare Europort

 

Smaller towns are connected by local railcar trains, that only have 2nd class compartments. Routes where these trains run are: Mallow – TraleeCork – Cobe and Limmerick Junction – Limmerick – Ennis – Dublin – Dundalk – Dublin-Rosslare.

 

Your Eurail pass is also valid on the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transport), a suburban railway network in the Dublin area operated by Irish Rail. You have to show your pass at the ticket office to get access through the entrance gates.

 

Northern Ireland

NIR / Northern Ireland Railways is the national railway company of Northern Ireland. Logo of NI Railways

 

Northern Ireland Railways operates trains on these main routes:

  • Bangor Line: Bangor – Belfast – Lisburn – Portadown – Newry

  • Derry Line: Londonderry – Coleraine – Ballymena – Antrim – Belfast

  • Larne Line: Larne – Carrickfergus – Belfast

  • Portrush Line: Coleraine – Portrush

  • Cross Border Line: Belfast Central – Portadown – Newry – Dundalk – Dublin *

 

* the high-speed enterprise train runs 8 times a day between Belfast and Dublin Connolly (Republic of Ireland) in just over 2 hours. It is jointly operated by NI Railways and Iarnród Éireann.

 

Reservations

For domestic trains in (Northern) Ireland reservations are not required, so you can just hop on any train with your Eurail pass.

 

It is possible to make reservations for IC trains. They can be made locally or online.

 

Itineraries

Scenic routes

  • Londonderry – Coleraine

  • Rosslare – Waterford / Rosslare – Rosslare – Wexford – Enniscorthy

  • Wicklow – Greystones – Dun Laoghaire

 

Extra info

Airport - station links

From Dublin airport Airlink buses go to Heuston and Connolly railway station (bus 748). Eurail passes are not valid on the bus.

 

Sydenham railway station is next to Belfast airport.

 

Eurail aid offices in Ireland

  • Rail Travel Centre
    Connoly Station, Amiens Street, Dublin 1
    Mon-Sat: 7.00 - 22.20
    Sun: 8.30 - 21.30

  • NIR Travel
    Great Victoria Street Station, Belfast, BT2 7UB
    Mon-Fri: 9.00 - 17.00
    Sat: 9.00 - 12.30

 

Ferry connections

Your Eurail pass entitles you to discounted ferry crossings from Irish Ferries, Norfolkline and Stena Line to France and the UK. See the page pass benefits Ireland.

Places to visit in Ireland

 
City Hall, Belfast
City Hall, Belfast

A city moving forward

Likely most known for its violent and troubled past, Belfast today is a bright, optimistic, and forward-moving city. Boasting an excellent nightlife and fantastic food, Northern Ireland’s capital shouldn’t be missed. The past is not forgotten, however, and memorials like the Peace Wall abound. Check out the revamped Ulster Museum and the magnificent City Hall

Belfast Central Station is adjacent to Waterfront Hall and St. George’s Market, about 10 minutes from the city center.

Cliffs of Moher, County Clare
Cliffs of Moher, County Clare

Coastal wonders

The karst landscape of The Burren, and the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher are the reason a million visitors per year come to County Clare. The cliffs are breathtaking – and well worth a day of exploring. Hike around, or take a spectacular ferry ride and admire the dramatic cliff-face from below. While in County Clare, check out Bunratty Castle, a 15th century wonder, and Folk Park a 26-acre wonderland.

The fastest way to County Clare and the Cliffs of Moher is by bus or taxi.

Giants Causeway
Giants Causeway

Giant's Causeway

Praised for its outstanding natural beauty, the North Coast ‘s spectacular rock formation contains 40,000 interlocking basalt columns – the result of an volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. Be sure to look out for the bizarre chimney stacks and the Giant’s Boot, while breathing in the fresh sea air. Runkerry Head provides an extraordinary two-mile walk.

The Causeway Coast can be reached by bus from Portrush and Coleraine train stations.

Cobblestone street in Galway
Cobblestone street in Galway

Perfect blend of old and new

Known as the ‘cultural heart’ of the Republic, Galway is home to an exciting blend of ancient architecture and modern fun. Stroll the medieval cobblestone streets and enter the ultra-modern clubs, restaurants and bars. The best people-watching can be done at Eyre Square and popular Kennedy Park. For a touch of culture, try Lynch’s Castle. Galway is also your entryway to the Aran Islands, if the mood takes you.

Galway Station is directly across from Eyre Square and Kennedy Park.

Trinity college, Dublin
Trinity college, Dublin

The home of Guinness

This vibrant, multicultural mecca has an ancient soul, but a youthful attitude. After a day of sightseeing, including Trinity College & Book of Kells, the National Gallery and the Dublin Writer’s Museum, be sure you save some energy to tour the Guinness Storehouse and party the night away in the Temple Bar District. In Ireland, the Guinness flows like water, and visitors should at least indulge in a pint or two. 

The Pearse Street Train Station sets you off right on the edge of the Trinity College campus.

Blarney Castle near Cork
Blarney Castle near Cork

Uncork the real Ireland

Many residents consider Cork (Corcaigh) to be the true capital of Ireland. And with good reason. The city has a modern, vibrant and progressive feel, and a colorful history. Home to Murphy's Stout and host to the famous Guinness Jazz Festival in October, Cork is also the city closest to Blarney (An Bhlarna), location of the famous castle and even more famous Blarney Stone. An absolute must-see on your Irish rail adventure.

From Cork Kent Station, it’s a 15-minute taxi ride to Blarney.

Events in Ireland

 
The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival in Belfast
The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival in Belfast

Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival

January 2 - January 25, 2015

Belfast comes alive with music, art, comedy and theatrical performances during this city-wide festival.

Belfast’s public transport network will take you all over the city.

St. Patrick's Day in Limerick
St. Patrick's Day in Limerick

St. Patrick’s Day

March 17, 2015

On the day when ‘everyone is Irish’, there’s no better place to be than on the Emerald Island. Although the biggest celebration is in Dublin, you’ll also find parades and events in Cork, Belfast and other cities.

Festivities take place all over the Irish cities. Take a train to the city of your preference and stroll down the streets!

Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, Cork
Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, Cork

Guinness Cork Jazz Festival

October 23 - October 25, 2015

This annual jazz festival has been running in Cork since 1978 and is Ireland’s biggest event for this music genre and attracts jazz fans from all corners of the globe.

The jazz festival is held in venues across the city, which is a 15-minute walk from Cork's Kent train station.

Benefits in Ireland

 
Stena Line ferry

Stena Line ferry

Boat trips

With a valid Eurail pass for Ireland, you'll get discounted travel on ferry routes to the following countries:

  • France

  • Wales

  • England

  • Scotland

 

Railtours Ireland

Eurail passholders can get a discount of up to 30 Euros on a variety of guided tours by train.

 

See all pass benefits for Ireland

More about Ireland

 

Quick facts

  • Capital: Dublin, Belfast

  • Population: 4.6 million, 1.9 million

  • Language: English, Irish

  • Currency: Euro (EUR), British Pound (GBP)

  • Dialing code: +353, +44

Related pages

 
- Countries in Europe
- Countries in Europe
- Countries in Europe
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