Ireland by Train
Ireland train travel explained
Ireland train travel 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. In Northern Ireland you can visit the impressive coastline, explore the history, and visit the vibrant capital Belfast.
Train Types in Ireland
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 from Dublin Connolly to Dublin Heuston, so you have to take a tram or bus to connect between these stations.
Important long-distance trains 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
Smaller towns are connected by local railcar trains, that only have 2nd class compartments. Routes where these trains run are: Mallow – Tralee, Cork – Cobh and Limerick Junction – Limerick – 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.
NIR / Northern Ireland Railways is the national railway company of Northern Ireland.
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.
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 for Ireland by train
Londonderry – Coleraine
Rosslare – Waterford / Rosslare – Rosslare – Wexford – Enniscorthy
Wicklow – Greystones – Dun Laoghaire
Extra info for Ireland train travel
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
Great Victoria Street Station, Belfast, BT2 7UB
Mon-Fri: 9.00 - 17.00
Sat: 9.00 - 12.30
Your Eurail Pass entitles you to discounted ferry crossings from Irish Ferries, Norfolkline, and Stena Line to France and the UK. See the pass benefits Ireland.
Benefits in Ireland
With a valid Eurail Pass for Ireland, you'll get discounted travel on ferry routes to the following countries:
Eurail Pass holders can get a discount of up to 30 Euros on a variety of guided tours by train.
rail pass options for Ireland
Use your whole vacation to discover Ireland by rail.
Standard prices from € 105
Be free to visit Ireland and up to 32 other Eurail countries.
Standard prices from € 185
More about Ireland
Capital: Dublin (Republic of Ireland), Belfast (Northern Ireland)
Population: 4.6 million, 1.9 million
Language: English, Irish
Currency: Euro (EUR), British Pound (GBP)
Dialing code: +353, +44
Spelling of city names
On Irish train timetables and at train stations in Ireland, you'll usually find the local spelling of Irish cities and stations. Here is the local spelling of some popular Irish cities:
Cork = Corcaigh
Galway = Gaillimh
Kilkenny = Cill Chainnigh
Killarney = Cill Airne
Limerick = Luimneach
Mallow = Mala
Places to visit in Ireland
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.