So the time for your trip to Ireland has finally arrived, and you can’t wait to jet off to the mystical Celtic land of beautiful mountains, druids, leprechauns and lush, fairy-tale landscapes.
If you have everything planned out and you know how you are going to get around then good for you.
However, if you have no idea how you are going to get around, then you’ve come to the right place because we are going to outline everything you need to know.
We are here to share a few top tips on how you can truly enjoy your journey around this beautiful country.
The brilliant thing is that getting around Ireland has become relatively more straightforward due to the recent construction of major highways, effective connecting roads and reliable public transport.
Before the M1 & M4 were built, travelling from one major district to the other could take more than a day or so.
If you talk to the locals who are over the age of fifteen, they’ll entertain you with stories of long family drives from the countryside to the city of Dublin or Cork.
Of course, today they’ll sing different tales as Ireland is well-linked due to a diverse, rich network of roads, highways, trains, buses and airports.
Flying to Ireland
Depending on where you’re coming from, you will most likely fly into one of Ireland’s 3 ma-jor international airports that are situated in the cities of Dublin,Cork and Shannon.
There is also a number of airports in Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom) in Bel-fast and Derry.
There are a bunch of airlines in Europe that offer direct flights to Ireland. To name a few: British Airways, Air Lingus, Air France, Lufthansa and Virgin.
If you have planned your holiday itinerary to include travel around Ireland, then you may want to opt to go around by train, bus or car.
There are a lot of regional dedicated airports in Waterford, Kerry, Sligo and Knock.
The Emerald Isle isn’t that large. If you truly want to soak in its natural wonders, we recommend travelling by car or by train. Hey, you could even rent an RV! It could be your own tiny house vs RV.
Driving in Ireland
So, if you decide to be brave and go on a travel adventure by driving around, there will be a bit of skill involved.
This is especially true is you are from the United States of America or Canada. Irish highways are much smaller as compared to their American and Canadian counterparts.
They only consist of two or three lanes whereas American freeways can be composed of up to six lanes. Remember, the fastest lane in Europe is the rightmost one.
Whether you rent a recreational vehicle or a car, be aware of the speed limits in the area you’re driving around in. Speed limits can range from 80 km/hr to 120 km/hr.
Just keep a look out for the number located within the round signage on the highways. Let’s not waste money on speeding fines!
While you’re planning your trip, do check to see if there are any toll gates on the way. Toll fees will depend on the type, size and nature of your vehicle. You may come across e-toll alternatives, a basket of change or human toll collectors. Just decide in advance what your route is and be prepared for any option.
Driving in Ireland can be both a calming or stressful experience. When you visit Dublin, you’ll realise what a congested city it is. It can get seriously busy during peak traffic times!
Most of the city streets have roundabout signs, one-way signs and road signs that may con-fuse foreigners, especially non-European ones. We recommend that you review Irish traffic laws and driving culture before hitting the gas.
Taking the train in Ireland
All major towns and cities in Ireland are connected by trains. If you are planning to go to more remote parts of the Irish Emerald Isle, then we advise considering another means of transport, such as a rental car.
You can book your train tickets online. Go ahead and book it a month or so before so you can enjoy cheaper fares.
Irish trains are quite comfortable, possess clean toilets and dining cars or snack trays. You can stay in touch with your friends, listen to your favourite music or watch your favourite television show on your mobile as all Irish trains have WIFI.
If you journey from Dublin to Belfast, it will take you about 2 hours. Likewise, if you’re going from Dublin to Cork, you can enjoy Irish scenery in the train for up to two and a half hours.
If your trains are departing somewhere in the Republic of Ireland, book tickets here: http://www.irishrail.ie/
If your trains are departing somewhere in Northern Ireland, book tickets here: http://www.translink.co.uk/Services/NI-Railways/
Taking the bus in Ireland
Want to save a few pretty pennies while enjoying your vacation? Then, taking the bus is what you want to do.
Not only is it going to be friendly on your wallet but it is an extremely convenient method of travel. For lengthier journeys, you can procure your bus tickets from Bus Éireann.
The buses may not be glamorous but will get you to your intended destination on a timely and comfortable basis.
Moreover, yes, these babies also come with WIFI. What more could you possibly want?
However, buses within the local cities aren’t the best mode of travel. Known for being late or the occasional bus break-down, inter-city buses are still an efficient way to enjoy the city in question.
We just recommend that you keep your day open for bus travel and not get too stressed out if the bus is late.
When you’re at the bus stop, wave your hand at the bus driver, so he knows he has to stop for you. Just because people are waiting at the bus stop, it is not necessary that the bus driver will stop his massive vehicle. It’s a fascinating culture!
All in all, you can optimise your travel options with a mix of air, train and bus travel. This way you can get the best of all worlds, experience true Irish beauty and save some quid as well.
Best of luck of your Irish adventure!