10 most scenic and beautiful train journeys in Ireland

Ireland is a country renowned for its outstanding natural beauty and stunning landscapes, with millions of people visiting every year to catch a glimpse of what the island has to offer.

So, why not take a train journey across Ireland to follow in the footsteps of millions before you and marvel at nature’s architecture and its many Irish creations? Trains in Ireland are a must-do.

Here are the top ten most scenic and beautiful train journeys in Ireland.

Ireland Before You Die’s top tips for making the most of the scenic and beautiful train journeys in Ireland

  • As you will see from our article, Ireland benefits from a raft of scenic train journeys. So, plan your route and get started on taking your first scenic train journey through the Emerald Isle, which you can explore with the perfect weekend getaway.
  • It is always helpful to book your train tickets in advance of your journey. This gives you peace of mind and also helps to avoid the long queues on the more popular routes.
  • If you truly want to make the most of the scenic train journey, then we would advise you secure yourself a window seat. This allows you to fully capture and appreciate the views on show.
  • Have your camera or phone at the ready if you plan on capturing the moments on the journey. You will not want to miss the photo opportunities that come with the scenic train journeys through Ireland.
  • If you want some local knowledge of the areas you are travelling through, you could strike up a conversation with someone sitting next to you – they may know something you don’t about the area.

10. Downpatrick to Inch Abbey – full steam ahead

Downpatrick to Inch Abbey is another train route you need to travel on.

Your journey will begin at the town of Downpatrick in County Down, and you will be carried via a steam engine to the monastic site of Inch Abbey, featured in Game of Thrones.

En route, wildlife will abound, and farmland will surround you. The pinnacle of your trip will be unrestricted views of the majestic Mourne Mountains, all in ten minutes. You can explore the majestic Mourne Mountains with all its mighty peaks and hiking trails.

9. Dublin to Galway – from east to west

Dublin to Galway is a great route from east to west.
Credit: @melkjor / Instagram

The near-three hour journey from Dublin to Galway may be off-putting to some, but the scenic views that await you on the last leg of the trip will be worth your while.

You will cross the marvellous bridge sheltering the River Shannon in Athlone before hugging Galway’s coast and reaching your stop at Eyre Square in the heart of Galway City Centre.

READ MORE: If you fancy a drive rather than a train journey, then you will love our article on the top 10 scenic drives in Ireland that should be on your bucket list

8. The West Clare Railway – a family day out

The West Clare railway is one of the best family days out.

Initially closed in 1961, the West Clare Railway has been restored to provide a fun day out for the whole family with the return of the Slieve Callan steam engine.

Running smoothly to Moyasta Junction, this journey is a perfect ride for those interested in the steep railway history of Ireland.

7. Waterford & Suir Valley Railway – a taste of Irish heritage

Waterford and Suir Valley is another great route you should take.

One of Ireland’s most authentic and historical train journeys is the Waterford & Suir Railway. This route will take only fifty minutes of your time but will enrich you with the history of the area.

The station rests in the Kilmeaden village and soaks up the panoramic views of the Suir River and the famous Mount Congreve Gardens.

6. Dublin to Sligo – peaceful passage through Irish towns

Another of the top scenic train routes in Ireland is the Dublin to Sligo route.
Credit: derelictireland.blogspot.com

Beginning at Connolly Station in Dublin City Centre, you will cut through numerous Irish landmarks and towns before disembarking in Sligo.

Look out for the Phoenix Park, Maynooth town, Mullingar in Westmeath, and the River Shannon, before spotting the 327 Knocknarea hill just west of Sligo Town.

READ: For another mode of transportation, you may get inspiration from our piece on 10 beautiful cycle routes around Ireland

5. Cork to Cobh – the best of the Rebel County

The Cork to Cobh journey is another of the top scenic train routes in Ireland.

One of the most scenic train routes in Ireland is from two of County Cork’s most famous locations, Cobh Town and Cork City, all encapsulated in one twenty-three minute journey.

If you’re lucky to have the sought after window seat, you will be treated to views over the Belvelley Channel and the shifting seas of the Atlantic Ocean before you reach the red-brick railway station in Cobh, which has some great things to do with kids when you get there.

READ MORE: When you get to Cobh, plan your itinerary with our article on the top 5 best things to do in Cobh

4. Belfast to Dublin – a trip to the capital 

Between Belfast and Dublin you'll find one of the best scenic train routes in Ireland.
Credit: @oisin_leong / Instagram

Travel between two of Ireland’s most prominent cities, Belfast and Dublin, is popular. It brings with it its own range of beauty to keep you occupied as you stare out the steaming windows.

Notwithstanding the views of the cities themselves, catch a glimpse of the vast Armagh countryside, River Boyne in Drogheda, or the scenic highlight of Malahide town before reaching the capital.

3. Howth to Greystones – one of the best scenic train routes in Ireland

Another of the best scenic train routes in Ireland is the rail between Howth and Greystones.
Credit: @emme.peach / Instagram

This is undoubtedly one of Ireland’s most scenic train routes and captures some of the very best views that Dublin and Wicklow have to offer.

The translucent Aviva Stadium, the leafy suburbs of Dublin 4, and views of the north inner city are buttressed by the coastal route from Bray to Greystones, where the clattering of the train teases the peace of the water below. 

RELATED: See where this route ranks in Ireland Before You Die’s article on 5 fairy-tale train journeys through Ireland

2. Dublin to Rosslare – your ticket to Europe

Dublin to Rosslare is one of the best scenic train routes in Ireland.
Credit: 100trains.com

The Dublin to Rosslare rail line is the principal route from Dublin City to the Rosslare Europort, which connects with ferry services to Britain and Europe.

Before you think of leaving Ireland, absorb the Killiney Bay, the Avoca viaduct, or the waterfront at Wexford town, amongst many other eye-catching views.

1. Derry to Coleraine – travelling Ireland’s northern coast

Derry to Coleraine is one of the most scenic train routes in Ireland.

Taking the prize as the most scenic train route through Ireland is the journey from Derry to Coleraine, described by travel writer Michael Palin as “one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world”.

In your forty-minute journey, you will be graced by the River Foyle, golden beaches, and ocean views that extend beyond belief. At the same time, you will travel through one of Ireland’s longest tunnels beneath the Mussenden Temple.

There you have it, the most scenic train routes in Ireland. Why not get on board the next time you visit the Emerald Isle?

Your questions answered about the most scenic and beautiful train journeys in Ireland

Read our article and still have some questions? Then you are in the right place. Here, we have put together some of the most frequently asked questions about the most scenic and beautiful train journeys in Ireland.

Are there scenic trains in Ireland?

Yes, there are plenty! We have added at least ten scenic train routes in this article for you to enjoy, and you can be there are more to be found!

Another could include the Kilmeaden to Waterford city train route.

Is the train ride from Dublin to Galway pretty?

Yes, this is one of the most picturesque train journeys through Ireland. It is a 2.5 hour journey with lots to see.

What is the most luxurious train in Ireland?

The Belmond Grand Hibernian is perhaps the most luxurious train in Ireland. It’s comfort and elegance is bathed in a 1920s theme.

Are trains a good way to see Ireland?

Yes, trains go to many different parts of Ireland connect all major cities, offering a good form of transportation with views along the way.

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