Traveling around a foreign country for the first time can be a daunting task. VisitIreland.com is here to help. We've compiled a list of international airlines that will carry visitors to the Land of 1000 Welcomes, as well as the train, bus, and ferry schedules needed while traveling within the country.
While making travel arrangements U.S. citizens need to remember that a valid passport is needed to enter any European country. Depending on the length of stay and purpose of visit, visas are not typically required for entry into Ireland.
Arriving by Air
The Republic of Ireland has four major international airports - Dublin, Shannon, Cork and Knock. The primary airports are Dublin and Shannon. Flights to and from the United Kingdom are widely available. Most flights from Europe are serviced through Dublin. Major airports have car rental agencies, taxi bus service, and monetary exchange facilities. There is frequent bus service from Shannon to Limerick and the Dublin airport to the city center.
The primary airports in Northern Ireland are Belfast International and Belfast City. Both offer a taxi and bus service.
The following airlines offer a 1 stop or nonstop service from the United States:
- American Airlines
- Aer Lingus
- Air France
- US Airways
The following airlines offer a 1 stop or nonstop services from the United Kingdom:
- Aer Arann
- Aer Lingus
- Air France
- British Airways
- British Midland
- Virgin Atlantic
Arriving by Sea
The majority of sea arrivals to the Republic of Ireland come through Dublin or Dun Loaghaire, just south of Dublin. Ferry service is available from Ireland to the United Kingdom and Continental Europe. Public transportation is available to Dublin.
Sea arrivals to Northern Ireland can be made via the Larne Ferryport. Public transportation is available to Belfast City Center.
The ferry ports have car rental and monetary exchange facilities.
The following ferry lines offer service to and from Ireland:
Getting around Ireland
Flights within Ireland are provided by the following Airlines:
- Aer Lingus
- Aer Arann
National bus service in Ireland is provided by Bus Eireann and in Northern Ireland by Ulster Bus.
In Dublin, Dublin Bus and DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) provide public transportation. Taxis cannot be hailed in Dublin. Therefore, call for a taxi or go to a taxi station or rank. Some taxis are not metered, so it is advisable to ask your driver how much your trip will cost in advance.
Iarnrod Eireann (Irish Rail) provides rail service in Ireland.
There are tour operators in most major cities and tourist areas, which provide local sightseeing tours. You can obtain information on these tours from the local tourist office.
Since 1994 the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland has been open. You can often cross the border without stopping. However, there still are some border checkpoints and you may be required to stop. Make sure that you have proper identification with you, as well as, appropriate papers for your vehicle.
Renting a Car
Cars are for rent at major airports, larger cities and ferry ports. When renting a car inquire if the price includes unlimited mileage, collision damage and third party insurance and VAT (tax).
It is best to book your car before you arrive. You may not be familiar with the different models that for rent. Cars are generally small in Ireland so if you rent a small car it may be very small. However, a small car does have an advantage when traveling on narrow country roads. In the busy season supply can get tight. This is especially true for small vans and station wagons.
The majority of the cars available for rent will have standard transmissions. Automatic cars are available. However, they are in limited supply. In addition, even though you may book an automatic car it is possible that one will not be available when you arrive. Therefore, it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with a standard transmission or make sure someone knows how to drive a standard.
There are age limitations on renting cars in Ireland. While some rental car companies will accept 18 year olds, many will not rent to anyone under the age of 25. Additionally, some companies will not rent to anyone in excess of 70 years.
When you rent a vehicle keep all of the rental documents with you. It is highly recommended that you purchase the insurance from the rental company. You should also inquire as to any restrictions on the use of the vehicle. Make sure that it is permissible to travel between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Most rental car companies will not allow the vehicle to be taken off the island. Therefore, if you had thoughts of taking a rental car to another country by way of ferry this would most likely not be permitted. Rental cars in Ireland are clearly marked by their registration discs, and can be readily identified as such by outside authorities.
Rental cars are generally less expensive in Northern Ireland than in The Republic.