Getting Around Dublin by Bus, Train and Bike

While Dublin is the capital of Ireland, it’s nowhere near the size of other world capitals, which means that getting around Dublin by bus, train, and bike is easier than you think.
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Many of the city’s attractions, such as the Guinness Storehouse Factory, the Old Jameson Distillery, the Spire on O’Connell Street, Dublin Castle, and the Ha’Penny Bridge can often be accessed by foot.

But there are other places in Dublin’s suburbs and on its coastline that will require you to get either a bus, train, or bike.

Note that there is no underground system in Dublin. There are several other options, however.

Here’s a rundown of what you can expect when getting around Dublin by bus, train, or bike.

DUBLIN BUS

Dublin has a pretty extensive bus network, making it easy to navigate the city’s outer suburbs on its many double-decker buses.

This map will give you an idea of how many routes there are and how to get around the city by bus.

getting around Dublin by bus train and bike
One of the many Dublin Bus double-decker vehicles you'll see when in Dublin. Photo: Gareth Byrne Photography for Failte Ireland.

You can purchase a ticket on the bus (you must use Euro coins only as no bills are accepted and no change is given). The coins are dropped into a machine next to the driver.

For nearly all buses in Dublin, the price of a ticket is calculated according to the number of stages (stops) you complete while traveling on that particular bus.

The current fares are as follows:

  • €1.70 which covers all stops within what is known as the Short Zone (about 3 stops)
  • €2.60 for traveling on a bus with over 13 stops
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A Dublin Bus vehicle on the streets of Dublin. Photo: Poerofforever, Getty Images Signature.

Children under 5 travel free with a paying adult on Dublin Bus provided that he or she does not take someone else's seat during peak hours.

Pro Tip: If you intend to use Dublin Bus and/or the Luas or the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) system extensively during your visit to Dublin, think about purchasing the Visitor Leap Card, a reloadable travel card. It is the cheapest way to get around, with up to 31% in savings on public transport in the city.

You can top up the card by using the app, which is available on Apple and Android devices.

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GETTING FROM DUBLIN AIRPORT TO THE CITY CENTER

Dublin Bus

If you use Dublin Bus to get from the airport to the city center, look for Routes 16 and 41 from Zone 15.

The 16 bus operates between 6 a.m. and 11:30 pm Monday to Saturday, and from 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Sundays.

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Photo: Powerofforever, Getty Images Signature.

The 41 bus runs 24/7 every day, including weekends. It has limited capacity for luggage storage.

You'll need to know where your hotel is in relation to the stops in the city.

As mentioned above, payment must be made in coins (exact fare only) to the driver on the bus or by using a pre-paid ticket.

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The Leap Card. Photo: , Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57515782

That pre-paid ticket can be purchased at the Bus & Travel Information Desk in the Arrivals Hall, Terminal 1, or you could use your Visitor Leap Card as payment.

The reloadable travel card can be purchased online, at the airport (at Wrights Airport Convenience Store in T1 Arrivals or the WH Smith Bookstore, also in T1 Arrivals), and in several retail outlets throughout the city, including at the following places:

  • Dublin Bus, 59 Upper O’Connell Street, Dublin 1
  • Spar, 63 Upper O’Connell Street, Dublin 1
  • Mullins Newsagent, Unit 1B Heuston Station, Dublin 8
  • Spar, 50 Talbot Street, Dublin 1
  • Spar, 70/72 Talbot Street, Dublin 1
  • Easons, Unit 2, Connolly Station, Dublin 1
  • Newsrail, Connolly Station, Dublin 1
  • GPO, O’Connell Street, Dublin

The standard one-way fare to the city center from the airport is around €2.

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Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport. Photo: Ardfern – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16222441

 

Private bus companies that transport passengers from the airport to the city center include the following:

Aircoach

Aircoach stops at most of the major hotels in Dublin, as well as other popular tourist sites. It operates on a 24-hour basis except for Christmas Day.

You’ll find it outside Terminal 1 at Zone 2, and outside Terminal 2 at Zone 20.

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An Aircoach bus. Photo: By desomurchu archive gallery – https://www.flickr.com/photos/35814052@N06/3570443833/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7032322

Route 700 serves the city center and Leopardstown via Drumcondra, Donnybrook, UCD and Stillorgan. Route 702 and 703 serve Greystones and Killiney via Ballsbridge and Blackrock.

I recommend that you pre-book your ticket, although you can purchase a ticket on the bus from the driver by using a bank card or by using Apple or Google Pay (the total must not exceed €50).

Cash is also accepted on all routes except for the 750X (which runs a cashless service).

The Aircoach Ticket app is available on iPhone and Android devices. Fares to the city center are €7 each. Adult fares apply to customers 13 and over. Children under 5 travel free on Aircoach.

Airport Hopper

If your accommodation is outside of Dublin county or in its suburbs, this bus company will get you to your destination.

It operates hourly shuttle buses from the airport to Maynooth in County Kildare and back, as well as to Tallaght, Dublin’s largest suburb located south of the city.

The Maynooth route also takes in Leixlip, Liffey Valley, Lucan, and the N4 Footbridge area. See the website for fares to all destinations.

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The Airport Hopper vehicles. Photo: Airport Hopper to Dublin Airport Facebook.

Single fares from the airport to Tallaght are €16; return fares are €25. Single fares from the airport to Maynooth are €18; return fares are €27.

If you are staying at the following hotels, you can take this bus service:

Get the Dublin Airport Transport Map

Dublin Express

You’ll find Dublin Express buses at Zone 1 at Dublin Airport’s Terminal 1 and at Zone 21 at the airport’s Terminal 2.

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The Dublin Express bus service that brings passengers from Dublin Airport to various city center stops. Photo: Dublin Express Facebook.

There are two buses, the 782 and the 784.

Both buses make more than 15 stops across the heart of the city center, including Temple Bar, Trinity College, O’Connell Street and Heuston Station. See the schedule for both here.

Enjoy free Wifi, USB charging points and an onboard toilet.

Purchase tickets online or on the bus using your bank card, or Apple or Google Pay. Cash is not accepted.

The fare is €8 one-way.

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THE LUAS

Initially known as the Dublin Light Rail System, the Luas is a tram that connects passengers in the city center to the suburbs.

It consists of two lines, the Red Line and the Green Line.

You can purchase tickets at street-side vending machines or purchase them on the Luas app for Apple and Android phones.  You can also use your Visitor Leap Card on the Luas.

a tram on the street getting around Dublin by bus train and bike
The Luas tram on a Dublin street. Photo: Jonathan Hessian for Tourism Ireland.

Depending on the number of zones you are traveling through on the Luas, an adult will pay a maximum of €2.60 for a single fare.

THE DART/SHORT HOP ZONE

The Dublin Area Rapid Transit system runs from north to south along Dublin’s coastline.

The electric rail system goes from Balbriggan in North County Dublin to Kilcoole in County Wicklow.

 a train getting around Dublin on a bus train and bike
Getting around Dublin by bus, train or bike is easy. Here is a DART train making its way to Dalkey in Co. Dublin. Photo courtesy Tourism Ireland.

The Short Hop Zone refers to commuter train services from the DART’s city center stations to Kilcock in County Kildare and from Dubin’s Heuston Station to Sallins and Naas, also in County Kildare.

You can purchase tickets for any DART journey at each station or on the Irish Rail website.

GETTING AROUND DUBLIN BY TOUR BUS

If you want to see Dublin's main attractions in a short amount of time, you might want to opt for a day tour.

tour bus Ireland's tourism ambassadors
A Dublin tour bus making a stop at The Dail, the Irish government offices. Photo: Bryan Johnson.

There is plenty on offer in Dublin, but the DoDublin hop on hop off bus tours seem to be the most popular. If you want to compare it with other tours in Dublin, go to this page.

GETTING AROUND DUBLIN BY TAXI

While Uber has been banned from using private cars in Dublin, you can still use the Uber app to order a taxi but your driver will be a licensed taxi/limousine driver.

If you don’t have the Uber app, no worries. Taxis can be found throughout the city, including at Dublin Airport by using the Free Now app.

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A bank of taxis in Dublin. Photo: Can Pac Swire, https://www.flickr.com/photos/18378305@N00/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

Free Now is also available in Cork, Galway, and Limerick. Companies that provide regular taxi services in Dublin include Lynx and Better Taxi.

GETTING AROUND DUBLIN BY BIKE

bikes parked on a street getting around Dublin by bus train and bike
Bikes parked outside a shop in Dublin's city center. Photo: Tourism Ireland.

If you’re up for it, cycling in Dublin will give you a great feel for the city. There are approximately 120 kilometers (approximately 74 miles) of bicycle lanes in Dublin at present.

You can rent one by using the Dublin Bikes scheme, which is run by Dublin City Council.

The self-service bike rental system is open to everyone from 14 years of age and up.

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Photo: Marcus Millo, Getty Images.

Bikes are available for rental at specific areas throughout the city, from 5 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. This map shows you how many bikes are available at any time and where.

You can also rent a bike at the following train stations in Dublin: Connolly Station, Bike Station 22; Tara Street Station, Bike Station 24; Pearse Street Station, Bike Station 7, and Heuston Station, Bike Station 25.

A ticket for a 24-hour period costs an affordable €3.50. Find more information on the Dublin Bikes website. Are you thinking of getting around Dublin by bus, train and bike?