Public transport in Dublin

Public transport in Dublin

If I need to name one thing about Ireland’s capital that stood out to me, it would be the public transport. The city is loaded with buses and bikes, and you never have to wait long for a tram or local train to arrive either. In other words: it’s super easy to get around by using public transport in Dublin. Below, I’ll outline the three main options for transportation within the city. If you want tips about getting to Dublin sustainability, check out my other post. At the bottom of this page, you’ll find my most important tips for getting around Ireland’s capital.

Bikes

The bike rental system in Dublin is amazing! There’s an app called ‘Dublinbikes’ (the icon says NOW DB) that lets you unlock bikes all around the city centre. You pay a few euros to activate your account, which then grants you access to an unlimited amount of free bike rides under 30 minutes. Because the bikes can only be parked within a relatively small radius, chances are slim you will need a bike for longer anyways. Of course, you can take the bike outside of the parking range and lock it with the normal bike lock provided. In that case, you’ll pay a little bit extra for the time exceeding 30 minutes. It only gets expensive when you keep the bike for over 4 hours. Electric bikes are available at an extra cost. With a normal account, you can still take the e-bikes, but the pedal support won’t be activated.

I would only recommend using the Dublinbikes if you’re confident riding them. The Dublin traffic is quite chaotic, so if you’re not an experienced cyclist, it can be dangerous. And of course, don’t forget that people in Ireland drive on the left side of the road! In addition, bike lanes sometimes suddenly end, and many streets are one-way traffic, making navigation quite challenging. There are plans to improve the cycling infrastructure in Dublin, so I’m curious to see the developments over the next few years.

Buses

The highlight of public transport in Dublin are the buses. The city centre is full of double-decker buses to tour you around. Most of the city centre is within walking distance, but if you want to go further out (or aren’t able to walk), buses are a very easy mode of transport in Ireland’s capital. Be aware that you cannot pay by card on most buses, so it’s smart to have some coins on you. There’s also no option to get change. This means that you need to pay the exact amount (most fares cost €1,70) or accept that you pay more than necessary.

But the best way to pay for bus rides is actually to get yourself a ‘Leap Card’. You can buy a visitor card that provides you with unlimited travel for 1, 3 or 7 days, or buy a regular one. The regular Leap Card works with travel credit (i.e. you transfer money onto the card). Getting a Leap Card gives you a 30% discount on your fares, so it’s worth getting one. There are options for buying the card either online or in Dublin.

Trams and local trains

There are two tram lines crossing through the city. They run frequently, so you don’t need to plan ahead much if you’re relying on the trams. Next to that, there are a few local trains. For instance, the DART train is ideal if you want to see the coast next to Dublin. The Leap Card works on both the trams and trains.

To and from the ferry port

When arriving in Dublin by ferry, there will be a bus waiting outside the terminal. It only stops once in the city centre, so there’s no need to worry about getting off at the right stop. Conveniently, there’s also no need to prebook tickets – you can simply hop on. Contrary to the other buses in Dublin, the ferry shuttle bus only accepts payments by card. For travelling in the opposite direction, have a look at the schedule to see when the shuttle bus to the port leaves. Another option is to take bus 53, which usually runs every hour.

Most important tips

  • Use public transport in Dublin instead of driving or taking a taxi.
  • Download the ‘Dublinbikes’ app for unlimited short bikerides. Activitating your account costs a few euros, but after that all bike rides that take less than 30 minutes are free. Only use the bikes if you’re confident enough to ride them in busy traffic!
  • Buy a ‘Leap Card’ to pay for buses, trams and local trains. If you’re staying up to 7 days, get yourself a visitor card. Otherwise, order a regular one.
  • Take the DART train to the coast north or south of Dublin.

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