While interning in Dublin everyone will want to also save time for exploring; whether that is within Ireland or branching out into other countries is completely up to you. I participated in a Global Experience internship in Dublin in summer 2013 and I am excited to share my experiences to give you an idea of what traveling in Ireland is like. To start with, Ireland is a small country, about the same size as some small US states; a bus or train ride across the entire country will take no more than three or four hours. Because of that, any city you want to visit in Ireland can be made into a long day trip or a weekend away and it is easy to find somewhere to stay either in a hostel or through Airbnb. Here are the top methods of traveling outside of Dublin and a few little tips that will help you avoid snafus along the way.
There are two ways to travel around Ireland without a car: bus or rail. Fares for both of these vary depending on destination, but I found the bus to be slightly less expensive for long distance excursions. Bus Éireann is the most popular company, and they have many stations and stops all over Ireland. Tickets can be bought either online or at the station and then you just wait for your bus to arrive! Something to also consider while in Dublin is that there are pre-planned excursions through the Dublin internship program with Global Experiences so check out what is already planned before you decide where you will go. Typical out of town trips usually include a visit to the Cliffs of Moher. If you are going at it alone, though, you might consider stopping off in Galway afterwards or maybe even spending the weekend there on a separate trip.
Travel by rail in Ireland is a great, straightforward system that is very easy to use. It provides you with timely updates on digital signs in the station and within the train, typically showing you the upcoming stops in both Gaelic and English. There is the general Irish Rail, which travels all over Ireland, and then there is the DART, which is more limited to the Dublin area. If you are looking for a quick, fun day-trip I would suggest taking the DART to Howth or Bray. These are both beautiful coastal areas and can be reached for only 5 or 6 Euros round trip. If you use your Leap Card (the reusable plastic smart card that can be used for transport in Dublin) for the rail often times the ticket price will be lower.
My Favorite Day Trips:
When you are in Dublin and have a spare weekend or just want to find something to do out of the city, there are many other great places to visit. Some top places that are easily accessible by bus and/or rail are Giant’s Causeway, Boyne Valley (Brú na Bóinne), and the Ring of Kerry. A visit to Ireland isn’t complete without a trip to see one or all of the sites, and is inexcusable for someone living in Dublin while undertaking an international internship!
I highly recommend you take advantage of both forms of transportation for your day trips because it is a convenient, affordable way to explore Ireland and soak in everything you can from the culture. If you plan on bringing a smart phone I suggest downloading the free app, Real Time Ireland. It communicates with you in real-time the activity and schedules of the bus systems, LUAS and Irish Rail, simply upping the level of convenience!
I hope this helps in your Irish adventures. To find out more about the public transit systems in Ireland, check out these links: