Ireland — Transportation
Ireland Taxis and Car Rental
Taxis are easily hailed on the streets of Ireland’s major cities, but hotels and guest houses are happy to reserve cabs in advance, which require a contact number (difficult if you’ve left your cell phone at home). In smaller towns and rural areas, pre-booking saves a lot of time waiting on the street for one to drive by. Cabs are relatively expensive, but practical, comfortable and safe, with few scams or rip-offs reported. ABC Taxis (+363-1-285-5444) and Blue Cabs (+363-1-676-111) are both reliable operators.
If your Ireland itinerary includes multiple cities and towns, renting a car is the best option to get around the many districts. Bus service is infrequent or non-existent and rail lines rarely cover remote rural areas, great mansions and ancient castles. Road conditions are generally good, although country lanes are narrow and winding, with passing areas set up strategically at distances. The extensive national road and highway network is great for touring motorists, and does away with the need to deal with frequent traffic circles.
Ireland Water Taxis
Ferries run from Killimer to Tarbot on either side of the wide Shannon River Estuary, saving a very long drive around its fjord-like shores. From the UK, ferries run from Liverpool and the Welsh port of Holyhead to Dublin.
Ireland Trains and Buses
Irish Rail (Iarnrod Eireann) operates the train service in Ireland, generally the fastest means of intercity travel. Train tracks radiate out from Dublin to major cities and towns, with a typical journey to Cork taking around three hours. Dublin has two stations, Connolly and Heuston, and major improvements to the system are ongoing. Online booking of tickets can result in big savings unless there’s a major festival or sporting event along the route, and travel by train is safe and comfortable.
Irish Bus (Bus Eirrean) operates long-distance routes in the Irish Republic in addition to city-wide lines in major towns and pre-booking tickets can save some money. Several other bus companies serve the region, including Citylink, running from Galway to Dublin and Shannon and Aircoach from Dublin to Cork. Kavanagh and Sons operate extensive intercity routes from the main airports to Limerick, Waterford, Kilkenny and Dublin. Buses in rural areas are a different story, with few options and reduced services, as many of the major attractions are set miles away from the nearest town or village.