Northern Ireland — Transportation
Northern Ireland Taxis and Car Rental
Most taxis are on the meter and of the London black cab type. There are taxi stands in all cities of Northern Ireland and most companies will take bookings. Hailing on the street is not the norm since most taxis are either en route or already with fare. Visitors can also find taxis at airports, train stations, and ports. Prices are quite high, as they are in Ireland and on the UK mainland, with steep flag fall and per mile rates.
In Belfast, A1 Taxis (+44-28-9024-6444) and Black Taxi Tours (+44-28-9031-5777) are both known, the latter offering tours with free pickups. In Derry, there is Foyle Delta Cabs (+44-28-7126-3905). Taxis are widely available from both Belfast City and Belfast International airports, the latter being several times that of City Airport.
Visitors will find main rental car companies represented at the Northern Ireland airports, including Avis, Budget, and Europcar, as well as Logan at Belfast City Airport and Dan Dooley at Belfast International Airport. Cars are best booked ahead online for better rates and availability. If you plan on heading into the Irish Republic, confirm with the car hire company beforehand.
Northern Ireland roads are on par with those in the UK and Ireland proper, with four-lane highways in and around Belfast, main routes to the main cities and coasts, and good signage.
Northern Ireland Water Taxis
Traveling to Northern Ireland from Britain is the most popular, and cheapest, method for getting in. You can get across to Belfast as a foot passenger from Birkenhead (Liverpool), Cairnryan (Scotland), and from Douglas (Isle of Man), as well as to Larne from Cairnryan and Troon (Scotland). Stena Line, P&O Irish Sea, and Norfolkline Irish Sea Ferry all run regularly. A better method is to get a combination ticket from a main train station on the UK mainland.
Within Northern Ireland, there are also regular ferries between Ballycastle and Rathlin Island (with Caledonian MacBrayne) off the north coast. Boat tours run from Belfast, Lough Erne at Enniskillen, the Foyle estuary at Londonderry, and from Coleraine.
Northern Ireland Trains and Buses
Though getting about by car is best, Northern Ireland is well served by trains and buses. Londonderry, Larne, Bangor, Newry, and Dublin are all well connected. The express train to Dublin takes just two hours. The rail network is not extensive, however, with buses covering more of the province and being cheaper. The Ulsterbus runs right across Northern Ireland from all stations in Belfast, while Centerlink and Metro connect stations within Belfast. There is also an open-top sightseeing bus in Belfast, while the Freedom of Northern Ireland pass covers transport on trains and buses.