101 Dublin Ireland

Dublin 101: Arriving & Getting Around

Molly Malone @ Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland
The Irish capital may have been established before the 7th century AD. It has a rich history, including being one of the main Viking settlements outside of Scandinavia and the second-largest city in the British Empire. Nowadays, it’s the cosmopolitan center of Ireland’s economy, industry, politics, and cultural life.

Here’s what you need to know for planning a hassle-free trip to Dublin:

ARRIVING in Dublin

Realistically, on a short trip, you’ll arrive in Dublin by plane. But you could certainly also reach it by ferry, cruises, buses or by car.


Aer Lingus, Ireland State Carrier
Aer Lingus

If you arrive by plane, you’ll land in Dublin Airport (DUB), 10km away from the city center — for this post, the area around O’Connell Bridge. There are some different bus options from the airport, but the most convenient, with slight differences, are:

  • Airlink Express (routes 747 and 757): direct connection going through O’Connell Street and O’Connell Bridge, respectively. They run at 15-40 minutes intervals depending on the time of the day, with a journey time of 25-55min. Tickets cost €7 each way or €12 for a return ticket; and
  • Aircoach (route 700): direct connection to O’Connell Street and O’Connell Bridge, running every 30-45 minutes depending on the time of the day, with a journey time of approx. 25min. Tickets cost €8 each way or €9 for a return ticket.

When using taxis, always beware! Make sure the fare is calculated on the taximeter and you receive a receipt. There are no flat rates, but you can expect €25-€30 to the city center.


Although it doesn’t really fit with the idea of weekend travel from mainland Europe, in case you travel by sea, you’ll arrive at Dublin Port. It is only 4km away from the city center.

The first thing before considering this would be to check which Passenger Terminal your route/carrier uses. The distances between the terminals are huge. So depending on it, you could take the Express Bus Transfer or Dublin Bus 53 (Term 1, 2 and 5) or the Luas red line (Term 3 and 4). However, the short distance to the center means that taking a taxi or arranging a pick-up service would be a better cost/benefit.


There are a few international bus routes to Dublin from the UK. Just beware of your fitness to this kind of journey before jumping into the chance to save time and take an overnight trip. With this warning in mind, if you go for it, you’ll likely arrive at Busáras, the central bus station in Dublin.

From Busáras, it’s only a few stations to O’Connell with the Luas red line.


Dublin Bus

The public transport system is a combination of mostly buses, two lines of tram (Luas), and suburban rail (DART and Commuter Rail).

It’s important to note that Dublin is quite small compared to other European capitals. So if you are staying in Dublin city center proper, you can easily cover the main spots on foot and will barely need any transport, except just from/to the airport. But if you prefer to be on the safe side and always ready to hop on, you can get a time-based Leap Visitor Card, allowing unlimited travel on the services above, plus the Airlink to the airport:

  • 24 hours: €10;
  • 72 hours (3 days): €19.50; or
  • 168 hours (7 days): €40, all valid from the first use of the card.

Alternatively, you can get a reloadable Leap Card and pay for individual fares, subject to daily and weekly caps:

Daily CapWeekly Cap
Capping PeriodStarts at 4:30am each day to 4:29am the following dayfrom Mon 4:30am to 4:29am the following Mon
Dublin City Bus€7€27.50
Commuter Rail

Paying the fares by cash is more expensive (€2.15 instead of € 1.55 for a central single journey) and you need to have the exact fare, with only coins. It should be your last resort.

Leap Visitor Card for Dublin

You can purchase at several sale outlets throughout Dublin (including already at the airport) or online. Since this is not an e-ticket, if you choose to purchase online, don’t forget to allow enough time for delivery by post. Don’t forget to validate it each time you start a trip.


See also:

London 101: Arriving & Getting Around

Paris 101: Arriving & Getting Around

How to Choose Your Hotel on Short Trips: 4 Simple Rules

10 Simple Ways to Make Frequent-Flying Easier

Trains in Europe: Get The Best Deals

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