Confused about the trains and buses!

July 21, 2007

Question:

Hi! I’m going to Ireland in 2 months (im going to Limerick, Waterford, and Dublin) And because of my age I cant rent a car , so how would the rail passes work? If I bought a rail and bus pass for 8 days, would I be able to hop on and off at any time? How often do buses and trains go to a city?

I live in the USA and I’m 23. I will be going Oct 23 till Oct 30. I guess what I’m looking for is a pass that I could get on in Limerick, on my way to Waterford, but something I could get off at anytime. Any help/advice would be wonderful.

I CAN’T WAIT TILL I’M THERE!!! This has been a dream of mine for soo long!!
Megan

Also I thought of one more question. Can you think of a place that will not charge me crazy for renting a car under the age of 25??

By the way, This is the 1st Irish site that has been really useful!!! Thanks so much!!

3 Answers

  • IrishFlair says:

    Megan,

    The first time I saw that sign was driving by it in Ireland. I was so tickled I made the hubby stop and back up (it was a small road with no traffic – we looked!) just so I could have my picture taken in front of it.

    You will not have snow in Ireland until winter time, and even then it tends to be light. Be sure to check Katherine’s weather page as well as how to pack for Ireland. All her INFO pages are most helpful for preparing for your trip. Since you are traveling by bus and train you will also want to check out how to pack only One Bag. Layers is the key word, and layers that mix and match is the way you want to go.

    Safe travels,

    Wendy

  • meganslmt says:

    wow!!! Thanks for so much info!! Im so excited to go there!!! One more thing…So sorry, whats the weather like there. I know it will be cold, but does it snow there?

    (By the way, I found the sign for driving that had the car going over the cliff, a little scary but VERY funny!!!)

    Thanks so much!!
    Maybe Ill see ya there!
    Megan

  • DoChara says:

    I’m not surprised that you are somewhat lost on finding bus/train tickets – the whole ticketing system seems designed by a devious mind on a mission to cause maximum confusion and complexity. Nothing as simple as a “go anywhere for x days” type of ticket is available, that would just be too obvious!

    The one that is most likely best for you is the Irish Explorer, which gives you travel on intercity rail and bus, and on city bus services and the DART in Dublin for 8 days in any consecutive 15 day period. It costs, currently, €210, so is not exactly bargain basement either.

    One you will often see advertised, particularly outside Ireland, is the Emerald Card, which is similar but also includes Northern Ireland. It costs a bit more at €236 but as you won’t need the Northern Ireland element isn’t worth it.

    You can buy an Irish Explorer ticket in any bus or rail station or online here.

    Three things to be aware of:

    1. The ticket is NOT valid on Luas trams, which are a very popular means of transport in Dublin.

    2. It is not that easy to get a refund if for any reason your plans change. If you can find the terms and conditions (quite a job as none of the links to them work on the site), to which you must agree when you buy online, you will read:

    “Claims for refunds in respect of unused tickets will be considered solely at the discretion of Bus Éireann and will be subject to such administration charges as Bus Éireann may deem appropriate.”

    Which leaves the ball pretty much in their court. So I would not be inclined to shell out that much money in advance – buy at the station!

    3. Although with that ticket you can get off anywhere and then back on, breaking a journey because you see some place that looks interesting can leave you with a long wait for the next bus or train out. Plus, quite frankly, the mainline trains and intercity buses don’t really pass though that many of the better places to visit.

    If there is one thing that the Irish tourism bosses really need to get a handle on it is simplifying and making more flexible these sort of tickets.

    That said, there are good transport links between the places you mention, with several trains and buses every day.

    Now, one last thing. How long will you be in Dublin? Because you are not going to need a car while you are there. If you are, say, only going to be out around the country for 4 days, that’s all you will need a car for. And you will probably not get the full value of your explorer ticket while you are in Dublin either.

    Dan Dooley have a small car for 4 days in October for around €250 to a person aged 21-23, if you use the promotion code ‘dochara’ to get a 10% discount.

    It might be worth considering whether the extra cost would be worthwhile, given that you would have so much more freedom to go where you like and stop as often as you want. You could probably save the difference by being able to stay in more rural and out of the way B&Bs, which tend to be a little cheaper.

    Hope that all helps – and I really hope we can live up to your expectations!!

    Katherine

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