I’m going to explain how not to get run by a crazy bus and other tips to try not to die when you’re using public transport in Dublin.
First, I should say that, if you don’t want to spend a lot of money during you stay in Dublin, you shouldn’t take the public transport, because it’s so expensive. But you’re lucky because this is a small city where all the important and tourist places are very close by. That means that a good pair of shoes will be your best friends if you visit Dublin.
KINDS OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT
There are three different kinds of public transport in Dublin:
The tram in Dublin is called LUAS and it’s the fastest option if you want to get around the city.
There are two different tram lines, and a third one under construction. The green one goes from Sandyford to St. Stephen’s Green (the city center) and it has thirteenth stops. On the other hand, there is the red line which goes from Tallaght to The Point and to Connolly (one of the train stations), this one has 27 stops. If you get the red line, you can go to the Phoenix Park, stopping at Heuston and walk 5 minutes from there.
If you want to buy a ticket for the tram, you have to do it at the machines that you can find at every tram stop. The price for the single ticket depends on the place where you want to go. It could be from 1,9€ for one area, to 3,9€ for five or eight areas. Children and students have a discount, also the people who travel with the Leap Card (I’ll explain what the Leap Card is below). Here you can see all the different prices:
If you don’t want to be fined (as happened to me the first week I was in Dublin), you should know that you don’t have to validate the normal tickets in the machines meanwhile, if you have the Leap Card, you MUST validate the card before and after you get on the tram. There are two machines at each tram stop where you can validate your card.
The timetable is different depending on the day of the week: from Monday to Friday from 5:30 to 0:30. Saturday from 6:30 to 0:30. Sunday from 7:00 to 23:30 and holidays from 7:00 to 0:30.
TIP: It’s better to have your card ready to validate it before you arrive to the tram stop, then you can do it without haste. Sometimes you have to act like a ninja if you don’t want to miss the tram.
This is the LUAS official website and a PDF that you can download with all the information.
I think that the bus was the transport that I used the most during the months that I was living there. There are lots of buses that connect the whole city. You should know two different things when you’re going to get a bus in Dublin:
- Always remember to put your hand out to tell the driver that you want him/her to stop. 95% of the time the bus stop, but every now and then I saw a bus passing by. When you want to get off the bus you just have to press the Stop button
- Method of payment. You don’t have to by the ticket in advance, you can do it at the bus, and the driver will sell you the tickets.
If you want to pay in cash you have to tell the driver where you want to go and he/she will tell you the price. Then you have to put the money in a small metal box that is located next to the driver and he/she will give you the receipt. If you don’t know the destination, you can also put the money into the metal box and let the driver know how much you’re putting in there. Then he/she will give you the receipt with the amount that you have paid. It may seem very easy to pay less money than what it cost, because the drivers don’t know where you are going, but you have to be careful because the reviewer can give you a fine if you didn’t pay the correct amount.
- If you pay more than the exact price, the driver won’t give you change. So, if you want your money back, you’ll have to go to the LUAS office and show the ticket that the driver has given to you. For that reason is better to pay the exact amount. (Apart from the bus 747 that goes to the airport).
- You can’t pay with notes. So you have always have to remember to pay with coins.
- Don’t throw the ticket away that the driver gave to you. The conductor could ask for it.
The people who travel with the Leap Card or another card (like the student one), they also have two options. The first one is to validate the card at the machine that is located at the right side of the bus, just when you go in. If you do it there, you’ll be charged for the maximum amount, as if you were to the last bus stop. The second option is to validate the card at the machine that is located just next to the driver. You just have to tell the driver where you want to go and he/she will charge you the exact price. When you get off the bus you DON’T have to validate the card again.
WARNING: Irish drivers are a little bit brutes when they’re driving. What I want to say with this is that you have to be careful and don’t stand up before the bus has already stopped. Otherwise you’ll end up lying on the floor or on top of someone.
Dublin Bus App
This is the best invention ever. Well, maybe not of the whole history, but it’s really useful when you want to use the public transport in Dublin. The app is free and is available for iOS and also for Android.
With this app you can do lots of things: you can find all the bus stops using the identification number that you can see at the bus stop sign. You can also find all the buses and its routes just writing the bus number. You can find all the buses that drives you to an exact address, and you can find all the bus stops near you.
There is a “Route Planner” option where you can write where you are and where you want to go, then you can see the fastest way to go there. Finally, you can also calculate how much the whole amount will be , just using the “Fare Calculator” option. As you can see is a really complete app and it’s very easy to use.
WARNING: This app only works with Internet, this means that if you’re going to use it when you’re on holiday, probably you won’t have internet, so you’ll need Wi-fi (I’ll explain you more about the Wi-fi in the public transport below).
Here you can find all the bus lines and the timetables.
This is the official Dublin Bus website. There is all the information you’ll need.
Dublin is well-connected by train with the rest of the country it’s possible to go to the north (Belfast), to the south (Cork), to the west (Galway) or to other cities and places in the countryside.
I’m going to explain only the train lines in Dublin and the surrounding area, but you can find all the information about the trains all over the county here.
The train in Dublin is called DART, but I don’t recommend you to get around the city with it because it’s not a big city and you can go walking or use the bus or tram. There are three train stations in the city center: Pearse, Tara Street (this two are located in the south part of the river) and Connolly Station (located in the north part of the river). If you want to visit some of the towns near Dublin, you can get the train in any of the three train stations. There are really nice towns close by, and I recommend you Bray, Malahide and Howth.
You must validate the ticket or the card when you get on and off the train, because the price will change according to your destination. The machines to validate it are located in all the train stations.
There are also tickets for a whole day, week or month, but before buying them I recommend you to calculate how much the single ticket will be. More information about the prices here.
This is the card that you can use for the public transport in Dublin, but you can also use it in Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Wexford. It’s very useful if you’re going to live in Ireland or you’re going to spend a long period of time there. Using this card you can pay 20% less than the normal price in the train, bus or tram.
You can get the Leap Card at some specific shops, as Spar, Centra, Londis, etc., and you can find this shops with this interactive map. You can also buy the card on this website or at some of the machines in the train stations.
If you need a Leap Card for children between 16 and 18 years old, you must personalize it with a photo. You can also buy it on Internet, at the same website as the normal Leap Card. Meanwhile, if you’re student, you can have a special card and you have to personalize it here.
The price for an adult will be 5€, for a family 10€ and for kids 3€. This amount will be returned when you give the Leap Card back.
The Wi-fi in Dublin is great. You can find Wi-fi in every corner around the city, also in the public transport. All the buses in this city have free Wi-fi. You just need to connect and fill out some details (name, nationality, how often you use the bus, etc.). Don’t worry about all this information, you have to write it just once. There is also Wi-fi in the train, but not in the tram.