Dublin Airport is approximately 10km (6 mi) north of the city centre. Dublin Airport has an extensive short and medium haul network, served by an array of scheduled carriers. It also has direct services to North America and the Middle East.
American visitors should be aware that US Customs does pre-clearance at Dublin airport Terminal 2 for most direct flights to the US. This means that you will clear customs in Dublin before flying home. Upon arrival back in the US, you do not go through customs. Be sure to arrive at the airport in plenty of time; three hours before your flight is recommended. DUB one of only two airports in Europe that offer United States border pre-clearance services at the airport for US-bound passengers, who can clear all immigration and customs in Dublin prior to departure. Obviously if you are changing planes at some other non-US airport (e.g., Heathrow or Toronto) before reaching the US, this does not apply.
More than 19.1 million passengers used Dublin Airport in 2012 and the airport offers direct connections to about 170 international destinations with 60 airlines.
Dublin Airport is the headquarters of Ireland's former flag carrier (Aer Lingus), Europe's largest low-cost carrier (Ryanair) and Ireland's regional airline (Aer Arann) which operates the Aer Lingus Regional network. Ireland's fourth airline, CityJet, operates flights from the airport and its HQ is located nearby.
US legacy carriers also serve the airport from major US hubs. Etihad Airways operates service between the airport and Abu Dhabi and Emirates has flights to Dubai.
A full list of airlines flying to Dublin, along with route maps and timetables, can be found on the Dublin Airport website.
Ireland's flag carrier airline, Aer Lingus, flies to Dublin from a large number of European cities. Aer Lingus fares are often lower than other flag carriers, but in part this has been achieved by matching the service levels of low-fare competitors. As a result, they now charge for checked-in bags and seat reservation at the time of booking. Aer Lingus staff are always very friendly and helpful with both their planes and flight attendants decorated in bright green livery.
Ryanair, Ireland's second airline and Europe's largest low fares airline, has one of its main bases in Dublin from which it flies to a large number of European airports including Paris, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Madrid and Frankfurt as well as smaller regional airports such as Nantes or Kaunas. While famous for its low fares, Ryanair can be more expensive than other airlines for last minute bookings. Ireland's third airline Aer Arann links Dublin to many regional Irish airports and some smaller UK cities.
There are three types of bus transport to Dublin city:
Beware of taxi drivers trying to pick up passengers at Aircoach bus stops. They are strictly forbidden from doing this, but almost everyone is accosted by at least one taxi before an Aircoach arrives. They often offer the same rate as catching the Aircoach so accept the lift at your own discretion.
Depending on traffic, journey times can vary from 25min to over an hour. These buses are considerably cheaper than AirLink and Aircoach. Both of these local bus services stop across from Drumcondra train station which is on the Dublin-Maynooth commuter line. Some trains on this line continue past Maynooth and serve stations as far away as Longford. All Dublin Bus buses (except AirLink) do not give change and fares must be paid in coins. Ticket machines near a few outdoor bus stops, including the one at the airport, do not require exact change. Tickets can also be purchased at the newsagent inside the airport. Luggage racks are limited on the local buses, and it is not unknown for drivers to turn away travellers with packs that cannot be stored.
A taxi to the city centre should cost around €20-30: it can be comparable to or cheaper than the bus options if you are in a group of three or more (as well as a lot less hassle). Taxis are legally obliged to provide an electronic receipt detailing the fare, distance and other pertinent details. Make sure to ask for one as otherwise they often don't provide such a receipt.
Currently there is no train or metro linking the city centre to Dublin airport.
Unless your destination is Dublin City, it's probably best to use one of the extensive range of other bus services that stop at Dublin Airport and so avoid the city centre traffic.
The closest car parks to the terminals are the short-term car parks operated by Dublin Airport/DAA
Dublin has two main railway stations. Heuston, in the west of the city centre, serves much of the west and south of the country including an hourly service to Cork which also services Limerick. Connolly, in the north-east centre of the city, serves the south east and east coast, Belfast, Sligo in the north-west and suburban commuter services including the Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) system. The two main stations are connected by bus and Luas routes. Visit the website for all train services local and intercity.
Iarnród Éireann, the national railway company, has one of the youngest train fleets in Europe and the Cork train in particular is extremely comfortable. Older trains were phased out completely in 2008 with the arrival of a massive fleet of brand new trains built in Japan and South Korea.
There are internet intercity train fares for off peak services which are substantially cheaper than over the counter tickets. Food on trains is generally overpriced and carrying your own food on board is normally permitted.
A single bus station, Busáras, is the terminus for Bus Eireann services to almost all towns and cities in Ireland (except for a few services to County Meath and County Dublin, which leave from the surrounding streets). It is next to Connolly train station, 10min by foot from O'Connell Street. There are also services to Northern Ireland and Eurolines services to Continental Europe. Luggage lockers are in the basement, along with the pay-to-enter public toilets.
A number of private bus companies also operate out of the airport and stop in city centre. Kavanaghs has a good service to Limerick and Waterford. Citylink coaches has a good price to Galway and the West, while GoBus now provides a non-stop Dublin-Galway service.
Dublin Port has several passenger ferry services to/from England, Wales and the Isle of Man. The main routes are Liverpool-Dublin, Holyhead-Dublin, Holyhead-Dún Laoghaire. Companies from Wales include Stena and Irish Ferries, and from Liverpool, P&O and Norfolk Line. It is also common to arrive to Ireland via the suburban port of Dún Laoghaire 10km (6 mi) south of Dublin. The port of Dún Laoghaire is serviced by the DART. Crossings from Liverpool are seven hours, while crossings from Holyhead are from 2.5h, depending on whether you take a fast ferry or a larger ferry.
If you are travelling to Dublin from anywhere in Britain, a very cheap option is to purchase a combined rail and ferry ticket. Tickets from any rail station in Britain to Dublin Port will cost no more than £30.50 one way (as of June 2010), which is particularly good value considering that the ferry ticket alone can cost up to £30 if purchased separately. Foot passengers departing Ireland do not need to book combined ferry/rail tickets in advance and can just buy them on the day at the ferry port. However returning from England it is sometimes wiser to pre-book as ferry/rail tickets may not be available on the day at some stations.
These combined tickets can be purchased direct from rail stations in Britain or online from Rail Easy (with £1 booking fee plus £0.75 debit card fee).
If you are visiting Dublin only for a day trip and have a car, you can beat the traffic by leaving your car at a Park and Ride station. If you are coming from the south, two ideal places to leave your car are at the Sandyford Luas stop, located just off junction 15 of the M50 on Blackthorn Rd, or Bray DART stop, on Bray Rd. If you are coming from the west, your best option is the Red Cow Luas stop, off junction 9 of the M50. Coming from the north east, you would do best to use the Park and Ride station at Howth DART station. Tariffs at Park and Ride stations range from €2 to €4.
While all car rental companies in Ireland have rental desks in the arrivals hall of Dublin Airport, the list of car rental companies with inner city locations is far less. Some of the car rental companies will advertise city centre locations, but these locations are mostly only drop-offs for which an additional charge will be added.
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