Like most every country in Europe, transportation in Ireland revolves around the rustle and clank of train stations. Though bus travel and car rental in Ireland are increasingly popular ways to traverse the country - from Dublin to Galway to Cork, every major city in the country (not to mention those in Northern Ireland) is easily accessible by the extensive Ireland rail system. Fairly inexpensive and consistently reliable, Irish trains will allow you to get across the countryside and along the aristocratic coastlines with a minimum of hassle. The Ireland railways operate hand in hand with the standard Eurail Pass – so if Ireland is but one stop on your European trip, purchasing a Eurail Pass can be the most cost-effective and convenient way to make your way through Ireland. You can also get a Britrail pass, which is good for transportation in Ireland and England, not to mention the countries of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland along with a handful of ferries operating between the islands. If you are not progressing further south into Europe, this is by far the best way to go – though, if your travels only carry across a small corner of Ireland you are unlikely to make much financial gain through the purchase of this pass.
Most of the train transportation in Ireland runs through the capital of Dublin. It also has a vast network of stations that run on the DART system (Dublin’s subway system), making it one easiest cities in all of Europe to navigate. Purchase of the Irish Explorer pass (available through companies that offer Eurail passes) allows unlimited access to the DART subways, along with train travel throughout the rest of the country.
Ireland transportation is not exclusive to merely subways and trains, however. A number of travelers, primarily backpackers find that bus travel – while not as comfortable as the Ireland railway system – can be a cheap and easy alternative to criss-crossing the nation. If you wish to have the choice between the two, the Emerald Card offers unlimited travel on all of the country’s trains and buses. If you want to forgo the trains altogether, the Irish Rambler pass allows access to any of Ireland’s buses, though if you want flex dates, you have to get the Open Road pass, which allows the same travel, though in non-consecutive days.
Many of the larger cities also in Ireland also offer automobile rentals. All the major rental companies - like Avis, Thrifty, etc. - are available, so car rental in Ireland is just as simple as any other country in Europe. You only need a valid driver’s license from your country of origin and the courage to brave some of Ireland’s occasionally under paved roads to obtain a car rental in Ireland. And it goes without saying that you should remember to always drive on the left while in Ireland. You don’t want to look like a tourist.
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