Buy a train & ferry ticket from London to Dublin online...

If no form appears, go to www.raileasy.com.  Booking usually opens 9-12 weeks ahead.

You can book from any station in Britain to any station in Ireland, one-way or return in either direction.  It can also book from any station in Britain to or from Rosslare Harbour via Fishguard & to or from Belfast via Holyhead or Cairnryan.

(1)  Type 'Lon' & select London (mainline stations) or enter any British station.

(2)  Type 'Dub' and select Dublin Port (Irish Ferries) or Dublin Port (Stena) or enter the name of any Irish station such as Cork, Limerick, Galway, Sligo....

(3) Set departure time to (say) 07:00.

Tip:  To see the recommended 08:05 ship from Dublin to Britain as well as the 08:45 fast ferry, click Advanced options & tick Include slower overtaken trains.

International credit cards accepted!

Tickets are collected at any main British station including London Euston or sent to any UK address, but there is no way you can collect them in Ireland. 

If you want to collect tickets in Dublin or have them sent to an Irish address, buy tickets at www.irishferries.com instead as explained here.

Booking feewww.raileasy.com charge a £1.00 booking fee plus card fee from 75p, collection at stations free, tickets by 1st class post £1.50.

If you have any problems, you can also buy tickets at www.virgintrains.co.uk with tickets sent to any address worldwide, or (if you have a UK address) www.stenaline.co.uk.  For one-way or return tickets starting in Ireland, use www.irishferries.com.

Which ferry?  Click the 'i' to see if it's routed you via Irish Ferries or Stena Line.  Irish Ferries Holyhead-Dublin crossings taking 3 hours are the ship Ulysses, those taking 2 hours are the Swift fast ferry.  Fares for the Swift are £5 more than by ship.  I recommend the superb Ulysses which has never missed a crossing, the Swift can be cancelled if wave height is over 1m.

How to buy first class tickets

Recommended London to Dublin service.

Recommended Dublin to London service

Buy tickets by phone...

In the UK call 08709 000 773

In Ireland call  (01) 703 1884

You collect your tickets from these machines at London Euston or at any main British station (the machine type & colour varies).  Touch collect tickets on the screen then insert your credit card and the tickets will print.  Easy!  You must have the original credit card used for the booking.

Cheap SailRail tickets between Britain & Ireland...  Watch the video!

Fed up with flying?  Discover a well-kept secret:  You can buy cheap SailRail tickets between any rail station in Britain and any rail station in Ireland, covering train travel to the port, ferry to Ireland & onward trains in Ireland, all on one ticket.  Swap a stressful flight or cramped coach on an eyesore motorway for a relaxed train ride through the countryside and along the beautiful Welsh coast, then by luxury superferry across the Irish Sea.  Watch the video or see the journey in pictures below.  And it reduces your CO2 emission by up to 73%.  Sit back with a good book and enjoy the ride...

£29 train & ferry ticket from London to DublinLondon ▶ Dublin from £38

London ▶ Cork, Limerick, Galway from £55.50

Manchester or Liverpool to Dublin £33

York, Leeds, Birmingham to Dublin £34

Oxford or Little Kimble to Tralee or Sligo £53.50

Little where?  Exactly. Any station in Britain to Ireland. Even Little Kimble.

No baggage fees, no airport taxes, under 5s free, under 16s half price.  Book by 18:00 day before travel, small fee for online bookings. Fast ferry £5 more. 

 

Buy tickets online  ▶ ▶ ▶

Or click here if your journey starts in Ireland

 

A complete guide to train+ferry between Britain & Ireland...

  Route map - choose the most suitable train+ferry route to Ireland.

  Recommended departure from London to Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Sligo

  Recommended departure from Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Sligo to London

  Video guide - A journey from London to Dublin on video...

  Complete timetable for London-Dublin by train+ferry via Irish Ferries or Stena.

  How much does it cost?  SailRail fares, anywhere in Britain to anywhere in Ireland.

  How to buy tickets online, by phone or in person, in Britain, Ireland or overseas.

  FAQ:  Luggage, bikes, pets, stopovers

  First class travel from London to Dublin - the deluxe option from £160...

  London, Bristol, Cardiff to Rosslare, Wexford & Waterford via Fishguard-Rosslare.

  Train travel in Ireland  - An introduction to Irish Rail train travel.

  Hotels in Dublin & Ireland    Send your luggage in advance

  Dublin City Tours by Open Top Bus - hop on, hop off.

  Day trips from Dublin to see the Blarney Stone, Ring of Kerry, Giant's Causeway

  Short breaks to Ireland without flying - Ireland Railtours' London to Ireland tour.

  Useful country information for visiting Ireland.

Train & ferry routes Britain to Ireland  See detailed map

Which route?  The route via Holyhead is the traditional route from London to Dublin & most of Ireland including Cork, Limerick, Galway.  The Fishguard-Rosslare route is good for Wexford & Waterford, but not well linked to Cork or Limerick.  For London to Belfast use either Holyhead or Cairnryan, see the Northern Ireland page.

Britain to Ireland train & ferry route map

Sponsored links...

 

 Useful country information

Train operator in Ireland:

IR (Iarnrod Eireann), www.irishrail.ie for Irish train times, fares, online tickets.

Train+ferry Britain to Ireland:

To buy SailRail tickets in Britain, use the form above or call 08709 000 773.

Train+ferry Ireland to Britain

To buy SailRail tickets in Ireland, book online here or call 1850  366222.

British train times & fares:

www.nationalrail.co.uk (will also give train+ferry times & fares to Dublin)

Ferry operators to Ireland:

www.irishferries.com  www.stenaline.co.uk  www.fastnetline.co.uk

Time zone:

GMT (GMT+1 from last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October).

Dialling code:

+353

Currency:

£1 = approx 1.15 euros  Check current exchange rates

Tourist information:

www.ireland.travel.ie.  Irish tourist board in UK: 020 7518 0800

Hotels in Ireland:

Accommodation in Dublin & Ireland   Hotel reviews: www.tripadvisor.com

Page last updated:

11 June 2014.          Dublin map                Recommended guidebooks


London to Ireland, the recommended option...

 

London to Dublin in pictures...

Watch the video...

  Virgin Trains' Voyager from London just arrived at Holyhead
 

Leave London on Virgin Trains 9.10am Irish Mail to Holyhead (08:15 on Sundays).

  Standard class seats on the train to Holyhead
 

The modern 125 mph Voyager train is air-conditioned, superior to any plane or coach, with T-Mobile WiFi, power sockets for laptops & mobiles and a buffet car serving drinks & snacks. The journey takes 3h40, time to get some work done or catch up on your reading...

  Passing Conway Castle
 

After glimpsing Conway's pretty fishing harbour, the train snakes around the imposing walls of historic Conway Castle...

  View from the train along the North Wales coast on the way to Dublin
 

...and along the North Wales coast a stone's throw from the sea. Yes, this was taken from the train!

  View from the train as it crosses the Britannia Bridge to Anglesey
 

...then crosses the Menai Strait to Anglesey on Stephenson's historic Britannia Bridge.  Above, you can see Telford's famous suspension bridge from the train.

  Irish Ferries ship 'Ulysses' from Holyhead to Dublin

At Holyhead, the ferry terminal is right next to the station.  You check in for your chosen ferry operator, either Stena Line or Irish Ferries.  Compared to flying, it's quick & painless.

  Irish Ferries ship 'Ulysses' from Holyhead to Dublin

After checking in, a courtesy bus transfers you to the luxurious 50,000 ton Irish Ferries superferry Ulysses for the Irish Sea crossing to Dublin...

  On board Irish Ferries ship 'Ulysses' from Holyhead to Dublin

...the Ulysses is perhaps the most luxurious ferry on the Irish Sea.  The sea crossing takes 3hours 15 mins, arriving Dublin Ferryport at 17:25.

  The competition!  Stena Line's 'Stena Adventurer' seen from the deck of Irish Ferries' 'Ulysses'

With the Welsh hills in the background, Stena Line's Stena Adventurer sails for Dublin 20 minutes ahead of the Ulysses, but I think the Ulysses is by far the more glamorous ship!  Even on this broodingly grey November day, the huge Ulysses is rock steady...

  In the Club Class Martello Lounge on the ferry Ulysses to Dublin

A big step up from the budget airline experience...  On the Ulysses, you can upgrade to club class in the Martello Lounge on 11 deck for £16 (€18), with complimentary red & white wine, tea & coffee, cheese & crackers, olives, smoked salmon canapés, muffins & fruit juice.  The lounge is above the ship's bridge, giving a superb forward view of the Irish coast approaching...

  Dublin O'Connell Street

Welcome to Dublin!  You've arrived the traditional way, by train & ferry...

 

 Book online
 here

  London

  to Dublin

  £38 or £43

  Any day, any date...

 If you need a hotel...

 I recommend the excellent hotel

 price comparison site hotelscombined.com.

   

London ► Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Belfast

Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Limerick, Galway ► London  


Video guide...

Watch the video London to Dublin in 5 minutes...

Oh go on then, 6 minutes.  The video shows how easy the London to Dublin train & ferry journey is, and what there is to see on the way.  As you enter Euston Station, pay your respects to the statue of Robert Stephenson, the engineer who built the railway to Holyhead including the Britannia Bridge, it's been the civilised way to Dublin since 1850.  Also see this Irish Ferries video & virtual tour of the Ulysses.


London to Dublin complete timetable

There are plenty of trains to Holyhead, then two different ferry operators from Holyhead to Dublin, Irish Ferries & Stena Line, each operating a conventional ship and a fast ferry.  You can choose a SailRail train & ferry ticket routed via Irish Ferries or via Stena Line, with a slightly higher fare if you choose that operator's fast ferry rather than their conventional ship.

Which ferry should you choose?  The first thing is that the ships are all-weather reliable, but the smaller & lighter fast ferries can be cancelled in poor weather, even though they give a faster crossing when they run.  Of the two competing ships, Irish Ferries' luxurious cruise ferry Ulysses and Stena Line's Stena Adventurer sail to a very similar schedule, and both ships offer great facilities and all-weather reliability.  Stena Line's ship will get you to Dublin 20 minutes earlier than the Ulysses off the same train connection from London and it has free WiFi, but in my opinion the Irish Ferries Ulysses is the far more glamorous ship, with a genuine cruise ship feel.  Until recently she was the largest car ferry in the world at over 50,000 tons.  The Ulysses is therefore my own choice, but by all means take the Stena Adventurer if you prefer.  Irish Ferries' Swift fast ferry offers a very fast crossing, but it can be cancelled if wave height is above 1 metre, affecting perhaps 5% of departures in winter, with passengers transferred to the next available sailing of the reliable all-weather Ulysses.  Stena Line's HSS fast ferry is less affected by the weather than the smaller Swift, but now only runs once a day April-September only, leaving Holyhead too early for any useful train connections.  However, its afternoon departure back from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead is a good choice for an eastbound journey, as it allows same-day train connections from Irish cities west and south of Dublin, and has very easy train/ferry transfers at both Dun Laoghaire and Holyhead.

Irish Ferries ship 'Ulysses' from Holyhead to Dublin.  Photo courtesy of Irish Ferries

OR

Irish Ferries 'Dublin Swift' from Holyhead to Dublin.  Photo courtesy of Irish Ferries

OR

Stena Line's 'HSS' from Holyhead to Ireland

1. Irish Ferries Ulysses:  A luxurious cruise ferry Holyhead to Dublin Ferryport.  The crossing takes 3 hours 15 minutes.  Free WiFi, bars, restaurants, cinema, optional private cabins available on board. VIP lounge available for an extra £16.

Take a virtual tour.

 

2. Irish Ferries Swift:  A fast SeaCat from Holyhead to Dublin Ferryport, taking 1 hour 49 minutes.  Reclining seats & refreshments available on board.  It can be cancelled if the weather is bad, affecting perhaps 5% of sailings in winter with passengers transferred to the all-weather Ulysses.

Take a virtual tour.

 

3. Stena Line HSS fast ferry, Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire in 1 hour 49 minutes, for a DART train to central Dublin. The HSS (High Speed Sea Service) is a giant catamaran. It now only runs April-September.

4. Stena ship to Dublin Ferryport.  The Stena Adventurer sails to a similar schedule as Ulysses... 

Take a virtual tour

 London ► Dublin  via Irish Ferries

 

Mondays-Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

1. Train...            Change trains at:

Crewe,

Chester

Direct

Chester

Direct

Crewe, Chester

Direct

Chester

Crewe

------

Crewe

Crewe

Direct

 London Euston depart by train: 

06:36

09:10

12:10

19:10

06:36

09:10

12:10

19:07

------

08:15

11:15

19:08

 Holyhead arrive by train:

10:36

12:50

16:15

22:56

11:08

12:50

16:13

23:18

------

12:43

15:55

22:56

2.  Ferry...                Ferry type:

Swift

Ulysses

Swift

Ulysses

Swift

Ulysses

Swift

Ulysses

Swift

Ulysses

Swift

Ulysses

 Holyhead depart by ferry:

11:50

14:10

17:15

02:40

11:50

14:10

17:15

02:40

11:50

14:10

17:15

02:40

 Dublin Port (terminal 1) arrive:

13:39

17:25

19:15

05:55

13:39

17:25

19:15

05:55

13:39

17:25

19:15

05:55

 London ► Dublin  via Stena Line

 

Mondays-Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

1.  Train...                         Change trains at:

------

Direct

Chester

Direct

------

Direct

Direct

Crewe

------

Crewe

Crewe

Direct

 London Euston depart by train:

------

09:10

15:10

19:10

------

09:10

16:10

19:07

------

08:15

15:37

19:08

 Holyhead  arrive by train:

------

12:50

19:16

22:56

------

12:50

19:55

23:18

------

12:43

19:54

22:56

2. Ferry...                            Ferry type:

HSS**

Ship

Ship

Ship

HSS**

Ship

Ship

Ship

HSS**

Ship

Ship

Ship

 Holyhead depart by ferry:

10:30

13:50

20:30

02:30

10:30**

13:50

20:30

02:30

10:30**

13:50

20:30

02:30

 Dun Laoghaire (for Dublin) arrive by ferry:

12:45

|

|

|

12:45**

|

|

|

12:45**

|

|

|

 Dublin Port (terminal 2) arrive by ferry:

-

17:05

23:45

05:45

-

17:05

23:45

05:45

-

17:05

23:45

05:45

* = On Saturday mornings, train leaves Holyhead at 04:25, change at Chester, arriving London 09:29.  If you've heavy luggage, a direct train leaves Holyhead at 06:52 arriving London 10:38.

** = The HSS only operates from 9 April to 9 September 2014, not all year round.  No ferry to/from Dun Laoghaire at all in winter.

 Dublin ► London  via Irish Ferries

 

Mondays-Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

1.  Ferry                   Ferry type: 

Ulysses

Swift

Swift

Ulysses

Ulysses

Swift

Swift

Ulysses

Ulysses

Swift

Swift

Ulysses

 Dublin Port (terminal 1) depart: 

08:05

08:45

14:30

20:55

08:05

08:45

14:30

20:55

08:05

08:45

14:30

20:55

 Holyhead arrive by ferry:

11:30

10:45

16:30

00:20

11:30

10:45

16:30

00:20

11:30

10:45

16:30

00:20

2.  Train         Change trains at:

Chester

Bangor

Chester

Direct

Chester

Direct

Chester & Crewe

Crewe

Direct

Direct

Crewe

Direct

 Holyhead depart by train:

12:32

11:27

17:30

 04:48 *

12:38

11:55

17:21

07:16(Sun)

12:50

12:50

17:30

04:48(Mon)

 London Euston arrive by train:

16:38

15:38

21:42

 08:33 *

16:38

15:38

22:43

12:05(Sun)

16:44

16:43

22:27

08:33(Mon)

 Dublin ► London  via Stena Line

 

Mondays-Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

1. Ferry...                Ferry type:

Ship

HSS**

Ship

Ship

Ship

HSS**

Ship

Ship

HSS**

Ship

 Dublin Port (Terminal 2) depart by ferry: 

08:20

-

15:10

20:30

08:20

-

20:30

08:20

-

20:30

 Dun Laoghaire (for Dublin) depart by ferry: 

|

13:30

|

|

|

13:30**

|

|

13:30**

|

 Holyhead ferry arrive by ferry:

11:25

15:45

18:40

00:01

11:25

15:45**

00:01

11:25

15:45**

00:01

2. Train...        Change trains at:

Chester

Crewe

Ch, Wolv

direct

Chester

Chester, Crewe

Crewe

direct

Chester

direct

 Holyhead train depart by train:

12:32

17:30

19:21

 04:48 *

12:38

16:50

07:16 (Sun)

12:50

16:25

04:48 (Mon)

 London Euston train arrive by train:

16:38

21:42

01:15

 08:33 *

16:38

21:18

12:05 (Sun)

16:43

20:44

08:33 (Mon)

Find train & ferry times from other UK cities to Dublin...

  • Use the online booking form above to check train times & buy SailRail tickets from any station in Britain to Dublin or Dun Laoghaire.

  • Enter any station you like in the 'From' box, such as Birmingham, Cardiff, Newcastle, Norwich, your own local station, whatever...

  • Enter 'Dublin Port (Irish Ferries)' or 'Dublin Port (Stena)' in the 'To' box for Irish Ferries (Ulysses or Swift fast ferry) or Stena Line ship to Dublin Ferryport, enter 'Dun Laoghaire' for the Stena Line HSS fast ferry to Dun Laoghaire.  Enter your dates of travel and click 'find tickets'.

  • When the results appear, it doesn't distinguish between the Ulysses ship and the Swift fast ferry to Dublin Ferryport, it just says 'ferry'.  With 'Dublin Port (Irish Ferries)' selected, if the ferry takes 3 hours or more than it's the Ulysses, if it takes 2 hours or less it's the Swift.  All ferries to Dun Laoghaire are the Stena Line HSS fast ferry.  With Dublin Port (Stena) selected, it will be the Stena Line ship.  Click 'fares' to see the fare for that journey.


SailRail fares

Any station in Britain to any station in Ireland...

You can buy a SailRail ticket from any station in Britain to any station in Ireland, routed via Holyhead and either Stena Line or Irish Ferries.  This covers both the train and the ferry and any onward Irish train too, all on one ticket for one inclusive price.  To check the price from any given station in Britain to Dublin or elsewhere in Ireland, look up which UK zone that station falls into using the zone table, then use the fares tables below.  All these fares are one way, returns are twice the one-way fare.  Booking usually usually opens 9-12 weeks ahead.

 SailRail fares via Irish Ferries

  One-way fares

 ...to Dublin

...to Cork, Limerick, Galway, Sligo, Tralee

Advance fare

Ulysses ship

Advance fare

Swift fast ferry

Walk-up fare

Ulysses ship

Walk-up fare

Swift fast ferry

Advance fare

Ulysses ship

Advance fare

Swift fast ferry

Walk-up fare

Ulysses ship

Walk-up fare

Swift fast ferry

 From London:

£38

£43

£43

£48

£55.50

£60.50

£60.50

£65.50

 Any rail station in Zone A

£32

£37

£37

£42

£49.50

£54.50

£54.50

£59.50

 Any rail station in Zone B

£33

£38

£38

£43

£50.50

£55.50

£55.50

£60.50

 Any rail station in Zone C 

£34

£39

£39

£44

£51.50

£56.50

£56.50

£61.50

 Any rail station in Zone D

£36

£41

£41

£46

£53.50

£58.50

£58.50

£63.50

 Any rail station in Zone E

£38

£43

£43

£48

£55.50

£60.50

£60.50

£65.50

 

 SailRail fares via Stena Line

  One-way fares

...to Dublin

...to Cork, Limerick, Galway, Sligo, Tralee

Advance fare

Stena ship

Advance fare

HSS fast ferry*

Walk-up fare

Stena ship

Walk-up fare

HSS fast ferry*

Advance fare

Stena ship

Advance fare

HSS fast ferry

Walk-up fare

Stena ship

Walk-up fare

HSS fast ferry

 From London:

£36

£40

£41

£45

£54.50

£58.50

£59.50

£63.50

 Any rail station in Zone A

£30

£34

£35

£39

£48.50

£52.50

£53.50

£57.50

 Any rail station in Zone B

£31

£35

£36

£40

£49.50

£53.50

£54.50

£58.50

 Any rail station in Zone C

£32

£36

£37

£41

£50.50

£54.50

£55.50

£59.50

 Any rail station in Zone D

£34

£38

£39

£43

£52.50

£56.50

£57.50

£61.50

 Any rail station in Zone E

£36

£40

£41

£45

£54.50

£58.50

£59.50

£63.50

* Stena Line's HSS fast ferry goes to Dun Laoghaire rather than Dublin, and only runs April to September, see timetable above.  This is the fare to Dun Laoghaire, through fares to Dublin Connolly by DART train cost £1 more.

Advance fare =  Sail Rail Advance fare, this is what you normally pay if you book in advance, meaning before 18:00 on the day before travel.  At busy times the Advance fare can sell out, in which case you'll pay the Walk-up fare.  The ticket includes a reservation on the ferry and on those trains on the British part of your journey on which seat reservation is possible.  You can only travel on the specific train or trains which have been reserved for you, not on earlier, later or alternative trains, unless a delayed train or ferry means you miss a connection.  No stopovers are allowed.  On trains on which seat reservation is not possible, meaning local or suburban trains, you can take any suitable train.  Tickets are non-refundable, but changes to date or time can be made for a fee (about £10) in person at British railway stations but not in Ireland or by phone.

Walk-up fare = Sail Rail Single fare, this what you pay if you buy a ticket on the day of travel or if you book in advance but the cheaper Advance fare has sold out.  Also known as Standby.  A reservation is required on the ferry, but seat reservation on trains is optional and you can use any train and any permitted rail route to and from the ferry port.  However, no stopovers are allowed except as necessary to make connections.  You can buy a walk-up fare in advance if you like, but it's only valid on the date you book it for, and the only reason you'd want one if the cheaper Advance fare is available is if you wanted the flexibility to take alternative trains or routes on the way to or from the ferry port from those that the system offers you.  Refunds allowed less a £15-£20 admin fee.

 Which British station is in which zone?

 Zone A   

Gwynedd North, Clwyd

 Zone B 

Greater Manchester, Liverpool & Merseyside, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Cheshire

 Zone C 

Lancashire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, West Midlands, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Hereford & Worcester, Gloucestershire, Powys, Gwynedd South.

 Zone D 

Cumbria, North Yorkshire, Humberside, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Avon, Gwent, South Glamorgan, Mid Glamorgan, West Glamorgan, Dyfed, Somerset.

 Zone E 

London, anywhere in Scotland, Tyne & Wear, Durham, Cleveland, Northumberland, Greater London, Surrey, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire, Dorset, Somerset, Devon, Cornwall.

About these SailRail fares...

 

Rail map of

Great Britain & Ireland

Thomas Cook publish an excellent map of train network in Great Britain and Ireland, showing all train routes, scenic routes, ferry routes and places of interest.  Click here to buy at Amazon.co.uk.

Or download a free rail & ferry map...

 
 

FAQ:  Luggage, bikes, pets...


How to buy SailRail tickets

  How to buy SailRail tickets in Britain:  Book online here.

 

London Euston station

London's Euston station

Buying train & ferry tickets to Dublin in London

If you live in the UK (or you live overseas & your journey starts in Britain) you can buy SailRail tickets online & collect them from the ticket machines at all main British stations.  These are machines at London Euston station.

  How to buy SailRail tickets in Ireland Book online at www.irishferries.com

 

Dublin Connolly station

Dublin to London SailRail tickets can be bought online or at Connolly station...

Buying RailSail tickets from Dublin to London at Dublin Connolly station

You can buy train & ferry tickets to London or anywhere in Britain online at IrishFerries.com or in person from the ticket office at Dublin Connolly station, indicated by the arrow in the picture above, open for SailRail tickets 09:45-12:30 & 14:30-16:30 Mon-Sat, 11:30-15:30 Sundays & holidays.

       How to buy SailRail tickets if you live overseas...


Introducing Irish Ferries' Ulysses   Take the virtual tour...

Irish Ferries' huge 50,000 ton Ulysses was once the largest car ferry in the world (a title now with Stena Line's new 63,000 ton Stena Hollandica and Stena Britannica on the Harwich-Hoek van Holland route), and she's perhaps the most luxurious ferry on the Irish Sea.  She's all-weather (and all-volcanic ash!) reliable, as in ten years of service she hasn't missed a single sailing due to weather.  More than can be said for the planes!  She's rock stead under most conditions, and a pleasure to travel on.  Since 2012 she also features free WiFi...

The super-ferry 'Ulysses' waiting to sail from Dublin Ferryport to Holyhead...   A cabin aboard the Ulysses   The super-ferry 'Ulysses' at Dublin Ferryport, boarding passengers for London...

Irish Ferries' superb cruise ferry Ulysses from Holyhead to Dublin...

 

A private cabin aboard the Ulysses.

 

The luxurious 50,000-ton Ulysses is the world's biggest car ferry...

You too could be on board the Ulysses, travelling from Dublin to London by luxurious superferry & inter-city train in a relaxed way, no airports or flights, for just £38 or €49!


London to Dublin in first class...

  A first class table for two on a Virgin Trains Pendolino to Holyhead

A first class table for two on a Virgin Trains Pendolino.  Book a first class ticket to Holyhead on the 09:10 at www.virgintrains.co.uk.

First class full english breakfast on a Virgin Trains pendolino

A cooked breakfast is served at your seat on weekdays, included in the fare...

  Club Class Martello Lounge on the ferry to Dublin

Complimentary wine & canapés, tea & coffee in the Martello Club lounge on the cruise ferry Ulysses as the coast of Ireland approaches... 

Book the 14:10 ferry from Holyhead to Dublin with Club lounge included at www.irishferries.com.

First class from £160...   "Ryanair eat my shorts..."

London to Dublin starts at around £160 one-way in first class comfort, with a complimentary cooked breakfast served at your seat on the morning Virgin Trains departure to Holyhead and a seat in the Martello Club lounge on the cruise ferry Ulysses with complimentary red or white wine and canapés, with great views of the coast or Ireland slowly approaching.  You can't buy first class SailRail fares, but you can easily book a first class journey from London to Dublin using separate train and ferry tickets bought direct from Virgin Trains and Irish ferries...

London ► Dublin, first class...   

Dublin ► London, first class...  

Fares...

How to buy tickets...

A few tips...



London to Rosslare & Wexford via the Fishguard ferry

There is a regular fully-integrated train & ferry service from London, Bristol & Cardiff to Rosslare in Southern Ireland via Fishguard.  Rosslare is handy for Wexford & Waterford.  Special train & ferry SailRail tickets are sold from any British railway station to Rosslare Harbour or any Irish station via this route, just use the booking form above to buy a ticket to Rosslare Harbour or any Irish station (it can help to click 'advanced options' and put 'Fishguard Harbour' in the 'via' box).  If you're heading for Cork, Limerick and so on, you're better off travelling via Holyhead & Dublin, see here.  London-Dublin journeys are best made via Holyhead, see here.

 London, Bristol, Cardiff, Fishguard ► Rosslare & Wexford  

 By train...

Monday-Friday

Saturday

Sunday

 London Paddington depart

08:45

20:15

08:45

19:45

08:30

19:37

 Reading depart

09:11

20:41

09:11

20:11

09:05

20:11

 Swindon depart

09:38

21:13

09:38

20:38

09:41

20:44

 Bristol Parkway depart

10:07

21:40

10:07

21:07

10:07

21:10

 Newport depart

10:31

22:05

10:31

21:31

11:00

21:36

 Cardiff depart

10:54

22:26

10:54

22:12

11:18

22:30

 Fishguard arrive by train

13:15

01:26

13:15

01:27

13:59

01:32

 By Stena Line ferry across the Irish Sea...

 Fishguard depart by ferry

14:30

02:45

14:30

02:45

14:30

02:45

 Rosslare Europort arrive

18:00

06:15

18:00

06:15

18:00

06:15

 By train...

 Rosslare Europort depart

 18:35*

07:20

 18:35*

09:40

18:35*

07:20

 Wexford arrive

 18:59*

07:43

 18:59*

10:05

18:59*

07:43

 Dublin Connolly arrive

 21:44*

10:15

 21:44*

12:30

21:38*

10:15

You usually need to change trains to reach Fishguard, either at Cardiff or Swansea.  The online system will tell you where to change, as it varies.

* = This connection is a train from 3 June to 31 August 2014, as Irish Rail are improving ferry/train connections for the summer.  From 1 September onwards there will be no train, only a bus leaving Rosslare ferry terminal at 19:00 for Wexford with onward bus connection to Dublin arriving 22:50, SailRail tickets not valid on buses, see www.buseireann.ie for details and booking.

** = by bus, not train.  SailRail tickets not valid, separate ticket needed for the bus.

No service on 25 & 26 December.  Always check UK train times for your date of travel at www.nationalrail.co.uk, as engineering work can affect train times especially at weekends.

Rosslare Europort is linked by train to Wexford, Wicklow & Dublin.  They've rather stupidly moved the platform away from the ferry terminal, and it's now a 5 minute walk from the terminal building.  Check Irish train times at www.irishrail.ie.  Rosslare to Wexford & Dublin buses are operated by Bus Éireann, check times & fares at www.buseireann.ie.

The Waterford connection:  Sadly, the Rosslare-Waterford railway was closed in September 2010, and is now the missing link in the Irish rail network.  You unfortunately now need to travel by bus.  Arriving at Rosslare Europort on the afternoon ferry, a bus leaves from outside Rosslare ferry terminal doors at 19:00 daily, arriving Waterford 20:20.  Arriving at Rosslare on the overnight ferry, a bus leaves from outside Rosslare ferry terminal doors at 07:00 on Mondays-Saturdays or 07:15 on Sundays, arriving at Waterford bus station at 08:45.  In the other direction, a bus leaves Waterford bus station at 07:00 daily, arriving Rosslare Europort ferry terminal at 08:25, in time for the 09:00 ferry.  In the evening, a bus leaves Waterford bus station at 17:30 Mondays-Saturdays arriving Rosslare Europort ferry terminal at 19:10, or 16:30 on Sundays, change at Wexford, arriving Rosslare 18:20, in good time for the 21:00 ferry.  Please check these bus times at www.buseireann.ie.

 Wexford & Rosslare ► Fishguard, Cardiff, Bristol, London

 By train  (**=by bus)

Monday-Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

 Dublin Connolly depart

-

16:37

-

16:37

-

13:36

-

13:45

 Wexford depart

 08:00**

19:05

 08:00**

19:05

 08:00**

16:04

 08:00**

16:08

 Rosslare Europort arrive

 08:25**

19:25

 08:25**

19:25

 08:25**

16:28

 08:25**

16:32

 By Stena Line ferry across the Irish Sea...

 Rosslare Europort depart

09:00

21:00

09:00

21:00

09:00

21:00

09:00

21:00

 Fishguard arrive by ferry

12:30

01:00

12:30

01:00

12:30

01:00

12:30

01:00

 By train...

 Fishguard depart by train

13:30

01:50

13:30

01:50

13:30

01:50

14:23

01:50

 Cardiff arrive 

16:04

05:02

16:04

04:52

16:02

04:35

17:14

05:02

 Newport arrive 

16:18

05:30

16:18

05:09

16:23

08:11

17:31

05:30

 Bristol Parkway arrive 

16:59

05:59

16:59

05:36

16:59

08:42

17:59

05:59

 Swindon arrive 

17:27

06:27

17:27

06:39

17:27

09:08

18:27

06:27

 Reading arrive 

17:55

07:00

17:55

07:14

18:00

09:45

19:00

07:00

 London Paddington arrive

18:24

07:32

18:24

07:44

18:32

10:22

19:38

07:32

New!  SailRail fares via Rosslare to Dublin, Wexford & other Irish destinations reinstated!

 SailRail train & ferry fares

Advance

Walk-up

 London or any South East or East Anglia rail station to Rosslare

£38

£45

 London or any South East or East Anglia rail station to Wexford

£43

£50

 London or any South East or East Anglia rail station to Dublin

£51

£58

 Bristol, Bath, Cardiff or Swansea to Rosslare

£33

£40

 Bristol, Bath, Cardiff or Swansea to Wexford

£38

£45

 Bristol, Bath, Cardiff or Swansea to Dublin

£48

£55

Check the fare from any British station to Rosslare using the online booking form above (just change 'Dublin Ferryport' to 'Rosslare Harbour') or use www.virgintrains.co.uk.

Advance fare =  Sail Rail Advance = the fare you would normally want to buy.  Tickets must be booked by 18:00 the day before you travel.  The fares shown above are not 'starting at...' prices, but are fixed prices that are almost always available at the price shown, even the day before departure.  The ticket includes a reservation on the ferry and on any British trains on which seat reservation is possible.  You can only travel on the specific train or trains which have been reserved for you, not on alternative trains or routes, unless a delayed ferry means you miss a scheduled connection.  No stopovers allowed.  On trains on which seat reservation is not possible, meaning local or suburban trains, you can take any suitable train.  Tickets are non-refundable, but changes to date or time can be made for a fee (about £10) in person at British railway stations but not in Ireland or by phone.

Walk-up fare = Sail Rail Single = the fare you pay if you buy a ticket on the day of travel.  Also known as Standby.  A reservation is required on the ferry, but seat reservation on trains is optional and you can use any train and any permitted rail route to and from the ferry port.  However, no stopovers are allowed except as necessary to make connections.  You can buy a walk-up fare in advance if you like, but the only reason you'd want one is if you wanted the flexibility to take alternative trains or routes on the way to or from the ferry port from those that the system offers you.  Refunds allowed less a £15-£20 admin fee.

About these SailRail fares..

How to buy tickets in Britain...

How to buy tickets in Ireland...

If you're in Ireland, you can buy train+ferry tickets by calling (01) 703 1884 (lines open 09:00-17:00 Monday-Friday) or by visiting a major Irish Rail station.

The civilised way to Ireland:  London to Rosslare for only £38...

A high-speed train at Cardiff   On board the high-speed train between London & Cardiff    The local train from Cardiff to Fishguard, arrived at Fishguard Harbour

Take a 125mph high-speed train from London Paddington station to Cardiff.  There's a buffet-bar on board.  You'll pass the Uffington White Horse and travel through Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Severn Railway Tunnel into South Wales.

 

...Transfer to a local train for the last leg to Fishguard Harbour.  A refreshment trolley is available.

At Fishguard Harbour, you walk off the train and onto the Stena Line ferry 'Stena Europe'.   Relaxing in the StenaPlus lounge on board the ferry 'Stena Europe' from Fishguard to Rosslare

At Fishguard, the little 2-car train arrives right alongside the Stena Line ferry Stena Europe for Rosslare.  It couldn't be simpler.  The ferry has bars, restaurants, lounges & family areas, also private cabins.

 

Top tip:  For £15 extra paid on board, relax in the Stena Plus VIP lounge with complimentary red & white wine, tea, coffee, snacks, free newspapers & WiFi...

See the video:  Crossing from Fishguard to Rosslare aboard the Stena Europe


Train travel in Ireland

Where does Ireland's rail network go?

Trains are a pleasant and relaxing way to get around Ireland.  As you'd expect, most rail lines radiate out of Dublin, see Irish Rail's map of the Irish rail network, the route map above or you can buy a Britain & Ireland rail map.  New air-conditioned intercity trains are being introduced as part of a massive investment programme, and frequencies are being increased.  Dublin to Cork and Limerick will soon become hourly throughout the day, and trains will run every 2 hours on routes to Galway, Sligo, Waterford, Wexford.

How to check Irish train times & fares, and how to buy tickets:  www.irishrail.ie

To check Irish train times & fares, see the Irish Railways website, www.irishrail.ie.  It's easy enough to buy tickets at the station as seat reservations are never compulsory, but to save a few euros you can buy cheap tickets in advance online at www.irishrail.ie, collecting them at the self-service ticket machine at all main stations.  You can Irish rail enquiries are on (within Ireland) 01 836 6222 or (calling from outside Ireland) 00 353 1 836 6222.

What are the trains like?  Dublin to Cork InterCity trains...

These smart modern trains operate the Dublin-Cork route.  The full Irish breakfast on morning trains from Dublin is as good a breakfast as you'll have on any train  anywhere!  Free WiFi:  Most Dublin-Cork trains now have free WiFi.

First class on a Dublin-Cork train   An express to Cork, seen at Dublin's Heuston station

Dublin-Cork 1st class:  First class seats on a modern air-conditioned train from Dublin to Cork...

 

InterCity to Cork:  An InterCity express train to Cork waits to leave Dublin's Heuston station...

Standard class on a Dublin-Cork train   Buy cheap Irish train tickets online, then pick them up from these machines

Dublin-Cork 2nd class:  2nd class seats on an air-conditioned Dublin to Cork train.  Better than any bus!

 

Ticket machines:  You can buy cheap tickets at www.irishrail.ie & collect them from these machines.

InterCity railcars from Dublin to Galway, Waterford, Sligo, Wexford, Limerick, Rosslare...

These smart modern air-conditioned railcars are the new face of Irish Railways.  They were introduced in 2008 onto all intercity routes from Dublin, other than the Dublin-Belfast and Dublin-Cork routes.

Train travel inIreland:  New intercity railcar at Limerick   Standard class seating in the new intercity railcars

Which station in Dublin?

Heuston station is the station serving Cork, Limerick, Galway, Kilkenny, Waterford, Tralee, Westport & Ballina.  Connolly station is the one for Belfast, Sligo, Wicklow, Wexford, Dun Laoghaire & Rosslare...

Heuston station, Dublin, showing LUAS tram   Inside Heuston station, Dublin

Dublin's Heuston station, showing the new LUAS tram (www.luas.ie) which links it to the city centre & to Dublin's other main station, Dublin Connolly.

 

Inside Dublin Heuston station, looking towards the tracks. 

Dublin to Belfast on the Enterprise...   Watch the video

Modern air-conditioned Enterprise trains link Dublin & Belfast approximately every 2 hours or better, journey time around 2 hours, see the video guide here

You can buy cheap tickets from around €14.99 each way if you book online in advance, you should buy one-way or return tickets starting in Dublin at www.irishrail.ie and one-way or return tickets starting in Belfast at www.translink.co.uk.  For travel between Belfast and Britain via Liverpool or Cairnryan, see the Northern Ireland page.

Travel tip 1:  Belfast's Great Victoria Street station is often more convenient than Belfast Central, as it's next to the main bus station and the excellent Europa Hotel, and just across the road from the equally excellent National Trust-owned Crown Bar.  If you hold a ticket for the Enterprise between Belfast Central & Dublin, you are entitled to a free transfer by regular local train between Belfast Central and Belfast Great Victoria Street.

Travel tip 2:  On board the Enterprise, I recommend a seat on the left hand side going south to Dublin, right hand side going north to Belfast, for the sea views north of Dublin.

Enterprise train from Dublin to Belfast   Standard class seating on the Dublin to Belfast 'Enterprise'

An Enterprise train from Dublin to Belfast...

 

Standard class seating on the Enterprise...

First class seats on the Dublin to Belfast 'Enterprise'...   Buffet car

First class seating on the Enterprise...

 

Buffet car on the Enterprise...


Dublin City Tours by Open Top Bus

City Sightseeing Open Top Bus TourBuy a ticket for the Dublin hop-on, hop-off Open Top Bus...

City Sightseeing's red-and-yellow open top tour buses are now a familiar site in 100 major cities on 6 continents, and they do a good hop-on, hop-off tour bus ticket for Dublin.  I find the bus tour a good way to orientate myself in a city, returning to explore in more depth later.  It's also less wearing on the feet, especially with kids!

Buy your tour tickets online before you go, redeemable on any day you like within 3 months of buying it, see www.city-sightseeing.com.


Day trips from Dublin by train

  Railtours Irelands bus - day trips from Dublin

Railtours Ireland:  Intercity train from Dublin to Limerick, Cork, Galway or Belfast, then motorcoach to the sights...

  The Cliffs of Moher, western Ireland
 

The Cliffs of Moher, western Ireland...

 

Kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle, Ireland

Kissing the Blarney Stone, on the upper battlements at Blarney Castle, southern Ireland, supposedly giving you the gift of eloquence...

If you want to kiss the Blarney Stone, drive the Ring of Kerry or walk on the Giant's Causeway as a stress-free day trip from Dublin, Railtours Ireland (www.railtoursireland.com) deserves a special mention.  They run daily tours from Dublin using a unique concept that makes the famous sights & scenery of remote western & northern Ireland accessible as a day trip.  Working closely with Iarnrod Eireann (Irish Railways),

Prices are pretty good, for example the 1 day tour to Cork, the Blarney Stone & the Queenstown Story at Cobh costs €109 (£87) including the train ride from Dublin, and the 1 day tour to Belfast and the Giant's Causeway, or the Ring of Kerry are the same price.  As well as these day trips, they also run 2-6 day tours.  They've been operating for 10 years now, and get great reports. 

You can book online at www.railtoursireland.com, or by phone.  Please mention seat61.com when booking.

Top tip:  There's a full cooked breakfast available in the restaurant car of some of the Irish Rail intercity trains they use out of Dublin, costing around €16 (£13).  It's as good a cooked breakfast as you'll have on any regular scheduled train, so treat yourself!


Short breaks to Ireland without flying

London to Dublin tour, by train & ferry...

All short breaks from the UK to Ireland involve flights, don't they?  No they don't!  In 2008 Railtours Ireland  started running short breaks to Ireland using eco-friendly train & ferry to Dublin, with the option to add one-day tours to kiss the Blarney Stone, the Ring of Kerry, or visiting the Giant's causeway out of your Dublin base.  No airport hassles, no ugly motorways.  They've now been joined by train holiday specialist Railbookers who have also started offering short breaks to Dublin by train & ferry.  Both companies come highly recommended.

Or make your own short break to Dublin...


Guidebooks

Ecoescapes IrelandLonely Planet Dublin - click to buy online at AmazonRough Guide to Ireland - click to buy online at AmazonLonely Planet Ireland - click to buy online at AmazonTo get the most from your visit, you should take a good guidebook.  For the independent traveller, I think this means either the Lonely Planet or the Rough Guide.  Both series are excellent.  Lonely Planet Dublin - Lonely Planet Ireland - Rough Guide Ireland.  Also consider Ecoescapes Ireland, which lists eco-friendly places to stay.

Click the images to buy at Amazon.co.uk...


Hotels & accommodation in Dublin & Ireland

Hotels in Dublin, Cork, Galway or anywhere else in Ireland...

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

The Gresham Hotel, Dublin...   Highly recommended, click here to book...

Perfectly located on Upper O'Connell Street in the heart of central Dublin, 10 minutes walk from Connolly Station, The Gresham is an iconic hotel, a Dublin landmark since 1817.  The impressive facade is matched by a marble-floored foyer and bar, and comfortable carpeted lounges.  Yet you can find rates from £90 for a double room, 4-star comfort at a remarkably good price.  To check room rates & availability click here.

Gresham Hotel, Dublin   Superior room at the Gresham Hotel, Dublin

Other hotel sites worth trying...

Backpacker hostels...


Send your luggage in advance

Enjoy your journey without heavy luggage... 

Let www.carrymyluggage.com deliver your bags door to door.

If you'd like to enjoy your train journey free of heavy luggage, making it easy to get on and off trains with nothing more than a lightweight daypack or handbag, www.carrymyluggage.com will collect your luggage at your home address a few days before you leave, and will deliver it to addresses all over the EU, so it will be waiting at your hotel when you arrive.  It's not cheap, you can reckon on around £78 per case each way, but this is door to door, covering collection from your home in the UK or other EU country and delivery to an address in another EU country.  I've also arranged a 10% discount if you use the Promo code 'seat61' when booking your bags online.  www.carrymyluggage.com are a reliable company, they also work with companies such as Great Rail Journeys, Virgin Trains, First Great Western, Hull Trains, and South West Trains.


Travel insurance & health card

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Get travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without insurance from a reliable travel insurer with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash (up to a limit) & belongings, and cancellation. An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year (I have an annual policy myself).  Don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, though, see the advice on missed connections here.  Here are some suggested insurers, Seat61 gets a little commission if you buy through these links, and feedback from using insurance for rail & ferry travel is always welcome.

In the UK, use www.confused.com to compare prices & policy features across major insurance companies.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65 (no age limit), see www.JustTravelCover.com.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get an EU health card, it's free...

If you're a UK citizen travelling in Europe, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card, which entitles you to free or reduced rate health care if you become ill or get injured in many European countries, under a reciprocal arrangement with the NHS.  This replaced the old E111 forms as from January 2006.  The EHIC card is available from www.ehic.org.uk.  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

Get a spare credit card, designed for foreign travel with no currency exchange loading & low/no ATM fees

Taking out an extra credit card costs nothing, but if you keep it in a different part of your luggage you won't be left stranded if your wallet gets stolen.  In addition, some credit cards are better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.

You can avoid ATM charges and expensive exchange rates with a Caxton FX euro currency Visa Card, or their multi-currency 'Global Traveller' Visa Card, see www.caxtonfx.com for info.

Get an international SIM card to save on calls & mobile data...

Mobile phones can cost a fortune to use abroad, so consider getting a global pre-paid SIM card for your mobile phone which can cut call & data costs by up to 90%.  At the time of writing, www.roamsure.com claims a definite 25% saving within the EU and up to 90% saving in the rest of the world.  Incoming calls are free in 73 countries, including all of the EU, the USA, Australia & South Africa.  There's no contract or commitment, and at time I write this Roamsure is offering a global SIM card for free when you buy £20 of call credit.  Seat61 gets some commission to support the site if you buy airtime from Roamsure.


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