Ireland in detail

Flights & getting there

Flights, cars and tours can be booked online at lonelyplanet.com/bookings.

Air

Airports & Airlines

Ireland's main airports:

Cork Airport Airlines servicing the airport include Aer Lingus and Ryanair.

Dublin Airport Ireland’s major international gateway airport, with direct flights from the UK, Europe, North America and the Middle East.

Shannon Airport Has a few direct flights from the UK, Europe and North America.

Northern Ireland:

Belfast International Airport Has direct flights from the UK, Europe and North America.

The Irish flag-carrier airline is Aer Lingus (www.aerlingus.com), which was founded by the Irish government but since 2015 is a fully owned subsidiary of the IAG group that also owns British Airways and Iberia. Ireland's biggest carrier, however, is Ryanair (www.ryanair.com), the low-cost behemoth that carries more passengers than any other European airline. Neither airline has had any crash fatalities.

Departure Tax

Departure tax is included in the price of a ticket.

Land

Eurolines (www.eurolines.com) has a daily coach and ferry service from London's Victoria Station to Dublin Busáras.

Sea

The main ferry routes between Ireland and the UK and mainland Europe:

  • Belfast to Liverpool (England; eight hours)
  • Belfast to Cairnryan (Scotland; 2½ hours)
  • Cork to Roscoff (France; 14 hours; April to October only)
  • Dublin to Liverpool (England; fast ferry four hours, slow ferry 8½ hours)
  • Dublin to Holyhead (Wales; fast ferry two hours, slow ferry 3½ hours)
  • Dublin to Roscoff (France; 18 hours)
  • Larne to Cairnryan (Scotland; two hours)
  • Rosslare to Cherbourg (France; 18 hours)
  • Rosslare to Fishguard and Pembroke (Wales; 3½ hours)

Competition from budget airlines has forced ferry operators to discount heavily and offer flexible fares.

A useful website is www.aferry.co.uk, which covers all sea-ferry routes and operators to Ireland.

Main operators include the following:

Brittany Ferries Cork to Roscoff; April to October.

Irish Ferries Dublin to Holyhead (up to five per day year-round) and Dublin to France (four times per week).

P&O Ferries Daily sailings year-round from Dublin to Liverpool, and Larne to Cairnryan.

Stena Line Daily sailings from Holyhead to Dublin, Belfast to Liverpool and Cairnryan, and Rosslare to Fishguard and Cherbourg.

Bus & Ferry Combo

It's possible to combine bus, ferry and train tickets from major UK centres to most Irish towns. This might not be as quick as flying on a budget airline but leaves less of a carbon footprint. The journey between London and Dublin takes about 12 hours by bus, eight hours by train; the London to Belfast trip takes 13 to 16 hours by bus. Both can be had for as little as £29 one way. Eurolines (www.eurolines.com) has bus-ferry combos while Virgin Trains (www.virgintrains.co.uk) has combos that include London to Dublin. For more options, look for SailRail fares.