Dublin by train

Dublin Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
A DART Train

DUBLIN BY TRAIN

Information on how to get to some tourist destinations close to Dublin by train. Howth, Malahide to the north and Dun Laoghaire, Dalkey, Killiney and Bray to the south are best but there are many others detailed below. Howth or Dalkey would be my first choices.

You can get most of these trains from Tara Street or Connolly Stations in city centre.

Dublin Bay
Further details below.

All offer great, convenient, easy, cheap,  half or full day trips from Dublin. Nearly all are within 20-30 minutes of city centre. Many locals and many visitors who visit them prefer some of these places to city centre. A lot of them are just as good, if not better, places to stay than city centre, particularly if you are not visiting Dublin for first time.

Nearly all offer great places to eat and drink, often better than city centre. Howth and Dalkey in particular, offer some of the best restaurants in Dublin, possibly in Ireland. Howth is particularly good  if you like fish and seafood, which is not that common in city centre. Some offer nice beaches and other places to swim – Portmarnock, Killiney (beaches) and Seapoint, Sandycove and  Forty Foot (competent swimmers only here) very near Dun Laoghaire.

See map with all destinations here: https://goo.gl/maps/fdTjK8DeEXm. All are on right of map.

DART Train

The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) is an electric commuter train around Dublin Bay. It is shown as the Green Line on the map below. You will probably use these trains rather than any other. However, there are various useful diesel trains around the Dublin Bay and to other destinations.

For more info, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dublin_Area_Rapid_Transit

The DART runs mostly through Dublin’s more upmarket (snobby?) areas. There are many jokes about people who live along the DART line, their fondness for rugby, Heineken and their accent – eg they allegedly pronounce the DART as DORT.

Where to go

Northbound

Howth

This is deservedly the most popular half or full day trip from Dublin. It is really quick and easy to get to. It is beautiful. It is a must if weather is nice. Many people much prefer it to city centre. See www.howthismagic.com.

Take northbound DART train.  Make sure it is a DART train and is to Howth (may be marked Binn Eadair in Irish). Many northbound trains, including some DART’s and all diesel trains will  not be going to Howth, as it is a branch line.  Do NOT take any northbound train to any other destination eg Malahide, Drumcondra, Maynooth, Leixlip, Celbridge, Longford or Sligo.

Howth is the last station and is a dead end. The driver will probably announce this.

There is usually a train every 20-30  minutes. Service can be less frequent on Sundays. Journey takes 20-30 minutes.

 NB – Howth Junction is not Howth.  Do NOT get off at Howth Junction, unless you have to.

Malahide

Best castle near Dublin. Nice village with many nice shops, pubs and restaurants. Coastal walks. See: http://www.malahidecastleandgardens.ie/. Served by many northbound trains. There is usually a train every 15-30  minutes.  Journey takes about thirty minutes.

Take any train with final destination of Malahide (DART train), Drogheda or Dundalk (diesel trains). Do NOT take any northbound train to any other destination eg Howth, Drumcondra, Maynooth, Leixlip, Celbridge, Longford or Sligo.

Southbound

There are many destinations along the southside of Dublin Bay which are worth visiting – particularly Dun Laoghaire (pronounced Dunleary), Dalkey (pronounced Daw(l)key), Bray and Greystones. If I had to choose one, it would be Dalkey.  The others - and Blackrock, Salthill, Sandycove and Killiney Stations are all worth getting out at.  You can easily walk along coast between your choice of Dun Laoghaire, Sandycove, Dalkey and Killiney Stations. You can also walk across Killiney and Dalkey Hills with great views of Dublin and Killiney Bays. The view south over Killney Bay is one of the most beautiful views in Ireland and is often, with some justification, compared to the Bay of Naples.

Killiney has a great but stony beach. Great place to swim if you are competent.

Note: Do not confuse Killiney with Killarney. Killarney is a major tourist centre in the southwest of Ireland. Well worth visiting for fantastic scenery but it is five hours from Dublin – not possible as day trip.

You can also do a great cliff walk between Bray and Greystones stations.

On whatever southbound train you take, sit on left. After Sydney Parade station (five or ten minutes from city centre), the train will run along the south coast of Dublin Bay and then along Killiney Bay. The section between Dalkey and Killiney and the section between Bray and Greystones is spectacular as the train is running along cliffs with great views out to sea.

Take any southbound DART train with final destination of Bray (Bre)  or Greystones (Na Clocha Liatha). Get out at your choice of station.

Or any southbound diesel train (final destination Rosslare Europort). Get out at Dun Laoghaire or Bray. Diesel trains will not normally stop at other stations referred to here.

Note: The stretch of railway between Pearse Station to Dun Laoghaire was completed in 1834. It was one of the first railway lines in the world. It was the first railway line in Ireland.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dublin_and_Kingstown_Railway

Other stations worth using

Northbound, other stations on the DART line worth stopping at include Raheny and Harmonstown –easy access to St.Anne’s Park and if you are bit more energetic out to the Bull Island and Dollymount Strand. If you get off at Clontarf Road, you can walk along the coast northwards and onto the Bull Island too.

 If you leave Howth and walk around the whole Howth Peninsula, Sutton Station has trains back to city centre. The station is five minutes walk to this hotel – www.marinehotel.ie. Or you can do this walk in reverse - from Sutton Station all the way around the Howth Station. Takes around 3-4 hours either way.

Portmarnock, on way north to Malahide has possibly the best beach in Dublin area. The station is a bit isolated though and a bit of a walk to the beach. But not that far.

Further north from Malahide, Skerries (served by nearly any train to Drogheda or Dundalk) is a very pleasant place to visit with many restaurants, pubs, beaches, islands and coastal walks. The Skerries Mills are also well worth a visit. http://www.skerriesmills.ie/.  There’s places to swim in Skerries –some for all levels, some for competent swimmers only.

Southbound, Sandymount is a really nice village close to city centre and you can walk along a nice beach with views of Dublin Bay. Blackrock is also a good place to get out – nice village  to walk along coast eg to Seapoint, Dun Laoghaire or if you are energetic beyond to Sandycove, Dalkey or even Killiney. Seapoint, Sandycove have nice places to swim or paddle. The Forty Foot between Sandcove and Dun Laoghaire is a great place to swim but for competent swimmers only.

Further south from Bray and Greystones, Wicklow town is also well worth visiting as a daytrip. Nice harbour. Nice coastal walks. Wicklow Jail worth a visit. http://www.wicklowshistoricgaol.com/

Served by trains to Rosslare Europort. Also by bus. However, unless you have use of a car, Wicklow Town is not a good base for hiking or hillwalking in the Wicklow Mountains.

DART Stations not to use

There’s a few stations on DART line definitely not worth getting out at – northbound these would be Kilbarrack, Howth Junction, Bayside, Clongriffin.  Southbound – Shankill. Nearly every other station has something to offer but some have attractions that may not be immediately obvious unless you are familiar with Dublin.

Timetables

 You can check train times and fares on www.irishrail.ie. Trains in general run every 15-30 minutes. Can be less late in evening any day and anytime on Sunday.

Or download the excellent App Train Times Ireland to your Android Phone. There are other similar apps for Android, Apple or Windows Phone but I find Train Times Ireland the best.

Tickets

All of the trains below can be free if you have a Eurail or Interrail ticket. Not worth starting your Eurail or Interrail ticket just to use these trains though.

You can buy tickets at ticket machines in stations. Sometimes you can buy from attendants. Machines give change but best to have small change in coins or small bank notes. Any credit card with chip can be used too.  Most of the journeys referred to cost around 3 euro oneway, 6 euro return.

Fares will be cheaper if you have a Leapcard – see www.leapcard.ie. It is only worth buying one of these if you are going to be in Dublin for a while – three days or more. If you have a three day LeapCard bought at the airport, this will be valid on these trains. Try to get to station at least five minutes before your train is due to leave. If using Connolly station, be there ten minutes beforehand. At Connolly, some trains, including all DART trains leave from platforms situated a long, confusing walk from the ticket machines.

City Centre Stations

The most central is Tara Street.

There are two others that I will refer to. Connolly slightly north, directly opposite the main bus station, Busarus or Pearse Station, slightly southeast. Depending on where exactly you are, this may be convenient. Pearse is certainly the most comfortable station to wait on for a DART train, particularly if weather is bad. It is about ten minutes walk from Tara St to either of the others.

Nearly all northbound DART trains will run through Pearse first, then Tara St, then Connolly. A few northbound diesel trains will run through Pearse and then Tara St but many will commence from Connolly and not serve Pearse or Tara St. stations at all. All southbound trains will serve Connolly first, then Tara St and then Pearse.

Connolly Station is a mainline station and the station concourse is fine with many facilities such as shops, toilets, ATM’s, tourist info. Apart from the trains I mention below, mainline trains to Belfast and a separate line, Sligo,  leave from this station. Some areas around this station are however not the best in Dublin – not dangerous but be careful. The DART platforms here are a long walk from station entrance, are pretty desolate and exposed so not very pleasant to wait on, if weather bad.

There is another mainline station in Dublin, a bit outside city centre – Heuston Station. This serves long-distance mainline destinations such as Cork, Galway, Kilkenny. Cork and Galway are too far for a day trip. Kilkenny is possible but I would highly recommend staying overnight.

Edit April 2016: See this excellent guide to some walks/hikes you can access by using the DART:

http://www.everytrail.com/guide/darting-around-dublin

AdamR3723 says:
Verypractical advice.
Posted on: Mar 12, 2017
HORSCHECK says:
Fabulous blog with excellent photos. Well done.
Posted on: Feb 02, 2017
spocklogic says:
Ditto what Andrea said!
Posted on: Sep 22, 2015
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
A DART Train
A DART Train
Dublin Bay
Dublin Bay
Sponsored Links
Dublin
photo by: fransglobal