Train & ferry ticket from London to DublinLondon to Dublin for £41

Manchester or Leeds to Dublin £37

Train & ferry on one ticket.

You can buy a SailRail ticket from any station in Britain to any station in Ireland.

Short notice or busy dates +£5.  Fast ferry +£5.

Kids under 5 free, under 16s half price.

Buy train tickets

SailRail tickets between Britain & Ireland...

Fed up with flying?  Discover a well-kept secret:  You can buy a cheap SailRail ticket between any rail station in Britain & any rail station in Ireland, train & ferry all on one ticket.  Swap a stressful flight for a relaxed train ride along the beautiful Welsh coast, then by cruise ferry across the Irish Sea.  See the journey in pictures below & watch the videoIt reduces your CO2 emission by up to 73%.  Sit back with a good book & enjoy the ride.

All-weather reliability:   Flights can be cancelled due to fog, snow & other bad weather, but Irish Ferries say their rock-steady 50,000 ton ship Ulysses has yet to miss a sailing due to weather.

A guide to train & ferry travel...

  SailRail route map - choose the most suitable route.

  London to Ireland via Holyhead

  Recommended journey from London to Dublin

  Recommended journey from Dublin to London

  What's the journey like?

  Video guide

  Complete timetable for London-Dublin by train+ferry

  How much does it cost?  SailRail fares explained

  How to buy SailRail tickets

  FAQ:  Luggage, bikes, pets, stopovers

  First class travel from London to Dublin - from £165...

  London, Bristol, Cardiff to Ireland via Fishguard

  Train travel in Ireland

  Recommended hotels in Dublin & Ireland

  Dublin City Tours by Open Top Bus

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

  Short breaks to Ireland without flying

  Useful country information for Ireland

Which train & ferry route to Ireland?

If you look at the map below it should be self-explanatory.  The route via Holyhead is the traditional route from London to Dublin & most of Ireland including Cork, Limerick, Galway & Sligo.  The Fishguard-Rosslare route is good for London to Wexford & Waterford, and also for Bristol or Cardiff to Dublin.  However, Rosslare is not well linked to Cork or Limerick so these are best reached via Holyhead & Dublin.  You can travel between Scotland & Dublin either via Cairnryan & Belfast, or via Holyhead, it's usually cheaper & easier via Holyhead.  For London to Belfast you can go via either Holyhead, Liverpool or Cairnryan, see the Northern Ireland page.

If you use the journey planner at www.virgintrains.co.uk it'll work out the most logical route for your journey. 

Click here for a detailed map of the UK train network & ferry routes.

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 www.virgintrains.co.uk 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:

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:

12 June 2017.          Map of Dublin                Recommended guidebooks


London to Ireland via Holyhead

London to Dublin, recommended option...

Let's keep things simple.  Here's the service I'd recommend for travel between London or Southeast England and Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Sligo & most other Irish destinations.  It's the cheapest option, with all-weather rock-steady reliability and it's a classic journey with lots to see on the way, see the journey in pictures & video below.  It's not the only option - there is an overnight option & other departures using fast ferries, see the complete London-Dublin timetable here.

London ► Dublin

Dublin ► London  

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

Back to top

What's the journey likeLondon to Dublin in pictures...

Statue of Robert Stephenson, London Euston   Euston station concourse

Statue of Robert Stephenson (1803-1859), the engineer who built the line, at London Euston station...

 

The concourse at London Euston, waiting to board the train to Holyhead for Dublin.  See location map.

On board the Virgin Voyager train to Holyhead   Voyager train about to leave London

2nd class seats on the Virgin Voyager...

 

Ready to leave London Euston with the Irish Express...

English countryside seen from the train to Holyhead

A green & pleasant land...  The train leaves the London suburbs behind and is soon racing through the countryside of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Northamptonshire at 125 mph.  Look out for glimpses of narrow boats on the Grand Union Canal alongside the railway on the right.

Crewe Heritage Centre   Chester station

After calling at Crewe, Britain's archetypal railway junction, you pass the Crewe Heritage Centre on the right with preserved prototype APT.

 

At Chester, look out for the historic sign, "London 179 miles - Holyhead 85 miles..."

The north Wales coastline seen from the train

Soon after Chester, the train crosses the border into Wales and starts running along the scenic North Wales coast...

The old ferry Duke of Lancaster, seen from the train   Conwy

Look out for the 1956 steam turbine-powered ferry Duke of Lancaster on the right, originally moored as a floating nightclub and now rusting gently...

 

The pretty town of Conwy is visible briefly on the right...

Approaching the tubular bridge, Conwy   Conwy Castle

At Conwy the train crosses Stephenson's unique tubular bridge of 1848, designed to blend with the castle...

 

Immediately after the tubular bridge the train passes under the imposing battlements of Conwy Castle, on the right hand side.  Have your camera ready!

Conwy Castle, seen from the train to Dublin

If you watch the video, you can hear my 6 year old daughter saying "Wowwww..." as we emerge from the tubular bridge right under Conwy Castle walls.  Welsh flags fly proudly from the turrets...

Countryside in north Wales

As the train approaches Bangor you can make out the mountains of Snowdonia in the distance to your left...

Crossing the Menai Strait

The train now crosses the Menai Strait onto the Isle of Anglesey, over Robert Stephenson's celebrated Britannia Bridge, built in 1850.  Originally rail-only and originally boxed-in, it was rebuilt after a fire in 1970 and you can now see out of the sides.  Only the piers are original and it now carries a road above the railway.  As you cross the Britannia Bridge you'll see Telford's beautiful suspension bridge built in 1822-1826 (pictured above) a little way along the Menai Strait to your right.

Llanfair PG   The train arrives at Holyhead

Blink and you miss it...  The train passes non-stop through  Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, the station with the longest name in Britain and now a visitor attraction in its own right.  Soon afterwards the train arrives in Holyhead, just 3h40 from central London.

Holyhead station   Check-in for the ferry to Dublin

Welcome to Holyhead, where trains meet ferries.  The ferry check-in is inside the station at the end of platform 2.

 

Check in at the relevant ferry operator's desk.  You check in your bags, then a courtesy bus shuttles you to the ship.

Holyhead to Dublin aboard Irish Ferries Ulysses...

The Ulysses is one of my favourite ships, and a crossing on her is a real treat.  At 50,000 tons, the Ulysses was the biggest ferry serving the British Isles until Stena Line's 63,000 ton Stena Hollandica & Stena Britannica entered service on the Harwich-Hoek van Holland route.  She's rock steady under most conditions, and in ten years of service she hasn't missed a single sailing due to weather - more than can be said for the planes!  You check in your bags at Holyhead so you don't have to carry them round on the ferry.  She has free WiFi, too...

Irish Ferries ferry Ulysses at Holyhead

The Ulysses about to leave Holyhead.  This photo was taken from the deck of the departing Stena Adventurer...

On board the ferry   Martello Club lounge on the Ulysses

On board the luxurious Ulysses there are lounges, bars, restaurants, cinemas, kids' play areas & a shop...

 

Tip:  Pay a bit extra for the Martello Club Lounge, with complimentary wine & canapés...

View from the deck of the Ulysses as she approaches the Irish coast...

Ireland ahoy!  Holyhead and the rocky Welsh coastline disappear astern.  A couple of hours later you sail into the Bay of Dublin with the church spires and yacht-filled harbour of Dun Laoghaire to your left and the dark purple Wicklow Mountains in the distance behind it, the town of Howth on your right.  This is the way to arrive in Ireland, not on a cramped flight...

The ferry arrives in Dublin   The Ulysses at Dublin

The Ulysses arrives at her terminal in Dublin.  This photo was taken from the deck of the Stena Adventurer, just arrived at her terminal next door.....

 

Passengers walk off the Ulysses via the passenger gangway.  Although she arrives 20 minutes after the Stena Adventurer, disembarkation is much quicker.

Holyhead to Dublin on Stena Line's Stena Adventurer...

Also a great ship, also with free WiFi.  As with Irish Ferries, you check in your bags at Holyhead so you don't have to carry them around on the ferry.

Stena Line's ferry Stena Adventurer

The Stena Adventurer sails first, 20 minutes before the Ulysses.  This photo was taken from the deck of the Ulysses.

Stena Plus lounge on the Stena Adventurer

The Stena Adventurer also has a club lounge, called Stena Plus.  For a few extra pounds you get a quiet environment with great forward view, complimentary red & white wine, tea, coffee and soft drinks.  Highly recommended...

Lounge on the ferry   A private cabin

The Stena Adventurer also has lounges, bars, restaurant, cinema, kids' play area & shop...

 

On both the Stena Adventurer & Ulysses you can pay for a private cabin with shower, toilet & satellite TV...

Sparkling water as we approach the coast of Ireland

Get some sea air!  Approaching the Irish coast at a steady 20 knots, the sea sparkling even though clouds are sombre...

Stena Line courtesy bus from ferry to terminal   Collecting your luggage

A courtesy bus drives foot passengers off the ferry's car deck the 200 yards to the passenger terminal.

 

At the terminal you collect the bags that you checked in at Holyhead...

Transfer buses to Dublin city centre   Welcome to Dublin!  O'Connell street.

It's just 2 miles into the city by Stena Line bus or by taxi...

 

Welcome to Dublin, the civilised way, no airports, no flights...

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Video guide:  London to Dublin by train & ferry...

This 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 (1803-1859), 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.

Back to top


London to Dublin complete timetable

Which ferry to choose?

Take a train to Holyhead, then two different ferry operators sail from Holyhead to Dublin, Irish Ferries & Stena Line.

Stena Line or Irish Ferries?  Both are great companies, and fares are virtually the same, simply book to Dublin Port Stena for Stena Line or to Dublin Port (Irish Ferries) for Irish Ferries.  Through tickets to Galway, Cork, Limerick & so on are usually routed via Stena Line by default, but you can change this when using www.virgintrains.co.uk by clicking More options, selecting Go via then entering Dublin Port (Irish Ferries).  I think the huge 50,000 ton Ulysses is the more glamorous ship, indeed she's a personal favourite of mine, but I like the Stena Adventurer too.  Why not go out with one and back with the other?

Ship or fast ferry?  Remember that the ships have much more extensive facilities and all-weather reliability, and they're rock-steady.  The lightweight Swift is an hour faster but bumps about a bit and is cancelled when wave height exceeds 1 metre, with passengers transferred onto the next sailing of the Ulysses.  Bear this in mind when travelling in winter, or with an appointment to keep.

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 ship Ulysses...  A luxurious cruise ferry from Holyhead to Dublin port.

Crossing time 3h15.

Reliable in all weathers.

Free WiFi, bars, restaurants, cinema, optional private cabins.

Access to the club lounge costs an extra £16 or €18.

Take a virtual tour.

 

2. Irish Ferries fast ferry Swift...  A fast SeaCat from Holyhead to Dublin with reclining seats, club class seats & cafe.

Crossing time 1h50. 

Cancelled when wave height >1 metre, perhaps 5% of sailings in winter with passengers transferred to the Ulysses.

SailRail tickets cost £5 more via the Swift.

Take a virtual tour.

 

3. Stena Line ship... The Stena Adventurer & Stena Superfast X are large and comfortable ferries.

Crossing time 3h15.

Reliable in all weathers.

Free WiFi, bar, restaurant, cinema, shop, optional private cabins.

The Stena Plus Lounge costs an extra £18, paid on board. 

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

19:17

22:56

12:50

19:55

23:18

12:43

19:54

22:56

2. Ferry...                         Ferry type:

Ship

Ship

Ship

Ship

Ship

Ship

Ship

Ship

Ship

 Holyhead depart by ferry:

13:50

20:30

02:30

13:50

20:30

02:30

13:50

20:30

02:30

 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 you leave Holyhead 04:25, change Chester, arrive London 09:29.  Or take the direct train leaving Holyhead 06:52, London 10:38.

 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:

direct

Bangor

Chester

direct

Chester

Chester

Chester & Crewe

Crewe

direct

direct

Crewe

direct

 Holyhead depart by train:

12:52

11:27

17:30

 04:48 *

12:38

11:23

17:21

07:16(Sun)

12:50

12:50

17:30

04:48(Mon)

 London Euston arrive by train:

16:39

15:38

21:43

 08:34 *

16:39

15:39

22:43

12:05(Sun)

16:44

16:43

22:27

08:34(Mon)

 Dublin ► London  via Stena Line

 

Mondays-Fridays

Saturdays

Sundays

1. Ferry...                Ferry type:

Ship

Ship

Ship

Ship

Ship

Ship

Ship

Ship

Ship

Ship

 Dublin Port (Terminal 2) depart by ferry: 

02:15

08:20

15:10

20:30

02:15

08:20

20:30

02:15

08:20

20:30

 Holyhead ferry arrive by ferry:

05:45

11:25

18:40

00:01

05:45

11:25

00:01

05:45

11:25

00:01

2. Train...        Change trains at:

direct

direct

Ch, Wolv

direct

direct

Chester

Crewe

Crewe

direct

direct

 Holyhead train depart by train:

06:55

12:52

19:21

 04:48 *

06:52

12:38

07:16 (Sun)

08:45

12:50

04:48 (Mon)

 London Euston train arrive by train:

10:39

16:39

01:15

 08:33 *

10:39

16:39

12:05 (Sun)

13:13

16:44

08:33 (Mon)

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

SailRail faresAny 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.

 Fares via Irish Ferries

  One-way fares

 ...to Dublin

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

Advance fare

Ulysses ship

Advance fare

Swift fast ferry

Single fare

Ulysses ship

Single fare

Swift fast ferry

Advance fare

Ulysses ship

Advance fare

Swift fast ferry

Single fare

Ulysses ship

Single fare

Swift fast ferry

 From London:

£41

£46

£46

£51

£62.50

£67.50

£67.50

£72.50

 Any rail station in Zone A

£35

£40

£40

£45

£55.50

£60.50

£60.50

£64.50

 Any rail station in Zone B

£37

£42

£42

£47

£56.50

£61.50

£61.50

£66.50

 Any rail station in Zone C 

£37

£42

£42

£47

£57.50

£62.50

£62.50

£67.50

 Any rail station in Zone D

£39

£44

£44

£49

£59.50

£64.50

£64.50

£69.50

 Any rail station in Zone E

£41

£46

£46

£51

£62.50

£67.50

£67.50

£72.50

 Fares via Stena Line

  One-way fares

...to Dublin

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

Advance fare

Stena ship

Single fare

Stena ship

Advance fare

Stena ship

Single fare

Stena ship

 From London:

£41

£46

£62.50

£67.50

 Any rail station in Zone A

£35

£40

£55.50

£60.50

 Any rail station in Zone B

£37

£42

£56.50

£61.50

 Any rail station in Zone C

£37

£42

£57.50

£62.50

 Any rail station in Zone D

£39

£44

£59.50

£64.50

 Any rail station in Zone E

£41

£46

£62.50

£67.50

Advance fareSailRail Advance, limited availability, must be booked before 18:00 on the day before travel.  When the SailRail Advance fare sells out you pay the SailRail Single fare instead.  Advance fares include 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 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 allowed.  On local or suburban trains where seat reservation isn't possible 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.

Single fare = SailRail Single, this what you pay if you buy a ticket on the day of travel or when the SailRail Advance fare has sold out.  Also known as Standby or Walk-up.  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 Single 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 are allowed, minus 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

Do you need to book way in advance?  No!

  How to buy SailRail tickets in Britain:  www.virgintrains.co.uk.

 

London Euston station

London's Euston station

Ticket collection machines

If you buy SailRail tickets online at www.virgintrains.co.uk you can collect them from the ticket machines installed at all main British stations.  These are the machines at London Euston station.  The original credit card is needed to collect your ticket.

  How to buy SailRail tickets in Ireland 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 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.

Irish Ferries desk at Dublin port

Or buy online at at www.irishferries.com:  Tickets can be collected at Dublin port from the Irish Ferries desk at the ferry terminal, pictured above...

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

Back to top

London to Dublin in first class:  "Ryanair eat my shorts..."

  First class table for two on a Virgin Train 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.

There are no 1st class SailRail tickets, 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 to Dublin starts at around £165 one-way in first class comfort, with a complimentary cooked breakfast served at your seat on the morning Virgin Train 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. 

London ► Dublin, first class...   

Dublin ► London, first class...  

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets...

A few tips...

First class in pictures...

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

A first class table for two on Virgin Trains.  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.

Back to top



London to Ireland via Fishguard

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 regular journey planner at www.virgintrains.co.uk 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.

Timetable from 22 May 2017...

 London, Bristol, Cardiff, Fishguard ► Rosslare & Wexford  

 By train...

Monday-Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

 London Paddington depart

07:45

16:45

07:45

16:45

07:45

16:45

-

16:37

 Reading depart

08:11

17:11

08:11

17:11

08:11

17:11

-

17:13

 Swindon depart

08:41

17:39

08:41

17:39

08:41

17:39

-

17:48

 Bristol Parkway depart

09:08

18:08

09:08

18:08

09:08

18:08

-

18:14

 Newport depart

09:30

18:41

09:30

18:41

09:30

18:41

-

18:34

 Cardiff depart

09:49

19:04

09:49

19:04

09:49

19:04

07:10

19:01

 Swansea depart

11:00

20:11

11:00

20:11

11:00

20:11

08:15

20:50

 Fishguard arrive by train

12:30

21:58

12:30

21:58

12:30

21:58

12:28

22:44

 By Stena Line ferry across the Irish Sea...

 Fishguard depart by ferry

13:10

23:45

13:10

23:45

13:10

23:45

13:10

23:45

 Rosslare Europort arrive

16:25

04:00

16:25

04:00

16:25

04:00

16:25

04:00

 By train...

 Rosslare Europort depart

17:55

05:45

17:55

07:20

17:55

09:40

17:40

05:45

 Wexford arrive

18:19

05:57

18:19

07:42

18:19

10:02

18:03

05:57

 Wicklow arrive

19:41

07:32

19:41

09:03

19:41

10:02

19:27

07:32

 Dublin Connolly arrive

20:54

08:45

20:54

10:15

20:54

12:30

20:35

08:45

 

The London to Fishguard trains are not direct, you need to change at either at Newport, Cardiff or Swansea - the online system will tell you where to change, as it varies.

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

** = There was an 18:35 Rosslare to Dublin, then it was 17:55 so missed the ferry connection. Irish rail keep changing their minds, check yourself at www.irishrail.ie.

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.

Timetable from 22 May 2017...

 Wexford & Rosslare ► Fishguard, Cardiff, Bristol, London

 By train

Monday-Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

 Dublin Connolly depart

-

13:36

-

13:36

-

13:36

-

13:45

 Wicklow depart

 -

14:41

 -

14:41

 -

14:41

 -

14:46

 Wexford depart

 -

16:04

 -

16:04

 -

16:04

 -

16:08

 Rosslare Europort arrive

 -

16:26

 -

16:26

 -

16:26

 -

16:32

 By Stena Line ferry across the Irish Sea...

 Rosslare Europort depart

08:00

18:10

08:00

18:10

08:00

18:10

08:00

18:10

 Fishguard arrive by ferry

11:15

21:25

11:15

21:25

11:15

21:25

11:15

21:25

 By train...

 Fishguard depart by train

12:50

22:14

12:50

22:14

12:43

01:50

12:40

01:50

 Swansea arrive 

14:49

03:46

14:49

03:29

14:49

|

14:49

03:46

 Cardiff arrive 

15:19

05:52

15:19

04:52

15:18

04:08

15:09

04:59

 Newport arrive 

15:39

06:08

15:39

05:09

15:39

08:18

15:36

05:32

 Bristol Parkway arrive 

16:00

06:29

16:00

05:37

16:00

08:47

15:59

06:00

 Swindon arrive 

16:28

06:56

16:28

06:41

16:29

09:14

16:26

06:27

 Reading arrive 

17:01

07:28

17:01

07:14

16:37

09:49

16:56

07:00

 London Paddington arrive

17:30

07:59

17:30

07:43

17:31

10:27

17:35

07:30

SailRail fares via Rosslare to Dublin, Wexford & other Irish destinations...

 SailRail train & ferry fares

Advance

Single

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

£41

£48

 Bristol, Bath, Cardiff or Swansea to Rosslare

£36

£43

Check the fare from any British station to Rosslare using the journey planner at 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.

Single 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 Single 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 £41...

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 £18 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

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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.

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

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

 

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

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...

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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.

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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

Mrs 61 kisses the Blarney Stone, on the upper battlements at Blarney Castle, southern Ireland, supposedly giving you the gift of eloquence...

Railtours Ireland, www.railtoursireland.com

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 deserves a special mention.  They run daily tours from Dublin using a unique train-based concept that makes the famous sights & scenery of remote western & northern Ireland accessible as a day trip.  They work 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!

Railtours Irelands bus - day trips from Dublin

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

Kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle, Ireland

Mrs 61 kisses the Blarney Stone, on the upper battlements at Blarney Castle, southern Ireland, supposedly giving you the gift of eloquence...

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Short breaks to Ireland

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...

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Guidebooks

To 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...

Lonely Planet Ireland - click to buy online at Amazon   Rough Guide to Ireland - click to buy online at Amazon   Lonely Planet Dublin - click to buy online at Amazon   Ecoescapes Ireland

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Hotels 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 has been named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site in the World Travel Awards and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling the same hotel at a cheaper rate.

►► My recommended booking site:  www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site, and unless HotelsCombined throws up major price differences I prefer doing my bookings in one place here. 

You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a great feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.

The Gresham Hotel, Dublin...   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: www.hostelworld.com...

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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.

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Travel insurance & health card

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel without proper travel insurance from a reliable insurer with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover loss of cash & belongings (up to a limit), and trip cancellation.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheapest even for just 2 or 3 trips a year - I have an annual policy myself.  However, don't expect travel insurance to bail you out of every missed connection, 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, see www.JustTravelCover.com - 10% discount with code seat61.

        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 ww.nhs.uk.  It doesn't remove the need for travel insurance, though.

Carry a spare credit card, designed for 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.


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