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Train/Ferry from London to Dublin

Old Oct 5th, 2009, 04:11 PM
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Train/Ferry from London to Dublin

My husband,two daughters, 20 & 18 years old and myself are planning to take a trip to London in late June 2010/early July 2010. We plan to stay in London for a week, sightseeing and maybe a little shopping. We thought we would take the train from London to Hollyhead,taking the ferry across to Dublin...staying in Ireland for a week.
We like the idea of taking the train, sort of a forced down day, resting from our week in London. My question is: Is the train/ferry really as bad as people say? We don't think it will be the "Orient Express" we are looking at a different way to get to Ireland. Thanks for the advice....ptm
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Old Oct 5th, 2009, 04:30 PM
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As explained on your other thread, it will take the best part of an entire day. It mostly depends on what you hope to see/do in Ireland. If you are like those who want to do 2 days in Dublin and then expect to see all the scenic bits on the coast in 4+ days -- then you really can't afford to blow a whole day getting to Ireland. If you want to visit Galway, or the Ring of Kerry, or Dingle or anyplace on the west side, you'd really only have time for one day in Dublin.

Even having a 'full' week in Ireland doesn't give you time to see more than a tiny bit of the country.

Now, If you really only plan on visiting Dublin and bits of the center/east coast of Ireland - then sure - use a day to get there.

It means choices. A week is a VERY short time for Ireland, 6 days is even less. To help you w/ your planning - count on traveling about 35 mph in most any scenic parts of the country. Sit down w/ your wish list for Ireland and then decide (and don't over estimate what is doable)
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Old Oct 5th, 2009, 09:13 PM
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No-one is saying, or has said, anything against the train/ferry. So your bizarre question "Is the train/ferry really as bad as people say?" is unanswerable.

Respondents on your other post have gone out of their way to say that, if you want a day off sightseeing, the train/ferry option is fine.

In practice, the train adds about five hours to the central London-central Dublin journey time. Unlike many train journeys, it's generally more uncomfortable than flying (the Holyhead route doesn't get you into Dublin, so you've got to schlep luggage at both ends, and mess about with getting into town once you've got to Dun Laoire). The train's also almost always a great deal costlier than flying. There's a third option that's cheaper than the train, but probably rather unpleasant, which is the Eurolines bus.
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Old Oct 5th, 2009, 11:41 PM
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The advantages the ferry would give you are:
1. If you plan to visit Wales, it might be a natural way to structure your journey
2. If you are staying in south Dublin (near Dun Laoghaire)it could be handy
3. The big advantage I see is the car. IF you are returning to the UK after Ireland, you can bring your car to Ireland and bring it back again, cutting out lots of time dropping off / picking up a new car in Dublin.

If none of those 3 is really relevant, then I'd say get the plane. Prices should be comparable if you get cheap flights.
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Old Oct 5th, 2009, 11:42 PM
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Sorry, I see car is not relevant. You are planning on getting the train to Holyhead. That pretty much puts paid to 1 and 3 in my list above, so I don't really see the merit of the ferry.
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Old Oct 5th, 2009, 11:52 PM
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Most UK mainland-based car hire companies don't permit taking their car to Ireland, or if they did, you'd be charged extra, plus the cost of ferry transport (can be £100 each way in summer).
As for train/ferry option, the train journey (you mostly have to change in Crewe) is pretty boring in the England part of the journey (West Coast Mainline by Virgin Trains). The Welsh part, esp as it hugs the coast, is quite interesting (sit on the right side for best views). Instead of conventional ferry, you have the option of taking fast ferry to Dun Laoghaire (Stena) or Dublin Port (Irish Ferries), which halves the crossing time.
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Old Oct 6th, 2009, 12:04 AM
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There are some direct trains from London (Euston)to Holyhead (3 hrs 40 mins) or it's one change taking about 4 hours. Sounds like a nice way to get to don't have to rush about and do site seeing all the time, and as you say will give you the chance to catch up with yourselves after London. The train is am much more relaxed way to travel than flying (less queues and no need to head out to an airport!) I hope that you enjoy it....I find arriving in a new country by boat nice as you arrive gradually!
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Old Oct 6th, 2009, 02:52 AM
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Irish Ferries run a large ship and a fast ferry from Holyhead to Dublin. Stena Line has ships to Dublin and a fast ferry to Dun Laoghaire.
There is a train from London Euston at 0910 to Holyhead which connects with afternoon sailings. At Dublin, you need to get a bus or taxi from the port to the city centre.
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Old Oct 6th, 2009, 03:36 AM
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We did a similar trip in 2000, only going from Dublin to Chester. The ferry was relaxing and definitely gave us time to recuperate from our two weeks in Ireland. We continued as far as Chester and rented a car to tour the Cotswalds. We turned the car in, in Bath and later trained to London.

You almost always return from a trip wishing that you had more time somewhere else. I think that the day of rest will contribute more to your enjoyment because you won't be as tired and cranky and much more able to enjoy and appreciate what you do see.

Travel isn't about cramming as much in as you can.
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Old Oct 6th, 2009, 05:16 PM
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Thank you so much for all your advice and information! I am sorry if I offended anyone with my question regarding the train/ferry from London to Dublin. I did not explain myself very was not on Fodor's where I heard the train/ferry was not the best way to travel. I was talking to a few neighbors who had taken the same trip and they had given me their opinion. I appreciate all of your advice and suggestions. Thank you.....ptm
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Old Oct 7th, 2009, 11:26 PM
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Have a look at, it explains the journey with photos and has links to buy tickets.

The train+ferry journey from London to Dublin is wonderful, and costs only £29 one-way with a special inclusive train+ferry ticket. No baggage fees, no airport taxes, no bag weight or size limits, no 2-hour check-in, and a departure from central London not an airport 30 miles away.

An excellent modern 'Pendolino' train leaves London Euston at 09:10 (slightly different times on Sundays), arrives Holyhead 12:50, the ferry terminal is next to the station, and the Irish Ferries ship 'Ulysses' sails at 14:10 arriving Dublin ferryport at 17:25.

The train ride is very scenic, all along the North Wales coast, see the photos on that webpage taken from the train.

Actually, I'm on it again myself next month, as I've a business metting in Dublin.
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Old Oct 8th, 2009, 10:09 AM
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Thank you Man_in_seat_61.

We are seriously thinking about taking the train/ferry from London to Dublin. Sounds like a wonderful journey and a great way to travel. Thank you again for all the info, we can't wait for our trip to begin.....ptm
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Old Oct 8th, 2009, 10:54 AM
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I only did the ferry from Dublin over to england. I had imagined myself standing on the deck, looking at the sea and enjoying the ride. Instead it was cold and foggy, and I couldn`t see a thing! No one stayed outside, it was too cold and windy. This was in August and I wouldn`t want you to be dissapointed. I don`t know if this was the usual weather. I myself would fly next time.
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Old Oct 8th, 2009, 11:17 AM
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Unusual weather.
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Old Oct 8th, 2009, 11:19 AM
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I have used the ferry (not the train journey) on several occasions because I was going to England with my car and have a dog )I live in Ireland. The boat journey IMO is not interesting and crowded with noisy children whose parents were doing the same as me = taking their car to or from England/Wales or Ireland. I do it because I need my car and it is the only way to have my dog accompany me.

When I don't need my car and I can leave my dog at home I fly - much more comfortable IMO.
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Old Oct 8th, 2009, 11:44 AM
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"No one stayed outside, it was too cold and windy"

Never, ever, take ANY advice on the basis of one person's one experience with weather in the British Isles. Especially on the Irish Sea, where the weather makes weather in London look boringly predictable.

The likelihood of cold overcast weather in August on the Irish Sea is identical to blissfully hot sunshine in December. About 25%.
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Old Oct 8th, 2009, 12:57 PM
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As someone who has often used ferries, I can only say that these are not intimate modes of travel. Ferries are generally large conveyors and if it's noisy or crowded in one section, one can simply move to another.

Man-in-seat-61 has posted an excellent review of train/ferry travel.
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Old Oct 9th, 2009, 11:15 PM
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The other top tip, if using the Ulysses, is to fork out the extra £14 for the Martello Lounge. Exclusive lounge on board, armchairs, complimentary tea coffee and red and white wine. I shall certainly be trying it out in a week or two's time!

I've always found the Irish Sea clear, with great views of Dublin Bay as you approach Ireland (and not bad views of Wales as you leave Britain, for that matter)
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Old Oct 19th, 2009, 06:54 AM
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Thanks Man_in_seat_61, Paying the extra money is a great idea. I am sure that is what we will do. Just beginning to book our hotel, flights extra...very excited about our trip to England and Ireland.....thanks everyone for all the help...ptm
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