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Travelling by bus and train in Ireland

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Jan 14th, 2005, 12:25 PM
  #1
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Travelling by bus and train in Ireland

Hi,

My fiance and I are planning our honeymoon in Ireland from March 8 - 18. We're planning on landing in Cork and then travelling through SouthWestern Ireland and leaving from Shannon. I noticed from other people's posts that it is common to rent a car to get around as a tourist in Ireland but I have heard that the rental and the gas can be expensive.

Is it possible to get around by bus and train? or would this end up being time consuming and costly as well?

Thank!
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Jan 14th, 2005, 01:53 PM
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Costly? - No. Time consuming? - Very.

The rail service in Ireland just will not get you to most of the scenic places you'd probably want to visit. And the local buses are mostly geared for locals needing to do their shopping, go to work, etc.

You would be a LOT better off if you had a car. It is certainly not impossible to travel by public transport (lots of people do) but this is your honeymoon, and you would be a lot happier being able to drive through the countryside and get to off the beaten path places.
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Jan 15th, 2005, 03:13 AM
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Yes! It is possible to get around by Bus and Train. Sometimes (like from Miltown-Malbay back to Ennis) I find myself riding on a bus that's mostly for schoolkids. If it's the only bus of the day and it's at 8:30 AM, so be it.

In Ireland I travel almost exclusively by BusEireann: the service is good and inexpensive. For example, there's an hourly Cork-Galway connection (#50, I believe). http://www.BusEireann.ie for schedules and information.

Most cities of any size will have Taxi or tour service available: Three of us toured west Clare (Lahinch, Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, Doolin, etc.) with Shéamus Woods for a total of 60-Euro. His son, Tony, runs a taxi service in Ennis.
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Jan 15th, 2005, 03:48 AM
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If you're very laid back and don't have any specific timeframe for getting places then it's fine. You'll notice that the schedules tend to be more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast timetable.
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Jan 15th, 2005, 06:14 AM
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If you've planned an itinerary of visiting a lot of Western Ireland and think you need a week, but then decide to do it by train and bus rather than car, you'd better make it two weeks to cover the same territory.
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Jan 15th, 2005, 06:40 AM
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You really need to rent a car.

The trains are few, far between and excrutiatingly slow - even by American standards. And as someone noted - buses are primarily for locals - and may run only once or twice a day.

Driving is easy, cars not especially expensive (rent an automatic - FAR in advance - if you're not already comfy with a stick) and while gas is expensive vs the US - it's such a small part of the total cost of the vacation - who cares.
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Jan 15th, 2005, 09:22 AM
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My response to some of the people who posted replies to your question: "If you haven't tried it, don't knock it."

Ann41 writes: "... the schedules tend to be more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast timetable."
Not so! Looking at Galway and Limerick City, you will see that Bus Eireann buses depart on schedule. There may be some variance from estimated arrival/departure times at intermediate stops because of road conditions (or weather) but overall. I admire their adherance to schedule.

Planning is the key! I've travelled all over west and southwest Ireland by Bus. Twice, I had to catch a Sunday PM bus Tralee-Limerick to catch my return flight on Monday from Shannon. But I know Limerick City well - Trad Irish music at the 'George' Sunday nights; and the people at the Railway Hotel (not recommended for Honeymooners) know me. They prepare an early breakfast so I can catch the 7:45 AM bus to Shannon.

BusEireann service is as good as most of Europe's Motorcoach services.


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Jan 15th, 2005, 11:05 AM
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NEDSIRELAND: I agree - of course it CAN be done. But read the OP -- this is their Honeymoon. Do you actually think school buses, early morning bus treks to the airport and minute planning because of the infrequent bus schedules is the way to spend a honeymoon? Sorta doubt it . . . . . .
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Jan 15th, 2005, 07:12 PM
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We are also planning on seeing Ireland by bus. The BusEireann website is very good, especially the journey planner page. Plus they have been very helpful when I've e-mailed questions to them.

We will be there next month when the days are short and don't want the hassle of driving (my husband, the designated driver feels left out when he spends his time watching the road rather than the scenery).

Yes, we've had to adjust our schedule a bit to accommodate bus travel, i.e. I figured out you cannot easily get from Kilkenny to the Rock of Cashel so we will choose one or the other based on weather.

We don't enjoy one night stops so we think taking the bus will be a good option for us. We plan on buying passes that are good for a certain number of travel days. We plan to to supplement that with some personal tours such as around the Dingle Peninsula, but even with that is should be less expensive than car rental. We've decided against rail travel since the price is twice that of using buses and the trains don't go to the smaller towns (such as Dingle) so we'd be adding on buses anyway.

We traveled all over New Zealand by bus in a similar fashion and found it to be wonderful, in fact a great chance to meet very nice people.

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Jan 16th, 2005, 05:15 AM
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janis writes: "... read the OP -- this is their Honeymoon. Do you actually think school buses, early morning bus treks to the airport and minute planning because of the infrequent bus schedules is the way to spend a honeymoon? Sorta doubt it ... "

One of the first thoughts that came to my mind when I read the initial 'post' was: "maybe these honeymooners are too young." Many car rental companies won't rent a car to a male under-26. If that be the case, I wanted to assure them that public transportation is a viable option, citing my own experiences as an example.

Another possibility: they're on a bare bones budget, in which case my advice would be to look into Bus Pass packages (Irish Rover or Irish Rambler for example).
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Jan 17th, 2005, 12:43 PM
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Seems that there are pros and cons to both sides...just wondering tho...if we decide to go by bus/train what would we do with our luggage during the day? would we have to lug them around on the bus and through the attractions and sites? that would be a large con for the bus if that is so...
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Jan 17th, 2005, 01:58 PM
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Despite the glowing reviews of bus travel here, I would not want to try it, especially on a honeymoon. Your comments about dragging luggage around are just one negative for it. If you are a big user of public transit, you might be into it for the adventure, but to me, a bus adventure is not what I would be looking for.

The bus will give you access to places where other people go, never access to places where no one goes. It won't drop you off for 30 minutes at Mizen Head and then come back to pick you up when you are ready to go. It won't take you to a deserted beach where you and your new spouse can walk along and enjoy the sunset and then meander back into the village for a pint at the pub.

Sure it can be done, but it may end up costing just as much as renting a car and it certainly will elimanate a lot of options. Look at it this way, a car will take you anywhere a bus will go, and bus will NOT take you anywhere a car will go.

I've been vacationing in Ireland for the past 7 years and being the driver has never been a problem. I've seen LOTS of beautiful scenery. I just stop the car and get out. If you want to see the scenery as you drive, a bus tour would be an option ... again, not my choice, especially on a honeymoon.

Bill
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