Get on Board in Ireland
Ireland is a compact country, and it usually doesn't take more than three hours to travel between two Irish cities. Trains run at a good speed, much faster than driving, especially if you’re slightly bemused navigating from the left side.
Intercities services link Dublin to most cities, and there are a few cross-country services that skip the capital altogether. The brand-new trains on the Dublin to Cork line offer the most frequent and modern service, and it’s worth opting for a first class seat (Comfort). Although not included in your ticket price, some rails (like the Enterprise between Dublin and Belfast) offer food service at your seat. And, it’s so worth paying a little extra to savor smoked salmon that once traveled the very rivers your train is passing by.
The most popular rail journeys include Dublin to Belfast, Cork or Galway. Galway, considered by many Ireland’s cultural heart, is also its third largest city, and the journey from coast to coast is breathtaking indeed. Its churches (like St. Nicholas, founded in 1320 and thought to be visited by Colombus) and museums (the works of James Joyce are here, naturally) make it a city worth exploring, even if you can just spare a day. But then again, this is Ireland! Extend your stay and take a boat to the often travelogued Aran Islands.
Good to know: in spite of the small size of the cities, Irish Rail offers frequent service on its main lines, typically at hour or two-hour intervals. So you’ll have lots of flexibility, and can easily schedule early morning, late afternoon, or day return trips.
For more information on Ireland contact the Ireland Tourist Board.