Irish rail trip possibilities

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Wondering if anyone has taken trips on Irish Rail and can advise on an interesting/scenic route to take.

I am planning on spending a few days in Ireland as part of a trip to the UK. We would take the ferry from Holyhead to Dublin then I am thinking of a couple of possibilities.

One is taking the train down to Wexford, I hear that the trip along the coast is scenic. Not sure what there is to do in Wexford, will have to research.

Another, suggested to me by a friend who has travelled to Ireland multiple times is to see the cliffs of Moher, which I would travel to either Galway or Ennis then BusEireann to the cliffs.

Any thoughts on either of these trips?

Note: I wish the Amtrak web site was as easy to use as IE's. And they even have timetables!
 
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We had a complete Irish rail tour scheduled last year - cancelled due to travel restrictions. I had searched out stopping places with hotels in walking distance so we didn't need a car or bus. The only place that has little rail service is the southwest, as you noted. The Irish Rail site has excellent maps and PDF schedules for every route (imagine that!) and the reliable Seat61 site is the usual treasure trove of useful details. Don't forget the Enterprise run up to Belfast if you have time. Also worth a mention are the two stations in Dublin - Connolly serves the east coast and Belfast, and Huston for the rest of the country. You can connect between them via streetcar/tram or infrequent commuter trains that use a tunnel between them. Search for Geoff Marshall's excellent All The Stations Ireland series on YouTube too.
 

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Deni

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I'll second the Cliffs of Moher suggestion, they are quite amazing. I loved the west of Ireland overall. Also, the village of Dingle is quite amazing. I've also stayed in the town of Kinvara which is a nice little village of less than 800 people about a 40-minute bus ride south of Galway.
 

JontyMort

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Wondering if anyone has taken trips on Irish Rail and can advise on an interesting/scenic route to take.

I am planning on spending a few days in Ireland as part of a trip to the UK. We would take the ferry from Holyhead to Dublin then I am thinking of a couple of possibilities.

One is taking the train down to Wexford, I hear that the trip along the coast is scenic. Not sure what there is to do in Wexford, will have to research.

Another, suggested to me by a friend who has travelled to Ireland multiple times is to see the cliffs of Moher, which I would travel to either Galway or Ennis then BusEireann to the cliffs.

Any thoughts on either of these trips?

Note: I wish the Amtrak web site was as easy to use as IE's. And they even have timetables!
I have done the Dublin-Wexford train journey, and it’s a very pleasant run - along the coast at the Dublin end, then mostly inland. Wexford is a nice country town. It houses the National Opera House, if that’s your bag.

The service beyond Wexford to Rosslare - about 15 miles further south - has been reinstated, which would allow you to connect with the ferry from Rosslare to Fishguard in South Wales. You might therefore consider crossing the Irish Sea using different routes for the out and back journeys.

Both routes have traditional ferries. I’m not sure if either of them is currently running a fast SeaCat. Be warned that the Irish Sea can be somewhat feisty - the swell tends to be running across you.

On the Holyhead line, you go over Robert Stephenson’s magnificent Britannia Bridge - Britannia Bridge - Wikipedia - though sadly not in its original design, between the mainland and Anglesey.

I can help with any enquiries about train travel in Britain - not so much in Ireland.
 

MikefromCrete

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Check out the RailTours Ireland First Class section on the Irish Rail website. They offer a variety of one-day tours out of Dublin, as well as two-to-three day tours. My wife and I did a number of one day tours while we were in Ireland many years ago and they were excellent. We got to see a lot of the country while in the hands of some fine guides - and some great rail mileage.
 
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I looked at the possibility of coming over via Fishguard and Rosslare but the schedule is not ideal, with a change at Swansea and only 1/2 hour between arrival at Fishguard and the boat departing. I know British Rail is more reliable than Amtrak but still...
So my current thought is Dublin via Holyhead and Irish Ferries Ulysses to Dublin Port. Overnight in Dublin, maybe stay a day and see a few sights, then train to Galway. There is a tour out of Galway that looks interesting, to see the Aran Islands and the cliffs from a boat. Then back to Dublin. Strongly leaning towards flying out of Dublin back to the US as the fares are comparable and it saves backtracking just to get to Heathrow to fly home.
 
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I forgot to mention I have been watching the Geoff Marshall All Stations Ireland series which is informative as well as entertaining although I sometimes have a little trouble understanding him, even though I thought I was pretty good at British idioms. Great suggestion @jiml
 
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Strongly leaning towards flying out of Dublin back to the US as the fares are comparable and it saves backtracking just to get to Heathrow to fly home.
Flying back from Dublin is a great option if you can get the flights you want. The departure tax implications out of London, particularly in classes higher than basic economy are much worse from LHR. Even flying out of DUB on BA with a connection in Heathrow is cheaper than originating there.
 

JontyMort

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I looked at the possibility of coming over via Fishguard and Rosslare but the schedule is not ideal, with a change at Swansea and only 1/2 hour between arrival at Fishguard and the boat departing. I know British Rail is more reliable than Amtrak but still...
So my current thought is Dublin via Holyhead and Irish Ferries Ulysses to Dublin Port. Overnight in Dublin, maybe stay a day and see a few sights, then train to Galway. There is a tour out of Galway that looks interesting, to see the Aran Islands and the cliffs from a boat. Then back to Dublin. Strongly leaning towards flying out of Dublin back to the US as the fares are comparable and it saves backtracking just to get to Heathrow to fly home.
Yes, considering the purpose of Fishguard Harbour station - the clue is supposed to be in the name! - connections with the ferries are not ideal.

Flying from Dublin sounds a good plan - much more pleasant than LHR. Aer Lingus usually have some pretty good fares. They market quite hard for connecting flights to/from Birmingham, Manchester etc via Dublin. IIRC the timings are not quite so good eastbound, but it’s worth a look. As usual, it depends on where you’re actually going, but avoiding London is often good.
 
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I forgot to mention I have been watching the Geoff Marshall All Stations Ireland series which is informative as well as entertaining although I sometimes have a little trouble understanding him, even though I thought I was pretty good at British idioms. Great suggestion @jiml
Will have to check that out - didn't realize he'd done Ireland as well.
 

SwedeC

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Another reason for flying home from Dublin is that you pass American Immigration & Customs in Dublin; thus your flight is a "domestic" flight arriving in the States. I always try to return via Dublin.

Oops. Failed to see this had already been mentioned.
 

Deni

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I forgot to mention I have been watching the Geoff Marshall All Stations Ireland series which is informative as well as entertaining although I sometimes have a little trouble understanding him, even though I thought I was pretty good at British idioms. Great suggestion @jiml
I love his videos. I've been watching him for a long time. He really gets lots of press access now to events, like taking a ride on the Elizabeth Line a couple of months ago (it opens this upcoming Tuesday) and at a factory for new tube cars he interviewed the Mayor of London. He's such an awesome train geek. I want to do his trip of going from the southernmost tip of UK to the northernmost.
 
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