Last updated on February 6, 2024
I probably get asked this question 100 times a season. – At least. From whom? From our motorbike customers who want to spend one or more days in Dublin at the end of their tour of Ireland. And here is the answer…
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Whether you want to explore Ireland by motorbike, hire car, motorhome, bicycle or houseboat, sooner or later you will probably end up in Dublin.
And apart from the question: Should I do Dublin at the beginning or end of my trip, the question always comes up – how do I best get around Dublin?
We run our motorbike rental (https://www.easycruiser.tours) south of Dublin during the summer months (and guest rooms: (https://www.the-view-accommodation.ie) and know the city quite well. We are originally from Germany, but have lived in Ireland for several years (second home).
The first question is quickly answered: I would recommend planning Dublin at the end of your tour of Ireland, because you’ll probably go souvenir shopping there and don’t want to lug the run-ins around with you for the whole holiday, do you?
We’ll answer the second question now:
My personal tips for quick readers (executive summary)
I would prefer to explore Dublin without my own car or motorbike. The city is big and the traffic is just no fun. Parking spaces are hard to find in the city centre.
The interesting part of the city centre is of a size that you can easily walk around. If you find accommodation in or near the Temple Bar neighbourhood, you can walk to all the main parts of the city in 30-40 minutes maximum.
Buses and taxis are good options because they have their own lanes and can often travel faster than private cars, which can get stuck in long queues at traffic lights. You can also take a bus or taxi from the airport to the city centre, as both are located directly in front of the Terminal 1 building.
And now let’s go into a little more detail:
From the airport to the city centre
There is a large bus station directly outside Terminal 1 at Dublin Airport. On the ground floor of the Terminal 1 building you will find an information desk where you can enquire about suitable bus connections and buy a bus ticket. Buses run to the city centre in about 20 minutes. See: https://www.dublinairport.com/to-from-the-airport/by-bus/dublin-buses.
Alternatively, you can also find taxis outside the airport. Just take a taxi to your accommodation in the city centre and you won’t have to lug your luggage around. See: https://www.dublinairport.com/to-from-the-airport/by-taxi.
By car or motorbike in Dublin
I can’t recommend driving your own vehicle in and around Dublin, especially if you’ve never driven on the left before (Ireland drives on the left). The city is big and especially the rush hour traffic in the morning and evening is no fun.
I’ve already mentioned it, but I’ll say it again: parking spaces are hard to find in Dublin city centre, even for motorbikes. What’s more, cars and motorbikes are sometimes stolen or broken into here. Don’t worry, Ireland is a very safe country to travel to, but Dublin is like many metropolises in this respect – there is also organised theft here.
If you do want to hire a car, even to drive out of the city, you can find these hire stations at the airport – see: https://www.dublinairport.com/to-from-the-airport/car-rental.
An interesting rental model is Ufo-Drive on St Stephen’s Green, which is very centrally located. Here you only get electric cars from Tesla, which you can hire yourself at any time using the app. There is no need for paperwork in the office. See: https://de.ufodrive.com/.
The public bus network is well developed. The buses run at high frequency, practically everywhere and are generally comfortable and practical. We also use them ourselves.
Incidentally, buses and taxis have their own lanes in Dublin, so they can drive past traffic jams. This means that they are not slower in the city than a car, but rather faster. You can find detailed information here: https://www.dublinpublictransport.ie/dublin-buses.
I can also recommend public railways, especially for leaving the city centre. Many of our customers have already used them and were satisfied. In addition to the normal trains, there are also local commuter trains, such as the DART. This runs from the north of Dublin, through the city centre, the south of Dublin and along the coastal towns south of Dublin. These trains run at intervals of a few minutes, similar to metros or trams in other cities. See: https://www.irishrail.ie/en-ie/train-timetables/timetables-by-route.
Taxi and Uber
Our American guests in particular regularly ask for Uber. However, passenger transport is more strictly regulated in many European countries, including Germany and Ireland, where Uber hardly exists. There is an Uber app, but it is only really used in Dublin, by regular taxi companies. Forget Uber, you might as well call a taxi.
There is also a smartphone app for taxis, see: https://www.free-now.com/ie/ride/taxi-dublin/.
Hire a bike
This is actually a good idea. If you’re not afraid of traffic, you’ll find several bike hire shops in Dublin city centre. See for example: https://rivercycles.com/, or: https://bikestopdublin.com/.
Some offer guided tours, or you can just hire a bike. The city is completely flat, you can cycle here very easily. And of course you can easily cycle past the traffic jam. You can find a tour provider here, for example: https://lazybiketour.rezgo.com/.
There are also lots of shared services, at open stations or completely free-standing, which you can book and pay for at any time using the app. See for example: https://bleeperactive.com/, or: https://www.dublinbikes.ie/en/home.
The River Liffey flows through the centre of Dublin and across the Docklands to the harbour and into the sea. There are also sightseeing boat trips. So why not explore the city by water?
See: https://oldliffeyferry.com/, or: https://dublindiscovered.ie/book-online/.
You can also be a little more active by kayak. See: https://citykayaking.com/.
By horse-drawn carriage
Yes, there are also horse-drawn carriages in Dublin. These are not so much taxis, but rather city tours. The horses know their job and are professionals in Dublin – and so are the coachmen. Also a good idea? See for example: https://www.dublinhorsedrawncarriages.com/about/.
This was usually my favourite way to explore Dublin: On foot! You’re super flexible, burn a few calories and can then head to the nearest pub for a nice meal with a clear conscience!
But seriously, the city centre is a manageable size and from Temple Bar you can reach practically every tourist destination in a maximum of 30-40 minutes on foot. That’s why I recommend looking for accommodation in the centre, even if it’s expensive! But we’re talking about a night or two, right?
There are many ways to get around Dublin. However, the option that most people immediately think of, namely travelling by car, is actually the worst option.
I hope I have been able to help you a little with this article and give you a few tasty alternatives.
Whatever you decide, I wish you lots of fun in Dublin and lots of fun in Ireland!