With a sidetrip to the Giant’s Causeway.
Dublin – Sligo – bus only to City of Derry/Londonderry – Coleraine – Giant’s Causeway by bus (optional) – Belfast – Dublin
DUB (Dublin Airport) Ryanair flights available from throughout the UK.
NOC (Knock – West Ireland Airport) Ryanair flights available from Liverpool Airport, Bristol Airport, East Midlands Airport, London Luton Airport and London Stansted Airport.
BFS (Belfast International Airport) Ryanair flights available from Manchester Airport and London Stansted Airport; Easyjet flights available from throughout the UK.
This trip can be made in either direction, and from either Dublin Airport, Knock Airport or Belfast International Airport, and there is no difference in which direction you travel (it will all depend on your own itinerary). However, as Dublin is the most popular entry-point, I have started from there, and have traveled in a clockwise direction.
The additional Larne to Belfast Railway route is detailed at the end.
1. Dublin Airport (DUB) to Dublin city centre.
You can reach central Dublin from Dublin Airport, by bus and taxi.
The bus journey takes around 55 minutes (timetable).
Dublin Airport website: www.dublinairport.com
2. Dublin to Sligo (train).
Train journey duration: 3 hours 10 minutes (timetable).
The train to Sligo leaves Dublin from Dublin Connolly Railway Station.
Official Sligo Tourism website: www.sligotourism.ie
3. Sligo to Londonderry/City of Derry (bus).
To continue with this circular route of the north of Ireland, you must continue to Londonderry/Derry by bus. Bus number 64 operated by Bus Eireann. This bus operates out of the main bus station in Sligo – which is located directly in front of the trin station where you arrived. So it is very easy to find.
Bus journey duration: 2 hours 35 minutes (timetable).
Official Derry Tourism website: www.visitderry.com
4. Londonderry/City of Derry to Coleraine (train).
Train journey duration: 1 hour 38 minutes (timetable).
Michael Palin described the railway between Derry and Coleraine as “one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world“. And he was completely right of course.
Official Coleraine Tourism website: discovernorthernireland.com
5. Coleraine to the Giant’s Causeway by bus (optional).
Bus journey duration: about 45 minutes (timetable – there are various buses serving this route – some of which are seasonal).
The bus which will take you directly to the Giant’s Causeway Visitor’s Centre leaves from the bus station which is attached to the train station in Coleraine where you arrive from Derry. So there is absolutely no difficulty in finding your connection.
Official Giant’s Causeway Tourism website: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/giants-causeway
6. Coleraine to Belfast (train).
Train journey duration: 1 hour 20 minutes (timetable).
Official Belfast Tourism website: visitbelfast.com
7. Belfast to Dublin (train – “Enterprise”).
The Enterprise is a highspeed rail link between Belfast and Dublin.
Train journey duration: 2 hours 10 minutes (timetable).
Official Dublin Tourism website: www.visitdublin.com
8. Dublin city centre to Dublin Airport.
Dublin Airport (photo: www.dublinairport.com)
The bus to Dublin Airport leaves from both Heuston and Connolly Train stations in central Dublin (among other locations too).
Dublin Airport website: www.dublinairport.com
Additional rail journey between Larne Harbour and Belfast.
Even before I stepped on this train at Larne Harbour I was already pretty excited.
My pre-trip research had shown that it was a single track railway between Larne and Belfast. And to me, the words single-track railway mean one of two things (both of which I love): either there is insufficient traffic on the line to warrant dualling the track (which usually means fewer passengers on the train), or, more usually, the geographical features around the train line means that it is physically impossible to dual the track (and this usually, as in this case, means that the railway passes through some rather stunning landscapes).
These “virtual” journeys are just my way of continuing to see the world, now that the progression of my ataxia means that lengthy travel is no longer a possibility for me. Hence the detail. By planning the journey in such detail, I end up knowing the route so well that I feel like I have been on it myself. Although in this case, I have.
So if this article has inspired you, saved you some valuable time (or even just saved you a few pounds/euros/dollars), please show your appreciation by making a donation to Ataxia UK (registered charity), by following this link:
100% of your donation goes directly, and immediately, to Ataxia UK (plus an additional 25% if you are a UK-taxpayer and have ticked the “Gift Aid” box).
And a personal request?
Share a photograph, that you take at some point on your journey, with me on Twitter. Not necessarily your “best” photograph, but the one photograph that will forever remind you of your journey.
That way I can live a little piece of the journey through your eyes.