Getting Around Ireland: Transportation Options for International Students

Discover the various modes of transportation available to international students in Ireland, including buses, trains, trams, bikes, and taxis. Learn about the student discount cards and useful travel apps to plan your daily commute and trips across the country.

Getting Around Ireland: Transportation Options for International Students
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Apr 26, 2023 01:40 AM
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As an international student, once you land in a new country and settle in, you have to figure out how to commute to your college and other places in and out of your city. Getting around Ireland is not as challenging, given the small size of the country and an extensive nationwide public transport. So, it will be a smooth ride once you figure out your travel options. Ireland relies heavily on buses, trains and trams for its public transport.
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Source : Redd

Student Discount Cards

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Source : Twitter
For students studying in Ireland, there are plenty of options and generous discounts for using public transport in Ireland.

Student Travel Card

The Student Travel Card is a student ID and discount card which enables you to get up to 40% discount on rails, buses and even in-store discounts across the country. Every national or international student registered in a full-time program is eligible for this travel card. You can buy it for €15 from campus agents or for €12 through the post.

Student Leap Card (SLC)

Student Leap Card is the national travel and discount card for students. This card entitles the students to avail discounts on rail, bus and tram services, and also on local private vehicle services in Ireland. You can buy this card from authorized agents for €10 or get it through post for €7. Use the student leap card to commute to college every day and also for your trips across the country. All international students who are enrolled in a full-time program of minimum of 6 months and have 16 hours of lectures per week are eligible to apply for SLC.
There are SLC agents located at various places in the country to process your SLC cards. Express agents process your application immediately while Printerless agents take 3-5 days to complete the process and send your SLC by post. You can get the list of all the agents here.
Once you recieve your SLC you should regester it here.

Local Transport for Getting Around Ireland

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Getting around Ireland is quite breezy, thanks to the extensive public transport in Ireland. Every region in the country has its local transport connecting the city centers to various suburban destinations. Most of the premier universities of Ireland are located around Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Cork. Let us explore the public transport options in those areas.

Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART)

Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) is a local train system specifically meant for travelling around in Dublin. It has 31 active stations running from Greystones, the south of Dublin country to the Howth, the north of Dublin County.
Shuttle service : University College of Dublin provides shuttle services between the university and Sydney ParadeDART station at fixed times in the morning and evening. They normally charge 1 euro per trip.


The LUAS is a Dublin-area tram service that operates in two lines, namely the Green Line and Red Line. The green line runs from Brides Glen to Broombridge through Dublin City Centre and the Red Line from Saggart to the Point. Both these lines intersect at Dublin.
As of now, the LUAS railway system has a total of 67 stations with light rail or trams running every day. The ticket fare varies with the zone and age. A student with a leap card will have to pay anywhere between €1.54 to €2.27. A Luas ticket resembles a credit card that is purple in colour.

Dublin Buses

Buses are the most popular mode of public transport in Dublin. There are city buses known as Bus Átha Cliath run by Dublin Bus and private commuter buses for ferrying passengers everyday. They ply across the city connecting various neighbourhoods. Buses in Dublin area operate from 6:30 am to 11:30 pm.
The private commuter bus services and routes around Dublin
  • Mathews Coaches - operates between Dublin, Dundalk and Bettystown
  • Wexford bus - operates between Dublin and Wexford
  • Swords Express - operates between Dublin and Swords
  • Collins Coaches - operates between Dublin and Carrickmacross
Nitelink is an express night bus service run by Dublin Bus, from Dublin city centre to many suburban destinations. These buses run only on Friday and Saturday nights and depart every one or two hours.

Cork Buses

The Bus Éireann provides bus service in Cork, covering several areas like Cork City, Mahon, Frankfield, Mayfield, Ballintemple. The logo of Bus Éireann or the Irish Bus is a red Irish Setter, an Irish dog breed.

Cork Trains

The Cork suburban rail service run by Irish Rail, has three train lines. One route connects Cork to Mallow. The other two routes have Cobh and Midleton as destinations via Glounthaune.

Galway Buses

Bus Éireann and Galway City Direct are the two companies that provide bus service in Galway and the surrounding areas. You can access the Galway Transport website for bus routes, maps and timetables.

Galway Trains

The Galway suburban rail service has a line connecting Galway with the towns, Oranmore and Athenry. Please note that you cannot use your Leap card in Galway trains.

Limerick Buses

The buses in Limerick are operated mainly by Bus Éireann, and a few routes are covered by Euro Bus. The bus routes service several areas like University of Limerick, O’Malley Park, Raheen and Dooradoyle.

Limerick Trains

Limerick suburban rail network has three lines that connect Limerick railway station with Ennis, Nenagh and Tipperary.


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Source : Bleeper Bike
Bikes are the healthiest and greenest way for getting around Ireland. Most of the Universities in Ireland encourage students to use cycles as part of maintaining a sustainable campus. You can buy or rent a cycle to commute to your college. Some colleges like Trinity College Dublin even have a Bike Share page on their website for students who want to use cycles on a shared basis.
Bleeper bike is an innovative stationless bike-sharing scheme in Dublin, in which the bikes are equipped with a smart lock to control their movement by communicating with the Bleeperbike app. Bikes can be picked up and parked at designated parking racks. You can rent these bikes for an hour, day, week or even for a month. For more details about Bleeper bikes, visit :


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Source : Galway Tourism
You can hire a taxi anywhere in Ireland, however hiring a taxi every day could be an expensive business for international students. Therefore, we would suggest you choose another means of transport for daily commuting in Ireland. The total taxi fare has a basic charge that might range anywhere between €3- €5 depending on the day and hour of booking, a booking-fee depending on the mode of booking and finally the travel cost.

Intercity Travel

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Source : Irish Times
When are on your semester break you can look to explore other parts of Ireland. All the major cities in Ireland are well-connected through buses and trains.
  • Trains : Iarnród Éireann or Irish Rail is in-charge of providing rail services for getting around Ireland. You can travel to most cities by train. Dublin has two main stations - Connolly and Heuston. Trains from Connolly station go to Sligo, Belfast and Rosslare Harbour. Heuston Station has trains to Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford. You can opt to travel by train for longer journeys as trains are quicker and the journey is more enjoyable. You can get complete details and book your tickets here
  • Commuter Rail Services : These are slow trains that are not electrified. Their routes are Connelly to Maynooth, Arklow and Drogheda, and from Heuston to Kildare.
  • Bus Éireann: If you prefer a bus for travelling far, Bus Éireann has coaches running from Central Busaras Station in Dublin to all parts of the country. You can get details about routes, timings and fares at here.
  • Irish Citylink and GoBus: The Irish Citylink and GoBus are two private operators that provide their coach service on the Dublin-Galway route.
  • Aircoach: The easiest way to travel, to and from Dublin Airport is by using Aircoach buses. They link Dublin Airport with many locations is Dublin, and also with Belfast and Cork.
  • Tiger Coaches: Tiger Coaches provides late night services on Fridays and Saturdays between Belfast and Lisburn.
  • Eirebus: If you are looking to travel as a group you can hire a luxury coach from Eirebus. They have coaches and minibuses with seating capacity ranging from 16-55 seats.

Useful Apps

There are some apps that are extremely handy for planning your travel for getting around Ireland.

Journey Planner

The Journey Planner app owned by Transport for Ireland, is very resourceful for planning your every day commute, trips and personal journeys. The planner has maps and timetables of all the authorized public transport providers across the country. You can find information about buses, trains, trams, taxi and ferry services.

Real-Time Ireland

The Real-Time Ireland App collates the arrival times from Dublin Bus, Dart, Bus Eireann and Luas in Dublin area. You can set alerts to notify you when your bus is at a particular time away from your stop.
The following table summaries the different modes of transport for getting around Ireland:


In this blog, we have given you details of transportation options, fares, frequencies and routes for getting around Ireland. We have also discussed the benefits an international student can avail while using public transport. You can use the apps mentioned in this article to plan your travel effectively.

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