Dublin to Galway: Bus Vs Train – Which is Better?

Most people who visit Ireland will stay in Dublin and use that as a base to explore the rest of the island. One of the most popular day trip destinations from Dublin is Galway on the west coast. As someone who regularly makes this journey, I want to give you an idea of what its like.

Dublin to Galway Methods of Travel:

MethodJourney TimeAverage Price, Return (€)Frequency
Trains2.5 Hours€21 – €42Every 1-2 Hours. Between 7:30am and 7:30pm
Bus2.5 Hours€13.50 – €23Every Hour. Between 7:15am and 10:15pm
Car<2.5 Hours€79Flexible

As you can see there are multiple options for people who want to make their way from Dublin to Galway, or go the other way. As you can see from the list above, some of these methods might not be what you would expect. So, lets talk about them in more detail.

Dublin to Galway

Dublin is the biggest city on the island of Ireland and generally has good transportation links to the rest of the country. Galway is the 4th largest city in the Republic of Ireland and while its infrastructure is not as good as the capital, there are good transport links between both.

To give you an idea of what this journey is like, I have compared the two main methods of public transport available; busses and the train. There is only one train service available, Irish rail. For busses on the other hand there are multiple companies and options to choose from.

Click here to review Irish Rail’s service between Dublin and Galway.

When taking the bus on this route, I prefer to use the company GoBus. They have won numerous awards for customer service and they generally operate to a very high standard. They have other routes, mainly out of Galway, so they might help if you’re using Galway as your base, not Dublin.

While there are other bus services, this is my personal preference and the one that I will use for this guide. If this service doesn’t suit your needs, other companies include Citylink Opens in a new tab.and AircoachOpens in a new tab..

Please click here for the main website of GoBus.Opens in a new tab.

I also wanted to compare these services to a regular car journey. If you want to spend a little more, you will be able to make this trip in a private, hired vehicle.

Daytrip has thousands of excellent reviews online and offers a reliable service between both cities. Please click this link to find out more information on this routeOpens in a new tab..

If you are looking for other places to check out for day trips. I have a list of my favorite day trips from Dublin using public transport, linked hereOpens in a new tab..

Bus Routes: Dublin to Galway

Personally, this is my preferred option when making the journey between Dublin and Galway. Though I have made the trip by train countless times, I feel that the bus is better most of the time. This is the method that I think will work best for most travelers.

Pros of a Bus Journey

Price: The obvious main benefit of taking the bus over anything else is the price. Taking the bus will be half the price of taking the train and the journey time will be roughly the same. If you are travelling on a budget, this is the method of transport that I think you should take.

Journey Time: Interestingly enough, the journey via bus takes usually around the same length of time as the train. Having said that, there may be some situations where you will run into difficulties and I will mention them in the cons below.

Bus Stop Locations: Something that most people don’t take into account is the location of stations and bus stops. Heuston train station in Dublin is located a little further out of the city and most people will need to get the tram here. The GoBus stop however, is located on the river in the center of the city.

Experience: Taking the bus will give you about the same level of comfort that the train will. While you might not get quite the same leg room, the views will be almost as good and, especially for solo travelers, you will have roughly the same amount of space.

Cons

Traffic: Like any journey on the road, you are more subject to the traffic on the bus than the train. Galway is notorious for its traffic and I have been caught in the bus outside the city before. This is especially the case when traveling on the weekends or during rush hour.

Cramped: When traveling during these peak times, there have been uncomfortable journeys via the bus. Fortunately, these experiences are rare. The vast majority of my bus journeys have been pleasant and comfortable.

The Train: Dublin to Galway

There is a romance to getting the train and if you are looking for that experience, then the trip from Dublin to Galway is great. Having said that, there are certain things you should expect from this journey. I want to make sure you have all the information when planning your trip.

Pros

Views: The views of the coast near Galway and around the River Shannon, in the middle of Ireland, are particularly good on this route. If you are heading to Galway, try and get a seat on the left side of the train. Get a seat on the right when going to Dublin to see some of the best views.

Train Station in Galway: Ceannt Train Station in Galway is located right in the heart of the city, next to Eyre Square. You really couldn’t ask for a better location. While the bus stop is only a five minute walk away, the train station definitely has the best location in Galway.

Reliability During Rush Hour: When taking the train, you know exactly when you will make it to your destination. It is rare that a train will run late and you will avoid any of the nasty Galway traffic.

Cons

The Price: As mentioned above, the price of a train ticket is about twice that of the bus, even though the journey times are roughly the same.

Ticket Availability: As the train doesn’t run as often, tickets might book out. Make sure to book your ticket well in advance. Also, you might not get the seat that you want, use the manual seat selection if you can.

Dublin Train Station Location: While Ceannt Station in Galway is central, Heuston Station in Dublin is not. There are plenty of Dublin Bus routes and trams that will take you from here to the city center. Just make sure to accommodate for this part of your journey in any planning.

Jack

Jack Redmond has been a tour guide in Ireland for the past decade. Having received a national guiding qualification, he has brought thousands of travelers all over the island of Ireland.

Recent Posts