One of the most common questions I am asked as a guide, is how to best get between Dublin airport and the city centre. While there are many different ways of getting into Dublin from the airport, some are more viable than others.
What is the best way to get from Dublin Airport to Dublin city centre? The 747-bus route is the best way to get from Dublin airport to Dublin’s city centre. For an adult, prices are €7 for a single and €12 for return, €3 and €5 for children. The journey will usually take 30mins, or 55 at rush hour.
While this is the method that I personally prefer to use to travel between the centre of Dublin and the airport, there are other options. Some of these options may be better under certain circumstances. I will go into them all in detail in this article.
Dublin Airport to Dublin City Centre
This is one of the first pieces of information that you will likely need when you arrive in Dublin. Once you head out of the arrivals gate you might notice one of the main issues that many people have when travelling around Ireland; the lack of infrastructure compared to other Western European countries. Ireland was poor for a long time, up until recently, and so we are still playing catch-up with regards to some parts of our infrastructure. Dublin Airport used to be notoriously difficult for visitors to get to, today however, that is no longer the case.
The airport is located about 12 kilometers (6 miles) away from Dublin city centre. Though there are plans to connect the two locations via a rail link, no such link exists today, so the only options that you will have to get from one to the other will be via the road network. There are various public and privately run services that will be available to you once you arrive.
The fares mentioned below may have risen since this article was written, please use the links provided to plan your journey accordingly.
This is the method that I personally use to get from the airport to the city centre as often as I can. This bus route is a public service that is operated by the Irish Government and is also known as the Airlink Express. It is an express route that has fewer stops than a regular Dublin Bus route. This route stops at both terminals in Dublin Airport, then at Busarus (the main bus station in Dublin), O’Connell Street (the main street in Dublin) and it finishes at Heuston Station (the main train station).
Taking this Airlink route will generally be quicker than going by the regular bus service, though this is not 100% guaranteed. This route is especially quicker when getting into Dublin at rush-hour or when there is any traffic as it takes the direct route through the port-tunnel right into the city centre. Normally the full journey on this route will be about 40 minutes from the airport to Heuston Station, though with traffic, this may go as high as 1 hour. I rarely ever stay for the full route, as getting off the bus at any of the stops in the centre is usually enough.
The price of this service has risen recently, and it now costs €7 for a one-way journey between Dublin and the airport, a return ticket is €12. For a child or senior’s ticket these prices are €3 and €5 respectively. You can purchase tickets from the bus driver in cash or by using a Leap Card (which I will talk about below). As a side note, the services from Dublin Airport are the only Dublin buses where you will be able to pay using notes, all others will require exact change in coins (more on this later!)
You will find this bus waiting to leave outside Terminal 1, to the left. Though it will make a stop at Terminal 2 before heading on to the city centre. I would advise heading to Terminal 1, as they will usually have staff waiting there to assist you if you have any questions. Just look for the big green bus!
The services are regular and leave every 15-20 minutes from 4.30am to 00.30am throughout the day.
For more information on this route, or to book tickets online, you can find the Airlink Express website.
Regular Dublin Bus
You can also get a regular Dublin Bus to the city and avoid using the Airlink Express. Many locals and students choose this option as it is noticeably cheaper than the 747. While the above route will cost about €7 for a single journey, the regular bus will only cost €3, it is even cheaper if you use a Leap Card (below)! If you want to take this option, there will be bus stops just outside Terminal 1 to the left, these busses will be bright yellow.
Before you get on a Dublin bus though, you should be aware of a couple of things. Firstly, you need to flag one down, they do not stop at every bus-stop! If you are at the appropriate stop and see your bus arriving, simply extend your had out like you would a taxi, this is necessary. Second, if you choose to pay in cash, the driver will not accept notes, only coins. Finally, there will be no change given, pay in exact change when using Dublin bus. If you have any questions, just ask the driver.
The bus route that goes from Dublin Airport to the city centre is the 16. This route operates from the Airport between 6am and 11.30pm. The service is regular and runs every 15 minutes or so.
One of the main reasons why I avoid using this route is the time of the journey from O’Connell Street to Dublin Airport. The route normally takes a little over an hour with no traffic. At rush-hour, this journey can take about 3 times as long! I have first-hand experience of this and I never want to relive it.
For more information on this route, you can find details on Dublin Bus’ website.
Payment for Public Services – Leap Card
Though you are able to pay for all of the services in this guide by cash, you will also be able to pay for all public transport in Ireland via a Leap Card. This card works in a similar way to an Oyster Card in London and there are similar services in cities all over the world. The Leap Card will work on all public transport in the Republic or Ireland. All public transport in Northern Ireland will not be covered by this service.
Some of the services that are covered by the leap card include; Irish Rail, The DART and LUAS, Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann. You can find this little green card for sale at most newsagents and corner stores in the country and you will be able to top them up either there or at any rail or tram station. You are also able to top up your card online or through their App.
They also offer a “Leap Visitor Card” aimed at people who are spending a limited time in the city. Personally I feel that the card does not offer the best “bang for your buck” compared to the regular Leap Card. The pricing structure for the leap visitor card is below:
- 1-day (24 hours) card = €10
- 3-day (72 hours) card = €19.50
- 7-day (168 hours) card = €40
While this might seem like good value for money, you likely would not spend quite as much if you used the normal card. Having said that, you might find this product useful if you plan to do a lot of commuting around Dublin when you are here, or if you just want piece of mind and don’t want to worry about ticket fares while in the country. I feel that both of those are valid reasons for wanting this card.
Transport for Ireland is the name of the group that operates and runs this service. They offer discounted prices for using Leap Cards to travel on public transport in Ireland. If you want to learn more about them, and the fares for public transport in Ireland, you should consult their website.
There are several coach services that operate between the airport and Dublin city centre, the most popular operator is Aircoach. You will see these sky-blue buses all over the country as they have routes all over Ireland. Their most popular route though, will take you from Dublin Airport to the city centre.
This route is the “700”. It operates every 15 minutes between 3.15am and 11.55pm, after which it will leave every half hour.
The price of an adult ticket is €6, or €10 for a return journey. For a child’s ticket, this will be €2 and €4 respectively.
Though this service is cheaper and more comfortable than the 747 route, there are some drawbacks. The first one being the journey time. The Aircoach doesn’t use the port tunnel and while it has few stops and will use the bus lanes, the journey time will be longer than if you went with the Airlink Express. The journey will usually be about half an hour or more longer, though you may have a different experience.
There is also the issue of space on the coach. Due to the limited number of seats, this method of transport often fills up compared to the 747. My advice would be to book ahead of time, if you are travelling in a group or are with your family.
This is one of the most effective ways of getting from the airport to the city centre, in fact this is one of the most effective ways of getting around Dublin. The only real issue is that its expensive. Typically taxis will cost around €25-40 to travel between the airport and the city centre. There are many different factors that will impact the price, some of these include:
- Time of Day.
- If you pre-booked.
- How many people are in the car (after the first passenger, everyone extra will add a euro to the fare).
- If there is any luggage.
Though you don’t have to tip a taxi driver in Ireland, a small tip is common. I personally tip between €1-3, depending on the quality of service, or the amount of change I have available. You will also, generally, have to pay for your taxi in cash. Leap Cards will not work, neither will most other forms of debit or credit cards, unless the taxi was pre-ordered.
You will be able to flag a taxi down outside the main arrivals gate. Again, I would recommend that you try Terminal 1, as it will offer the most choice. You can also use various apps to order a taxi while in Ireland, though many internationally popular ones, like Uber, are not as ubiquitous in Ireland.
For information on taxis in Ireland, you can consult my guide.
Dublin Airport to Other Parts of Ireland
If you are arriving to Ireland through Dublin airport, you have the option of bypassing the city of Dublin entirely and exploring the rest of the country from here. Plenty of the services that I have mentioned here will also offer services to other parts of the country, or you could easily stay nearby, in one of the many great locations around Dublin. For information on some of my favourite places around Dublin to check out, you can read my article.
There are also services that will take you directly from Dublin Airport to one of the other major cities on the island of Ireland. If you want to go to either Galway or Cork, then the company GoBus offers regular journeys directly from the airport. Aircoach will also offer direct routes to various locations all around Ireland, including Belfast in Northern Ireland.
How much is a taxi from Dublin Airport to Dublin city centre? A taxi from Dublin Airport to the city centre will usually cost between €25-40. This will depend on traffic and time of day. This is usually the best option early in the morning or on public holidays.
Is there Uber in Dublin, Ireland? Yes, but you cannot hire private vehicles on it in Ireland. When you use Uber in Ireland, you will only be able to hire a regular taxi or a limousine. More reliable methods of hiring taxis in Ireland include apps like mytaxi or lynk or flagging them down on the street.
Is there a train in Dublin Airport? There are no direct rail links to Dublin Airport. In order to get to heavy/ light rail or tram routes in Ireland, you will have to make your way to Dublin city centre via the road network and there will be multiple public and private services there for you.