Staycations: Travelling Ireland by Train

Staycations are a great way to get away from the stress of work or college without breaking the bank, but are they still possible if you don’t drive?  

Luckily for us non-drivers, Irish Rail or Iarnród Éireann, the operator of the national railway network of Ireland, is the perfect solution.  

Travelling Ireland by using public transport is an easy fun way to enjoy a staycation. The best things about using the train is that it’s cheap, you don’t need to have a designated driver, trains are perfect to sit and chat, the frequency of trains makes it easy for you to change arriving and departing times, you bring as many bags as you want and it’s better for the environment.  

Traveling around Ireland by train is very affordable, especially for students. If you book online you can travel from Dublin to Limerick for under €11, Dublin to Galway for just under €12, Dublin to Cork for just under €15 and Dublin to Belfast, Castlebar or Tralee for just over €17. 

Using the train to get around means you don’t have to rely on one friend to do all the driving. Nobody needs to take it easy on the nights before you travel so everyone can enjoy themselves without the pressure of having to drive the next morning.  

There isn’t any awkwardness when it comes to money for petrol as everyone just has to pay for their own ticket. The train provides space that no car can offer which means you don’t have limited space for bags. 

Think about it, if you and three or four of your friends were heading away for a holiday, you would need a big boot to carry everyone's bags. This isn't a problem on trains, you can even bring a bike free of charge if you want to.  

You don’t just need space for bags in a car, but you need space for people too. Five people shoved into one of your friends' small car is just going to be uncomfortable. If you’re on the train, everyone has plenty of room and you can get up and walk around if you’re starting to get uncomfortable.  

Travelling by train has the added bonus of being better for the environment. According to the Sustainable Energy Authority for Ireland or SEAI, private cars are the transport mode that uses the most energy and they accounted for 40% of the transport final energy demand in 2018. In comparison, transport by rail accounted for less than 1%. 

The train can take you to some great places in Ireland or Northern Ireland that have plenty of exciting things to keep you entertained. For example, in Cork you can go to the Fota Wildlife Park or visit the Blarney Stone and Blarney castle.  

In Belfast, there are great museums like the Titanic and the W5 museums. Galway is a great city to go to if you and your friends want some fun nights out away from Dublin. Because of NUIG, Galway has a lot of student nights out too so perfect for those of us on a tight budget.   

Travelling by train is great if you are planning a last-minute trip. While flight prices may go up the closer you get to the date you are going, student train tickets cost the same online right up until it leaves the station.  

Next time you’re scavenging for cheap flights on Ryanair, consider staying in Ireland and travelling by train instead.