Do you need to get from Dublin Airport to the city centre? Like large train stations, airports can be confusing places for first-time or occasional users. A little research on the best way to continue your onward journey from the airport to your destination is always a good idea to reduce stress, minimise tension and speed up your journey time.
If Dublin’s fair city is your chosen destination, this article highlights your travelling options from Dublin Airport to the city centre.
The only airport to serve the city, Dublin Airport (DUB) has two terminals. Terminal 1 handles short-haul flights from around Europe, while Terminal 2 deals with long-haul from the Americas and Asia.
The airport is located 12 km north of the city centre.
Serving around 20 million visitors annually, it is a crowded, bustling airport with no rail or metro options, so whatever your chosen transport, your journey will, at least initially, be by road.
READ ALSO: Where to stay in Dublin: Best areas
How to get from Dublin Airport to the city centre
1. Dublin Express, fastest coach transfer
Starting from 3.00am through to 00.35, the Dublin Express operates every 15 minutes from Dublin Airport to the city centre with over 15 stops en route, including O’Connell Street, Heuston Station, Temple Bar and Trinity College.
Modern, luxurious coaches, with plenty of luggage space for cases and buggies, make it the ideal transport for families with young children.
It is also the fastest way to get from Dublin Airport to the city centre by using the Port Tunnel, a dedicated shortcut tunnel on the M50 motorway specifically used by HGVs and Dublin Express. The average time for your journey to the city centre is just 17 minutes.
Dublin Express coaches are located at Zone 1 Terminal 1 and Zone 21 Terminal 2. Fares start from €7, and a return ticket costs just a couple more euros.
With different services covering different drop-off points, booking online is recommended by the operators to ensure you arrive in the right place. Tickets can be used from 12 hours before and up to 12 hours after the stated time. If this isn’t possible, tickets can be bought from the driver.
The premier Dublin Express routes from Dublin Airport to the city centre are:
- Route 782 to Custom Quay via Heuston Station
- Route 784 to Charlottes Way
More info: https://www.dublinexpress.ie/
Recommended offer: Airport Transfer and Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Ticket
2. Aircoach, luxury coaches with Wi-Fi and onboard loos
Similar in set-up to Dublin Express, different Aircoach routes depart every 15 minutes 24/7. The airport drop-off/departure point for Terminal 1 is Zone 2, and for Terminal 2 is zone 20.
Tickets start from €7 and can be bought online from an Aircoach kiosk or the driver.
All Aircoach routes have drop-off points in Dublin city centre. However, with different Aircoach services continuing to Cork, Galway, Belfast and Derry/Londonderry, be sure you have the correct service number if your final destination is out of the city.
Prime Aircoach services from Dublin Airport to the city centre take around 30 minutes journey time and are:
- Route 700 – From Dublin Airport to the City Centre & Leopardstown
- Route 702 – Dublin Airport to Greystones
- Route 703 – Dublin Airport to Killiney
More info: https://www.aircoach.ie/
3. Dublin Bus, the cheapest option
Finally, Dublin Bus operates over 110 routes around the Greater Dublin area, including to and from Dublin Airport, and is a big part of Dublin’s excellent public transport network.
Although probably the cheapest option (less than €3) , journey times will tend to be much longer due to the number of stops.
As a daily commuter network, it is also unsuitable for those with large amounts of baggage, as few buses have dedicated luggage space. However, you should be fine if you’re travelling light with just a backpack or cabin baggage.
One thing to remember is most public bus services do not accept notes. Instead, ticket machines where you can feed in notes and get your ticket and change are at most stops.
On the bus, you need to tender the correct fee in coins, show the driver your ticket, or use one of several multi-trip cards you can buy that give you the best value for what you want to do.
Most are valid for one, three or seven days and can be used on Dublin’s buses, trams (not tours), and railways (DART) operating in the ‘Short Hop Zone’.
If you’re exiting via Terminal 1, you will see a WH Smiths where you can purchase a discounted multi-trip ‘Leap Visitor Card’ or, leaving via Terminal 2, you can buy one from the Spar convenience store.
Dublin Bus operate out of the main Dublin Airport bus terminal in Zone 15.
Dublin Bus routes from Dublin Airport to the city centre are:
- 16 From Dublin Airport to Ballinteer (Kingston). Stop in O´Connoll Street
- 41 From Swords Manor to Lower Abbey Street
More info: https://www.dublinbus.ie/
To further muddy the waters, numerous smaller operators call at the airport on a regular basis. In addition, with over 1,000 bus and coach movements a day to and from the airport, things can often get confusing.
To minimise the risk of heading in the wrong direction, I suggest you download either the Transport for Ireland journey planner or Moovit apps. Tap in the departure point (Dublin Airport) and the destination. You should then receive a map, route operator, service number and departure times.
4. Taxi, fast and efficient way to get from Dublin Airport to the city centre
Certainly not the cheapest option, but an airport taxi is hard to beat for a hassle-free, relatively fast (depending on traffic) and comfortable journey to your hotel’s door.
For those with ongoing travel plans to other parts of Ireland by train, your driver will probably drop you at one of the two mainline stations, Connolly or Heuston, or the central bus station Bus Aras, so make sure you know where you need to be.
Both terminals at Dublin Airport have well-organised taxi ranks that are conveniently signed as you leave the arrivals exit. Unless you’re unlucky enough to arrive at the same time as numerous other flights, cabs will generally be waiting on the ranks.
If the ranks are empty, a short wait will usually see one arriving. Each rank also has a taxi dispatcher available, who can help with any queries or concerns you may have.
Only use a bonafide taxi displaying a roof sign and the driver’s registration details in the cab.
Dublin cabs operate on a time, not distance meter, so during heavy traffic or road work hold-ups the meter keeps ticking, and your journey will cost a little more.
The average charge for a taxi from Dublin Airport to the city centre is around €25 to €35 and takes 25 to 45 minutes.
5. UBER, rarely cheaper than a taxi
Is Uber a thing in Ireland? It is. But as someone once said, not as we know it. The only people allowed to operate for Uber in Ireland are licensed taxi companies and registered private car hire and limo companies.
The use of personal unmarked private cars with unlicensed drivers is prohibited.
Consequently, if you use your Uber app to get from Dublin Airport to the city centre, your ride will probably be a regular taxi or private hire vehicle charging Uber’s journey tariff.
For safety’s sake, do not accept a ride from anyone who pulls up beside you purporting to be working for any call-and-ride company offering cheaper deals than a legitimate operator.
6. Private Transfer, a cost-effective alternative for groups travelling from Dublin Airport to the city centre
Several pre-book transfer companies operate across Dublin for those travelling as part of a large party, or if you want to do something a little differently.
Although more expensive than a standard taxi, if travelling in a party of five or ten people, the cost per head is invariably cheaper than hailing a cab.
Booked online or by phone, you will be quoted a fixed charge unaffected by traffic hold-ups or other delays. Cost will depend on the type of vehicle booked, time of day (or night) and the number of passengers.
Expect to pay anything from €50 to €95. Your driver will usually be waiting in arrivals with your name on a board, ready to escort you to the vehicle.
Corporate limo transfers, chauffeur included, are also available pre-booked online for those with an image to maintain, or who want to do things in style for some special occasion.
Available private transfers:
- Transfers in Dublin
- Dublin Airport: Private Transfer to/from Dublin City Center
- Private Arrival: Dublin Airport to Dublin
7. Hire Car, Do you need one to get from Dublin Airport to the city centre?
Dublin is a compact city easily explored on foot in combination with the city’s excellent public transport system. Nonetheless, many business travellers and those with the intention of staying a couple of nights in town, and a few days touring the countryside, may prefer to book a hire car.
Airport terminals 1 and 2 are just 300m apart, and both have a comprehensive selection of the most well-known Irish and European Car Hire Companies, with desks in arrivals on both terminal concourses.
Although you can book on arrival, pre-booking online is the most popular, especially if you want a specific vehicle, such as a people carrier for large parties, or an estate car for additional baggage and equipment. Pre-booking will ensure your vehicle is waiting and ready to go when you arrive.
You will also be able to compare prices and take advantage of any offers or discounts the different companies offer when booking online.
Hiring a car is the most expensive option when planning your trip. Not only do you have to factor in a fuel allowance, but if your hotel has no residents’ parking, upwards of €20 per day car parking charges will often apply in and around the city.
However, if you intend to spend a night here and there while taking in Ireland’s glorious countryside, a hire car is the way to go.
Check rental cars deals here